Bird-Friendly Maple Project

Audubon Vermont

Advancing habitat diversity and stewardship

The Bird-Friendly Maple project is a program of Audubon Vermont. The goals of this first-in-the-nation program are to educate maple producers about best practices for sustainable sugarbush management, to give retailers the opportunity to carry and promote a premium product that supports sustainable environmental practices, and to build consumer awareness and appreciation for this unique program, which promotes habitat diversity and stewardship.

The Challenge

How can we communicate about a science-based program in a way that motivates the three diverse audiences essential for its success to participate — for the long term?

Research and Collaboration

Marketing Partners collaborated with Audubon Vermont, Vermont Maple Producers' Association and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation to develop a project strategy and grant applications for research to assess potential producer participation and consumer interest.

writing grants


We will drive sustainable success with consumer brand recognition, growing awareness and understanding of what bird-friendly habitat means, plus shelf appeal to support retail sales of maple syrup for producers participating in the program.


How We Helped

We coordinated with Audubon National on behalf of the Vermont Chapter to develop key messages around the program standards and brand identity. We then developed materials for maple producers, retailers, and the public. This ongoing multi-year project expands with new activities and materials as funding is available.

Visible Bragging Rights

Forests that are intentionally managed with birds in mind take extra effort. To guide maple producers, Audubon Vermont developed sugarbush management practices designed to provide great places for birds to forage, hide, and raise their young.
Participating producers proudly display the bright, recognizable "Produced in Bird-Friendly Habitat" metal signs on their sugarhouses and the matching labels on their maple syrup containers.

Bird friendly seal on metal sign
Bird Friendly Maple syrup labels

Distinctive Product Labels

Labels that work for maple producers

Each participating maple producer knows that the bird-friendly labels will be visible and practical— regardless of their production volume, equipment, or jug size.

Bird Friendly Maple web badges

Online Store Web Badges

Building value at retail point-of-sale

As retail increasingly moved online, we developed program-branded digital web badges for the online stores of participating maple producers and retail stores.


  • Producer participation exceeded the original goals as well as the capacity of the initial program staff to schedule forest habitat assessment.
  • Retailers are delighted and report a strong added-value at point of purchase, with many opportunities for educational conversations with visitors.
  • Media attention has supported increased public awareness and demand each year.
  • Audubon Vermont has shared its program details and designs to help other states with significant maple tree habitat to replicate the program, with New York and Maine leading the way.

Bird Friendly Maple signs on sugar houses