Nature Forward is the new name of The Audubon Naturalist Society.
The name change was approved at its annual meeting Oct. 20 at the Woodend End Nature Sanctuary on Jones Mill Road in Chevy Chase. It also includes a new logo and slogan, “connecting nature and people in the Capital Region”.
Montgomery County Council will issue a proclamation acknowledging the organization’s work at its meeting on Tuesday.
“In this season of changing colors and the transition from warm days to cool nights, we are turning over a new leaf,” said Lisa Alexander, Nature Forward’s chief executive. “I want to thank everyone who came to Woodend to support our new name. Nature Forward will help us move forward into a stronger and more inclusive future.
Board Chair Diane Wood added, “I love Nature Forward. This indicates that we are a welcoming and inclusive organization. Nature is what unites us. And nature needs all of us to protect wildlife, clean water and air, preserve our precious open spaces, and fight climate change.
The group opted for a name change to move away from John James Audubon, who, it noted on its website, “has been a catalyst for bird conservation in our country. However, from what we’ve heard from many in our community, keeping his name with no regard for the pain he inflicted on black people and other people of color would be a disservice.
Additionally, the group noted that “the name ANS was not accessible to many audiences who felt that the word ‘naturalist’ was not widely understood by nature lovers and that the word ‘society’ seemed exclusive “.
The Chevy Chase site is independent and predates the National Audubon Society.
Before approving the name change, the local organization gathered feedback from nearly 1,000 people and reviewed more than 100 names.
“We are so proud of our history of environmental education and conservation in the region,” added Alexander. “We will continue to help all communities in our region appreciate, understand and protect their natural environment.
The new Nature Forward logo features the outline of a heart-shaped red leaf, a tree native to the Capital Region. The heart shape signals love for community and nature. Its distinctive pointed tip represents an arrow pointing to a greener future for the next generation. The stylized bright colors of the leaf represent nature during the four seasons and a commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging.