This previous yr, the Nationwide Audubon Society launched into a course of to reexamine the identify of our group, in gentle of the private historical past of the group’s namesake, John James Audubon.
Our group was named after John James Audubon, a naturalist and illustrator, greater than 50 years after his dying. His work was an vital contribution to the sphere of ornithology within the mid-Nineteenth century and there will be little doubt of the impression of his life’s work and fervour for birds. And but—he was additionally an enslaver whose racist views and therapy of Black and Indigenous folks have to be reckoned with. Learn extra about John James Audubon right here.
Early final yr, the Board of Administrators of the Nationwide Audubon Society started an analysis course of to find out whether or not our group ought to transfer ahead bearing his identify. This course of was thorough, spanning greater than a yr and involving intensive suggestions from stakeholders inside and outdoors the group.
This is a matter that elicits robust views. I personally heard from many voices throughout our community with differing opinions on the best path ahead, as did the Board, which was factored into their decision-making.
In March 2023, the Board of Administrators voted to retain the group’s present identify—the Nationwide Audubon Society. Learn extra in regards to the Board’s determination right here.
We’re at a pivotal second as a corporation and as a conservation motion extra broadly. The urgency of our local weather and biodiversity crises compels us to marshal our sources towards the areas of biggest impression for birds and folks. This implies centering fairness, range, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) values in our programmatic work, in addition to our inner operations, and implementing our new five-year Strategic Plan—core to which is our EDIB dedication. Whatever the identify we use, this group should and can tackle the inequalities and injustices which have traditionally existed inside the conservation motion.
I perceive folks could also be questioning how that’s attainable if Audubon stays in our identify. That could be a query the Board has grappled with, and finally, they determined that the group transcends one individual’s identify. “Audubon” has come to represent our mission and important achievements that this group has made in its lengthy historical past.
As we transfer ahead, we’ll mindfully craft a brand new future and strategically marshal sources to maximise impression. In doing so, it’s crucial to empower and useful resource work to completely notice our values of fairness, range, inclusion, and belonging. We now have subsequently introduced a brand new $25 million dedication to fund the growth of EDIB-specific work in each inner and conservation initiatives over the subsequent 5 years.
Our conservation work to guard birds additionally impacts folks and communities as nicely. We should be certain that our affect is felt in these communities who’ve traditionally been excluded by the conservation motion and people who are most affected by the threats of local weather change. Our dedication to increasing our funding for our EDIB work will allow the group to construct on its success co-developing options with communities of shade, as we did with the Little Calumet Marsh Restoration Undertaking, and develop instructional packages designed to succeed in college students of shade, as we did in our Native Vegetation program within the Delta area. We are going to increase our efforts to companion with Indigenous communities, like we have now with our Boreal Conservation program.
The Nationwide Audubon Society has taken many kinds all through its lengthy and storied historical past: from the founding ladies of the Audubon motion who rallied towards the fowl commerce, to activists who helped advocate for the creation of the Environmental Safety Company, to at present’s expansive and various community of greater than 450 native chapters and 160 campus chapters throughout the nation.
At the moment, Audubon is dedicated to uniting folks from all walks of life who share a love of birds and a dedication to defending their environments. As we transfer ahead, we’ll construct on the distinctive accomplishments in conservation that this group has made since its founding by bringing collectively communities throughout the Americas to guard birds and the locations they want.