Wildlife Conservationist Lands Dream Job
It has been a whirlwind year for graduate student Corina Newsome who was featured in Georgia Southern Magazine a year ago. Since then the wildlife conservationist has landed a new job, generated nationwide publicity as a co-organizer of Black Birders Week; all while working on her Master of Science degree in biology in the College of Science and Mathematics. Black Birders Week was in response to a video that went viral when it showed a white woman calling the police on Christian Cooper, an avid Black birdwatcher in New York City’s Central Park.
“For far too long, Black people in the United States have been shown that outdoor exploration activities, such as birding, are not for us,” Newsome stated in a video posted on social media to announce the initiative’s kickoff. “Well, we’ve decided to change that narrative. A group of Black birders, explorers and scientists got together to start the first-ever Black Birders Week.”
The birders said they wanted to show the next generation of young, Black birders and nature enthusiasts that they are welcome and that the space belongs to them as well. Newsome quickly became one of the recognizable faces of the weeklong event and she was featured in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, National Geographic and NPR, among other media outlets. Over the summer, she was hired as the community engagement manager for Georgia Audubon.
“This job is a dream come true for me because I get to put my passion for equity in conservation to work on a larger scale than ever, serving people and birds across the state of Georgia,” said Newsome. “Balancing this new position with finishing my master’s degree takes a lot of focus and close management of my schedule, but I am well supported by my incredible Georgia Southern advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Hunter, and my supervisor, Dottie Head. This year has been one full of some of the most daunting challenges of my life, combined with the most mind-blowing blessings and opportunities to serve the world the way I believe God has called me to. I am extremely grateful.”
In her role as the community engagement manager, Newsome is helping to cultivate strategies and programs that engage diverse communities across Georgia in the enjoyment and conservation of birds.