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NYC Audubon Society reveals new name. See what it is!

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The NYC Audubon Society has rebranded to the NYC Bird Alliance, following concerns over the racist legacy of John James Audubon, the 19th Century naturalist and illustrator for whom the society was previously named. The decision to change the name was made in March 2023, with the organization opting to drop the Audubon name to better reflect their commitment to inclusivity and diversity. The NYC Bird Alliance joins other chapters across the country that have made similar name changes in recent years.

The NYC Bird Alliance remains dedicated to bird conservation despite the name change, emphasizing the importance of advocating for birds in the face of threats such as habitat loss, climate change, and collisions with buildings. The organization believes that the new name will invite more New Yorkers to join their efforts and enhance their impact on bird conservation in the city. The decision to rebrand reflects a commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive community of bird enthusiasts in New York City.

The move to drop the Audubon name was motivated by concerns over Audubon’s history as a slave owner and his racist views towards Black and Indigenous people. This decision was seen as a step in the right direction by board member and avid bird watcher Christian Cooper, who pointed out that maintaining the Audubon name could be a barrier to attracting a more diverse membership. The NYC Bird Alliance has made efforts to increase diversity within their organization, with the goal of achieving 50% representation of people of color on their board by 2025.

The National Audubon Society, the parent organization of the NYC Bird Alliance, has chosen to retain the Audubon name despite the rebranding of some of its local chapters. While acknowledging the racist legacy of John James Audubon, the national organization has decided to maintain the name, citing its historical significance and the positive impact the Audubon Society has had on bird conservation efforts over the years. The decision to keep the Audubon name reflects a balance between acknowledging the organization’s history and embracing the need for inclusivity and diversity in the birding community.

The rebranding of the NYC Audubon Society to the NYC Bird Alliance represents a significant shift in the organization’s identity and mission, signaling a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice in bird conservation. The decision to drop the Audubon name highlights the importance of recognizing and addressing problematic aspects of historical figures associated with conservation organizations. By changing their name, the NYC Bird Alliance aims to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for bird enthusiasts of all backgrounds in New York City.

Overall, the rebranding of the NYC Audubon Society to the NYC Bird Alliance reflects a broader movement within the conservation community towards greater inclusivity and diversity. By addressing the racist legacy of John James Audubon and taking steps to create a more diverse and welcoming organization, the NYC Bird Alliance is positioning itself as a leader in promoting equity and justice in the birding community. Through their commitment to bird conservation and social responsibility, the NYC Bird Alliance is setting an example for other organizations to follow in creating a more inclusive and equitable future for bird enthusiasts everywhere.

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