April 12, 2024


Downtown Doral

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, UHealth and Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School Collaborate for Conservation

In an inspiring display of community engagement and environmental stewardship, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden recently joined forces with UHealth and Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School for an educational planting event. The initiative, part of Fairchild’s Million Orchid Program, aims to preserve native orchids of South Florida from extinction while fostering a deeper connection to nature within local communities.

Inspired by Singapore’s visionary “City In A Garden” project, which seamlessly integrates nature into urban landscapes, Fairchild’s Million Orchid Program endeavors to do the same for South Florida. By planting native orchids in public spaces, the program seeks to create vibrant, sustainable ecosystems that benefit both wildlife and residents alike.

Students from second to fifth grade at Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School eagerly participated in the planting, under the guidance of Dr. Jason Downing, affectionately known as “Dr. Orchid.” As a leading expert on native orchid species in South Florida, Dr. Downing provided invaluable insights into orchid care and cultivation. He shared with the students the longevity of these magnificent plants, some of which can thrive for over 50 years, instilling a sense of responsibility and appreciation for nature’s wonders.

Adding a special touch to the event, Dr. Downing introduced a native orchid species from South America, honoring the school’s strong Latin connection. Students marveled at the plant’s beauty and significance, eager to learn more about its origins and conservation status.

The planting event was made possible through the generous sponsorship of UHealth, a testament to their commitment to preserving all forms of life and engaging in community enrichment. Volunteers from UHealth joined students in planting over 150 orchids, contributing to Fairchild’s ambitious goal of reaching one million planted orchids.

But the collaboration didn’t end there. Students were provided with seedlings by UHealth to take home, empowering them to continue their conservation efforts beyond the school grounds. This hands-on experience not only deepened their understanding of environmental conservation but also inspired them to become stewards of the natural world.

Looking ahead, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has ambitious plans for further orchid plantings in Downtown Doral. A ceremonial planting event, also sponsored by UHealth, is scheduled for May 31, 2024, along Paseo Boulevard, symbolizing Downtown Doral’s dedication to conservation and sustainability. Mayor Christi Fraga and other city officials are invited to be in attendance, marking a significant milestone in the city’s journey towards becoming a true “Downtown In A Garden.”

The collaboration between Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School, UHealth, and the broader community exemplifies the power of collective action in preserving and celebrating our natural heritage. By nurturing native orchids and cultivating a culture of environmental stewardship, we not only ensure the survival of these magnificent plants but also create a greener, more resilient future for generations to come.