Orchid Society receives conservation boost

The Cayman Islands Orchid Society conservation and propagation team received an important boost this weekend, thanks to the generous support of Coutts (Cayman) Limited and the Cayman Islands Darwin Initiative.

According to a release from the Department of Environment, the splendour of the Annual Orchid Show was the perfect venue for the hand-over of the cheque, by Mr David Neuschaffer, Managing Director of Coutts. These funds will cover the construction costs of a shade house for the conservation and propagation team.

This much needed facility will be built in the nursery grounds of the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.

In order to become more proactive in their conservation work, Orchid Society members are expanding their conservation and propagation facilities. Working in conjunction with the established Propagation Unit, the shade house will enable growing-on of orchid seedlings, and will also provide an ideal holding area for ‘orchid rescues’ — plants collected from land slated for clearance and development.

Once up and running, the facility has the potential to produce hundreds of orchids each year.

The project was realised under the Darwin Initiative, and relied on the combined efforts of key Darwin partners. The Botanic Park donated the nursery space for the construction, while the Department of Environment and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew compiled the proposal.

The facilities will be maintained and operated by the conservation and propagation team – an established network of dedicated Orchid Society volunteers.

‘I was very impressed by the work being carried out by the Orchid Society. Coutts was pleased to be given the opportunity to contribute to the establishment of this facility,’ said Mr Neuschaffer. ‘The orchid is such a beautiful and intricate flower, and its preservation is a key element of Cayman’s culture that should now be even more available for all of us to enjoy.’

Ms Sue Gibb, president of the Orchid Society, referred to the group’s original objectives. ‘Building on the founding members’ appreciation and awareness of our local orchid heritage, the Cayman Islands Orchid Society has set itself a goal to preserve for posterity the indigenous orchid species of the Cayman Islands,’ she said.

‘The shade house will be an important asset to our conservation propagation programme,’ she assured all concerned. Ms Gibb expressed gratitude on behalf of Orchid Society members to Coutts and the Darwin Initiative Partners.

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