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Articles by Emily Benson

Emily Benson writes for High Country News.

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This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Sheridan Alford’s love of bird-watching stems from a simple fact: “Anybody can do it.” Old or young, through expensive binoculars or with the naked eye (or ear), in a bucolic park or from a city window, anyone can connect to the avian world around them. Alford, a graduate student in natural resources at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia, studies African American participation in bird-watching, trying to understand why some black people engage in the activity and others don’t.

She’s also one of the cofounders of a social media push, #BlackBirdersWeek, which launched on May 31. The campaign was sparked by the viral video in which a white woman threatened a black birder in New York’s Central Park, announcing that she was calling the police “to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”

“I think a lot of us identified with that scenario,” Alford said in a recent interview. In response, she and other members of a grassroots group, @BlackAFinSTEM, who work in science or related fields, decided to organize a wee... Read more

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