Episode 59: Black Birders Week with Tykee James

Black Birders Tykee James

Tykee James

Citizens’ Climate Radio is a monthly podcast hosted by CCLer Peterson Toscano. Browse all our past episode recaps here, or listen to past episodes here, and check out the latest episode in the post below.

As the government affairs coordinator at the National Audubon Society in Washington, D.C., Tykee James has a special role—organizing bird walks with members of Congress and congressional staff. 

Birding has been important to Tykee ever since he started as a teen in Philadelphia. Last year, after a racist incident against a Black birder in New York’s Central Park, he and fellow birders decided to create Black Birders Week. They had only hours to organize the event, which included using social media to reveal a whole world of birding by people of color. During that week, the #BlackBirdersWeek campaign had more than 600 million impressions on social media sites. It also generated national press coverage.

Tykee joins us to talk about the incredibly successful campaign and the need to tell stories about Black experiences that go beyond narratives of trauma. He also shares his plans for this year’s Black Birders Week. 



The Art House

Citizens’ Climate Radio host, Peterson Toscano, shares some of his own climate story. In doing so, he evokes the spirit of American poet Walt Whitman. He reveals there was a lot more to the bard than just his famous book, Leaves of Grass. Whitman evolved from an aimless young man to a dynamic new poetic prophet to a tender and faithful caregiver to young men devastated by the American Civil War. 

Like the need to increase our empathy during this time of the coronavirus pandemic, Peterson stresses how climate change requires an opening of the heart. Whitman models this beautifully in the ways he cared for wounded and dying soldiers. 

Influenced by Gary Schmidgall’s book, “Walt Whitman: A Gay Life,” Peterson recreates the moment of Whitman’s first breakthrough. It happened at an evening in the Opera when he heard the Italian diva Madame Marietta Alboni. Her voice pierced Whitman and opened up his artistic soul. You will hear “Fac ut Portem” from Rossini’s Stabat Mater available on Archive.org as Peterson narrates the moment.

You can hear standalone version of The Art House at Artists and Climate Change.

Good News Story

Our Good News Story comes out of Portland, Oregon. Lane Shaffer is a 15-year-old high school student. He is one of several students seeking to change public transportation policy in the Portland area. 

In addition to working on this public transportation project, Lane is also one of the hosts of the “All In My Head” podcast. It is produced by a group of teens that are making a podcast for other youth, countering stereotypes around mental health in the teen BIPOC (Black, and Indigenous, People of Color) and LGBTQ+ communities. 

If you have good news to share, contact Peterson at .

Dig Deeper

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Citizens’ Climate Radio is a monthly podcast hosted by CCL volunteer Peterson Toscano.