(published in December, 2008 Houston Happenings, the HOS newsletter)

                                           By: Doug Harris, HOS member

Okay, so we’re talking about orchid conservation, not POLITICS. But if you really want to become recognized as a person who wants one of
our native orchids to be seen growing in our Texas forests by our descendants, you seriously need to consider volunteering to help.
We are restoring and reintroducing one into Texas National Forests! Helping us will earn you the title of a Texas and HOS CONSERVATIONIST.

A hundred years ago, Cypripedium kentuckiense was growing in eastern Texas forests above Beaumont all the the way up into Oklahoma,
Kansas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Clear cutting of timberlands decimated populations in much of the territory. In Texas, the groups of this native lady
slipper are now primarily limited to some 13 to 15 known locations with fewer than 300 plants. In Louisiana, the total plant count has been dropped to
fewer than 10. [Note: A valley in Louisiana was been found in 2008 with a reputed 200 stems of the Southern  Lady Slipper!!]
Fortunately, members of the Central Louisiana Orchid Society stepped up and raised 200 seedlings to go back into the Kisatchie National Forest
in their first year and are growing an additional 700 seedlings in 2008.

Last year, some of our Houston Orchid Society folks visited one Texas NF and saw the cypripedium in bloom. It was awe inspiring. Then we found out
about the CLOS project. Their efforts prompted us to consider a similar effort for Texas. Since then we have developed the idea into a real living
and breathing strategy through emailing, numerous phone calls, trips into the forests and helping to collect seeds from which the seedlings
are being grown. Somewhere around March or April of 2009, HOS volunteers and Professors/students at Stephan F. Austin University should receive seedlings
which have been deflasked and vernalized before they are shipped to us. We will have the privilege and opportunity to grow the seedlings to a larger size
until they go dormant in late fall or early winter. After receiving a three to four month period where the seedlings will be kept at 36°F to 40°F, the first
restoration of the plants into the forests may begin.

To execute our task, each volunteer will be given the containers, media and about 50 plants. After seeing a demonstration of the potting technique,
we will place the seedlings in the community containers, then put the trays of seedlings in a shady location. By having groups of three volunteers
working together, we can cover for each other should any one not be available due to business and away on vacation. Explicit instructions will be provided.

Do ya wanna be part of the volunteers? We will need between 18 to 21 people. Contact me if you have questions or wish to join the fun.
[ Note: Enough volunteers stepped forward. ]

Doug Harris
HOS Cyp Restoration Committee chair

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