Initiated in 2017, RSI’s USCAFE project aims to preserve critical habitats for migratory and resident Venezuelan species via the Smithsonian Bird Friendly coffee certification program. In November, RSI and USCAFE project coordinators, Miguel Arvelo and Luis Arrieta, along with Provita’s Director of Education,Carlos Pelaez, formally presented the project to the Piedra de Cachimbo community, who will be our main collaborators in north central Venezuela. Miguel and Luis outlined the community and biodiversity benefits of this project, and the coffee roaster Tierra de Gracia joined us as a key partner to confirm the attractiveness and effectiveness of the proposal.
In addition to launching community collaboration, in January we also joined roasters to begin testing new harvesting techniques to improve coffee quality on a pilot farm, which has already improved profits as a result. January also saw the start of our baseline biodiversity stakeholder surveys, to enable us to later measure and improve project impacts. We are grateful to the US Fish and Wildlife Agency Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Fund (NMBCA) and to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) for their support for this project!