Blackburnian Warbler. Photograph: Scott Suriano

What prompted the Board’s course of to think about a reputation change?   

The Nationwide Audubon Society was based in 1905 and named after John James Audubon, 50 years after his loss of life. Audubon was a naturalist and illustrator whose work was an vital contribution to the sector of ornithology within the mid-Nineteenth century. Whereas there might be little doubt of the affect of his life’s work and keenness for birds, he was additionally an enslaver, whose racism and dangerous attitudes towards Black and Indigenous individuals are actually well-understood. At the moment, greater than 100 years later, we’re known as to re-examine John James Audubon’s legacy by way of a unique lens.  

Given his advanced legacy, the Board initiated a course of to think about whether or not the group ought to change its identify. 

Why did the Board determine to maintain the identify? 

Based mostly on the crucial threats to birds that Audubon should urgently deal with and the necessity to stay a non-partisan drive for conservation, the Board decided that retaining the identify would allow NAS to direct key assets and focus in direction of enacting the group’s mission. The Board’s choice permits the group to focus its time, assets, and capability on the group’s new Strategic Plan and placing its fairness, variety, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) commitments into motion. 

What was the method for reaching this choice?  

The Board carried out an intensive analysis course of, which spanned greater than 12 months and included enter from greater than 2,300 individuals from throughout the NAS community and past—together with survey responses from greater than 1,700 NAS employees, members, volunteers, donors, chapters, campus chapter members, and companions, and greater than 600 exterior people throughout the nation with a give attention to reaching individuals of colour and youthful individuals. NAS additionally commissioned historic analysis that examined John James Audubon’s life, views, and the way they didand didn’treplicate his time.   

Will this alteration Audubon’s mission? 

No. Our mission stays unchanged: defending birds and the locations they want, at the moment and tomorrow. We will proceed its non-partisan dedication to habitat conservation and local weather motion, its agenda-setting coverage work, and its community-building efforts to advance its mission. 

We intend to develop additional our conservation attain to higher interact and serve individuals and communities whose pursuits have traditionally not been meaningfully thought-about.   

How will the group acknowledge John James Audubon’s legacy shifting ahead? 

We’ll proceed selling an consciousness and understanding of the problematic legacy of John James Audubon, the person, and the inequalities which were inherent within the conservation motion.  

What else are you doing to develop your fairness, variety, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) work as a corporation? 

Our new Strategic Plan has been developed with EDIB as a key driver. 

Along with EDIB conservation ideas that can information its programmatic work, we introduced a brand new $25 million dedication to fund the enlargement of EDIB-specific work in each inner and conservation initiatives over the subsequent 5 years, together with:   

  • Scaling efforts to co-develop options with communities of colour hit hardest by the impacts of local weather change and biodiversity loss.  
  • Rising instructional applications that attain college students of colour by way of our campus group chapters centered on HBCU / MSI establishments. 
  • Investing in Conservation Motion Facilities that serve numerous, city communities by way of conservation, science, and group programming.  
  • Rising the range of NAS employees and Board of Administrators. 
  • Offering employees coaching to implement EDIB conservation ideas in our work.   

The Board has additionally dedicated to formalizing its EDIB values in its work, together with persevering with EDIB schooling and collaborating with the brand new Chief EDIB Officer on a Board committee.     

We consider that specializing in these efforts each inner and exterior will drive significant affect towards our dedication to fostering an equitable and inclusive future for all.  

Will Audubon Chapters additionally hold Audubon of their names? 

The Audubon community consists of greater than 450 chapters and 160 Campus Chapters, that are a necessary a part of what makes NAS a robust and impactful drive for conservation. As unbiased entities, some chapters have already introduced their intention to alter their identify, whereas others might elect to maintain Audubon of their identify. No matter their choices, we plan to work carefully with chapter leaders to maneuver ahead as one unified group.