Painting by John James Audubon (Public Domain).
We are shocked, confused, and deeply disappointed by today’s announcement from the National Audubon Society (NAS) that their organizational namesake will continue to elevate an enslaver who committed scientific fraud and plagiarism, and desecrated Indigenous burial sites in service to racist pseudoscience. The celebration of such a figure undermines all NAS efforts at being an inclusive organization and inflicts harm. The name is a barrier imposed upon historically excluded communities that suffer the impacts of environmental calamities first and disproportionately. Further, the decision dismisses the concerns of their union staff, who issued a strong rebuke of the Audubon name and called on NAS to follow suit, and will undermine the efficacy of the conservation movement.
We choose differently. We choose the antiracist path.
In July of 2022, we announced our decision to change our chapter’s own name. Since that time, the movement is only growing. Chapters in Washington, D.C.; Madison, Wisconsin; Chicago, Illinois; and Portland, Oregon, all have declared their intent to remove the Audubon name.
Over the last eight months, we have heard from more than 1,000 internal and external community members. Our Name Selection Committee considered more than 250 suggestions and presented a recommendation to our board of directors, who approved it unanimously this past weekend. We look forward to revealing our new identity to our members and the public before the start of our next fiscal year in July.
Birds inspire and inform conservation in a unique and powerful way. Our name should not be a barrier to our mission to advocate and organize for cities where people and birds thrive.
For more background on the “Audubon” name issue and more ways to become involved, visit:
For our Executive Director’s Letter to Members visit:
For media inquiries:
Glenn Nelson, Community Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: An earlier version of this statement underestimated the number of people who provided feedback.