published October 8, 2012

Browse News Archive Here

Dillon-Peterson Essay Contest Deadline is November 30!

Time to sharpen up those pencils and put on your thinking caps! The deadline is approaching for the annual Gordon W. Dillon - Richard C. Peterson Memorial Essay Contest. Don't wait until the last minute. The contest is open to all persons except employees of the American Orchid Society and their immediate families. You do not need to be an AOS member.

The winner receives a cash prize and a certificate suitable for framing. The contest was established in 1985 by the AOS Northeast Judging Center to honor the memory of two former editors of the AOS Bulletin (now Orchids). Gordon Dillon served as editor from 1943 through 1968 and again from 1970 through 1973. Richard Peterson's name first appeared on the masthead of the AOS Bulletin in April 1971 as associate editor. In 1973, he was named editor and, upon Dillon's retirement in 1977, he became the executive director, retaining his position of editor through 1984.

The theme for 2012 is: The Orchids I Want But Can't Really Find (Real or Imagined). Tell us about a long-time quest for a certain species, or heirloom hybrid and whether or not you succeeded or how you plan to find it. Or let your imagination run wild and describe your ideal orchid. Membership in the American Orchid Society is not necessary to enter the contest. The deadline will be November 30, 2012. The winning entry, if any, is published in the June issue of the following year.

Contest Rules

  • The essay must be an original, unpublished article.
  • The contest is open to all persons except employees of the American Orchid Society and their immediate families.
  • Submissions must be no more than 5,000.
  • Manuscripts must be submitted in English and may be submitted electronically as MS Word or compatible word processor file.
  • Submissions will be judged without knowledge of the identity of the author. The decision of the judges is final. If no entries meet the expected criteria of excellence, the award will be withheld.
  • •Artwork is not necessary for entering this competition.
  • Nonwinning entries will be returned to the contestant if requested. Such entries are eligible for resubmission in subsequent contests. These nonwinning entries will also be considered for publication by the editor of Orchids and may be used in Orchids or other AOS publications with the written permission of the author. Published entries will not be eligible for consideration in subsequent contests.

For a list of previous winners, see

Submit entries to the Dillon/Peterson Memorial Essay Prize attn: Ron McHatton, The American Orchid Society at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, FL 33156,or via email to

Nancy Priess of Laurel Orchids once wished for a white cattleya with a green lip.
Is it possible?