Bristol

Mya-Rose Craig: Twitter's BirdGirlUK to receive honorary doctorate

Birdgirl watching birds Image copyright Mya-Rose
Image caption Mya-Rose (pictured) started bird-watching at the age of three.

A teenage bird-watcher from Bristol is to receive an honorary doctorate for her work in science and nature.

Mya-Rose Craig, known as BirdGirlUK on Twitter, has been praised for making the nature sector more diverse.

The 17-year-old will get a Doctorate of Science from University of Bristol on 20 February, and will be one of the UK's youngest recipients of the honour.

She said: "When people don't understand they don't care, I want to help those understand."

Some of Mya-Rose's work includes designing grassroots projects for children from BAME communities to help them learn about conservation.

'All I knew'

She said while growing up her love for nature was supported by her parents and she took inspiration from her older sister, who has a keen interest in bird-watching.

"I was automatically given the opportunity to engage with nature because that's all I knew, so I have a duty to use my knowledge to engage children who may not have that same opportunity," she said.

She created her first nature conference, attended by naturalists including Bill Oddie, at the age of 13.

Mya-Rose has more than 11k followers on Twitter and announced the news of the award there first.

Her big online presence means she is often criticised by people who disagree with her work.

She said: "It actually started when I filmed a documentary at the age of seven and when it came out, a lot of people had negative things to say.

"It took me a long time to figure out a balance between responding to negative comments and knowing when to ignore but I have developed thick skin."

Image caption Mya-Rose was featured in BBC Four's 'Twitchers: A Very British Obsession' documentary in 2009

When asked what's next for BirdgirlUK, she said school was a priority, with her A-level exams approaching in the summer, but she wanted to continue her work with BAME communities.

"I am in a very gratifying period in my life, to be listened to and to be a source for change," she said.

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