Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake
Sunrise over Lower Red Rock Lake

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shade-Tree Coffee - Helping Migratory Birds at Anahuac and in Their Winter Quarters

One of the most exciting new aspects of the new headquarters and visitor complex was finding that the Nature Store is selling shade tree coffee. And I think the free coffee will also be shade-tree coffee. This coffee is win - win -win - win- win coffee.  First of all it is organic so it's very healthy.  And another plus for people is that is that tastes better with less bitter parts in it.  (I found my coffee as good the second day as the first when I drank the leftovers from my coffee press. )  

The second win is for the migratory birds such as Baltimore orioles, magnolia and chestnut-sided warblers, American redstarts, and white-eyed vireos. In fact, 186 species have been found in shade-tree coffee plantations, 46 of which are migratory and come to the U. S. in the spring.

And when you buy the coffee here, you are also supporting birds that pass through here or nest in the refuge since all the money the Friends take in goes right back into the refuge.  Projects such as the rookery, the new trees (around 400 planted so far), and even the butterfly garden all help birds with food and shelter. 

The third win is for the whole ecosystem that is being preserved, along with saving the soil and helping prevent more global warming by keeping more carbon sequestered in the large trees. 

The final win is  for the small family farmers that can make enough money to stay on their  farms. In the sun coffee plantations, the canopy is cut down causing soil loss and water degradation.  Many  birds can no longer use the area. These plantations also contribute to global warming as they burn the carbon sequestered in the large trees they remove.

Shade-tree coffee display

Coffee comes in many flavors and in ground coffee, beans, and decaf


Even if you can't come buy coffee at the Friends of Anahuac Store, you might want to consider buying it locally; or asking for it at your favorite coffee shop; or buying it on-line.  But buying shade-tree coffee is a way to spend a little money and make a huge positive impact on the environment.

For more information,  and pictures of birds that benefit from shade-tree coffee, check out these links:

The story, in three blogs, of a visit to a shade-tree coffee plantation in Honduras by Julie Zickefoose, an environmental artist and writer.
http://juliezickefoose.blogspot.com/2011/04/shade-grown-coffee.html

http://juliezickefoose.blogspot.com/2011/04/shade-grown-coffee-birds.html

http://juliezickefoose.blogspot.com/2011/04/more-shade-coffee-birds.html

Complete list, with pictures, of birds that use shaded coffee plantations.
http://nationalzoo.si.edu/scbi/migratorybirds/coffee/bird_friendly/birdlist.cfm

Information on shade-tree coffee from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
http://nationalzoo.si.edu/scbi/migratorybirds/coffee/history.cfm

Map of retailers near you
http://nationalzoo.si.edu/scbi/migratorybirds/coffee/lover.cfm

Order shade-tree coffee on-line
http://www.groundsforchange.com/index.php?loc=googleSHADE&gclid=CLrU87j63agCFQI3gwod-GrEBA