NYC Audubon to Change Name | NYC Audubon

American Kestrel. Photo: David Zieg / Audubon Photography Awards

NYC Audubon to Change Name to Better Reflect Its Values, Mission, and Work

After months-long deliberation and discussion, organization concluded that a new name would better fulfill its mission to engage all New Yorkers in a love of birds and in taking conservation action. 

NEW YORK, NY – The board of directors of New York City Audubon, a leading urban conservation organization, announced today that it will change its name as part of its continuing commitment to being an inclusive organization that is welcoming to all New Yorkers. The organization, which was founded by grassroots activists in 1979 and is now one of the largest independent local chapters in the Audubon network, wants to better reflect its values and mission of promoting bird conservation and habitat protection to New Yorkers and others of all backgrounds.

The organization undertook a deliberate and thoughtful assessment over eight months and considered how the Audubon name impacts its strategic goals, mission, and values. The nonprofit acknowledged that John James Audubon’s contributions to art and ornithology are significant and laid a foundation for an appreciation of nature and a conservation ethos in this country, but decided his views and actions toward Black people and Indigenous people were harmful and offensive. After communication with hundreds of its supporters, members, and partners, the organization found that the Audubon name created a barrier to entry for many into the organization and its work protecting urban biodiversity in New York City.

“We are an urban conservation organization and we need to reflect the diversity of the City and the values of the community, which we share. We feel this is the moment to do so,” said Karen Benfield, board president of NYC Audubon. “North American bird populations have dropped by nearly a third since 1970 and that is a crisis. To protect them we need wide support, as many voices as possible, and that is not served by having a name that is divisive and has such deeply negative connotations for so many, both within and outside of our organization.”

NYC Audubon has made …


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