If you’re curious about the mental health benefits of birding, or about different ways you can practice mindfulness while in nature to help you live a healthier and happier life, BirdNote and Black AF in STEM invite you to join a free virtual event on Wednesday, June 1 at 7 PM EST/4 PM PST.
The discussion will be moderated by Bring Birds Back host Tenijah Hamilton. She’ll be joined by panelists and Black Birders Week organizers Sheridan Alford, Nicole Jackson, and Deja Perkins. For more about each panelist, check out their bios below.
They will discuss topics like how to get past the hesitation of being in nature, specific mental health concerns that mindful birding can help address, tips for finding a community in birding, among others.
The virtual event is hosted as part of Black Birders Week, which is held on May 29 - June 4. For more ways to participate in Black Birders Week, visit blackafinstem.com. Be sure to follow along on social media using #BlackBirdersWeek and #DayOfRoost.
Learn more about our event participants:
Moderator: Tenjiah Hamilton
Tenijah Hamilton is the host of BirdNote’s longform podcast, Bring Birds Back. She is also Chief Community Officer for Hopebound, an Atlanta-based organization providing therapy for under-resourced youth. Like many people, Tenijah started birding during the pandemic, and now she wants to spread the joy of birds with others. As for a favorite bird, she’s partial to the albatross because of the sappy love story it represents.
Panelist: Sheridan Alford
Sheridan Alford is an environmental educator with a recently completed Masters of Natural Resources in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from the University of Georgia. Her fieldwork has taken her across the American South, and led to work with PBS Nature, Oboz Footwear, and others to enhance the minority experience within the outdoors. She helped organize the online movement Black Birders Week, now in its third year, with the aim of increasing the visibility and representation of Black birders in the field and to elevate and support diversity in the birding community at large. Sheridan’s focus includes citizen science, youth involvement, and the benefits of ecotherapy.
Panelist: Deja Perkins
Deja Perkins is a PhD student in Geospatial Analytics at the Center for Geospatial Analytics at North Carolina State University. With a background in urban ecology, Deja currently investigates data gaps of large scale participatory science datasets within cities. She is an advocate for people exploring nature in their neighborhoods, and using citizen science to learn about science and nature. While her research interests primarily center on urban bird ecology, she explores the connections between citizen science, birding as a recreational hobby, and environmental injustice in the form of greenspace/nature access and joy in the outdoors. Originally from Chicago, she has seen first-hand how access to nature and exposure to wildlife and environmental programs can differ in different parts of the city, specifically within minority neighborhoods, which drives her belief that location matters, even within the city. She believes that by exposing people, especially Black youth and young adults, to the natural sciences and the wonders of the outdoors, it will encourage them to pursue natural science careers, enjoy outdoor activities and become stewards of the environment.
Panelist: Nicole Jackson
Nicole Jackson (she/her) is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, Nicole graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Education. A nature enthusiast, park advocate, and birder, she loves spending time outside and has a passion for getting people from underserved communities connected to the wonders of the natural world. Nicole currently works as a coach and environmental education consultant assisting in creating programs that educate youth and families on how to build a healthy relationship with nature. She is also on the board of the Columbus Audubon and the founder of Black in National Parks Week.