Portland Audubon isn’t alone in having these discussions. Already Seattle Audubon, Madison Audubon, Chicago Audubon, and the Audubon Naturalist Society have decided to drop the name. In addition, National Audubon Society has spent the last year undergoing a process to examine whether they will continue with the Audubon name. While National Audubon Society hasn’t made a final decision, their board is currently discussing whether National Audubon should embark on a name change. We strongly urge National Audubon Society’s board to do the right thing and move forward with a collaborative renaming process.
There are more than 450 Audubon chapters across the country, including Portland Audubon. National Audubon Society should remove the name Audubon as this would make a strong statement toward the network’s commitment to racial equity. It would allow the Audubon network to stay intact and help chapters move forward together with a unified voice. If National Audubon decides not to remove the Audubon name, Portland Audubon will begin its own collaborative name change process, which will include input from our members, partners, sister chapters around the state, and the larger community.
No matter what our name, our mission remains the same: to inspire people to love and protect birds, wildlife, and the natural environment upon which life depends. While a name change is never easy, we believe that it’s vital to our work if we want to make sure that Portland Audubon is a place of belonging for everyone and every community.