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Teen, 17, awarded honorary doctorate for campaigning to make nature more accessible for minorities


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Twitter’s BirdGirlUK is awarded an honorary doctorate aged just 17 for campaigning to make nature and the environment more accessible to people from ethnic minority backgrounds

  • Mya-Rose Craig, 17, from Somerset has been studying birds for almost whole life 
  • She will receive the Doctor of Science degree in February from Bristol University
  • The teenager is believed to be the youngest person to be given such an award 

A teenage birdwatcher who campaigns for greater diversity in conservation and the environmental sector is to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bristol.

Mya-Rose Craig, 17, from Compton Martin in Somerset, will receive the Doctor of Science degree in February – three months before she sits her A-level exams.

She is believed to be the youngest person to be given such an award, with education campaigner Malala Yousafzai previously receiving a Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh aged 16 in 2013.

Mya-Rose has been studying birds for almost all of her life and is the youngest person to have seen half of the world’s bird species.

Mya-Rose Craig, 17, from Compton Martin in Somerset, will receive the Doctor of Science degree in February (pictured with Sir David Attenborough)

The student, known as BirdGirlUK on Twitter, began running nature camps for visible minority ethnic teenagers when she was just 13

 The student, known as BirdGirlUK on Twitter, began running nature camps for visible minority ethnic teenagers when she was just 13

She has been studying birds for almost all of her life and is the youngest person to have seen half of the world's bird species.

She has been studying birds for almost all of her life and is the youngest person to have seen half of the world’s bird species.

The student, known as BirdGirlUK on Twitter, began running nature camps for visible minority ethnic teenagers when she was just 13.

She has given more than 50 talks, organised two conferences and written several articles in her fight for equal access to the natural environment for such communities.

Previously, she has been pictured with Sir David Attenborough and Bill Oddie. 

Mya-Rose was nominated for the honorary degree by Dr Rich Pancost, head of earth sciences at the University of Bristol.

Dr Pancost said: ‘Although only 17, Mya-Rose has already created a phenomenal amount of positive change for nature and is a fantastic role model for her peers.

‘In addition to being a world-leading ornithologist, she has delivered over 50 inspirational talks and is a passionate advocate for the need to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in both the conservation sector and the climate change movement.

‘We are proud of her links to Bristol and delighted to present her with an honorary degree next month.’

Mya-Rose Craig with naturalist Chris Packham. She was nominated for the honorary degree by Dr Rich Pancost, head of earth sciences at the University of Bristol

Mya-Rose Craig with naturalist Chris Packham. She was nominated for the honorary degree by Dr Rich Pancost, head of earth sciences at the University of Bristol

Mya-Rose Craig with comedian and conservationist Bill Oddie. She has given more than 50 talks, organised two conferences and written several articles in her fight for equal access to the natural environment for such communities

Mya-Rose Craig with comedian and conservationist Bill Oddie. She has given more than 50 talks, organised two conferences and written several articles in her fight for equal access to the natural environment for such communities

In his nomination, Dr Pancost described how Mya-Rose ‘epitomises courage’ in her challenge of the conservation and environmental sectors to tackle diversity.

He said her enthusiasm on Twitter had inspired so many to take an interest in wildlife and ‘enjoy the beauty of nature while protecting its fragility’.

Both Dr Pancost and Mya-Rose will make speeches when she is presented with her honorary degree on February 20.

The teenager is currently studying English literature, Spanish and media studies at A-level and will sit her exams in May.

She plans to take a gap year before going to university to study politics and international relations.

Dr Pancost said: 'Although only 17, Mya-Rose has already created a phenomenal amount of positive change for nature and is a fantastic role model for her peers'

Dr Pancost said: ‘Although only 17, Mya-Rose has already created a phenomenal amount of positive change for nature and is a fantastic role model for her peers’

‘I felt so emotional hearing that I had been nominated with such famous people and realising that my message must be getting through,’ Mya-Rose said.

‘It feels strange that I will receive an honorary doctorate of science before I have taken my A-levels.’

In 2016, Mya-Rose organised a conference entitled Race Equality in Nature, which was attended by 90 people.

She is now planning another conference, focusing on how to make wildlife films relevant to VME communities. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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