LONDON      -      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, set up Black2Nature to help engage more children from minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) in conservation. Bristol University said she would become the youngest Briton to receive an honorary doctorate.

Professor Rich Pancost 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, which she started when she was 14, includes designing grassroots projects for teenagers 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 who also nominated Mya-Rose, said he felt “proud” to see her 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.

Through Black2Nature, Mya-Rose runs camps for young BAME people to help them develop an interest in nature.