Bird-Friendly Coffee


Coffee is one of the most important crops in the world, and the way it is raised can have a big impact on the environment. Rather than clearing forested land for plantations, coffee is better grown in the shade of other tree species. This practice also supports biodiversity, including birds. The lesson features images for students to interpret, and an exercise to analyze data on biodiversity in coffee forests. The lesson also includes videos featuring agroforestry experts.

10 - 70 mins.

Lessons include images, practice analyzing data and videos.


Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science, Biology, AP Biology, Forestry, Ecology, Conservation Biology, Environmental Studies, Molecular Biology, History, Social Studies

You will need:

Printed Paper maps

Digital map files

Online half-earth map

Bird-Friendly Coffee

Learning Objectives

  • Build knowledge in biodiversity as it relates to environmental health, food production, habitat, and species health
  • Hone skills to understand and interpret expert opinions, explore critical thinking, and appreciate the roles of culture and history in the stewardship of nature

Key Terms + Conditions

  • Nature and domestic species
  • Agriculture
  • Agroforestry
  • Conservation recovery strategies
  • Forest structure
  • Environmental health
  • Food production
  • Biodiversity and culture

Top tips for Instructors

The videos are an excellent way to start student’s thinking about how the food we consume can have an impact on biodiversity.

Agroforestry is an important concept and can benefit biodiversity, but does not replace protected areas kept wild for biodiversity.

The phenomenal image and dataplay are useful for deepening and testing student understanding following viewing videos.

“Made in the Shade,” an excerpt  from Katie Fallon’s book Cerulean Blues: A Personal Search for a Vanishing Songbird is available for supplemental reading.

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