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Meet the Birder: Indigo Goodson

MAY 31, 2022

Artist Profile: Greg Kozatec

JUNE 7, 2021

Meet the Birder: Ryan Moritz

JUNE 25, 2021

Meet the Birder: Indigo Goodson

MAY 31, 2022

Indigo Goodson is a writer, educator, poet, and birder living in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in Hayward, California and has always loved the outdoors. She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Africana Studies from San Francisco State University and a Master of Arts in International Studies from Ohio University. Indigo’s an active member of various online birding communities, and you can follow her @IndigoIndaflow. She’s also a regular model for Bird Collective.

How did you get into birding?

My dear friend Angie gifted me a pair of binoculars and we headed to Prospect Park in late November 2020. As soon as I focused on a White-throated Sparrow, I was hooked!

What's a typical birding day for you like? 

A typical birding day for me would be heading to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (BBG) just when they usually open, so around 10am. BBG is a short walk from my apartment and I consider it an extension of my backyard. I feel the safest birding at BBG and I can completely get transfixed waiting for a bird to appear through some rustling in the plants. I can also grab a coffee on the grounds, refuel, and continue birding!

Tell us about your birding community--how did you find or create it? What do you love most about it? 

I have a few birding communities. I have a great community of Black birders that I found online through searching “Black Birders Week”. Folks like Corina Newsome, Sam DeJarnett, and others created a welcoming space for me in the online birding community. Additionally, I had the pleasure of birding with Sam in person with her Always Be Birdin’ NYC Tour! I also have my Brooklyn Bird Club community of birders that I was introduced to through my neighbor Tina. And of course, my friend Angie, whom I get to bird with when she comes up from Philadelphia but also we are constantly sharing birding stories, photos, and memes on the phone. There are so many birders that I learn from and feel supported by.

Tell us about how you’ve been participating in Black Birders Week this year.

I’ve been joining many of The Black AF in STEM Collective virtual events that they’ve hosted through their instagram account. I am also co-leading a bird walk with my neighbor Chaz at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this Friday, June 3, as part of Black Birders Week. I am excited about being in community with other Black birders!

What's next for you and birds?

I am a member of the For the Birds exhibition committee at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. I am really excited for that exhibition to open on June 11th!

How did you get into birding?

I’ve always had a general fascination with birds and wanted to answer questions like “How do they fly?” and “What are their feathers made of?” After getting into the University of Georgia and studying wildlife science at Warnell [the university’s school of forestry and natural resources], I had the opportunity to pick a focus course and naturally I chose ornithology. After gaining a good level of background knowledge I went on my first bird walk in 2018 and found out that I adored observing bird behavior—but also sparking a birding interest in others!

Can you tell us about how Black Birders Week started?

Black Birders Week was orchestrated by a group of young Black professionals who could sympathize with what happened to Black birder Christian Cooper in Central Park. While sharing our own stories of discrimination within our respective fields, we decided an event should take place that truly showcased the greatness that Black people have provided to the birding world. It was a week of activities that highlighted the authenticity of Black experiences in nature, and necessity for diversity in STEM [fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics].

What do you love most about your birding community? What would you like to see change, either in your own community or other aspect of birding?

I love the ability to discuss the wonders of birds with people of all ages, races, and creeds. Birds are an amazing way to bond with strangers and get others stoked about the outdoors, even if they don’t have an initial interest in wildlife. I would like to see more opportunities for birding clubs and minorities to interact with one another, whether in schools or community entities, like libraries and camps.

You lead a lot of bird walks for kids and youth. How do you think younger generations connect with nature and each other?

One thing I love about youth walks is the sheer fascination with EVERYTHING. They are just learning about the world around them, and I think it’s important to incorporate nature into that exploration. The outdoors can not only help children learn about themselves but also facilitate healthy coping mechanisms and an understanding of behavior and interactions as they are navigating their own ever-changing developments. 

What's next for you and birds?

My future hopes for birding and me involve reaching out to schools and community programs to provide structured learning through bird exploration. I would love to continue sharing the knowledge of the outdoors with youth and families so that they may continue to carry and teach future generations. 

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