Founded in 1990, today the Coalition for Orchid Species is an AOS affiliate with members througout the world.
The dream to start an all-species orchid club was actually the brain child of Janet Travis, and after much discussion with several orchid enthusiasts, we made a decision to discuss the formation of a club. As orchids comprise the largest flowering plant group in the world, and with the increased destruction of their natural habitat, the reasons for starting this unusual club was conservation, and to educate the public about orchid species. The first meeting back in 1990 was held at the home of Ramona and Gene Dangler. The original group consisted of six AOS judges: Janet Travis, Gene Dangler, Bonnie and Will Riley, Doug Beard, and Lou Lodyga.
We decided what to name the club, what types of programs would be given, who would present these programs, the possibility of having an all orchid species show with AOS judging, where to hold the meetings, as well as ways to raise money to buy orchid books and run the club. Everyone agreed that the club members would give talks and not just expect to be entertained by the other members. That night we also dealt with creating a constitution and by-laws, tax exemption status, and affiliation with the American Orchid Society.
We met at the Dangler’s house. We all threw money into a "pot" to cover the startup costs. Gene Dangler, our first president, sent out meeting notices, collected dues and maintained the roster. We all took turns giving programs as well as procuring some top notch speakers. One thing we all enjoyed was the plant table. Species from all over the world covered the tables as members talked about their plants and gave cultural advice. Members could also "silent auction" divisions of their plants, contribute to and purchase plants from our yearly auctions.
As COS membership grew, we moved into the meeting room of Christ the King Lutheran Church on Red Road. Lou Lodyga was elected our second president in 1992 & 1993. Part of our agreement with the church was that we establish some orchids on the oaks on the property. Members donated plants and helped secure them onto the trees. The orchids did great in their new location, the flowers gave much pleasure to members and churchgoers alike. Then came Category Five Hurricane Andrew! Wow! Many of the trees and orchids were destroyed. Shortly after this, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden became our new home.
Our membership continues to increase, and the COS Board has added new events to keep everyone’s interest levels high. One such event, started in 2007, is our all-species symposium. This has been an overwhelming success, and we are now planning our 5th Species Symposium for 2011. The annual June bus trip to various orchid nurseries in Florida and the annual all-species auction in the fall guarantees terrific plants and satisfied orchidists!
The 2011 - 2012 Board: