Panel: A Good IDEA for Birding
Join in for a conversation about inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) in birding and the outdoors, and learn what you can do to be a more welcoming and inclusive birder for folks who are BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, who have a disability or other health concern, and who share intersecting identities. Come away with more understanding and appreciation for your fellow birder, and strategies you can start implementing immediately for yourself and any groups or organizations you’re a part of to help ensure birding truly is for everybody!
Closed captions and an American Sign Language interpreter will be provided. This event is free and will be recorded and available on the Birdability website and YouTube channel. Donations to support Birdability’s work are appreciated; you can donate at birdability.org/donate
This event is being held in partnership with National Audubon. Register to attend this panel here.
Freya McGregor (she/her), OTR/L, CIG is the Birdability Coordinator and an occupational therapist. Birding since childhood, her ‘dodgy’ knee often creates an accessibility challenge for her. With a clinical background in blindness and low vision services, she is passionate about enabling all birders and potential future birders to enjoy birding and nature as much as she does.
Jerry Berrier (he/him) has been totally blind from birth. He has been birding by ear since 1972, and recently retired after 18 years as Director of Assistive Technology for the Perkins School for the Blind. He has served as an accessibility consultant with Mass Audubon on more than a dozen All Persons Trails projects, and has conducted numerous birding by ear workshops for adults and children who are blind.
Monica Bryand (she/her) is the Co-Executive Director at Voices for Racial Justice and Founder and lead at the Urban Bird Collective, and has been working on social justice issues and the intersections of issues and identities for decades. Monica started the The Urban Birders Collective four years ago to support birders of all different skill levels and to create safe and welcoming spaces for all communities, including Native Americans, People of Color, immigrants, the LGBT communities and more, to explore birding. The UBC wants all communities to feel the benefits of being out in our natural green spaces in our various Twin City neighborhoods and beyond.
Elise Greenberg (she/they) is the founder of Philly Queer Birders and has an educational background in conservation biology. She is passionate about creating safe, queer community in the outdoors and centering the knowledge and experience of other LGBTQ+ birders. Birding has helped improve Elise’s mental health, strengthened their connection to the environment, and has served as an ongoing learning experience.
Meghadeepa Maity (they/them) grew up birding in India and now lives in so-called Western Massachusetts where they continually navigate the challenges of exploring the outdoors as a neurodivergent, Bengali, immigrant, queer woman and a trauma survivor with multiple invisible disabilities (complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a Traumatic Brain Injury, chronic migraines and visual processing disorders). They have been a persistent voice championing safety, accessibility and inclusion in birding spaces across Massachusetts for the last year and a half. They are the primary organizer for the local Anti-racist Collective of Avid Birders, and have been involved with Mass Audubon, Birdability and the Murmuration Project.
Corina Newsome (she/her) is the Community Engagement Manager at Georgia Audubon and a recent graduate from Georgia Southern University with a Master of Science in Biology. Having experienced the hurdles faced by Black, Indigenous, Peoples of Color, and low-wealth communities in wildlife conservation, Corina’s mission is to center the perspectives and leadership of historically marginalized communities in wildlife conservation, environmental education, and exploration of the natural world. Corina is excited to serve as a Birdability Captain, and supports the work of the Freedom Birders.
Karla Noboa (they/she) is President of the Feminist Bird Club (FBC), a chapter leader at FBC Philadelphia, and the Community Engagement Manager at River Network. They are Latine, queer, non-binary, and live with anxiety and depression, as well as an autoimmune condition (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis) that can impact their ability to be active. Karla is dedicated to and passionate about environmental equity, safety and access in the outdoors.
Dexter Patterson (he/him) is known on social media as the Wisco Birder, and is on a mission to spread as much joy as possible by making his new hobby of birdwatching welcoming for all birders in the State of Wisconsin. His Instagram followers love his energetic and exciting videos that feature him singing and dancing through the woods, finding stunning birds throughout the state, and taking gorgeous photos, and he co-founded the BIPOC Birding Club of Wisconsin with Jeff Galligan to continue this work.
Kari Sasportas (she/they) is an autistic birder and a Massachusetts Birdability Captain. Kari is a member of the Feminist Bird Club of Boston and has been a Mass Audubon member since 2002. In 2015, Kari was certified as a Master Naturalist by the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Kari is an appointed Commissioner on the LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission in the Town of Arlington, Massachusetts, and advocates tirelessly to dismantle systemic barriers to inclusion, safety, and accessibility in public spaces.
Letícia Soares (she/her) is a broadly trained ornithologist. She is a post-doctoral associate at the Advanced Facility for Avian Research at Western University, and was a co-chair of the joint meeting of the American Ornithological Society and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists in 2021. Throughout her career, she has done field research with birds from the Amazon forest in Brazil, where she’s originally from, to the Caribbean and the mixed forests in Ontario. She has battled Fibromyalgia for eight years and is currently learning to live with Long Covid, which causes chronic pain, fatigue, brain fog, among other symptoms. She considers herself a non traditional birder and is passionate about making birding and ornithology more inclusive and accessible.