As part of the process of forming a new Chapter (which is fully described in the “Guide to Starting a Chapter in Your Community,” those proposing to start the Chapter need to define their new Chapter’s territory. A Chapter’s territory is defined by a specific list of postal ZIP codes.
In order to create a Chapter territory, a newly-forming Chapter is asked to propose in writing a list of all ZIP codes that they would like to include along with the cities’ names associated with the ZIP codes, using the Notice of Intent to Form a Chapter (document linked on this page). A map of the cities and towns in the proposed territory must also be included (baseline for such maps are available from the U.S. Postal Service).
Territories may vary in size, but the designated territory should be of a size that members find comfortable to travel to meetings and events, a distance usually from 15 to 30 miles (or 45 minutes maximum driving time). Actual size will depend upon the area requested by those forming the Chapter and is finalized at the discretion of the State Director or Chapter Services Office responsible for helping to create the Chapter.
In consultation with the Membership Department, the State Director/Chapter Services Office will verify the ZIP codes in the proposed territory and assure that territory size is appropriate. When a Chapter territory is approved, no other Chapter will be given the same ZIP codes. However, in the “Notice of Intent to Form a Chapter,” each newly forming Chapter leaders also acknowledges that in the event it becomes feasible to establish another Chapter or Chapters within that Chapter’s existing territory, the Chapter may be called upon to readjust the Chapter territory and relinquish communities and ZIP codes to accommodate the new Chapter(s).
A completed and verified application for forming a new Chapter is then sent with a recommendation for action from the State Office to the Chapter Services Office for approval. Once approved, the Membership Department is notified, the new Chapter is added to the list of Pending Chapters, and the ZIP codes are officially assigned to the new Chapter.
Creating a New Chapter in an Existing Chapter’s Territory
As communities grow and change, Audubon members may decide that an existing Chapter is no longer able to provide them with needed services. They may choose to create a new Chapter in an adjacent area, or propose one that includes part of the territory of an existing Chapter.
The procedures noted above for creating a new Chapter and for changes in Chapter territory will also be followed when forming a new Chapter that requests to include an area currently held by another Chapter.
In the creation of a new Chapter out of an existing Chapter’s territory, special additional consideration will be taken if the existing Chapter has concerns or refuses the request to relinquish selected ZIP codes. Generally, additional opportunity and encouragement will be given to both groups to work out a compromise. Specifically, reasons for and against
Chapter formation in an existing Chapter territory will be provided to each Chapter, and their additional reaction to that reasoning requested. Those responses will be shared by the State Director or Chapter Services Office with the VP for Field Operations, and every effort will be made to find a solution that results in mutually agreed-upon Chapter boundaries. The overall goal will be to find an end result that provides the best service and opportunities to members in that area.