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Touring the World Orchid Conference

Touring the World Orchid Conference

By: By J. PAT CARTER Associated Press Writer

MIAMI (AP) — Jim Miller, a Tallahassee videographer, is searching for the perfect orchid.
Walking the floor last week at the football field-sized World Orchid Conference — a once-every-three-years event that gathers the finest plants from around the world — there are plenty of contenders. Many of the blossoms here have rarely been seen in this country, and some from Japan are considered art forms there.
Winning an award at the orchid show can make royalty of top growers, and it’s a potential shopping spree for the public.
Kay Fancher of Tyler, Texas, planned a vacation with her mother around the show. On her first day, she has a half-dozen bags of plants, food and books — but says some belong to her mother.
When Miller spots the right bloom, he kneels to film it for a DVD project. He speaks with passion about his childhood tours of the Everglades, where he would often spot a dozen varieties of orchids in a day’s journey. Now, during a recent three-day venture into the Everglades, he found 20 plants total. One day, he found none at all.
A multibillion-dollar project to restore the fast-shrinking Everglades and preserve the remarkable variety of plants and wildlife that inhabit it, including rare orchids, has come to a near standstill as federal funds lag and officials re-evaluate how to move forward.
Miller shakes his head when he talks about the swampland that’s been cleared for subdivisions and big box stores. “I don’t understand,” he says.
Published in The Messenger 2.5.08

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