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Origin Date: 2017
Riveredge has noted the disappearance of rare species due to a lack of disturbance and high whitetail deer numbers. There are only three (3) known species of orchid remaining in relatively low numbers when we formerly supported five (5). In an effort to stave losses, the Research & Conservation team has been actively inventorying sensitive plant and animal populations. This year (2017), our entire population of purple fringed orchids was surveyed and mapped with GPS equipment by our partners from Stantec, the land manager, and local ecologists. Root samples were harvested and sent to the Smithsonian to identify the exact species of fungus that colonizes the roots. This fungus is essential for the germination of seeds.
Riveredge plans to germinate these rare orchid species (from germinated seeds collected from all over the state) for a 5 years, at which time they will be planted on the Riveredge sanctuary and other sanctuaries throughout the state.
Partners: Stantec, Smithsonian, Chicago Botanic, Local Plant Ecologist (Lee Olsen)