The Fairchild Garden’s “Million Orchid Project” is coming to East Ridge on June 27 at 10 am. Under the guidance of Jason Downing, Ph.D., Orchid Biologist, student volunteers from FIU and staff from Fairchild and East Ridge along with the help of residents will install the first 250 native orchid species in trees primarily around Three Palms Health Center.
This is the first time the “Million Orchid Project” is coming to a retirement community. Installations of the project have focused on cities in Miami-Dade County and local schools. The goal of the five year program, now in its third year, is to reintroduce millions of native orchids into the South Florida urban landscapes. A Micro Propagation Laboratory at Fairchild generates a limitless supply of young orchid plants that are used and around 30,000 orchids have been installed since the program was initiated, according to Dr. Downing.
All of the orchids being installed are threatened native species of tree orchids including Florida Butterfly (Encyclia tampensis), Dancing Lady (Oncidium ensatum) and Cowhorn (Cyrtopodium puncatum). The seedlings range from four to one foot in length.
The installation of orchids is a special Town Hall project supported by East Ridge Management. Resident Nancy Fehr, chairperson of the East Ridge Beautification Committee, has spearheaded the efforts for the program.
The orchids should enhance the tropical foliage found around East Ridge with its tropical environment that offers acres of open green spaces and nature preserves.