Portland Audubon Changes Name to Bird Alliance of Oregon!


Portland Audubon Changes Name to Bird Alliance of Oregon!

Written by Ali Berman, Bird Alliance of Oregon

A year ago, Portland Audubon announced their decision to drop the name Audubon and find a new name that better reflects their mission and values, one that would make the organization a more welcoming place for all people. After listening to feedback from our members, volunteers, and the broader community, they are excited to debut their new name: Bird Alliance of Oregon.

  • Bird: They were founded in 1902 to protect birds, and that remains at the heart of their work. By calling out birds, they get to quickly and effectively share who they are and why they’re here.

  • Alliance: They’re strong because of their collaborative relationships with partners, members, volunteers, activists, birders, donors, and learners. It’s only through these connections that they can protect wildlife and wild places.
  • Oregon: Their advocacy and education efforts have always been statewide, from the coast to the high desert and sometimes even following ecosystems across state borders. Now their name reflects the fuller geographic scope of their work.

  • Together for Nature: Their tagline is meant to go side by side with their name to show that while birds are central to their mission, they are also more than birds. They fight for all wildlife, habitats, and for people.

The new name not only moves away from the name Audubon, and John James Audubon’s complicated history as a slaveholder and person who stole human remains from the graves of Native Americans. It also goes back to the organization’s roots, returning to the name Oregon. Many people are surprised to hear that for the first 66 years of their history, the organization was called Oregon Audubon Society. That’s because they were founded to protect birds and habitat across the state, starting with their work to establish Malheur, Klamath, and Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuges. In 1968 National Audubon said that if they wanted to be affiliated with the larger Audubon network, they needed to change their name to reflect a smaller geographic area. And so, reluctantly, they changed their name and became the Audubon Society of Portland. Despite that name reflecting only a small percentage of the state, our work remained statewide. Including in Harney County. 

In 2018, as a commitment to successful ongoing implementation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan a full-time employee was hired to live and work in Harney County. Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Eastern Oregon Biologist, Dr Teresa ‘Bird’ Wicks, has been doing critical bird conservation work in the region for over 5 years now. From outreach and education to bird monitoring and collaborative policy work, the core tenants of the work remain strong and in good hands. 

Folks may also have noticed that Bird Alliance of Oregon isn’t the only new Bird Alliance. Multiple former Audubons have now adopted Bird Alliance as a part of their name, including Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, and Madison. However, no matter how other Audubons and former Audubons choose to rename themselves, Bird Alliance of Oregon continues to be proud to be a part of a network of 450 organizations that work to protect birds and habitat.


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