What prompted the Board’s course of to contemplate a reputation change?
The Nationwide Audubon Society was based in 1905 and named after John James Audubon, 50 years after his demise. Audubon was a naturalist and illustrator whose work was an vital contribution to the sector of ornithology within the mid-Nineteenth century. Whereas there could be little doubt of the influence of his life’s work and keenness for birds, he was additionally an enslaver, whose racism and dangerous attitudes towards Black and Indigenous folks at the moment are well-understood. At present, greater than 100 years later, we’re referred to as to re-examine John James Audubon’s legacy by means of a distinct lens.
Given his advanced legacy, the Board initiated a course of to contemplate whether or not the group ought to change its identify.
Why did the Board determine to maintain the identify?
Primarily based on the crucial threats to birds that Audubon should urgently deal with and the necessity to stay a non-partisan power for conservation, the Board decided that retaining the identify would allow NAS to direct key sources and focus in direction of enacting the group’s mission. The Board’s choice permits the group to focus its time, sources, 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 performed a radical analysis course of, which spanned greater than 12 months and included enter from greater than 2,300 folks 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 folks of shade and youthful folks. NAS additionally commissioned historic analysis that examined John James Audubon’s life, views, and the way they did—and didn’t—mirror his time.
Will this modification Audubon’s mission?
No. Our mission stays unchanged: defending birds and the locations they want, right this 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 increase additional our conservation attain to higher have interaction and serve folks and communities whose pursuits have traditionally not been meaningfully thought-about.
How will the group acknowledge John James Audubon’s legacy transferring ahead?
We’ll proceed selling an consciousness and understanding of the problematic legacy of John James Audubon, the person, and the inequalities which have been inherent within the conservation motion.
What else are you doing to increase 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 rules that may information its programmatic work, we introduced a brand new $25 million dedication to fund the enlargement of EDIB-specific work in each inside and conservation initiatives over the subsequent 5 years, together with:
- Scaling efforts to co-develop options with communities of shade hit hardest by the impacts of local weather change and biodiversity loss.
- Rising instructional applications that attain college students of shade by means of our campus neighborhood chapters centered on HBCU / MSI establishments.
- Investing in Conservation Motion Facilities that serve various, city communities by means of conservation, science, and neighborhood programming.
- Rising the range of NAS employees and Board of Administrators.
- Offering employees coaching to implement EDIB conservation rules in our work.
The Board has additionally dedicated to formalizing its EDIB values in its work, together with persevering with EDIB training and collaborating with the brand new Chief EDIB Officer on a Board committee.
We imagine that specializing in these efforts each inside and exterior will drive significant influence towards our dedication to fostering an equitable and inclusive future for all.
Will Audubon Chapters additionally preserve Audubon of their names?
The Audubon community consists of greater than 450 chapters and 160 Campus Chapters, that are a vital a part of what makes NAS a robust and impactful power for conservation. As impartial entities, some chapters have already introduced their intention to vary their identify, whereas others could elect to maintain Audubon of their identify. No matter their selections, we plan to work carefully with chapter leaders to maneuver ahead as one unified neighborhood.