Big news in local birding: the New Hope Audubon Society, which champions wetlands and conservation funding and Lights Out at Night, is asking its members to approve a name change to the New Hope Bird Alliance at their May 2, 2024 annual membership meeting.

This is the possible new logo and tagline that New Hope is proposing.

The organization writes, “We believe that our organization should have a name that better focuses on our stated mission of promoting the conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their ecosystems, while also acknowledging the alliances that we need to achieve that mission. At the same time, we wish to remove the Audubon part of our name that many people find offensive. John James Audubon was an anti-abolitionist who not only enslaved people but also strongly promoted white supremacy.”

Bird alliances are great; Audubon, not so much

This is great news. Many state and local Audubon chapters have changed their names in recent years because, as the local chapter notes, “John James Audubon enslaved Black people, wrote critically about emancipation; stole human remains and sent the skulls to a colleague who used them to assert that whites were superior to non-whites; and committed academic fraud and plagiarism.”

Last March, the national organization voted to keep the name Audubon, which sparked the resignation of three board members and inspired many local chapters to begin the process of renaming themselves. We appreciate the thought and care the local chapter has put into their proposed new name, and the research they’ve done identifying other chapters that have also changed their name recently. Many of them have chosen riffs off the word Bird Alliance.

Voting will take place on May 2, 2024. Members of the chapter in good standing can vote online via Zoom or in person. You can read much more about this here.

We encourage you to  vote in this important election and join our local chapter. (Make sure you join as a local member, which means your dues will directly benefit local projects.)


In the last municipal election cycle, we helped increase turnout by over 20 percent. We're all volunteers who care deeply about Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and we're working to make Chapel Hill and Carrboro more vibrant, accessible, fun, and sustainable.  Please consider a small donation to help us keep our digital lights on, host events, and hire students to do data deep-dives.

Melody Kramer is a Peabody-award winning journalist whose work has appeared on NPR and member stations around the country, as well as in publications ranging from National Geographic to Esquire Magazine....