17-year-old Mya-Rose Craig is a young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. Based near Bristol in the UK, she uses her Birdgirl blog to write posts about birding, conservation and environmental issues from around the world.
But while Mya’s perhaps best known as a birdwatcher, she’s also a courageous advocate for human rights, talks about the need to get VME or Visible Minority Ethnic people access to the countryside, is President of an organisation called Black2Nature which she set up when she was just fourteen, and has organised nature camps for children and teenagers since 2015. She’s also blunt about the failure of conservation NGOs to accurately represent the diversity of people in the UK, and is passionate about climate change.
Charlie Moores talked with a slightly weary Mya-Rose the day after she’d got back home after spending the weekend in London as part of the Extinction Rebellion protests – but they began – how could they not – with birds…
“…if you never see yourself represented, then you’re going to start feeling like [the countryside] is alien to you, that you don’t belong…”
Birdgirl | Mya-Rose Craig
In 2014 Mya-Rose was listed with singer-songwriter George Ezra and Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams as one of Bristol’s most influential young people. She was nominated in the Birdwatch Magazine Birder’s Choice Awards 2015 in the Blogger of the Year category and was the runner up after Mark Avery. She was nominated in the Bristol Young Heroes Awards 2016. In 2017 she won the Royal Bath and West Show Environmental Youth Award, and was the Minister of Diversity in Nature and Conservation in Chris Packham’s A Peoples Manifesto for Wildlife. In 2019, she was listed in Bristol’s BME Top 100 Powerlist, The Guardian’s 10 everyday heroes fighting to save the planet, was nominated in the Birdwatch Magazine Birder’s Choice Awards 2019 Conservation Hero of the Year with Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot. coming joint second after Greta Thunberg, was included in the Bristol Powerlist 2020, a list of the City’s 50 most powerful and influential people, and The Guardian’s Top 15 World’s Biodiversity Activists.
Update: In February 2020 Mya-Rose became the youngest person to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science D.Sc. h.c from Bristol University, one of the top universities in the UK, for her five years of campaigning for diversity in the environmental sector.