Web-exclusiveMarch 24, 2008

Philip Kavits

WHO AND WHAT IS NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY (AUDUBON)?

National Audubon Society, Inc. (known to millions simply as Audubon) was founded in 1905 to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats. Today, as it has since its inception, Audubon delivers coordination, added scientific, educational, and policy expertise, reach and influence to the nearly 500 local Chapter organizations that make up its national network. Audubon's collective efforts are boosted by the active support of more than 400,000 members, 24 state offices and a Washington DC policy operation, an acclaimed national magazine, and the conservation work of dozens of Audubon nature centers, sanctuaries and programs nationwide. A growing international program and strategic partnerships extend Audubon's ability to safeguard birds and vital habitat across the Western Hemisphere. By uniting efforts across local, state, regional and national boundaries, Audubon achieves conservation awareness, engagement and results far beyond the capacity of its individual parts. Recent successes include:

• Securing federal funding for protection and restoration of important wetlands and coastal areas nationwide -- Audubon rallied its grassroots to help shape the congressional measure, calling for the funding and then successfully supporting a congressional override of a presidential veto.

• Defeating a misguided Navy proposal to build an airfield in vital North Carolina bird habitat -- State and Chapter efforts combined with an Audubon magazine exposé eroded the Navy's political support, ultimately forcing it to withdraw consideration of the site.

• Assessing and prioritizing more than 2100 "Important Bird Areas" across the U.S., while engaging communities and the general public in on-the-ground protection and restoration of many of these sites.

• Safeguarding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other vital Alaskan habitat from inappropriate exploitation by oil and gas interests.

• Engaging tens of thousands of "citizen scientists" through our Christmas Bird Count to expand the Audubon's 100-year+ database of bird population and habitat trend information vital to scientists and conservationists. In the past year, these efforts fueled the widely-covered Audubon WatchList 2007 and Common Birds in Decline analyses, boosting public awareness and involvement, and helping both government and non-governmental entities to develop and prioritize conservation responses.

• Advancing coalition efforts for conservation and restoration of the Everglades, Long Island Sound and the Mississippi River.

• Engaging individuals nationwide in efforts to "green" their homes and yards through "Audubon at Home."

Audubon employs science, public policy and education to empower people to protect the natural systems on which all life depends; it does not certify golf courses or any other kind of development. Audubon's 104-year legacy and the ongoing work of our affiliated chapters, centers, and programs have made our name and our distinctive flying egret logo synonymous with conservation in the public mind. The public should look closely at the claims and accomplishments of all organizations to determine their conservation credibility.

RESPONSE TO RONALD DODSON'S COMMENTS

• Of the supposedly "separate" Audubon societies, 491 are National Audubon Society chapters. We also work closely with most of the other mentioned organizations toward shared objectives. Our collective successes are made possible by the collaboration of local, state and national entities -- it's that kind of conservation collaboration that National Audubon Society was created to facilitate. And the results speak for themselves (see above and Audubon.org).

• We're proud of our magazine's ability to deliver conservation information to an estimated 1.8 million readers per issue and to help shape larger public awareness and engagement. Beyond that, our programs and centers bring nature information and hands-on engagement to millions of people every year, including many in previously underserved communities. Our science, education and policy units shape conservation planning and execution at all levels. Since Mr. Dodson's departure in 1987, Audubon sanctuaries, centers or other conservation properties have increased from 87,900 acres in 70 different locations to 101,300 acres in 114 locations. And yes, many are operated in cooperation with our state offices and Chapters.

• Audubon recognition comes from credible conservation efforts and accomplishments dating back more than 100 years. For example, our recent State of the Birds reports (WatchList 2007 and Common Birds in Decline) garnered huge publicity across America and around the world because of the valuable science-based information they contained and the "how-you-can-help" opportunities provided by our Chapters, state office and centers. No PR budget could buy the regular coverage resulting in the strong public awareness and approval that Audubon has earned through its conservation work.

• The Audubon name is not in the public domain, particularly insofar as the terms NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY and AUDUBON have come to designate our organization to millions of consumers. In fact, Audubon owns an extensive portfolio of federally registered trademarks covering various goods and services. Whether any specific use of the Audubon name would be permissible is a question of specific circumstances. No company has the right to confuse the public or to associate itself with the tremendous goodwill and reputation for conservation excellence we have cultivated for more than a century.