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National Audubon Society wants to hear what you think about their dropping the Audubon name – [Survey]

October 19, 2022

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

Great Egret captures a lizard (Ray Juncosa 2-28-16)

To all readers:

National Audubon Society sent out the email letter below on Monday, 17 Oct 2022 at 21:21:27-0400. They want your reply within 9 days (7 days, now) by 26 October, which is Wednesday next week. Some of us have already taken the survey. While there are multiple questions, the issue of dropping “Audubon” from the name is the crux of the matter, and it doesn’t appear until near the end of the survey. There is space at several spots to express your opinion. The survey stays open if you need to step away for a few minutes. You can’t go backwards through the pages if you change your mind, and the last question, “Before you finish this survey, is there anything else you would like to share that we have not covered?” comes when you’ve hit 95% completed.

The board of Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society thinks that the entire membership of Audubon chapters and National Audubon Society should have the opportunity—whatever their views—to take this survey and express their opinion.

The following is the email from NAS.

Your Opinion Matters to Us

Dear Chapter Leaders, 

The National Audubon Society Board of Directors is seeking your input on the use of John James Audubon as our organization’s namesake. The strength of our organization comes from our vast network and from many individuals who share in the love of birds through chapter activities and programs. We deeply value your thoughts on this topic and ask you to take some time to complete the survey below.  

This survey will be open through October 26. Click here to begin, and let your voice be heard.

We are asking for your individual views and opinions, and not necessarily for a collective recommendation on behalf of your entire chapter. Feel free to complete the survey sharing your personal opinions and thoughts. We invite you to share the link with others on your chapter board to ensure maximum participation from your chapter.

Lastly, please note the survey contains a number of basic screening questions to assess respondents’ connection to the Audubon network or to environmental work in general. Since the survey is going to both internal and external audiences, these questions help us establish a baseline across many audiences when venturing to understand differing views and opinions on the topic.

Why are we doing this?
We understand that there are varying opinions regarding the actions of historical figures and that many feel passionately about their views. Before coming to any conclusion about the use of John James Audubon as our namesake, we are committed to listening to the input from our community, including chapter leaders such as yourself, as well as members, volunteers, donors, partners, and staff.

For brief overview of who John James Audubon was please read Audubon publications: “What do we do about John James Audubon” by Dr. Drew Lanham and “The Myth of John James Audubon” by Dr. Gregory Nobles.

What will be done with my response? 
The entirety of the audience engagement effort is being performed by our consultant�sparks & honey�so that we ca can ensure anonymity of individual respondents and to mitigate bias in the process. The insights gained from the surveys, interviews, and listening sessions will be synthesized by sparks & honey and presented to a Board Task Force in the coming months.  

Who should I contact to share my opinions? 
We understand that many have strong feelings around this topic and we encourage you to use the survey as the outlet for your perspectives to help inform the Board Task Force’s review.  

Please do not reach out to Chapter Services to provide your input. Opinions shared through the survey go directly to our consultant, to help retain anonymity and ensure ease of compiling feedback. We are unable to record and tabulate opinions not submitted through the survey at this time.   

When will a decision be made?
With the amount of input that is being collected, the current plan is for sparks & honey to synthesize the audience engagement data and present it to the Board Task Force in December after which the task force will deliberate, culminating in a recommendation to the Full Board in February 2023.

What does this mean for my chapter?
We recognize the power of a network unified in name and we recognize the power of a chapter’s self-definition. As independently incorporated entities, each chapter has the autonomy and authority to make decisions in respect to their naming as best serves their needs. 

Some chapters name their organizations after prominent geological features, others after conservationists. Some have never had the name Audubon in their organization’s name at all. Still other chapters are eschewing the word “society” as it can be seen as exclusionary and superfluous. We welcome all of your organizations in our network, regardless of name.

Take the Survey

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