A Statement of Support for Naturalists of Color

June 1, 2020

The Harris Center is deeply troubled by what happened to Christian Cooper while he was birding in New York’s Central Park last week. This kind of unacceptable harassment is a common occurrence for people of color, and emblematic of pervasive, systemic racial injustice in America. We strongly believe that everyone should feel safe to explore the natural world, free of harassment or prejudice, and will work to ensure that our trails, conserved lands, and educational programs are welcoming spaces for all. Just as biodiversity leads to healthy, robust ecosystems, so too does human diversity lead to healthy, robust communities.

On that note, this is the first-ever Black Birders Week — created to celebrate Black birders and nature enthusiasts the world over — and we encourage you to check it out! You can learn more by following the hashtag #BlackBirdersWeek on Instagram or Twitter, and by watching these important Birding While Black conversations hosted by the National Audubon Society: Session One + Session Two.

We’re also reading and listening to Black nature lovers J. Drew Lanham, Jason Ward, and the many voices highlighted by the #DiversifyOutdoors coalitions, to start. We invite you to join us.

A colorful mural of a young girl birding from the Wynwood Arts District of Miami, Florida. (mural © Octez, photo © urbanmuralhunter via the Flickr Creative Commons)

The first-ever #BlackBirdersWeek is taking place from May 31 to June 5. (mural © Octez; photo © Terence Faircloth via the Flickr Creative Commons)