Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Audubon

Campers at the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center in Cedar Hill, Texas. Photo: Sean Fitzgerald

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Audubon

Audubon's Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion 

Just as biodiversity strengthens natural systems, the diversity of human experience strengthens our conservation efforts for the benefit of nature and all human beings. Audubon must represent and reflect that human diversity, embracing it in all the communities where we work, in order to achieve our conservation goals. To that end, we are committed to increasing the diversity of our staff, board, volunteers, members, and supporters, and to fostering an inclusive network of Audubon Centers and Chapters in all kinds of communities, from rural to urban.

Equity, diversity and inclusion is not only a best practice for business, it’s a strategic imperative. Our business and conservation strategies are enriched and made stronger by the contribution of the experiences, perspectives, and values of diverse individuals and communities.  Protecting and conserving nature and the environment transcends political, cultural and social boundaries, and so must Audubon in order to expand our network’s reach and engage more people in protecting birds and habitat.

We are dedicated to providing a work environment that prioritizes fairness and respect. At Audubon, all employees are treated equally and are encouraged to achieve their fullest potential. We respect the individuality of each member of our community, and we are committed to a workplace free of any kind of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, national or ethnic origin, politics, or veteran status.

With a plurality of voices, Audubon will inspire more people and conserve more habitats.  Respect, inclusion, and opportunity for people of all backgrounds, lifestyles and perspectives will attract the best ideas and harness the greatest passion to shape a healthier, more vibrant future for all of us who share our planet. The birds we are pledged to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon will bring new creativity, effectiveness and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.

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Why We're Changing From "Citizen Science" to "Community Science"

The word citizen was originally included in the term citizen science to distinguish amateur data collectors from professional scientists, not to describe the citizenship status of these volunteer observers. Today, however, it is important for us to recognize that the term has become limiting to our work and partnerships in some contexts.

Audubon welcomes everyone who finds delight in birds and nature. As part of Audubon’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, we have transitioned from using the term “citizen science” to the more inclusive term “community science.” No matter where a volunteer was born, or how they came to the United States, we value their contribution to our science and conservation programs. Citizenship, or the perception that a volunteer may or may not be a citizen, certainly isn’t a prerequisite to caring for birds.

Furthermore, participation in volunteer data-collection initiatives like the Audubon Christmas Bird Count and the Great Backyard Bird Count are, at their best, communal experiences that bring us together as a caring community of people who are inspired by birds and want to protect them. The term community science better reflects these social and relational realities.

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