National Trails Day – The First Saturday of June
Pelican Bluffs Trail Work Day: June 2, 2018 from 10am-12pm
hosted by the Mendocino Land Trust
A mile south of the town of Point Arena, a beautiful new addition to the California Coastal trail has been created at the 70 acre Pelican Bluffs Preserve. Owned and maintained by the Mendocino Land Trust, this epic landscape is free and open for the public to enjoy. Because the Land Trust is not funded by taxes like other parks, the work and energy it takes to maintain open spaces is a burden carried by community members, whether through monetary donations or ‘sweat equity’. Over the past year, volunteers from near and far, in addition to service organizations like the California Conservation Corps, have all come together to build over two miles of trail along this breathtaking blufftop.
From the parking lot, the newly completed loop trail leads visitors up through a coastal prairie that climbs to a crested hill. At the top, the wide expanse of Pelican Bluffs is revealed. Wildflowers speckle the bluff top, while dramatic white cliffs drop away to the rocky beach below. The sound of the waves tumbling over the shore and the smell of the ocean breeze is a feast for all senses. Continue to follow the trail along the coast and you might see seals resting on the beach and whales spouting in the distance, while an osprey soars overhead. Home to Peregrine falcons and the endangered Point Arena Mountain Beaver, Pelican Bluffs is a beautiful place for people and wildlife in equal measure.
This National Trails Day, spend some time helping to take care of the trails and the wild places you love. It’s time well spent, and always worth the effort.
Mendocino Land Trust and Thanksgiving Coffee Company
Thanksgiving Coffee and the Mendocino Land Trust have collaborated to create Fog Dodger, a Cause Coffee benefiting the MLT and their efforts building trails all over our county.
We don’t want to brag, but Thanksgiving Coffee Company actually has the best customers of all time. Because you purchased Songbird Coffee in 2017, we were able to raise over $9,000 for the American Birding Association. That’s $9,000 last year alone that directly funded birding education and conservation initiatives.
2018 marks fifty years of the American Birding Association providing leadership to recreational birders all over the United States. This group has been a pioneer for decades, and has inspired millions of young birders and conservationists through classes, workshops and conferences all over North America.
For the past 22 years, Thanksgiving Coffee Company has been a proud part of this legacy, educating birders and coffee drinkers about the ecology of coffee farms, and how they play an integral role in the lives of many of the birds we know and love. We took a leading role in preserving bird habitat by introducing Songbird Coffee in 1996, and we have continued to purchase from farms that grow their coffee organically, under the canopy of native forests.
The introduction of the Bird-Friendly Coffee program was another huge step toward uniting the coffee and birding industries. This certification was created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in 1998 and now represents the very highest standards of ecological sustainability, protecting habitat for migratory birds in coffee growing countries. We are proud to feature that seal on our nine Certified Bird-Friendly coffees in our online store.
We are birders ourselves, and constantly striving to provide coffee that not only tastes magnificent, but provides for the migratory birds that we love to watch every season.
Read more about Bird-Friendly Coffee from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, or shop for Bird-Friendly Coffee here on the Thanksgiving Coffee website.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
2017 Roaster of the Year
On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. The Category 4’s 155 mph winds barreled across the island, leaving 3.4 million residents without power and destroying about 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s crops, including 90 percent of Puerto Rico’s coffee farms. What had taken farmers generations to build was completely lost and decimated within a few hours. Rich jungle forests filled with coffee trees, the pride of Puerto Rico, have been reduced to little more than barren branches and twisted stumps.
Of all the agricultural products produced on the island, few have the same cultural heartbeat as coffee. Puerto Rican coffee used to be called the “coffee of popes and kings,” because in the 19th century the Vatican exclusively served Puerto Rican coffee. For many Puerto Ricans, coffee is far more than an agricultural product- it’s part of their national identity.
While we continue to hear about the devastation and slow return of basic services to the island, there has been a clear cry from the people of Puerto Rico for a taste of home. Unfortunately, coffee is considered a ‘luxury item’ by many aid organizations, which means that doctors, nurses, teachers, and construction workers on the island are doing their best to overcome the impossible, without the aid of their favorite beverage. We think the hard working people of Puerto Rico deserve the dignity and normalcy only a cup of coffee can deliver, now more than ever before, and Thanksgiving Coffee is here to help.
Two very different non-profit organizations have joined forces to start a Coffee Aid Drive to get coffee to the people of Puerto Rico: The Hogwarts Running Club and Convoy of Hope. Since it’s inception only a few short years ago, the Hogwarts Running Club has combined the fandom of the Harry Potter book series and running for health and fitness into an online organization 60k strong that has raised over $1.2 million in charitable donations. Convoy of Hope has been around since 1994 and specializes in the transportation and distribution of food and supplies for disaster relief. Together, these two groups are gathering donations for 12-16oz packages of caffeinated, pre ground coffee to send to Puerto Rico.
When Thanksgiving Coffee was approached about the Coffee Aid drive, we knew we could make a real difference to the people of Puerto Rico by helping to send delicious, ethically sourced coffee with a message of love. So far, over 600 packages of coffee have been ordered from Thanksgiving Coffee and over 2,000 packages have been donated to the Coffee Aid Drive. Would you like to contribute? You still can!
From now until December 10th, you can buy a bag of our special Coffee Aid coffee Salazar’s Brew for just $8- no tax, no shipping. Each bag includes the price of shipping it to the Convoy of Hope warehouse where all the Coffee Aid donations will be sent until the December 15th deadline. After that, tons of donated coffee packages will be palletized and transported to the island to help the people of Puerto Rico enjoy the familiar taste of home.
Puerto Rico’s road to recovery will be a long and arduous one, but perhaps it will be a bit more bearable with a cup of coffee in hand.
Not Just a Cup, But a Just Cup.
Song Bird Coffee supports the arts
Do you have a favorite bird? Is it the bold blue jay, or the striking red cardinal? Perhaps it’s the mischievous raven, or the sweet singing sparrow? Maybe you don’t know what it’s called, or even what it looks like, but you know its song as it fills your ears with a familiar refrain. Birds connect us to nature, regardless of where we live; from city dwelling pigeons to dramatic California Condors, birds are an ever-present aspect of our lives, but their numbers are dwindling. You don’t have to be an avid birder to enjoy their presence, but if we fail to appreciate them in our everyday lives, then we risk taking them for granted and losing them forever.
Fostering a love of the natural world can take years, especially now when more of us live in cities than ever before. Programs like BirdNote cultivate a love of nature with a wide audience, helping to bring the outside into our homes and deliver the delights of nature in small, auditory morsels.
The BirdNote radio program has been engaging listeners of all ages for over ten years, sharing daily two-minute stories about birds and the environment with audiences all across the country. These uplifting little vignettes are just the right length for everyone to enjoy, and the perfect remedy to ‘news fatigue’.
BirdNote and Song Bird Coffee
Song Bird Coffee has been partnered with the American Birding Association for 20 years and together we have raised over $150,000 in support of the ABA and Partners in Flight, which funds ornithological studies of migratory birds in Central America. Together, we are making a difference by promoting citizen science, ecotourism, and sustainable Bird Friendly farming practices, and now we are proud to be reaching new audiences by sponsoring BirdNote.
By working together, Song Bird Coffee, the American Birding Association, and BirdNote are committed to making the world a better place, for us and for the birds.
Give BirdNote a listen here.
Learn more about the American Birding Association and Partners in Flight.
Going to camp and spending time in nature should not be a luxury afforded to the few, but the birthright of all Americans. More people live in cities now than ever before, and access to wild places is limited. We need the next generation to care about open spaces, clean water, and fresh air, even while they live in a city, which is why it is our responsibility to insure that kids from all walks of life have access to the great outdoors.
The Mendocino Woodlands, a registered National Historic Landmark, is one the original 46 Recreation Demonstration Areas planned and built as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Today, it is one of only two RDAs still in operation, serving its original purpose of group camping and outdoor education, without interruption and virtually unaltered, since opening in 1938.
Each year, over 1,000 youths attend the various Mendocino Woodlands Camps. For many, this will be their first time exploring under a canopy of redwood trees, or seeing the night sky filled with stars. During their stay they will learn about flowers, and trees, and wild animals. They will sing songs, play games, make friends, and most of all, they will have happy memories of the great outdoors to cherish forever. Together, we must all be invested in the outdoor education of our kids, and now you, too, can lend a hand.
After many years and countless miles, the loyal Woodlands flatbed truck is ready for retirement. Without this vital piece of equipment, they will be unable to transport supplies in and out of the remote campground. The Mendocino Woodlands has served the community through thick and thin for almost 80 years, and now they need our help.
Thanksgiving Coffee is a proud supporter of the Mendocino Woodlands. In addition to their Cause Coffee, we are spreading the word about their fund-raising campaign for a new truck. We hope you will consider a small investment in the next generation by pitching in, or buying a bag or two of their Restore & Explore Cause Coffee. Lend a hand and raise your cup to the Mendocino Woodlands, a true American legacy.
Not Just a Cup, But a Just Cup.
May Gray. June Gloom. Fog-ust. Summer fog on the Mendocino Coast is so much more than an atmospheric condition; it’s a season. While some places may also experience seasonal fog, what happens here every summer begs to be experienced first hand in order to be truly appreciated. All visibility is completely obstructed behind the uniforming haze of grey, while the damp, heavy air smothers the breeze and mutes all sound. Standing in the middle a thick a summer fog is a disorientating form of sensory deprivation, and it’s no wonder how these conditions lead to what is considered to be the most significant shipwreck on the west coast.
On a foggy summer evening in 1850, a sailing brig named the Frolic struck the reef just north of Point Cabrillo, forever changing the fate of the California coast by leading to the discovery of the towering redwood forests. The lumber harvested in the years to follow would build the city of San Francisco and lead to the creation of towns and mills all along the Mendocino coast. But first, they would need a guiding light to prevent other ships from suffering the fate of the Frolic.
The Point Cabrillo Light Station was first illuminated in 1909, and it’s light shone bright thanks to a modern marvel known as the Fresnel lens. The creation of the Fresnel lens was an enormous technological breakthrough in its time, and one that we still see today. The Point Cabrillo Light Station houses one of only three Fresnel lenses in the United States made by the English firm Chance Brothers, and one of the few still in operation today.
Thanks to the stalwart commitment of Point Cabrillo Light Keepers Association, this beautiful and unique piece of history remains in full operation, but it’s no small task to keep the light on. Over it’s 100 year history, the lighthouse has been threatened with closure or decommissioning on more than one occasion, and each time the community has rallied in support of our shining light. Thanksgiving Coffee is proud to play a small role in preserving this priceless legacy with the Light Keepers Blend fundraising coffee. Clear away the morning fog with a cup of coffee, while supporting a lighthouse that does the same.
Happy National Lighthouse Day!
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup.
Today is #NationalLighthouseDay and we are celebrating this piece of art along our Mendocino coastline: the Point…
When the body of an adult killer whale (Orcinus orca) washed ashore in 2015, the community of Fort Bragg was presented with a unique opportunity. In the wake of a tragic death, a project was born that could benefit the town and further our understanding of the sea creatures that live along our shoreline.
Beached orcas are exceptionally rare and their bodies are a treasure trove of valuable scientific information. In a combined effort between the Noyo Center for Marine Science, the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, the California Academy of Sciences, Humboldt State University, and California State Parks, scientists and volunteers acted quickly to perform a necropsy and recover valuable tissue samples. Two years later and the Noyo Center’s Orca Project is on track to reconstruct the 26 foot long skeleton this summer for everyone to enjoy.
Over the next four weeks, the rec center/basketball court behind Town Hall has been transformed into a marine mammal articulation workshop, led by master articulators Mike de Roos, Michi Main, and Lee Post from Alaska. People have come from far and wide to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity, and there is something there for everyone. Young kids attending summer camp are learning about marine mammals and ecosystems, while high schoolers assemble their own porpoise skeleton. Grad students are taking measurements and gathering data, artists are photographing and sketching bones, all the while locals and tourists walk among them, drinking it all in, amazed by all the activity.
It takes a village to raise a whale skeleton; from recovering, transporting, cleaning, and housing the bones, to assembling the skeleton and raising it up for all to see. Everyone has a role to play, including Thanksgiving Coffee, who is keeping everyone working on the project well caffeinated. We are so enthusiastic about this amazing endeavor that we have also created a special Orca Project fundraising coffee to help support the mission of the Noyo Center.
It seems that our whole community has coalesced around whalebones, and Thanksgiving Coffee is no exception. Upon its completion, our small town will host one of the largest and most complete Orca skeletons in the world; something that the whole community can take pride in, because it took the whole community to achieve.
For the Birds is a blog series from Thanksgiving Coffee Company, highlighting one of the 200 Neotropical migratory birds who rely on shade grown coffee during their winter migration. In January, we featured the Cedar Waxwing, in February, the Magnolia Warbler, March was the Blackburnian Warbler, and to celebrate the re-release of our Song Bird Decaf, we are featuring the Altamira Oriole!
Song Bird Decaf Medium Roast Coffee
The striking orange and black plumage of the Altamira Oriole (icterus gularis) graces the label of our newly re-released Song Bird Coffee Decaf, and with good reason. This delicious Smithsonian Migratory Bird Certified coffee is decaffeinated with a clean, all-natural mountain water process in the Chiapas region of southern Mexico, home of the Altamira Oriole.
The Altamira is a large oriole and builder of the longest nest of any bird in North America. In the United States their range is limited to the Rio Grande Valley of southern most Texas, but their nests are a common sight throughout Mexico and Central America.
The female bird uses the inner bark of trees, retama leaves, various grasses, and occasionally Spanish moss and plastic twine to create one of nature’s architectural marvels. Over the course of several weeks, she painstakingly weaves a two-foot long basket that hangs over an open space, road, or river, suspending her fragile eggs thirty feet above the ground.
While many species of birds specialize in hiding their nests from the eyes of predators, the Altamira Oriole takes a different approach by building a home that is wildly conspicuous, but impossible to reach.
All of Thanksgiving’s organically certified coffees are shade grown, and a select few carry the Bird Friendly gold seal of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This certification ensures that tropical “agroforests” are preserved and migratory birds can find a healthy haven to eat and rest as they travel the hundreds of miles from your backyard to the coffee farms producing the beans you so enjoy every morning.
You don’t need binoculars to find a coffee that protects forests, helps wildlife and supports the efforts of the American Birding Association; just look for the Songbird Coffee with the Altamira Oriole on the front.
Thanksgiving Coffee, an industry leader in social and environmental justice for over forty years, stands in defense of our wild horses. The vanguard of fair trade shade-grown coffee, Thanksgiving has helped their nonprofit partners raise much-needed funds to champion their missions through the Cause Coffee fundraising program. And now, Thanksgiving is proud to support the efforts of the American Wild Horse Campaign (AMWC) with the release of Wild Grounds Coffee.
Save Wild Horses
Today, both livestock and wild horses have the right to roam the range, but the political power of the cattle ranchers is stronger then the political power of wild horses. In the forty years since a bill was passed by congress to protect the wild horses, moneyed interests have worked tirelessly to chip away at it. Now, the use of our publicly owned grazing lands is being prioritized to create market value for ranging cattle, which only provides for 3% of America’s beef consumption.
Unable to cull the herds or sell them for slaughter, the BLM began to round up what they considered to be an excess population. Today 35,000 horses, more than their entire population in the 1970’s, are kept in government holding pens. Not to be killed, yet never again to be free; this is a terrible fate to befall the national symbol of perseverance and freedom.
“The whole thing is cruel and lacks any sense of the American Spirit”, says Paul Katzeff, CEO of Thanksgiving Coffee and Past President of The Specialty Coffee Association of America, “We just gotta do something about the suffering to restore our own sense of freedom. Can you imagine the conditions? Thirty-five thousand wild horses in shadeless pens in 100 degree heat waiting to die?”
The American Wild Horse Campaign
The American Wild Horse Campaign is a champion for America’s wild horses and burros and they have been calling on Congress to reform the current ‘holding pen’ policies. Not only would such methods keep these animals in the wild, where they belong, it would also save taxpayers millions of dollars annually by no longer funding the removal of wild horses from the range and stockpiling them in government holding facilities and paying for their feed and water and medical needs.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company, 2017’s Roaster of the Year, is sending Wild Grounds coffee out into the country with the mission to raise funds and educate others about the plight of our wild horses. Together, we will stand in defense of the mustangs who have an inalienable right to roam the western landscape, just as we stand up against those who would profit from their incarceration and eradication.
We invite you to join us. Stand up for America’s wild horses and the pioneer spirit we all share. Order a package of award winning Wild Grounds coffee and you are not just supporting the horses; you are also supporting fair trade for the farmers, organic shade-grown coffee that preserve rich jungles forests, and the ethical standards of a certified B corporation. Since 1972, we have been proud to bring you a beautiful cup of coffee that tastes just as good as it feels.
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup.
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup.
A celebration of International Migratory Bird Day
Early one morning in 1992, a local Mendocino sculptor by the name of Howard Wheatley Allen was shaking in his boots. He had just been informed that he would be presenting a gift to a world leader on behalf of the United States, and the recipient was none other than Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. With a steadying hand, he held his bronze sculpture before the President and said, “Mr. President, this is a snow goose that migrates between our two countries.”
“You mean a living link,” Gorbachev replied, understanding the significance.
Gorbachev later recalled that, “During the nuclear arms race, I was given a gift by an American, a little figure of a goose in flight. I still have it at my dacha. It is a goose that lives in the north of Russia in the summer and in the winter migrates to America. It does that every year regardless of what’s happening, on the ground, between you and us.”
It was one year later, in 1993, that International Migratory Bird Day was established. While IMBD is celebrated from Canada to South America to support the hundreds of Neotropical migratory bird species that travel across the continent, Gorbachev’s goose is a beautiful reminder that birds will always rise above our imaginary borders, transcending beyond the cultural or political boundaries of the time.
Here in the United States, we sometimes claim a cultural ownership of beautiful birds like the Baltimore Oriole, perhaps forgetting that the very same species could just as easily be named the ‘Panama Oriole’, or the ‘Nicaraguan Oriole’, as it spends half it’s life in Central and South America. IMBD is a reminder that the health and abundance of these birds that are so much a part of our heritage does not stop at our own backyard feeders. If we wish to enjoy their beauty and their songs for generations to come, we must care for them and their well being across all borders.
The growing demand for coffee, and the rise of the mono-cultured full sun coffee plantations, has demolished much of the wintering habitat for iconic birds like Orioles. In fact, many of these species are now referred to as ‘Coffee Birds’ because the only forest home left to them are the shade-grown coffee farms that preserve the jungle canopy.
For over 20 year, Song Bird Coffee has been a leader in supporting the farmers who protect their native forests by growing delicious coffees under the jungle canopy, preserving priceless habitat and biodiversity. This year, on International Migratory Bird Day, we hope you will join us in protecting our precious songbirds, just by enjoying a great cup of shade-grown coffee. Not Just a Cup, But a Just Cup.