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Outdoors: Blackbird

Blackbird sits on a branch.

This is Black Birders Week, a national effort “ to support Black nature enthusiasts and increase the visibility of Black birders, who face unique challenges and risks when engaging in outdoor activities.”

When I heard "Black birders," the song "Blackbird" popped into my head, and in my mind, I was hearing the King’s Singers' rendition, which I first heard during an  Interlochen performance.

I confess, it was years before I realized that "Blackbird" was a Beatles song written by Paul McCartney.

But having “Blackbird” as an earworm during Black Birders Week is appropriate.

The guitar part was inspired by a piece by Bach, and though there are several other explanations for the lyrics, McCartney himself explains in the book "Many Years from Now" by Barry Miles that he "had in mind a Black woman, rather than a bird. Those were the days of the civil rights movement ... so this was really a song from me to a Black woman ... Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith; there is hope.”

Currently, throughout the environmental community, there is an effort to support, uplift and amplify people of color and make the STEM disciplines and careers in the natural resources more inclusive.

There is hope — in the world  of environmental stewardship, ALL are welcome — "You were only waiting for this moment to arise."

"Outdoors with Coggin Heeringa" can be heard every Wednesday on Classical IPR.