Our campaign to support for the Serra Bonita Rainforest Reserve in Brazil will continue throughout this year. Rainforest Trust has selected a new parcel of land (271 acres) to add to the existing 4500 plus existing acres under protection. As a special incentive, all contributions made in 2014 will be matched dollar for dollar by one of the Trust’s donors. OCA is partnering with Rainforest Trust in this effort.
On the local level, SWROGA has created the “Art for Acres” program. Any donation to OCA of $200 or more will be matched as explained above, plus the donor will receive a Thank You gift of a limited edition watercolor print signed by artist Charles Hess. An Oklahoma Orchid Society member has led the way to become this year’s first individual $200 level or “Orchid Guardian” at the show in Oklahoma City on May 10-11, 2014. A total of $275 was raised for the Serra Bonita Reserve at the show.
But an even bigger success for conservation came on the last day of the show, this time benefiting a new project of the Rainforest Trust. This particular location is in the Philippines, a place near and dear to my heart, having lived there for five years in the early eighties. It is on the island of Palawan and is called Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve. I have fond memories of visiting this island on Christmas break in 1983 while working in Luzon with Texas Instruments. I brought back an amablis grandiflora from that visit, and I still have it today. In fact, it is one of the most prized orchids in my collection.
Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve, an 80,000 acre tract, will safeguard one of the oldest and most diverse rain forests in Southeast Asia. In partnership with the Centre for Sustainability, contributions to this project will protect the land and preserve the habitat from further destruction. Sadly, today only 3.2 % of the Philippine rainforests remains intact, so it is of vital importance that we help protect this area.
The orchids of Palawan have not been well researched. According to the conservation officer for the Rainforest Trust, botanists have not yet studied this mountain well, leaving many orchid species still to be discovered, as the cloud forest is still intact. I am pleased to report that the members of the Oklahoma Orchid Society dug deep at the kickoff fundraiser for this new project, and raised $635 through a raffle ticket sale. First prize was an original watercolor painting. Karlene Sanborn from Prairie Orchids was the winner, as shown here receiving her painting. Much credit goes to Carolyn McCabe, who made a spirited last minute sweep of all the show vendors to ensure that all tickets were sold.
Kudos to all the Oklahoma City Orchid Society for raising a grand total of $910 for conservation. In addition, their Conservation Representative, Mike Friday assembled an outstanding storyboard, which not only described these two forest reserves but also provided a well-researched look at the local orchid species in and around Oklahoma.