Our Statement Affirming the Right to Safety in the Outdoors

February 19, 2021

As an organization dedicated to the study, protection, and appreciation of birds, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology stands firmly for the rights of all individuals to be free of fear, harassment, threats, and violence, including while enjoying birds, working in nature, or being outdoors. Although these basic human rights and ideals should be self-evident, we sadly recognize that this is not yet the case, and many individuals currently do not experience certain opportunities to be outdoors as safe. Recently, disturbing allegations have emerged about sexual assault within the birding community, and we feel it especially important to speak up in support of the rights and safety of all.

Any act that makes the world less safe for one birder makes it less safe for everyone. Such actions engender fear in places that everyone should be able to explore in joy and safety, and they rob people of the right to be equal participants in the field. Our work toward ensuring safety for all includes working to foster our own culture and climate at the Cornell Lab. It is imperative that all of us advocate for and work toward change both in our workplaces and in society. We at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology pledge our full support to this goal.

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