Last year about 50 individuals from the group’s half-million-strong membership created Take Back Audubon to express grievances regarding the direction of the national organization. These dissenting yet nevertheless proud Audubon members are worried that the national group is no longer taking as keen an interest in the issues, concerns and campaigns which local chapters face.
At the top of Take Back Audubon’s list of complaints is the lack of communication between the national office and Audubon chapters – on topics ranging from guidance on the latest conservation issues in some areas to nationwide changes in the organization.
But the national group denies lacking focus on local concerns. Spokesperson John Bianchi contends the organization’s focus has not changed: “In any group that has 550,000 members you will find that there are usually small groups of people who don’t agree with the direction the entire organization is taking.”
Also at issue is the national organization’s decision three years ago to cut dues sharing to local chapters. The national office responds that the $20 price of dues hasn’t kept pace with the cost of recruiting new members.