In January 2021, the L.A. Zoo introduced its first Conservation Committee, an internal working group composed of nearly fifty interdepartmental staff and volunteers. Their work focuses on making measurable progress in the areas of most need. This year, the Conservation Committee is focused on protecting North American songbirds by partnering with the Association of Zoo and Aquariums’ (AZA) Saving Animals from Extinction: North American Songbird (SAFE NAS) program.
Since 1970, North American bird populations have suffered a net decline of approximately three billion birds. Many of the species with the greatest declines are North American songbirds. The SAFE NAS program goal is to harness the collective strengths of zoos, aquariums, and partners to reduce threats to North American songbirds and secure sustainable wild populations throughout their ranges. This work is accomplished through education, awareness, and on-the-ground conservation activities at AZA-accredited organizations, in local communities, and at the state and national levels. One of the action items in the SAFE NAS plan is to provide bird-friendly coffee and educate the public about why it is essential to know how coffee is grown.
The L.A. Zoo and its concessions partner, SSA Group, are continuously looking for ways to bring sustainability and conservation to the guests of the Zoo and so the introduction of Birds and Beans, a Bird Friendly-certified coffee to our Marketplace stores, was an optimal decision. The Bird Friendly certification was developed by scientists in the late 1990s and ensures coffee is grown in environments with diverse plant cover, height, and biodiversity, creating high-quality habitats for birds and other wildlife. When you purchase Bird Friendly-certified coffee, you are supporting the preservation of critical habitats for migratory birds, protecting biodiversity, and fighting climate change on a global scale. Most recently, the Conservation Committee, in partnership with SSA Group, hosted a free coffee tasting event to help spread awareness of Bird Friendly-certified coffee. Committee members engaged with over 600 guests and recorded that less than one percent already knew about Bird Friendly-certified coffee. Next time you visit the Zoo, buy some beans in the International Marketplace, knowing you’ll be brewing conservation in every cup.
The success of our organization’s conservation mission depends on the roles of all our Los Angeles Zoo communities. We encourage you all to participate alongside us and look forward to seeing you as we continue to build toward a culture of conservation that supports humans and wildlife thriving together.