Dear Washtenaw Bird & Nature Alliance, members and friends,

Good News! After a thoughtful period of consulting with community members, the Washtenaw Audubon Society (WAS) Board and members of WAS, our new name is now officially Washtenaw Bird & Nature Alliance. We are delighted to announce our new name to everyone in the birding and conservation community, and the region at large! This change represents a pivotal moment as Washtenaw Bird & Nature Alliance seeks to be more inclusive in all ways, especially to the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community.

To bring forth our new name, WAS members first voted in October 2023 to drop the name Audubon from our organization, a bold step towards creating a welcoming environment for all members of the community, regardless of their background or ethnicity. Next, we solicited member and community input about a new name through a poll. The majority of respondents chose Washtenaw as part of the name, and the next most frequent suggestions included Bird Alliance. Many of our sister organizations throughout the country and close to home have changed their names to include Alliance instead of Audubon. Detroit Bird Alliance is the closest example of this trend.  Chicago Bird Alliance, Golden Gate Bird Alliance, and Southern Wisconsin Bird Alliance also share our new name. It is a growing trend across the country, which gives us the kind of name recognition we aspired to when we voted to drop Audubon from our name, and began to look for a new name. The third step involved forming a committee of community members, WAS members and WAS board members to generate some potential names and rationales.  Next, our Board voted to bring Washtenaw Bird & Nature Alliance to the membership for an in-person ratification vote, as required by our Constitution for this type of change. We added Nature to our name to augment our focus to not only birds, but also to the nature we all depend upon, which is intrinsically linked with birds and birding. Indeed, our organization’s purpose has always been:

“To promote the conservation of wildlife and natural beauty in all possible ways, with a particular focus on birds; to cooperate with other organizations whose aims correspond to those of this corporation; to develop and maintain a conservation program for the youth and adults of the community.” On March 20th, our members ratified our new name, 68 to 2 — Washtenaw Bird & Nature Alliance! It was great to see everyone and to celebrate together.

Thank you to our entire community for their support and creativity during this process.  Our commitment to the birding community remains as steadfast as ever. Come enjoy our bird walks, nature walks, field trips and programs.  Our community needs your participation, creativity, and love of nature and birds, to thrive!

Juliet Berger, President

Washtenaw Bird & Nature Alliance