About Blue Ridge Audubon
Blue Ridge Audubon (formerly the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society) is a chapter of the National Audubon Society, serving Buncombe, Henderson, and surrounding counties in the mountains of western North Carolina.
We are the only North Carolina Audubon chapter that owns and manages a wildlife sanctuary, the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary in Asheville, NC.
We host monthly bird walks at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary and other local birding spots. Our programs, held seven times per year at the Reuter Center on the UNC Asheville campus, are free and open to the public.
Our Mission and Vision
Our mission is to protect birds and the places they depend on. We believe that a world in which birds thrive is a world that benefits all living things.
Our vision is a vibrant and just community where the protection of birds and our natural world is valued by everyone.
Our statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
We believe that everyone has the right to experience the outdoors and enjoy birds without concern for safety or prejudice. We stand against all forms of discrimination and are committed to providing an inclusive, accessible, safe and welcoming environment for everyone interested in birds and nature.
In large part, Blue Ridge Audubon has only just begun on our journey to becoming a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming chapter. There is much to learn and a lot to do to show up in our community in ways that advance equity.
A racial reckoning happened in the summer of 2020 when we learned that our namesake, Elisha Mitchell, was a racist and a proponent of slavery. As an organization that values diversity in birds and people, our Board of Directors went to work on changing our name; the old name didn’t honor or foster human diversity. The new name is a small but important step towards making the birding community a welcoming place for all.
Our Board of Directors and our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee are committed to taking action. While our chapter's activities have always been open to all, we know that discrimination takes many forms. We must do much more to build relationships with people in our diverse community who may not have always felt welcomed and included. We will examine our initiatives, activities, programs and interactions with a racial equity lens, and pledge to increase the diversity of our Board, volunteers, members, and supporters.
What We Do
Our chapter proudly manages this wildlife sanctuary in north Asheville. A boardwalk allows visitors to observe birds and other wildlife in several different habitat types.
Blue Ridge Audubon is involved in many ongoing conservation projects, ranging from shade-grown coffee to bird-friendly gardening and more.