The Orchid Recovery Program, based at Illinois College, has conducted orchid research and established conservation efforts in regions as diverse as Costa Rica, Cuba, and Madagascar. Here in the US, students under the direction of Professor Lawrence Zettler, have been tracking the elusive “ghost orchid” at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge for nearly a decade. Students Justin Mably and Shannon Skarha discuss their efforts with Ernesto Mujica of Cuba’s Ministry of Science ECOVIDA Research Center, where a similar monitoring program has been implemented. video
The Endangered Species Coalition has just released their annual top 10 list of endangered and rare species in the U.S. The report, No Room to Roam: 10 American Species in Need of Connectivity and Corridors, highlights ten rare or endangered species that lack safe, navigable corridors to connect them to important habitat or other populations. NAOCC’s partner at the Center for Plant Conservation successfully nominated the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid, Platanthera leucophaea. Threats to this orchid include drainage and ditching for crop production, commercial and residential development, grazing by cattle and deer, drought, and encroachment of woody vegetation in prairies due to fire suppression. Gary Krupnick, at the Smithsonian Institution’s Plant Conservation Unit, served on the scientific advisory panel. The full report, along with links to photos and species info, can be viewed and downloaded from the Coalition website.
photo by Christopher David Benda