"Osprey Wilds" Takes Flight

by Asa Duffee, ANCA Marketing & Communications Coordinator


What’s in a name? While Shakespeare may not have placed great importance on how we label “roses,” any nonprofit leader can tell you that, actually, a name conveys much about an organization. As such, on January 1st, 2020 the former Audubon Center of the North Woods transitioned to a new name, Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center.

While the organization was established due to efforts from three chapters of the National Audubon Society, the Audubon Center of the North Words was not actually funded by, nor part of, the national society — yet because of the name, visitors would constantly assume a connection between the two, and also incorrectly infer that the center focused on bird conservation.

Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center LogoThe new logo for Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning CenterOsprey Wilds may be a novel name, but it alludes to the center’s history; organization founders observed an osprey on their first visit to the site, hence the osprey has always been in the logo. Environmental Learning Center further connects to the organization’s mission, “To instill a connection and commitment to the environment in people of all communities through experiential learning.”

The idea for such a change actually evolved from a discussion about rebranding in 2016, says Executive Director Bryan Wood. At that time the organization hired a company to aid in the process, and they interviewed over 80 constituents about the current brand. “It was clear the name was a source of confusion and didn't make sense to people,” Wood says.

It took much deliberation, two years, and over 100 name possibilities before the board voted to choose Osprey Wilds — and then another year until the organization implemented the new name and look. Naturally, the process wasn’t easy. Woods reports that the board debated the change at length, and the final decision was not unanimous. Some former staff also voiced opposition to the name change.

While acknowledging that letting go of a name means some sense of loss, Wood looks forward to the new organizational identity allowing further growth. “Ultimately, I felt that our future depended on drawing in new schools, new audiences, new donors, and that our existing name was hampering our opportunities, brand recognition, and identity to reach more people, so I continued to push for the change. It was a big decision, and I hope it was the right one.”

See the new Osprey Wilds website here.


Note: This article was originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of "Directions," the ANCA journal. Members can always access the full issue via the member portal. If you're curious about membership, see our membership levels.