Orchid Restoration Work at The Ridges

The Door County Master Gardeners Association announces another free public program on Jan. 24 at 7 pm in the Collins Learning Center at Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay. The program is “Orchid Restoration at The Ridges Sanctuary” with Brian Forest, land manager of The Ridges.

In just a few months, the ridges and swales at The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor will be filled with their famous blooming native orchids. Forest will explain what is happening with the orchids under his care.

Many of the orchid species at The Ridges and in Door County have experienced significant decline in recent years due to habitat changes, land management activities, unauthorized collection and overgrazing. This decline in native orchid diversity and abundance is evident at the Ridges, but is even more so across the Midwest, which has led to an increased emphasis on orchid conservation among the scientific community.

The overarching goal of The Ridges Orchid Restoration Project is to reintroduce native orchid populations through asymbiotic seed germination techniques, with the aim to raise sufficient orchid seedlings and reintroduce them into suitable native habitats to establish plants in the wild leading to self-perpetuating colonies. The ultimate goal of this project is to promote the conservation of orchid species by advancing research on propagation methods, reintroduction success, and long term monitoring and management. All methods are being institutionalized in the staff and volunteers of The Ridges, and then shared with the North American Orchid Conservation Center, and many partners, to advance orchid propagation and restoration efforts globally.

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