Illinois College Biology Professor Lawrence Zettler has received a $2,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help preserve the eastern prairie fringed orchid this summer.
Zettler will collect and preserve fungi that contribute to the growth of this federally threatened species, which is found in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. He plans to send the fungi to an international culture collection at the University of Alberta Microfungus and Herbarium Collection in Alberta, Canada. By safeguarding these mycorrhizal fungi through cryopreservation, it may be possible to contribute to the future recovery of this orchid species. The fungi may be used to better manage existing orchid populations and establish new orchid populations.
Illinois College’s Orchid Recovery Program was recently recognized by the State-Journal Register for their People and the Prairie Award. This honor is awarded to individuals and organizations for protecting central Illinois’ natural resources or for promoting and expanding outdoors recreational opportunities.
For more information about the Illinois College Orchid Recovery Program, visit http://www.ic.edu/orchidrecoveryprogram
Photo credit: Tim Bell