Dear Audubon Member,

Diversity. In nature, no concept is more fundamental to a strong, healthy environment. But we often forget that people are also part of nature. We know that diverse ecosystems are stronger and healthier than monocultures. The same concept applies to the communities where we live. No one should appreciate strength through diversity more than we environmentalists, who preach the gospel of biological diversity. It is a part of our value system.

The 2000 census reported that there is no longer any racial or ethnic majority in New York City, Los Angeles, or Houston. By the year 2055 there will be no racial or ethnic majority in America. Yet when we look in the mirror, we see that most environmental organizations do not reflect the face of America. As we confront the environmental challenges of the new century, this is our greatest weakness.

At Audubon, we're committed to doing something about it. Our 2020 Vision set an ambitious goal of establishing 1,000 Audubon centers across the country by 2020, with at least half of them in economically and culturally diverse communities. Many of these communities are rural, but we are particularly focusing on urban neighborhoods, where children have the least opportunity to experience nature. Audubon centers will be permanent institutions that provide outdoor educational experiences for children and families. We will seek to attract people from these communities as members, staff, volunteers, and directors, so that our organization will reflect the communities we serve.

Our New York state office will open Audubon's newest urban center this April in Brooklyn, New York, in the Prospect Park Boathouse. Birders know the 526-acre park for its exceptional biological diversity, including more than 200 species of birds. But Prospect Park also serves an exceptionally diverse human community of more than 90 racial and ethnic groups. We will work with the local schools to bring children to the historic Boathouse, which has been renovated in partnership with the city of New York and the nonprofit Prospect Park Alliance.

We are establishing this center in Brooklyn--as we're establishing other urban centers around the country--to strengthen the community. But we are also doing it to make ourselves stronger. We are grateful to the people of Brooklyn for their warm welcome.

To help us build more Audubon centers, click here. Or call 866-428-3826.


John Flicker
National Audubon Society


© 2002  NASI

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