Pizza for the Birds!

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Amanda Maugans and Amy Kuhar are ready to spread the news about efforts to help Hawaii's native birds.

The Maui Bird Conservation Center (MBCC) and the Flatbread Company of Maui teamed up for a fund-raiser on March 20 we called “Pizza for the Birds.” In addition to helping generate funding for MBCC, the event also served to educate and raise awareness about our efforts here.

The Flatbread Company is located in the quaint beach town of Paia; it is a local favorite but also attracts many tourists visiting the island. The restaurant is known for creating a great atmosphere and delicious wood-fired, clay-oven pizzas. Most of the ingredients used to make the delicious food are organic, free-range, and sourced from local farmers. Flatbread hosts a fund-raiser for nonprofits every Tuesday night. Each fund-raiser has a banner that’s hung on the walls, giving the restaurant a unique and ever changing décor. On March 20, it was our chance to shine. Our banner was hand made by interns at MBCC during their own personal time, showing dedication to these birds both on and off the clock.

In the weeks leading up to the event, we passed out flyers and invited friends to help spread the news around the Maui community about our fund-raiser. For the night of the event, Flatbread was packed! Even though it was a Tuesday, lots of tourists and local community members came out to show their support. All of the MBCC crew came out as well to talk about the birds and explain why the work is so important. At the door, we took turns handing out brochures and answering questions about our program. It was a great way to help educate and connect with the Maui community and tourists alike. Even though some of the patrons may have been unaware of the status and threats of the endangered Hawaiian avifauna when they arrived, we feel that they left with a greater understanding of the work that goes on at MBCC.

Flatbread Company donated to our program a portion of the cost of each pizza bought that night. The Maui community and tourists rallied to the cause and ate enough pizza to generate a substantial donation to the Maui Bird Conservation Center! The money will be a great help toward improving our facilities and aviaries for our breeding programs. The night was a huge success and a lot of fun. MBCC was happy to have a chance to talk to the community and help educate everyone. A big mahalo! to the Flatbread Company for being so generous and giving back to the community!

Amy Kuhar is an intern at the San Diego Zoo’s Maui Bird Conservation Center in Hawaii, part of the San Diego Zoo’s Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program.