SFOS Conservation Committee

The San Francisco Orchid Society Conservation Committee was established in 2012 to support projects that contribute to the conservation of orchids and orchid habitat, both are objectives part of the founding principles of the SFOS. Any member of the SFOS is invited and welcome to participate; the Conservation Committee currently has about 12 members. Our approach is closely based on the plan of the San Diego County Orchid Society, which has in the last 20 years raised more funds to support orchid conservation than any other similar organization in the country.

Our business plan has three stages.

  1. We will sell plants donated by members of the society, by vendors, or by others in the orchid community – i.e. an orchid bake sale – at our society’s annual spring orchid show, the Pacific Orchid Exposition (POE), as well as at the fall show, Orchids in the Park. Sales will occur again this year at the 2018 POE. Conservation sales will be available at the Member Sales Area.
  2. All funds raised from these efforts will be set aside for orchid conservation. We will solicit grant requests from researchers, scientists, orchid specialists from around the world, and carefully consider their goals, budget, and how well their project meshes with our mission.
  3. We will award grants to worthwhile individuals and institutions, with the understanding that they will provide a summary report to the Society at the end of the project. One hundred percent of funds raised by the Conservation Committee will go to support conservation of orchids in the wild.


Fundraising involves obtaining donated plants, caring for plants, and selling plants. We ask the SFOS membership at society meetings and through our newsletter for their extra plants and divisions, explaining the purpose for which we are raising money. Plants may also come from the estate of a member who is deceased, from a member who is no longer interested in maintaining their collection, from the residual plants of an orchid nursery closure, and the extra plants from members who are orchid breeders and have more seedlings than they know what to do with. Most donations are brought directly to the SFOS sales booth at the show; however we will accept donations whenever offered. Volunteers care for them until our next sale. You will find the conservation committee plants for sale in the Members Sales Area at the Pacific Orchid Exposition. They will be specially marked, and each plant will have one of our lilac colored plant stakes as well. Please support our efforts by donating plants, and by purchasing plants at the show. The member sales area is staffed by volunteer salespeople. We will also sell plants at Orchids in the Park in the fall. While most plants are sold outright, but we may also raffle off larger specimen plants. We aim to ensure that plants sold for conservation purposes are healthy and will do well for their new owner. The SFOS also accepts cash donations earmarked for conservation efforts.

If you would like to donate plants, please use our conservation committee specific labels, they will help identify the conservation plants. (link here to Mark’s labels)


We will solicit and review grant applications once a year. 2017 deadline TBA.


Once received, applications will be distributed to the members of the Conservation Committee in advance of our award meeting. Applications include a one-page summary of the project, a budget, a resume for the principal researcher, and a letter of recommendation from a recognized authority or institution in the orchid world. Any member of the SFOS is welcome to participate in the awards process.

Committee members grade the applications according to their individual interpretation of our guidelines. At our award meeting the grades are averaged for each grant, leading to grants which are generally most effective, grants which are generally less effective, and grants which are in the middle. The committee will then discuss the grants that have received a score in the upper half. The committee may ask for further information from the applicants or from experts in a particular field before final funding recommendations are made to our orchid society’s board of directors. Most of our grants will be in the range of $2500 or less. In many orchid-rich parts of the world, even these modest funds can help to move conservation efforts forward. Successful applicants must agree to write a report for the society, publicize their results, and acknowledge our support in their publication(s).

When considering grant criteria, we will take into account our goals:

  1. Protect orchids in the wild.
  2. Conduct studies related to orchid conservation.
  3. Educate the public about conservation in general, orchid conservation in particular, and encourage public participation.

If no submitted application reasonably meets the above criteria, we hold funds over until the next application season.