Hagenbuch leads the Vermont Bird Friendly Maple program and is helping extend the program to Maine and New York.
It might be 3,950 miles from the Bird Friendly co-op family coffee farms of UCA del Rio Coco in the Northern Highlands of Nicaragua to Hi Vue Maples Bird Friendly family sugarbush in Richford, Vermont but there is a connection - birds!
The same Vermont forests that provide the maple sap to be boiled down to syrup also support great numbers of bird species during the summer nesting season. Steve Hagenbuch - farmer, forester, and founder of the Bird Friendly® Maple program - estimates that over 60% of the bird species that nest in Vermont sugarbush are neotropical migrants. That means that American Redstarts nesting in Vermont Bird Friendly sugarbush may have spent the winter on a Bird Friendly coffee farm in Nicaragua.
In recognition of the special relationship that exists between Vermont’s maple industry and bird conservation, Bird Friendly Maple was created in 2014. A partnership between Audubon Vermont, the Vermont Maple Sugar Maker’s Association, and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, the program is designed to provide maple producers with the information and technical assistance they need to manage their forests, known as sugarbushes, with birds in mind.
Participating maple producers can label their products as being produced from a bird-friendly forest. By the end of 2022, 75 Vermont maple producers - including Hi Vue - managing 15,000 acres of forest, were enrolled in the program. Learn more HERE.
Someday soon sit down on a weekend morning and drink some of our Birds & Beans coffee while you cover your pancakes in Vermont Bird Friendly maple syrup. Good for birds, family farmers, and the Earth we all share. Great tasting too!
Over 70 species of birds use Vermont sugarbush to raise their young each year