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The Orchid Digest is a
non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Fifteenth Orchid Digest Speakers Day

Saturday, June 10, 2017
12:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Ahmanson Classroom, Botanical Building
Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
San Marino, CA

Orchids from Around the World


Cindy Hill
“My Top Ten Favorite Species Orchids and How I Grow Them”

Alan Koch
“Sarcochilus: Past, Present and a New Direction”

Harold Koopowitz
“Orchids in Northern Thailand”

Dennis Whigham
“Native Orchids: Ecology and Conservation”

Ernest Hetherington Distinguished Lecture:
Ken Cameron
“Vanilla, Orchid Evolution, & the Genomic Revolution”

Scheduled Vendors include:
Andy’s Orchids, Cal Orchid, Gold Country Orchids, and Sunset Valley Orchids

Tickets: $65 ($80 at the door) for afternoon seminars, live auction,
wine and cheese happy hour, dinner and evening entertainment.
Space is limited so don’t wait to buy your ticket!

Online registration in now closed,
for late registration please contact Simone Friend at. (562) 431-1247.



Cynthia Hill
“My Top Ten Favorite Orchids and How I Grow Them”

Love of nature has been the common thread in Cindy’s life and work. After majoring in Biology at Lawrence University, she worked in a research lab at Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, studying kidney disease. She went on to represent a research radiochemicals company, Amersham, in six states in the Midwest. She moved to San Diego to be product manager at Hybritech, a start-up that was among the first to make monoclonal antibodies for research and clinical use. She later lived in Hong Kong, working at Ocean Park on special projects in the Veterinary and Education department. Paddling in an expat women’s dragonboat, her team went on to win a roast suckling pig, and the 1994 women’s dragonboat championship in Victoria Harbor.

Cindy has been growing orchids for pleasure for over 40 years, beginning on a kitchen windowsill in St. Louis with a mail-order plant of Slc. Jewel Box ‘Scheherazade’. When she moved to Southern California in 1978, she started growing plants outdoors on a small patio, and then in a 7’x7’ lean-to greenhouse. Now living in the Bay Area since 2005, she grows around 500 species orchids in an intermediate greenhouse. Cindy served as Acting Editor of Orchid Digest magazine for five years, and has been a long-time member of the Publication Committee of both ORCHIDS Magazine and Orchid Digest. Her articles have appeared in both magazines, as well as in Die Orchideen. She has a special interest in propagating some of the rare and unusual species in her collection. Plants she has cultivated have received the highest cultural and flower quality awards from the American Orchid Society, as well as the Benjamin Kodama and Carlyle A. Luer Annual Awards from the AOS.

Cindy's presentation will be: "My Top Ten Favorite Orchids and How I Grow Them”.  This is a personal tour of the orchids that she has found most rewarding to grow over the decades, including species from the genus Coelogyne, Laelia, Dendrobium, Cochlioda, Cleisocentron, Neofinetia and Schoenorchis. Maybe you will meet a plant or two here that will become your favorite, too!

Alan Koch
“Sarchochilus: Past, Present and a New Direction”

Alan Koch owns and operates Gold Country Orchids where he specializes in miniature and compact Cattleyas.  Alan started growing orchids in 1969 with three Cymbidiums that an aunt gave to him.  While in college he became interested in other orchids and discovered many would grow outdoors in Southern California.  He has moved five times as his orchid obsession has led to the need for more growing space.  With the last move, he purchased 10 acres of land in Lincoln, California for his 250,000 orchids.  He is recognized as an expert in the Brazilian Cattleya alliance and a trendsetter in miniature compact and Cattleya breeding.  Alan has been published in the Orchid Digest, ORCHIDS Magazine, as well as many international publications.  He has also been published in several proceedings of the World Orchid Conference.  An internationally known speaker, he is a past member of the AOS Judging Committee, the Research Committee, as well as an Accredited Judge and is Training Coordinator for the California Sierra Nevada Judging Center.  Alan also served two terms on the Orchid Digest Executive Committee and three terms on the Board of Directors, as well as two terms as a Trustee for the AOS.

Harold Koopowitz
“The Orchids of Northern Thailand”

Harold Koopowitz grew up in South Africa where he attended university, majoring in both Botany and Zoology. He then completed a doctorate at UCLA in California in 1968. A professor at the University of California, Irvine since graduating, he was also the Director of the UCI Arboretum for twenty years. He is now Professor Emeritus of Biology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCI, where he did research on conservation and ecology. He is Editor Emeritus for the Orchid Digest that he edited for ten years and still works on the editorial committee of that journal.

He gardens in Tustin, Orange County, California and is well known internationally for breeding both Slipper Orchids and Miniature Daffodils. Harold has written over a hundred scientific papers and book chapters. He has also authored eight books. His most recent orchid book is Tropical Slipper Orchids, and he is currently working on several new books, including Topics on Slipper Orchids and The Autumn Flowering Daffodils.

He also writes novels and short stories that have orchid themes. Orchid Tales is a compendium of short stories all featuring the characters George and Matilda. Diamonds and Disas is his first full-length adventure novel. He is currently working on a new novel George and the Emerald Orchid. All proceeds from these novels go to fund the Orchid Digest.

Harold has been honored by being a recipient of the Herbert Medal from the International Bulb Society; the Orchid Digest Medal for meritorious service to orchids; the Ralph B. White Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society for innovations in daffodil breeding; the Gold Medal from the American Daffodil Society and the Gold Medal from the American Orchid Society as well as the Westonbirt Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society for outstanding achievement with orchids. He is a well-known lecturer on the orchid circuit.

Dennis Whigham
Native Orchids: Ecology and Conservation”

Dennis Whigham is a Senior Botanist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Founding Director of the North American Orchid Conservation Center. His primary interest has been in the ecology of plants, and his research has resulted in journeys through forests, fields and wetlands around the world. Explorations have lead to studies of woodland herbs – including orchids, vines, wetland species, invasive species and studies of forests in the tropics, temperate and boreal zones. In recent years, studies of interactions between orchids and fungi have lead to new and exciting directions. Whigham’s current research projects focus on the role of wetlands associated with juvenile salmon habitat in Alaska headwater streams; the rarest terrestrial orchid in eastern North America; and an invasive wetland species that is rapidly expanding across the country. 

His current passion is to establish the North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC), an initiative of the Smithsonian and the United States Botanic Garden. NAOCC’s mission is to secure the genetic diversity of native orchids for future generations. The NAOCC model for orchid conservation is based on public-private collaborations, and there are currently more than forty collaborating organizations distributed across the continent from Florida to Alaska.

Whigham obtained an undergraduate degree from Wabash College and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina.  He joined the Smithsonian in 1977. Whigham and his collaborators have published more than 250 articles in journals and books and he has co-edited 10 books.

Ernest Hetherington Distinguished Lecture

Ken Cameron
“Vanilla, Orchid Evolution, & the Genomic Revolution”

Ken Cameron received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996 under the supervision of Dr. Mark Chase, with whom he spent a year at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. From 1998-2008 he served as a research scientist at The New York Botanical Garden, where he was Director of the Molecular Systematics Laboratory, then later joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Professor of Botany and Director of the Wisconsin State Herbarium, a collection of more than 1.3 million specimens. In addition to being recognized as the first biologist to use DNA sequence data to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the entire orchid family, Ken is considered the world authority on the systematics of the orchid subfamily Vanilloideae. His research on Vanilla and its relatives was recognized as the most outstanding paper delivered at the 1996 annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists and also by the structural section of the Botanical Society of America in the same year. In 2011 Timber Press commissioned him to published Vanilla Orchids: Natural History and Cultivation. His orchid research has been featured within magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, as well as on television (HGTV & NOVA) and radio. Dr. Cameron has been invited to deliver keynote lectures at various botanical meetings, including the 17th World Orchid Conference in Malaysia, 1st Andean Orchid Conference in Ecuador, and 50th Mid-America Orchid Congress in Nashville, TN. In 2014 he was recognized by the American Society of Plant Taxonomist with the Peter Raven Award for Exceptional Botanical Outreach.  Dr. Cameron has published more than 75 papers in the area of orchid systematics, and four of his five current doctoral students are also researching aspects of orchid biology.