Conservation and Education
|We are beginning a project to track the populations of all types of New Hampshire native orchids over several years. If you have or know of an orchid population near you about which you could collect data, please contact Jean Stefanik. More information about this special project by the New Hampshire Orchid Society can be found here.|
The New Hampshire State Park system protects numerous expanses of local habitat. Did you know that contributions to the moose plate automobile registration channels funds to conservation projects throughout the state?
Interested in knowing more about rare plants in New Hampshire? Check out the NH Natural Heritage Bureau which has links to state laws regarding rare plants and animals as well as other conservation information. For specific information go the lists and forms section of the Heritage Bureau web site, which is in the publications section.
The Audubon Society and New Hampshire Audubon Society manages several conservation areas and native orchids can be seen in many of them. Check out the locations of walking, hiking, and canoe/kayak opportunities in New Hampshire and the surrounding states. Ponemah Bog, for example is visited seasonally by NHOS members.
The Nature Conservancy locations in New Hampshire provide opportunities as well.
"The Reading Room" on the Orchid Mall web site has some great information about native North American orchids. Here you will also find links to CITES web sites and many others related to orchid conservation.
Traveling to Florida in your future? Interested in volunteering some of your time? Be sure to look into the "real" Florida which contains opportunities for exploration including orchids. The private, national and state park system in Florida is extensive and includes a wide variety of habitats and micro-environments. Places in particular worth exploring include the Everglades National Park which is the largest, with campgrounds, walking trails, canoe trails, and boardwalks. Check out the mile long boardwalk in Corkscrew Sanctuary which is known for its plants and birdlife especially.
And of course, don't let a visit to South Florida go by without visiting the Fakahatchee Strand Reserve State Parkwhich is adjacent to Big Cypress National Park and the Everglades. Fakahatchee was made famous by the Susan Orleans book "The Orchid Thief" as well as the Nicholas Cage/Meryl Streep/Chris Cooper movie "Adaptation". Members of the NH Orchid Society travel to Florida, check with Jean Stefanik if such an adventure sparks your interest - she's spent a fair amount of time volunteering and traveling there.
The American Orchid Society is located in the town of Delray, Florida. Check out their gardens and their conservation and education programs.
Our society began supporting El Pahuma Orchid Reserve through the CEIBA Foundation for Tropical Conservation at our 2004 show where over $1000 was raised. The New Hampshire Orchid Society added to this amount earmarked to purchase 750 acres of pristine cloud forest adjacent to the current 1500 acres of El Pahuma. Several other New England area societies also contributed. For more information about El Pahuma and the CEIBA Foundation contact Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation.
NHOS Education and Conservation Chairperson Jean Stefanik traveled to Ecuador to volunteer at El Pahuma in September and October 2004. During her volunteer experience she lived with the Ecuadorian family, hiked steep trails with wild orchids in abundance to cascading waterfalls, was surrounded by orchids, bromeliads and hummingbirds in the gardens, and visited other local orchid and butterfly sanctuaries in the area. In addition to connecting with members of the Quito Orchid Society, Jean volunteered at the currently being renovated Quito Botanical Orchid Collection including participating in rescue of orchids doomed by road construction.
One of the "must see" highlights of visiting Ecuador is Ecuagenera located in Gualaceo high in the southern Andes. This orchid plantation is home to 1.5 million plants, most of which include the majority of the 3000 species native to Ecuador. Ecuagenera's mission includes conservation and education in action, not just words. Please check out articles in the January and September issues of Orchids magazine.
Jean Stefanik will be the speaker at the March NHOS meeting, and will be showing slides of her trip to Ecuador. Possibilities for a NHOS field trip to Ecuador will be discussed. Interested??
Our April 2005 speaker, Eric Christenson, mentioned his involvement in an orchid conservation project in Peru. Please be sure to visit the Andes to Amazon Botany Project to read about the many projects in Peru, including the orchid project which will study the diversity and ecology of orchids (Orchidaceae) in the Andes-Amazon region of Southeastern Peru.
Several conservation organizations provide short term eco-tourism opportunities. One of the most well known is Earthwatch, based in Massachusetts. You can join projects like "Rare Plants of Kenya", "Restoring Costa Rica's Rainforest", "Puerto Rico's Rainforest", "Biodiversity of the Grenadines" and "Butterflies and Orchids of Spain". Your contributions and volunteer work support field research scientists from around the world, and a large portion may even be tax deductible. Contact Jean Stefanik who has participated in two expeditions for firsthand information.