published November 7, 2011

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November Announcements

2011 MAOC Orchidist Of The Year

Congratulations goes to Karen McBride, named the Mid-America Orchid Congress Orchidist Of The Year for 2011 at our resent meeting in Milwaukee. Karen has held various offices within the Mid-America over the years and currently holds the office of Secretary for the American Orchid Society. Her, always willing to assist, attitude has been a staple every President of the Congress could count on, well as long as I can remember. Not just the President, but just about every committee chair too, especially the Ways & Means Committee. Karen’s assistance with the Congress’ auctions over the years have ranged from sitting behind the desk to assist with registration and collection of payments, running items to the auctioneer, to being one of the auctioneers on the infamous M&M auctioneering team with our Immediate Past President, Doug Martin. Another good example of Karen’s love for orchids and the Congress goes way back to the first time I met Karen. This was at the fall 1998 meeting in Lexington. I was walking around seeing if anyone needed anything as they set up their exhibits. Being Show Chair, I knew ahead of time that we had an exhibit coming from the Orchid Society of Minnesota. I was a greenhorn back then and couldn’t believe someone would come that far to put in an exhibit, now I know better. I turned the corner and here is this lady opening a suitcase and starting to pull out orchids. I immediately thought, I have seen it all now! During judging the next morning I had my first chance to see the finished exhibit. The display may have only been a small tabletop exhibit, but, my jaw dropped and I thought how did she do this exhibit with that suitcase full of plants. Well, what I found out many years later was that a small box she hadn’t opened yet with more orchids and greenery was under the table; so, the whole exhibit didn’t come out of that suitcase and wouldn’t you know it, the exhibit got an award and a couple of the plants in the exhibit got awarded also. I remember that being a great early learning experience to a few of us new to the judging program that small exhibits can be designed well and contain award quality orchids.

Karen sets an example for all of us to follow that love the Mid-America. So, on behalf of the Mid-America Orchid Congress, congratulations Karen on being named Orchidist Of The Year!

Tim Brooks




Orchid Uses Physiology and Biotechnology

Dates: 19 – 20 November 2011
Venue: University of Malaya, KL
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm

Orchid research in the Postharvest Laboratory was initiated by Prof Dr Helen Nair, a well-known personality in orchid R&D having started her work in this area in the late 1970s. Through her association with orchid experts throughout the world we are pleased to present two days of lectures by:
Invited Speakers:
• Prof. Chen Wen Huei
• Prof. Emeritus Joseph Arditti
• Dr. Teoh Eng Soon
• Prof. Wong Sek Man

Registration limited to 50 participants. For more information write: Rebecca Ow



Gladys Smith Lines

Gladys Smith Lines, of Signal Mountain, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. She was 95 years old.She was born in Ocean City, N.J. in 1916 to Samuel and Mary Smith. She moved to Signal Mountain with her husband, John in 1943. John and Gladys began Lines Orchids in 1947 where she served as secretary-treasurer.Gladys was a loving mother to her four children and a devoted wife for 65 years. She was actively involved with the life of Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church and was honored as Woman of the Year by the women of the church. Gladys was preceded in death by her mother, father, husband, John, and son, Robert Bruce Lines.She is survived by her son, John O. Lines Jr. (Cathy), of Ringgold, Ga.; daughters, Patricia Gower, of San Mateo, Calif., and Joan L. McCandless (Reed), of Signal Mountain; seven grandchildren, Matt Gower, Melissa Huber, Hunter, Sarah, Scott and Laura McCandless and Katelyn Lines.



David Miller

David Miller was a naturalist and conservationist with vision and the determination to achieve his goals. He was born in Cork on the 8th of November 1935 into an intellectual Anglo-Irish household and educated at Cheltenham College. While at college he worked with Peter Scott who was then setting up Slimbridge Wetland Centre. After a laborious training in accountancy he went to Canada in 1958, narrowly avoiding national service, and worked for Price Waterhouse. Together with his good friend, Dick Martin, he made the 400 mile canoe trip in remote Canada up the Coppermine River to the Arctic following the ill-fated expedition of Sir John Franklin in 1821. Soon after he was posted to Brazil where he divided his time between work in Rio de Janeiro and nature in the small town of Muri, 75 miles north on the edge of original forest. Here he cultivated some orchids which were, in those days sold by children on the roadside; the start of what would become one of his passions.

Back in Rio de Janeiro, two events shaped his life. First, after a St. Patrick’s Day party, he was shot by a bad-tempered drunk, the bullet passing through his lung and grazing the pericardium. He recalled lying on a marble slab with fountains of blood shooting out of his chest when he coughed. And second, after an altercation with his superior, he left Price Waterhouse later to set up a successful consulting company with his then partner, Judith.

Lingering in a bar in Muri he overheard a conversation about a piece of forest that a company was wanting to offload. After walking the old hunters’ paths, he fell in love with what proved to be mostly original montane forest. He bought it, a road was bulldozed out and a small hillock levelled to build the house which became known as Sitio Bacchus. From the start, conservation rather than exploitation was the objective and with his friend from childhood, Dick Warren, he built an ecotourism study centre based on orchids and birds. Their first group was of three people whose combined ages came to 228 and when they met the group at the airport their first thought was ‘body bags’. However the oldies ran their guides ragged, insisting on their last night, after tramping the forests for two weeks, on seeing a football match, visiting a churrascaria and, in the early hours, a samba club, leaving their younger hosts exhausted.

In the early 1980s Miller heard of a property up for sale from squatters which included the headwaters of the idyllic Rio dos Flores. After extensive negotiations he bought the 300 hectares valley and, knowing its vulnerability, defended it on two fronts. Firstly he encouraged the Rio de Janeiro Botanic Garden to base some of their definitive Mata Atlantica Project there at no cost to them and secondly he persuaded two like minded conservationists to buy the land either side – to the south 1500 hectares of the River Macaé headwaters and to the north another 800 hectares, the Pirineus Valley. This created a protected area of 2600 hectares of largely original forest which is still intact 30 years later.

However, conservation was not without problems. Frequently real estate agents would appear slyly with an unsuspecting client and attempt to sell them his land. And once, two policemen cleared some land and built a small hut in the Rio dos Flores valley and when questioned, they flashed their badges, at the same time showing their guns. These cases all had to be dealt with in law courts which cost time and money. A crucial turning point came when greedy locals decided to sell of plots of land to build a condominium. This would have entailed a road being driven through the conservation area threatening all the reserves. On this occasion the protests were international and hundreds of faxes (pre-e-mail) landed on the Minister of the Environment’s desk from Europe, America and Australia, causing him to reverse the decision which had allowed the condominium construction to go ahead.

Meanwhile, with his photographer wife Izabel and Dick Warren, work was progressing on the first of three orchid books; books that researched and finally described over 600 species, each in their own habitats - a feat which few others have achieved. These books have proved of great value to growers since they describe the exact conditions under which these very particular plants grow. The most recent work ‘The Organ Mountain Range, Its History and Its Orchids’ is of 541 pages and was described thus in the Orchid Digest ‘This book will stand as a monument to a handful of enthusiastic orchid lovers who realized that conservation only needs a few committed people to achieve worthwhile goals.’

David Miller was generous, always encouraging interested students to research his forest at no cost to them. The fruits of this kindness are in the scores of new species these students have discovered: bromeliads, begonias, philodendrons, even trees and, of course, orchids. The many hundreds who visited Sitio Bacchus will remember his knowledge, his humour, the prodigious memory for stories, poetry and songs. It was typical, as he left the house for the last time to go to hospital, that he walked out reciting perfectly a somewhat dubious limerick.

He was married twice. His first wife, Barbara Temperley, died in 1981. He is survived by Izabel and a daughter, Janine.