A teenage environmentalist set to be awarded an honorary doctorate has said it feels “unreal” to receive such recognition at the age of just 17.
Mya-Rose Craig, also known as Birdgirl, has been fighting for equal access to the natural environment since 2015. Bristol University said she would become the youngest Briton to receive an honorary doctorate, reports BBC.
Professor Rich Pancost, who nominated Mya-Rose, said she had made “a real difference in the world.”
Bristol artist Luke Jerram is also set to receive an honorary doctorate at the ceremony later.
Mya-Rose’s work includes designing grassroots projects for children from BAME communities to help them learn about conservation.
She said thinking about receiving the award “still feels unreal”.
“Everyone has been really excited for me, but I must admit at first when I got the email I thought it wasn’t real and I wasn’t sure what a doctorate was,” Mya-Rose said.
“I want to thank the university and everyone that has supported me.”
Her mother Helena Craig said it was “astonishing” her daughter was to become the youngest person in the country to receive an honorary doctorate.
She added: “Mya speaking out about race and diversity in the environmental movement has attracted certain people and negativity.
“It’s been difficult, so it’s good that she is now getting that recognition.”
Prof Pancost, ex-director of the Bristol Cabot Institute, said he felt “proud” to see Mya-Rose receive the doctorate as she had created a “phenomenal amount of positive change” for nature.
“She is a champion for diversity and equity in the environmental and conservation sector, challenging institutions but also creating and driving transformative projects like Black2Nature,” he said.
Black2Nature was set up in 2016 by Mya-Rose to help engage more BAME people in nature conservation.
TV presenters and nature enthusiasts Bill Oddie and Chris Packham will be among those attending an after-party at Triodos Bank, in Bristol, to celebrate the teenager’s achievements.