Support shade coffee for Golden-winged Warblers

by on May 4, 2014

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The American Bird Conservancy is an excellent international bird conservation organization. One of their projects involves a multi-pronged approach to protecting the Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera). This species breeds in North America and winters in Latin America, and is experiencing rapid population declines. However,  it presently has no endangered or threatened listing status, so organizations have formed a working group to work on conservation measures.

One of the main components of ABC’s project is a tree-planting and distribution initiative in Nicaragua, spearheaded by my dear friends Georges Duriaux and Liliana Chavarría at Finca El Jaguar. I have written many times about this great coffee farm and the heroic bird conservation efforts of Georges and Lili (some links below).  This year, ABC is partnering with the Biggest Week in American Birding to raise funds for this project.  The Biggest Week takes place this year on May 6-15 in northwest Ohio; it’s a huge birding event that coincides with the arrival of dozens of species of migratory songbirds through the region on their way to nesting areas.

I encourage you to donate directly to this conservation initiative.

Proceeds go directly to the reforestation program in Nicaragua — supplying native tree saplings to coffee farmers to build a conservation corridor that will benefit not just Golden-winged Warblers, but also Wood Thrushes and many other migratory and resident species as well as other flora and fauna. Over the last several years, this program has already planted over 8000 trees on over a dozen farms, conducted six reforestation workshops and numerous educational programs, and supported the bird monitoring programs established at El Jaguar.

Buying a pound of shade-grown coffee returns a small percentage of the retail price to the producer, increases demand and lets farmers know you value sustainable coffee growing. This is invaluable to moving sustainable coffee production forward. But your donation of even $20 to this program packs a big wallop and goes straight to a targeted project.

A young Golden-winged Warbler banded at the Rouge River Bird Observatory.

A young Golden-winged Warbler banded at the Rouge River Bird Observatory.

Golden-winged Warblers are special to me; they were the subject of my first major bird research presentation as an undergraduate. I can also vouch for the work of Georges and Lili, as well as the American Bird Conservancy — I’ve been talking with them about their plans to increase their efforts to support shade coffee farming near a number of their Latin American reserves. I can’t think of a better way to make a difference right now for the coffee and birds connection than a donation to this program.  Wondering what to get your mother for Mother’s Day? How about a donation in her name? Donate online here.

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