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 decided to form 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 created a constitution and by-laws, tax exemption status, and affiliation with the American Orchid Society.
Gene Dangler was our first president. 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. This continues today.
As COS membership grew, we moved into the meeting room of Christ the King Lutheran Church on Red Road, where we established some donated orchids on the oaks on the property. The orchids did great in their new location, the flowers gave much pleasure to everyone. Then came Category Five Hurricane Andrew! Many of the trees and orchids were destroyed. Shortly after this, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden became our new home, where COS has met ever since.
Our membership continues to increase, and the COS Board adds new events each year to keep everyone’s interest levels high, including group trips to international orchid shows, and bus trips to orchid nurseries throughout Florida. COS is also involved in local orchid restoration efforts with both private and public organizations.
The 2019-2020 Board: