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New Shade-Grown Coffee Spotlights Canada’s Threatened Boreal Forest “Boreal Blend” available in time for first ever Boreal-themed International Migratory Bird Day - May 13, 2006
Seattle, WA – Can coffee help baby birds? The Boreal Songbird Initiative thinks so. They’re using coffee to help focus attention on North America’s Bird Nursery: Canada and Alaska’s Boreal Forest, where billions of birds nest and breed. This 1.5 billion acre, virtually intact forest is at risk from increasing industrial development.
“Birders have been concerned about the health of migratory bird wintering grounds in Central and South America. Drinking shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee has been one way we’ve been able to help protect their habitat there. But birds don’t recognize borders, and now birders and all coffee drinkers can choose a delicious shade-grown coffee blend that supports protection of northern breeding and nesting grounds as well,” said Marilyn Heiman, executive director of the Boreal Songbird Initiative.
This spring, the Boreal Forest will be the focus for birders and nature centers across North, Central, and South America during International Migratory Bird Day – one of the largest conservation festivals in the world. The great “Bird Nursery of the North” will be showcased at scores of birding celebrations and the new Boreal Blend coffee will be featured at events in Seattle and other locations in the U.S.
Created by Coffee for the Birds to benefit the Boreal Songbird Initiative , Boreal Blend focuses attention on protecting both the birds’ wintering grounds where the beans are grown and the breeding grounds in the Boreal Forest, where billions of birds nest in the summer. Boreal Blend is a special custom blend of coffee beans from Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru that is certified shade-grown by Rainforest Alliance. This special blend’s packaging features beautiful renditions of Blackpoll, Canada, and Magnolia warblers by noted wildlife artist Charley Harper. The promotion of the coffee is used as an educational tool to help more people understand that, as Heiman puts it, “Migratory birds need nesting habitat first to survive.”
The Seattle-based Boreal Songbird Initiative works with a broad, international coalition to protect the Boreal Forest. Nearly half of the 700 species of birds common in the U.S. and Canada rely on the Boreal Forest for their survival, but rapidly escalating oil and gas, timber, mining and hydroelectric development threaten its future.
Coffee for the Birds is working with the Boreal Songbird Initiative and other conservation groups to make Boreal Blend available to bird lovers and coffee drinkers.
“You can actually taste the difference. Because they’re grown by bird-friendly, shade coffee farms, our varietals are smooth and rich, and all of our coffees are roasted to order in small batches to provide the freshest flavor,” said Todd Christopher, founder of Coffee for the Birds.
Visit www.borealbirds.org or www.coffeeforthebirds.com for more information.
Jen Lamson, Good Food Strategies, 206-985-7481
Marilyn Heiman, Boreal Songbird Initiative, 206 321-1834
Todd Christopher, Coffee for the Birds, 703-628-9092