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Audubon Supports New Chapter Name: Blue Ridge Audubon

New name for Asheville-based chapter replaces former namesake who was a proponent of slavery.

Statement from Audubon North Carolina Executive Director Andrew Hutson:

“Audubon North Carolina is committed to building a truly inclusive and welcoming outdoors for everyone. We’re proud of Blue Ridge Audubon leaders for taking an important step in that direction. The new name honors the unique bird life of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is a perfect fit for a chapter that is dedicated to celebrating the diversity of birds and people alike.”

Statement from Blue Ridge Audubon President Nancy Casey:

“Today our local chapter of the National Audubon Society officially adopted the name Blue Ridge Audubon, in recognition of the natural beauty and unique biodiversity of these mountains we call home,” said Nancy Casey, president of the Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter. “The Blue Ridge Mountains are among the oldest mountain ranges on earth. They host a remarkable diversity of ecosystems and are a stronghold for rare and threatened birds found in few other places across our state, including Golden-winged Warblers and Cerulean Warblers. We’re proud to call this region home and are committed to protecting all that makes it so special for birds and people.”

The original name, the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society, was adopted because of the chapter’s early volunteer work at Mount Mitchell. The mountain and surrounding state park were named for Elisha Mitchell, a professor and early conservationist. Mitchell was also a vocal proponent of slavery, and he enslaved Black people himself.

“We don’t want the name of our chapter to add to the racism and discrimination that Black birders already face when it comes to enjoying the outdoors,” Casey said. “Blue Ridge Audubon is committed to making the outdoors and the joy of birds a safe and welcoming place for Black people and all others.”    

About Blue Ridge Audubon

Founded in 1986, Blue Ridge Audubon owns Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary in Asheville and has over 1100 members from Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Transylvania and surrounding counties. The chapter presents regular program meetings, hosts monthly bird walks, organizes annual bird surveys, conducts outreach and education for schools and community groups, and actively engages in advocacy to help birds and the places they need.

About National Audubon Society

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

About Audubon North Carolina

Audubon North Carolina, a state program of the National Audubon Society, has offices in Durham, Boone, Corolla, and Wilmington. Learn more at and on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.​

Media contact: Ben Graham,, 919-880-3793

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