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Black Birders Week 2023: Black Excellence in Birding

May 27 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Join the Academy of Natural Sciences for our second annual black-tie Black Birders Week event: Black Excellence in Birding.

Join the Academy of Natural Sciences for our second annual black-tie Black Birders Week event: Black Excellence in Birding. Meet some of the country’s most well-known Black birders, go behind the scenes of the Academy to interact with world-class ornithology collections, join the panel discussion on Black Women in Birding, and meet local poets and artists as they share their expressions throughout the night. Tweet an invite to a fellow bird lover, fluff up your plumage for a feathery date night or simply sip cocktails and savor delicious appetizers as you enjoy good conversation with fellow Black birders.

Black Birders Week is a weeklong series of events to highlight Black nature enthusiasts and to increase the visibility of Black birders, who face unique challenges and dangers when engaging in outdoor activities. The event was created as a response to the Central Park birdwatching incident and police brutality against Black Americans. The inaugural event ran from May 31 to June 5, 2020. The week of events was organized by a group of STEM professionals and students known as the BlackAFinSTEM Collective.

Meet, Greet and Learn

5:00 pm- 7:00 pm

Stroll the red carpet to Dinosaur Hall, where you’ll find delicious refreshments, cocktails and everything you need to know about the Black Excellence in Birding event. Listen to smooth jazz while you take photos under the T.rex and cozy up to all sorts of avian ancestors.

Birding With Women In Natural Sciences (WINS)

Meet the incredible participants of the Academy’s Women In Natural Sciences (WINS) program. Learn about their experiences birding in the field. Check out and touch awesome bird specimens from our teaching collection.

Artists- throughout the Museum

Engage with two local artists as they create original artwork inspired by birds in Academy dioramas

  • Jerry Puryear- Resident teaching artist and mentor with the Fine Art Through Our Eyes program under the Mill Creek Community Partnership. Jerry’s focus is on telling the personal narrative with an emphasis on healing through expression.
  • Erika Acevedo – Mixed media artist from Philadelphia, who strives to promote healing within creation. Applied inward it’s healing for self, applied outward it allows healing for others. Instructing mental health through art therapy, live painting within community.

Poets- throughout the Museum

Improv and spoken word poets will be performing throughout the night, interacting with guests as they mingle and explore the museum.

  • Steph Ox- Philly writer, author and poet, best-selling children’s book author
  • Biannca Davies- local poet and performer

Ethical Bird Photography with Anwar Abdul-Qawi, wildlife photographer

Ethical wildlife photography is the practice of being attuned to your surroundings and respecting plants, animals and people while photographing in nature. This presentation will cover ethical techniques in wildlife photography, such as animal calls, baiting, flashing, perches and other methods for getting the perfect images while respecting natural habitats. Using real-world examples, we will review proper etiquette for exploring parks, neighborhoods and public areas. The purpose of this presentation isn’t about who is right or wrong – we will engage in thoughtful discourse, exploring various methods used worldwide to make compelling images and limit our footprint on the environment along the way.

Ornithology Collection Tours 5:30, 6:00, 6:30 pm

Go behind the scenes for incredible, one-of-a-kind views of the Academy’s world-renowned Ornithology Collection. Meet Academy scientists and learn how the specimens in the Academy’s collection contribute to scientific research and discovery.

Conversations with Birds- Special Exhibit Gallery

Birds are all around us. As they glide through the sky and alight on tree branches, telephone lines and roof eaves, they provide a momentary sense of delight — an accessible way of connecting with the natural world, even in urban Philadelphia.

Discover the fascinating lives of local bird populations and the astounding migrators that fly through the region. Glimpse nest-cam footage of a peregrine falcon and enjoy stunning avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers. Explore unique bird architecture and flight through hands-on activities. Investigate real-time migration data gathered from BirdCast, Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s forecast radar, and other innovative bird-tracking technology. Learn about the challenges birds face in urban environments and how you can help protect them by creating bird-friendly habitats or advocating for bird-safe changes in your neighborhood. Observe specimen preparation by Academy bird scientists and learn more about the institution’s Ornithology Collection and its ongoing biodiversity and evolution research.

Illuminating Birds- Deitrich Gallery

The exhibition focuses on drawing, writing, and close observation as ways of knowing birds.

Panel discussion: “Excellent Black Women In Birding”

7:00- 8:00 pm

Hear real-life experiences of birding while Black in the Philadelphia region during this important panel discussion. Discover the stories of local Black birders and ask questions.

Opening Remarks: Maurice Baynard, Vice President, Community Learning and President’s Strategic Initiatives, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University


  • Brianna Amingwa
  • Katrina Clark


WINS student from The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Tertulia (mingle and chat post-panel)

8-9 p.m.

Photo ops and jazz music.


Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103 United States