Youth Orchid Show Exhibits

What can the AOS do to interest the youth of today in orchids? That is the question that has been consistently addressed by the Education Committee of the AOS.

In this article I want to tell you about Elizabeth and Julia Borne of the Central Louisiana Orchid Society (CLOS) who were very involved in participating in the Fall CLOS show this past October. Elizabeth and Julia are the 11 year old twin daughters of Eron and Anna Borne who have been encouraging them to be involved in the orchid hobby. Eron has been a long time member of the CLOS and is very involved in their society, currently serving as Vice-President. I first met Julia and Elizabeth at a previous CLOS orchid show in Alexandria, LA two years ago. They were outgoing and eager to help in any way they could. I was delighted that they were still interested in orchids and this time participating in the 2015 show!

The Central Louisiana Orchid Society had a very successful fall show on Oct. 2-3, 2015. They rented billboards around Alexandria and had a record turnout! They had a variety of activities for children: a Kid’s Corner and an educational exhibit created by Julia and Elizabeth, 2 youth exhibits with trophies, and Eron’s girls helped other societies and vendors unload, carry in their plants, and sell.

Eron’s two girls spearheaded and pioneered the first Kid's Corner for a CLOS show, and it was well attended. They provided orchid coloring pages, mazes, as well as made their own Orchid Hunt. They referred to the articles at for ideas and directions. The Orchid Hunt was very well received! (See references #1 #3, #6 #8 and the Kid’s Corner menu at

Both 11 year old girls also entered their very own exhibit. Elizabeth entered hers in the new Youth Category in the SWROGA schedule. The orchids in Elizabeth’s exhibit were all her plants. She won the Best Youth Exhibit trophy and earned 8 ribbons: 5 blue and 3 red. One of her plants also won the Best Small Flower in the Miscellaneous Genera Trophy.

The CLOS added a new Youth Exhibit Trophy to their show schedule. Here is the language for its entry in the Judging section at the beginning of the schedule:

“Youth Exhibit. Exhibitor must be under 18 years of age. The exhibit may consist of plants, cut flowers or collectibles. Items used in the exhibit should be from the household of the youth.”

They also added the "Best Youth Exhibit. (Trophy)" entry under the 900 series classes where it list all the exhibits.)

Julia entered her exhibit in the Novice category, and she won the Best Novice Exhibit trophy and 12 ribbons. She got 5 blue, 5 red, and 2 yellow ribbons. One of her plants entered in the main CLOS exhibit won the Best Dendrobium Flower trophy.

Elizabeth and Julia also won the Best Educational Exhibit trophy for their joint educational exhibit titled "What Makes an Orchid an Orchid," and Elizabeth stayed and clerked her first show!

When I asked Eron about the girls’ orchid plants, he said, “Their orchid plants all grow together in my one greenhouse, and they help with their care. They enjoy helping with watering and repotting and learning the basics of orchid growing. Every year for their birthday and Christmas, I let them pick out a favorite orchid from books, catalogs, or online to buy them for these occasions. In addition, they get to pick out any raffle plants we win at our local society meetings and always a favorite orchid at each show they attend. They now each have many plants that are marked as "theirs" and they are very proud of them when they bloom.”

Every year, Elizabeth and Julia help Eron present when he does his presentations to their orchid society. After watching Eron create his own PowerPoint presentations, Elizabeth is making her very own PowerPoint presentation. Eron was very excited when she said she wanted to do one and he encouraged her to go for it! She is eager to present it at one of their upcoming meetings.

This is the kind of wonderful participation the AOS Education committee hoped for when starting the Kid’s Corner project. It is our goal to motivate and educate today’s youth to grow, appreciate, and conserve the diverse world of orchids. That the Bornes are sharing their love of orchids with their girls is enriching both their lives and the world of orchids. We thank the Bornes for sharing with us and for allowing us to write about their experiences.

By: Sandra Stubbings