/ Modified may 29, 2024 1:52 p.m.

Tucson Audubon Society, to drop "Audubon" from its name

The change is part of a growing trend across the country, while the national environmental group remains firm.

Hummingbird desert lavender hero A hummingbird sits on a Desert Lavender branch.
Nate Huffman

The popular birding group, Tucson Audubon Society, is the latest in a series of local chapters that has dropped or will drop its namesake.

John James Audubon - who was born in 1785 in what is now Haiti and died in New York City in 1851- became famous for his brilliant illustrations of colorful birds.

The self-trained artist and naturalist inspired millions of people to increase their appreciation of the avian world, but Audubon also owned, bought and sold enslaved people during his life.

In recent years, different groups have been struggling to decide whether to continue using his name.

After contemplation, controversy and difficult conversations, some have parted ways with Audubon and decided to take on new titles.

They include Birds Connect Seattle, Chicago Bird Alliance, and Bird Alliance of Oregon which is based in Portland.

And while the National Audubon Society is keeping the name but promising to increase equity, diversity and inclusion, Tucson Audubon says it's also moving on from the historical moniker.

According to a news release, its board of directors voted on 6 May 2024 to drop "Audubon" from the name.

The release also states that "we will embark on a collaborative process to select a name that encapsulates who we are and what we do, while being inclusive and welcoming to all."

The group plans to reveal the new name at the beginning of 2025.

While Tucson Audubon is a chapter of the National Audubon Society, the local group is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with its own board of directors and leadership.

Its mission is to "inspire people to enjoy and protect birds through recreation, education, conservation, and restoration of the environment upon which we all depend."

Desert, Harris's Hawk hero A Harris's Hawk perches on a saguaro cactus in Ironwood Forest National Monument, with Ragged Top Peak in the distance.
AC Swedbergh / AZPM

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