We held our first ever
Bird-themed LGBTQ+ Pride Festival
Sunday, June 11th from 8AM - 1:30PM
Bird-themed LGBTQ+ Pride Festival
Sunday, June 11th from 8AM - 1:30PM
Thanks to a generous grant from the National Audubon Society, we offered for the first time (but not the last time!), a bird-themed LGBTQ+ Pride Festival on Sunday, June 11th.
This event included a bird-focused mindfulness space, guided bird walks with discussions about UCLA's LGBTQ+ history, and a panel discussion with queer leaders and researchers in ornithology, climate change, and accessible birding, who are involved in creating inclusive spaces in the outdoors, birding, and conservation.
The festival ended with a mixer featuring food, drinks, and tabling from local outdoors, conservation, and LGBTQ-serving nonprofits in the greater Los Angeles area, and a spectacular performance by the drag queen The Queen Fantasia Wood.
This event was open to members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies. Attendance was free, and tickets sold out quickly.
Raffle for the UCLA LGBTQ Campus Resource Center
We held a raffle with amazing prizes, which raised over $400 for the UCLA LGBTQ Campus Resource Center!
We teamed up with several community partners and organizations to put together some really exciting raffle prizes. All proceeds were made as a charitable donation to the UCLA LGBTQ Campus Resource Center.
Here are some of the amazing raffle items:
2 native plants from
Speakers & Guest Performers
MSc Student, San Francisco State University
Tropical Herpetologist, Birder, Artist and Science Communicator
Chelsea Connor is a herpetologist, artist and graduate student from the Commonwealth of Dominica in the Caribbean. She has worked on the diet overlap between the native and invasive species of anole on her home island as an undergrad and is excited to continue her work as a grad student looking at Caribbean biogeography and Lesser Antillean reptiles. Chelsea loves anoles and as a science communicator she has co-founded #BlackBirdersWeek with BlackAFinSTEM. Chelsea also spends time putting together and sharing information on different anoles with her hashtag #DidYouAnole? on Twitter.
John Rowden is the former Senior Director for Bird-friendly Communities at the National Audubon Society. During his tenure at Audubon, he also led the TogetherGreen program, which provided funding to individuals and organizations with the goal of including the diverse voices and approaches that are critical to co-creating lasting conservation solutions. He was a founding member of Audubon's Queer Affinity Group and served on its steering committee.
Christine Lin is a documentary filmmaker with a focus on oceans, birds, and Indigenous storytelling. A 2021 National Geographic Explorer and 2020 Jackson Wild Media Lab Fellow, she is currently based in San Diego producing stories about science and conservation at Day's Edge Productions. Before that, she led video projects as a senior producer at the National Audubon Society after graduating from New York University in 2017. She is a strong advocate for amplifying underrepresented voices both behind and in front of the camera - and returning to our understanding of nature as an inclusive space for queer and BIPOC communities. Christine grew up in Dallas where she first found her love for the outdoors by digging for fossils around Texas. You can find more information on Christine's current work at https://www.christineklin.com/about.
Postdoctoral Scholar, Wang Lab
University of California Berkeley
Bio: Jess McLaughlin (they/them) is a postdoc at UC Berkeley. Their research focuses on speciation and genomics, mainly in tropical birds. Jess is an advocate for inclusion and equity, especially for trans, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, and intersex (TGNCI) people in STEM, and they have written and spoken extensively on the topic. When they aren't researching or writing, they can be found playing Dungeons and Dragons, hanging out with their dogs and cornsnake, painting, or- of course- birding. You can find more information on Jess' current work at https://www.jfmclaughlin.org/.
PhD candidate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Benson and Hauber Labs
Bio: Sarah Winnicki is a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where they study the growth of baby birds, and the current chair of the Rainbow Lorikeets, the queer ornithology caucus within the American Ornithological Society and Out to Innovate. In their spare time, Sarah shares their love of cowbirds (the subject of their MSc at Kansas State University) with public audiences, advocates for disabled graduate students, and posts their amateur bird photography on Twitter (@skwinnicki). You can find more information on Sarah's current work at www.sarahwinnicki.com.
Dr. Allison Shultz
Assistant Curator, Ornithology
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Bio: Dr. Allison Shultz is Assistant Curator of the Ornithology Department at NHMLAC. With her research, she seeks to understand the evolution of bird diversity, focusing on two major areas: how birds are responding to human-caused environmental changes, and how and why bird colors evolve. In addition to her research, Dr. Shultz is passionate about increasing diversity, inclusion, access and equity in the sciences, and inspiring a love of nature in everyone. In addition to participating in NHMLAC education and outreach programs, some of her efforts to advance this work includes serving as a Council Member of the American Ornithological Society (AOS) and member of the Strategic Planning Committee, serving as a member of the AOS English Bird Names Committee, which is charged with recommending a process and plan for changing eponymous English bird names, founding the Underrepresented Genders in Museum Ornithology support network, and helping to create a year-long post-baccalaureate paid internship experience geared toward increasing diversity in science (NSF Award #2216721, Co-PI).
The Queen Fantasia Wood
The Queen Fantasia Wood is a San Antonio based Drag Performance Artist with a passion for dance and activism. In her 6 years of entertainment she has achieved numerous accolades, crowns, and trophies. She has been featured on both National and International news publications such as "Vice", and "The Globe and Mail" for her community efforts as well as produced several shows and full-length Drag focused musicals of which she wrote, choreographed, and directed. She seeks to change the world one performance at a time!
Catch the Queen Fantasia Wood's performance during the Lunch Mixer portion of the event!
Tabling Vendors & Partners
Artemisia Nursery is a retail nursery in Northeast Los Angeles specializing in California native plants. They will be bringing a selection of plants for sale that were selected because they support birds either through providing habitat, nesting material, or food resources. Find out more here.
Since 1969 the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed, and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. Today the Center provide services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services, and global advocacy. This includes one such program, the Trans* Lounge, an empowerment program for social connection and support, serving the TGI/ENBY+ (Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, Intersex, Non-Binary, Gender Expansive) communities. Stop by the table for both for these groups to get more information on the important services they provide!
The Association for Multi-Ethnic Bioscientists’ Advancement, AMEBA, is a graduate student group sponsored by Life Sciences (LS) and the Graduate Programs in Bioscience (GPB) at UCLA. Our goal is to create an equitable environment to promote the advancement and retention of graduate students and postdocs in the Sciences. We aim to provide our members with skills & experiences, we seek to build a community, and we work to promote diversity and inclusion in the sciences via academic development, professional development and outreach.
The San Fernando Valley Audubon was the first Audubon chapter in California and leads many conservation and education events focused on birds throughout the Los Angeles region. One of the goals of the San Fernando Valley Audubon is to, " foster opportunities for a diverse population to come together for the protection and celebration of avian life".
UCLA Donald R. Dickey and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
We are excited to announce that the UCLA Donald R. Dickey Collection and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County will table at this event. Both museum collections will have study skins on display during the mixer portion of the event where participants can learn more about how museum collections support bird conservation.
Where should I park?
There are many metered parking spots and parking structures within a five minute walk from the event venue. We also encourage our attendees who live nearby to walk, bike, or take public transport to the event! Please see the parking aid document (linked here) for additional details.
Can I bring my pet?
Pets are allowed at the UCLA Botanical Garden. However, we ask that you please only bring your pet if it is a service animal, since the presence of pets can scare birds and lessen the overall impact of our event.
Is the venue accessible for people within mobility-based impairments?
Are people who do not identify with the LGBTQ+ community welcome?
OF COURSE! Allies are an integral part of the team effort needed to make birding and the outdoors more accessible and inclusive. In other words, we need you!
Can I bring my children to this event?
Yes! This event is open to all ages. Please note that some mature themes may come up during the panel discussion but all information will be presented in a safe and respectful manner according to the Bruin Birding Club code of ethics (linked here).