Home / Blogs / The Newest Chapter of The Feminist Bird Club is in Richmond, Virginia!
February 25, 2022
The following blog is written by Dylan Slusarz, a co-founder of the Richmond, Virginia chapter of The Feminist Bird Club, whose mission is to make birding and the outdoors inclusive and affirming to people who may not have safe access to it, and leverage people’s passion for the environment and social justice to help create lasting social change.
The Feminist Bird Club (FBC) came into existence, founded by Molly Adams in 2016, to create an intentionally accessible, safe, space for birders to come together over our love of birds and liberatory politics. Since then, Feminist Bird Club chapters have popped up all over North America (and even the Netherlands), bringing together people with a vested interest in their communities, and the birds that live there with them.
My name is Dylan Slusarz, I’ve lived in Richmond, Virginia, (previously Powhatan land) now for six years. I’m a white, nonbinary person who has been involved in political struggle coming up on 10 years now, an intermediate-level birder, and an aspiring ecologist. I’ve had a long fascination with birds since childhood, but only as of 2018 did I find myself beginning to bird-watch after taking an Applied Avian Ecology course at Virginia Commonwealth University, and visiting Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. After finding Feminist Bird Club on Instagram in the Spring of 2020 as I began a dive further into the wonderful world of our feathered, flying friends (due to the pandemic leaving me unemployed). I had found an organization that was centered around anti-oppressive behaviors, and a love of birds. I was instantly enthralled! A space for people who love birds and are passionate about social/environmental justice? How wonderful! Since finding out about the organization I’ve been interested in starting a local chapter here in Richmond, Virginia. There are so many people in Richmond who are involved in local, community level social justice struggles who yearn for an outlet into the more “natural” parts of our landscape! But, unfortunately, due to the pandemic, my ability to find other birders in the area to help start such a space lacked. Chloe and I met through a local bike-riding club’s Instagram post about a birding bike ride event they were hosting, that Chloe was leading. We soon met and found we both had a desire to start a Feminist Bird Club chapter in Richmond, so here we are!
A personal goal for this chapter, to me, is to create a safe, accessible space for people in Richmond to appreciate the wonder of birds, while also centering shared political beliefs around intersectional feminism, anti-racism, anti-capitalism, all for the liberation of all people’s everywhere, and justice for all. Living in this particular historical moment, I believe it is important when creating these spaces that all have safe room outdoors, free of discrimination, violence, and class antagonism. For now, it is just Chloe and me, but hopefully, as we begin to have more events that we can bring in more community members into this space where people can learn new things about the landscape around us, the birds that live here, and make new bonds/friendships with others!
The first Feminist Bird Club event was at Byrd Park at Fountain Lake in Richmond, Virginia.
We had our most recent event Friday, February 18th at the Fonticello Food Forest in the Swansboro neighborhood in Southside Richmond. Chloe and I ran a collaborative bird count with about 15 others for the Great Backyard Bird Count, and the event went beautifully! We’re very excited to plan and host more events coming soon as Spring migration draws nearer! You can find us on Instagram (@fbc.rva) or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get in contact with us if you’d like to join our group, or are interested in attending our events!
The second event was held on Feb.18th at the Fonticello Food Forest in the Swansboro neighborhood in Southside, Richmond.
We hope that Dylan’s blog will inspire you to get outside, make connections, and not be afraid to try something new- you’ll never know who else you’ll meet along the way. Learn about upcoming Feminist Bird Club events in Richmond, Virginia by following them on Instagram or sign up for email updates here! Find Alliance-run volunteer events here as well as other events throughout the watershed here.
Building Stewardship Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Staff Blog