Snow Bunting (photo by Glenn Nelson)
To our chapter members:
This morning, the National Audubon Society (NAS) announced that it would retain the Audubon namesake. It does not dispute that the success of John James Audubon’s Birds of America hinged on scientific fraud, plagiarism, and the forced labor of enslaved people.
I believe those facts should preclude further elevation of such a figure at the forefront of our conservation movement. “Audubon” may be just a word to those privileged enough to have been shielded from the legacy of racism that it upholds. However, that term and its history create real barriers to inclusion in the present day. While I am stunned and saddened by this decision from NAS, its announcement does not in any way diminish our own commitment to antiracism or our excitement for our chapter’s future.
On Saturday, our board of directors reviewed the results of the community feedback process around our name change. We heard from more than 1,000 people. I am truly grateful to everyone who weighed in. Your feedback informed the work of our name selection committee — comprised of staff, board, volunteers, and community members — which evaluated more than 250 name suggestions. The resulting recommendation was approved unanimously by our board.
Our mission will remain the same — to advocate and organize for cities where people and birds thrive. You can continue to rely on our chapter to be a voice for local birds and the issues that matter to our shared habitats. We will succeed only if everyone is included and valued.
In the coming weeks we will be working with creative professionals to bring our new name to life. I could not be more excited to share the name with you. We are planning a member launch event in mid-June to reveal the results of this community-wide effort. Thank you for your patience and your ongoing support as we work through all the necessary legal and logistical hurdles.
Today seems like a perfect day to get outside and appreciate birds and nature.
Our formal statement is also available here on our website.
A Midwest transplant to the Pacific Northwest, Claire (she/her) owes her love of nature and birding to a fairly idyllic childhood spent wandering the southeastern shores of Lake Michigan. Though she holds an undergraduate degree in linguistics, Claire also studied conservation biology, has conducted fieldwork abroad, and is a self-professed “bird nerd.” After she completed a master’s degree in nonprofit management, landing at Seattle Audubon in 2014 was a dream come true. When she’s not birding, Claire spends her spare time singing, knitting, and wishing she was birding.