We are excited to announce a major advancement in our work to protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. As of July 1st, our statewide programs in New Mexico and Arizona have joined to form a single regional program under the title of Audubon Southwest.
Audubon Southwest brings together a team of leading biologists, hydrologists, policy experts, and educators under a shared banner to advance the cause of bird conservation through on-the-ground conservation, scientific advancement, education, and policy change.
As fires burn and rivers run dry, it has never been more apparent that climate change has arrived in our communities and that sound management of our resources and our planet is becoming a fight for survival in a region where life already exists on the margins. The creation of Audubon Southwest is how we plan to rise to meet the urgency of this moment by becoming more efficient and more effective.
At our three Audubon facilities; Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center, Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary, and the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch, we will forge connections between our communities and the natural world, engage in scientific discovery and education, and care for the wildlife habitat which we steward.
With this move we also form a membership base of 12 independent chapters and over 40,000 members. And we achieve this while reducing overhead costs and improving operational efficiency, allowing us to invest in scaling our conservation programming to elevate the collective voice of our membership in order to meet the immense challenges faced by human and natural communities in the southwest.
COVID-19 has laid bare the consequences of disregarding sound science and public investment in human well-being. And the ongoing protests of systemic racism in our country following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the racist incident against birder Christian Cooper provide further reminders that Audubon has to fight harder to make outdoor spaces safer for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color. It is time to recognize that the environment – clean water, clean air, healthy land – and its enjoyment by all is a matter of social justice.
The recent win for the Gila River showed us that progress is possible when we invest our time and effort in making change happen. At Audubon we don’t believe in sitting idly by as the world spins. Instead we will embrace change by adapting and transforming to meet the moment. The creation of Audubon Southwest will allow us to do just that. So please join us in this effort to restore and protect what makes the Southwest such an iconic and unforgettable landscape. Together we can ensure this place remains one where birds thrive and people prosper.