WCAS is proud to sell coffee that is “Smithsonian Certified Bird Friendly” at chapter Bird Friendly Plant Sales. The name sure sounds important, but what does it really mean?
By Lisa Del Rio, WCAS Bird Friendly Coffee Club Coordinator
WCAS is proud to sell coffee that is “Smithsonian Certified Bird Friendly.” The name sure sounds important, but what does it really mean?
To earn the bird friendly certification from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, growers’ land and farming practices must meet specific criteria based on conservation science. The height of the tree canopy has to reach at least 12 meters, and foliage cover must be 40% or more (measured during the dry season, after pruning). The coffee is truly shade grown.
Plant diversity is 10 or more species of tree and woody shrubs, with additional specifications for how much of that is native. Shrub and herbaceous plant diversity is also factored in. There must be adequate structural diversity, or layers of plants: backbone species, taller species from the natural forest, and shrubs and small trees.
To protect the soil, leaf litter must be present, with living fences where appropriate. The land along rivers and streams must have buffer zones of native vegetation of a specific minimum width. In terms of practices, the farm must be a polyculture, and hold a current organic certification by a USDA accredited agency.
Farms meeting this exacting criteria ensure quality habitat for birds and other wildlife, and growers take great pride in earning the certification. Smithsonian Certified Bird Friendly coffee is more than just a label on a bag, it represents the gold standard in conservation for coffee.
Join the Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society's Bird Friendly Coffee Club. Visit the Bird Friendly Coffee Store to place your order by the 10th of every month. 5% of annual chapter coffee sales are donated to support Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, conservation activities.
Learn more at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center-Bird Friendly Coffee.