Million Orchid Project begins;250,000 planned for city

Million Orchid Project begins;250,000 planned for city

Placing orchids and representing the City of Coral Gables are (l-r) Vice Mayor William H. Kerdyk Jr., Commissioner Pat Keon, Commissioner Vince Lago and Commissioner Frank Quesada.

In celebration of Earth Day 2014, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants, began its Million Orchid Project, the first project of its kind in the United States that will reintroduce one million native orchids to the urban landscapes of Miami-Dade County, beginning with 250,000 orchids alone in Coral Gables, over the next few years.

“Today, Earth Day in Coral Gables, is the moment when we reverse the decline in our native orchids,” said Carl Lewis, director of Fairchild Tropical Garden at the kickoff. “We’re going to continue planting orchids around Coral Gables and down Miracle Mile, and over the next five years, we’ll start to see the first flowerings.”

Approximately 100 people attended a ceremony on Tuesday, Apr. 22, which lifted city commissioners, Fairchild Garden staff and volunteers atop trees in Merrick Park across from Coral Gables City Hall to attach the orchids. The native orchids were grown at Fairchild Garden’s state-of-the-art Propagation Lab in its Science Village. The City of Coral Gables has donated $30,000 a year for the next five years to reintroduce orchids to trees, schoolyards and other public spaces in the City Beautiful. Other areas of Miami will follow.

“The common thread of these three organizations — the City of Coral Gables, Fairchild Garden and the Coral Gables Community Foundation — is to improve the quality of life for the residents of the City of Coral Gables,” said Coral Gables Vice Mayor William H. Kerdyk Jr., who championed the city’s effort as part of their “Parknership” program.

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