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Inclusive Change: Removing ‘Audubon’

Our dedication to following an equitable, just, and antiracist path has been encumbered by a namesake steeped in racism and scientific fraud. We have initiated a process to remove that significant barrier to fulfilling our overall mission to advocate and organize for cities where (all) people and birds thrive.

Click Here for the Announcement

Click Here for Outside News Coverage

Click Here for Ways to Discuss the Change

Click Here for Membership Update on Name

Click Here for Statement on National Audubon Announcement

The Name-Change Process

We have been conducting a thoughtful and inclusive process to discuss with our community, present and future, the values that should be reflected in a new name and the mission for which it stands (see “Actions & Commitments” below for more). Our timeline has been:

  • July 2022: Board vote to drop Audubon as organizational namesake.
  • July 2022: Open membership feedback on Zoom.
  • September, 2022: Internal stakeholder focus groups.
  • October, 2022: External stakeholder feedback begins.
  • October, 2022: Online values/mission survey.
  • November, 2022: Assemble name selection committee.
  • November, 2022: Local & National outreach continues.
  • January, 2023: Selection Committee evaluates feedback.
  • February, 2023: Selection Committee tests name candidates.
  • February, 2023: Selection Committee recommends name finalists to SAS Directors.
  • March, 2023: Directors propose finalists to Board of Directors.
  • March, 2023: Board of Directors unanimously approve new name recommendation.
  • March, 2023: Name change process begins (legal, logo and web design, logistics).
  • March 2023: NAS announces it will retain Audubon as organizational namesake.
  • June, 2023: New name is presented to membership.

If you have any sincere feedback, please write. Please note that we have already decided to change our name and have one chosen and approved, and that we recognize the problematic nature of other eponymous names (eg., our city and state) but are working on ourselves, which we can control and for which we have the capacity. We also have heard every counter-argument and insult possible. If you have ideas about getting the word out about the important changes we are undertaking, we’d love to hear those.

Clicking the following link will generate a blank email addressed to us from your default account:

Actions & Commitments
  • We have received feedback from more than 1,000 people during our inclusive naming process. Those include 14 members of a Name Selection Committee, eight internal focus group sessions that included 50 participants (including 26 committee members, 9 staff, 9 board members, and 8 other volunteers), six external 1:1 focus group sessions, an internal online survey (639 respondents), an external online survey (50 respondents), and approximately 265 pieces of email/phone feedback. We also had an open Zoom meeting on July 26, 2022, days after the initial announcement, that had 147 attendees.
  • The Name Selection Committee considered 263 name suggestions from our community, the public, and committee members itself.
  • The organization is moving forward on a thoughtful and inclusive process following the Board of Directors’ adoption of a resolution on July 14, 2022, to remove “Audubon” from the organizational namesake.
  • The organization’s Board of Directors previously adopted a resolution on July 8, 2021, affirming support for the campaign to change eponymous names for birds (Bird Names for Birds) and calling on the National Audubon Society to initiate, no later than September 30, 2021, an inclusive and transparent re-examination of John James Audubon as our shared organizational namesake.
  • To help set the stage for the harder and messier work to come, the organization already has made some significant investments, including making equity one of three core themes in our Cities at the Center strategic plan, internal culture auditing, developed and implemented training for all of our community in inclusive leadership and antiracism practice, initiating more equitable and inclusive hiring practices, and hiring a Community Director to lead our antiracism practices, as well as initiating efforts to create and execute targeted and more inclusive programming.
Arguments for Change

The organization’s Equity & Justice Committee, an all-BIPOC body, compiled an FAQ on the most common objections to removing “Audubon” from the organizational namesake: Click Here for FAQ

Learn About the Reckoning & Its Impacts

Member of Outdoor Asian (photo by Glenn Nelson)