San Francisco Orchid Society
SFOS is a California non-profit 501(c)(3) Corporation
Gary Meyer’s interest in orchids began when he was a freshman in high school in Michigan. He had already replaced much of his dad’s beloved lawn with hundreds of perennials and North American native plants, partly in an attempt (futile, unfortunately) to attract hummingbirds. Among this plant collection were several Cypripedium species, which ignited his curiosity about orchids from other parts of the globe. He found a photograph of Masdevallia vietchiana in a library book that rendered him helpless to resist the pull to pleurothallids. Shortly thereafter, he laid eyes on a line drawing of Dracula chimaera in a J & L Orchids catalog, and has been enslaved by draculas ever since.
Gary started growing draculas in his parents’ basement in 1990, with some degree of success. However, college, then medical school, and finally graduate school became unavoidable distractions for him. By the time he finished his Ph.D. in neuroscience in 2003, he thought he had managed to completely kick the orchid addiction.
In February 2003, Gary moved from Ann Arbor, MI to San Francisco, CA, and within two weeks of his arrival, found himself face to face with a pure yellow Dracula gorgona xanthina (owned by John Leathers) at the Pacific Orchid Exposition. The addiction was immediately revived, stronger than ever. Eighteen years later, Gary now maintains several hundred dracula plants (along with a reasonable dose of masdevallias, lepanthes, cyrtochilums, and anguloas) in his greenhouse in Pacifica, CA.
Gary has been travelling to Colombia and Ecuador since 2005 to observe draculas in the wild and visit collections of South American dracula growers. He lives two to three months per year in Medellin, Colombia to facilitate his field explorations. Gary also put his scientific background to work on dracula by studying the molecular taxonomy of the genus with Ken Cameron, Ph.D., director of the herbarium at the University of Wisconsin, and continues to describe new species and relocate lost species in conjunction with his South American colleagues.
By day, Gary is the Director of Clinical Analytics at IntrinsiQ Specialty Solutions, where he studies how US cancer patients are treated with pharmaceuticals. Gary also runs Colombian Orchid Imports, which imports orchid species from Colombia for sale in the United States.
Gary’s talk, Dracuphilia: A Gothic Romance, will cover the history of the genus dracula, distribution of species, concepts in taxonomy and biology, and Gary’s orchid explorations in the wild. The talk will additionally delve into the often conflicting effects of human interest on orchid conservation.
(...continued on page 4.)
IN-PERSON MEETINGS RETURN
7pm Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021,
at San Francisco County Fair Building (Hall of Flowers).
6.30pm for AOS judging.
AND virtual meeting via Zoom.
Zoom password is:
More details on page 3
Welcome new members!
Kevin Jim, Dyann Blaine, Tom Merics, Sam Nelson, Barbara Scrafford, Mishi Nova, Ron Ludwig, Peter Wilson, Melinda Nestlerode, & Sally Ottoson
AOS judging: Pac Central JC meets 1st Tuesday night (6:30pm at SFOS meeting) & on the 3rd Sat morning each month (9am at Filoli Gardens in Woodside); for more info contact James Heilig (email@example.com)
CA Sierra Nevada JC (CSNJC) has resumed indoor judging 1st Weds night each month in conjunction with Sacramento OS meetings at Oddfellows Hall, 1831 Howe Ave; plant entry begins at 6pm. For more info contact Lynne Murrell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GARY MEYER, Ph.D.
Dracuphilia: A Gothic Romance
8pm Tuesday, November 2nd
IN PERSON and via Zoom
For over 70 years the SFOS mission has been to foster the culture and conservation of orchids and to promote education of its members and the public about orchids. Our goals include: an exchange of information from exhibitions, publications, and the Internet, maintenance of a reference library, and participation in worldwide activities.
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2021- Volume 70 Number 10/11
In-person meetings return! Welcome back to the Hall of Flowers!
We are delighted to welcome vaccinated members back to in-person meetings at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. To protect one another, please be prudent: wear your mask, and stay away if you're feeling ill.
Please bring your plants for the in-person Show and Tell!
Please do keep an eye on your email for updates. We hope very much to see everyone in person, but if local circumstances change we may need to return to exclusively virtual meetings.
Tips for the Virtual Meeting on Zoom
We will still be holding Zoom versions of our meetings to maintain access for unvaccinated members, and for those who have preferred the virtual format.
PLEASE RSVP for the Zoom meeting via our website (www.orchidsanfrancisco.org)and rather than just calling in, everyone is encouraged to either use the weblink or download the Zoom app ahead of the meeting to be able to better see and share the video content.
For the virtual show and tell send pics ahead of time to share - send up to3 show and tell pics by email to Lynne Murrell (email@example.com) by no later than the day before the meeting, though sooner is of course better to give her more time to prepare!
The link to join the meeting is: https://zoom.us/j/2093634933
The following devices all will work: Desktop computer, PC or Mac, Tablets, Cell Phones. If the device has a camera and a microphone you can use it.
Sometimes your PC may not have a microphone and in that case you can still use the computer and monitor and call in on the phone with the phone number - but make sure to turn off the computer speakers to avoid static feedback.
October/November 2021 - Volume 70 Number 10/11
From the President
Good news - despite many hurdles we successfully resumed our first “post-pandemic” hybrid in-person / Zoom monthly meeting at the SF County Fair Building “Hall of Flowers” in Golden Gate Park on September 7th including AOS Pacific Central judging. Thank you to all that attended and helped, especially Dennis Olivas who was our first onsite speaker and provider of a live plant opportunity table since April 2020.
I put post-pandemic in quotes to note that though the world has made great strides pretty quickly to control the morbidity of the virus, we are far from finished with SARS-CoV-2. So as with this first meeting, until the city ordinances are changed, our indoor meetings and events now must incorporate COVID-19 safety protocols including mandatory proof of vaccination, masking, infection control and social distancing efforts. We need your cooperation to make this work - please do your part let by complying when attending our in-person meetings and events - and err on the side of safety by not risking exposure of others if you think you could possibly be exposed or infectious. We also ask that you RSVP for Zoom vs in-person to help us better plan for each part of the meetings.
In September I was able to take a long awaited first trip to Africa with my husband Joe and cousin Sharon. Given we are still living in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic with weekly fluctuating flares of viral variants and consequential shifting rules for travel quarantines, it was a challenging time for travel. But despite many additional COVID-related procedures we were able to visit Tanzania, Kenya, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and South Africa, and still able to return home on October 5th in time for me to attend the SFOS members’ meeting that night and hear Chaunie Langland talk about what’s involved in entering your plant for AOS orchid judging.
We also have resolved the Jack Ryder embezzlement case now that he was sentenced with grand theft at his October 13th hearing in the SF Superior Court, after finally back the money stolen (over $100,000) plus another $25,000 in interest/damages. Though we tried to make the case for a felony charge, he only ended up receiving a misdemeanor conviction. We were told by the DAs office that this was what would be achievable in San Francisco court at least, given it was his first documented offense, was non-violent in nature, and under a million dollars stolen. Mary Gerritsen, Tom Perlite, George McRae and I were present at the hearing and provided the court with our impact statements, which are also printed in this newsletter. Though somehow he is still allowed to handle multi-million dollar sales as a licensed realtor at Compass realty (https://www.compass.com/agents/jack-ryder/), and is likely the reason he was able to finally get the money to pay us back when he was ready to do so, I hope having these statements made public allows this information to live on in a way they continue to have an impact, and help prevent other non-profits (or for profit businesses) from putting Jack Ryder on a Board or in a position of any financial responsibility that could enable him to commit these crimes again beyond the one year probationary period where he is forbidden by the court order to seek or accept such positions.
Are you still considering joining us on the SFOS Floriade trip May 29 - June 7, 2022 to the Netherlands and Belgium? Contact Sandy Lipkowitz directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 931-1945, mention SFOS - she is offering a $250 discount.
Are you on the show committee or otherwise helping us out with our major event of the year? Orchid Masquerade - POE 2022 will be our 69th Annual show, taking place February 25-27 including a Preview Night on Thursday February 24th. We have now sufficient commitments from vendors and other key stakeholders to make this happen, while still working on contingency plans in case the pandemic flares and disrupts the event.
With passion and hope for a better future around the corner ...
Monthly Show & Tell Table
Members took pictures of their blooming plants & growspaces
Dracula cordobae, Roberta Fox
We will do a virtual Show & Tell each month during the SFOS meeting.
If you would like to participate you may send a max. of 3 pictures/videos ahead of time to email@example.com
Cattleya Mem. Dina Izumi, Lynne Murrell
Masdevallia chaparensis 'Rip-Hoff', Dave Hermeyerr
Cattleya purpurata var carnea, Qiming Yang
(...continued from page 1.)
A chance to win $20 gift certificates to redeem for orchids from Tiny Jungle in Daly City for virtual attendees and for in-person attendees, live blooming-sized orchids - for members "in good standing"
Vanda Omar Padron, Dale Martin
Aeranthes ramosa, Tanya Lam
Gongora galeata var luteola 'Christian', Susan Anderson
Procatavola Golden Peacock, Qiming Yang
Cattleya forbesii aurea form, Judy Carney
Bulbophyllum orthosepalum, Dale Martin
Bulbophyllum fritillariflorum 'Rogue Reptile', Dale Martin 0921
Bulbophyllum grandiflorum 'Leonard's Leopard', Dale Martin
Cochleanthes discolor 'Lil Severin', Jeffrey Doney
Phalaenopsis bellina, Judy Carney
Cymbidium ensifolium, Winnie Wang
Robiquetia cerina, Susan Anderson
Bulbophyllum eberhardtii 'Okayama' CHM-AOS , Dale Martin
Gastrorchis humblotii, Lynne Murrell
Maxillaria scalariformis, Lynne Murrell
Warczatoria Lafontaine, Dale Martin
Phalaenopsis Samera, Susan Anderson
Laelia tenebrosa, Renate Johnson
Paphiopedilum Yang ji Hawk, Dale Martin
Lc Sunset Constellation, Lisa Perla
Ornithophora radicans, Roberta Fox
Blc Sea God Gold 'Troisieme', Dale Martin
Rangaeris amaniensis, Jeff Harris
Miltonia Juicy Fruit, Tanya Lam
Yamadaara Sammie Evans, Andrea Laudate
Epidendrum porpax, Judy Carney
Ornithophora radicans Plant , Roberta Fox
Burrageara Nellis Isler ' Swiss Beauty', Debra Vails-Qualters
Phalaenopsis Krull's red Dragon, Dale Martin
Habenaria rhodocheila 'Cardinal's Roost', Tanya Lam
Coelogyne monilirachis, Kay Klumb
Those of you who have the luxury of living in a climate where tropical orchids can remain outside through the winter cannot imagine the brow-furrowing vexations endured by those of us who have to sequester our orchid collections to safety before the winter season. Not only is every square inch of windowsill or greenhouse bench space already spoken for, many orchid nurseries choose this time of year to advertise lower prices and bargains. After all, many of them need to pack up for the winter too. I learned long ago that I cannot resist an orchid sale so my windowsills and benches will always be filled beyond capacity through the inclement weather.
This is the kind of obsession that many of us share. Some would call it passion, others pathology. However, due to our fascination with the outrageous diversity displayed in the tens of thousands of orchid species and the never-ending array of spectacular and easy to grow hybrids, we must resign ourselves to slavishly devoting hours of our personal time, and dedicating vast amounts of space and financial resources to our collections. Are we insane? Well, if so, we are in good company. Some extremely respectable individuals (not I, of course) are secret orchid growers. You would never know it if you saw them at work or on the street. They seem normal enough, with respectable careers, devoted spouses and above-average children. But we know that we are living on the edge, seized by an uncontrollable mania that immerses us in that beautiful and mesmerizing world of orchids. If you have not yet reached capacity, what are you waiting for?
Alternative way to mount Orchids
THREE MONTHLY AOS ORCHID JUDGINGS are Now Available:
Please bring a mask, and respect Social Distancing.
Pacific Central Judging Center– 1st Tuesday of each month, during the regularly SFOS monthly meeting at the Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park; Next judging is Nov 2, 7pm.
AND the 3rdSaturday of each monthat Filoli Historic House & Garden, 86 Canada Road, Woodside CA.NEXT Judging is Sat. October 16, 9:00AM.
Questions? Contact James Heiligheiligja@msu.edu
California Sierra Nevada Judging Center’s(CSNJC) returns to judging indoors in conjunction with the Sacramento Orchid Society’s monthly meeting: WEDNESDAY NOV 3. Plant entry begins at 6:00PMat Oddfellows Hall, 1831 Howe Avenue, Sacramento.
Questions? Contact Lynne Murrell:firstname.lastname@example.org
Until we meet again, hopefully SOON, stay healthy and Happy Growing.
NOTEWORTHY: Even though the CENTENNIAL SHOW has been postponed, the 2021 Fall Members Meeting will be held as a virtual event Saturday, October 30, 11:30 AM PST
Check in to learn the latest about what’s happening in the American Orchid Society!
* Town Hall & Meeting of the Members including a State of the Organization Report
* AOS Projects & Innovations
* Committee Reports
* Introducing New Judging Personnel and Status Elevations…and more!
Fall Members Meeting Registration
Registration Required: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2448907481855582733
In Case You Have Not Heard:Due to COVID concerns,the AOS 2021 Centennial Celebration has been rescheduled for April 6th - 9th, 2022.All events and activities which were to take place October 27th - 30th, 2021 will now happen in April, at The Biltmore in Coral Gables FL.Watch for updates!
Don’t forget to REGISTER for these FREE upcoming webinars, so AOS can send you the LINK to join:
To register go to:http://www.aos.org/orchids/webinars.aspx
Can’t make it on the scheduled date or time? We digitize the webinars and they are available to view at your leisure.
Attendees: Jeff Harris, Cori Majewski, Alie Fishman, Faye Rabino, Dave Hermeyer, Hana Hardy, Heidi Arno, Geoff Harris, Lynne Murrell, Yujin Kim
Absent: Beth McDowell, Stuart Menaker
Zoom Board meeting called to order: (7:05pm)
President's update: Jeff
Embezzlement Case Update:
As of Tuesday October 5th we have received full repayment from Jack Ryder - i.e.: balance of "principal owed" ($113,481.88) based on the amount stolen that could be documented by the independent SF police inspector audit, plus $25,000.00 in interest/damages).
Jack Ryder’s plea hearing before the California Superior Court (Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant Street in San Francisco) is now scheduled for 9:00 am on Wednesday, October 13th in Department 23 (Criminal Division) to determine if he will be sentenced with a felony or misdemeanor for grand theft. We will be able to provide the judge with impact statements; so far I have forwarded the 3 statements submitted to me (by Tom Perlite, Mary Gerritsen and George McRae) along with my own statement to Colin Alexander at the DA’s office. See drafts of all 4 impact statements (at the end of newsletter).
Per the Assistant District Attorney (Colin Alexander) who has been handling our case, the judge will likely take the bench around 10:00 a.m. We are able to attend the live hearing in person, but given the ongoing issues around COVID-19 and recommended social distancing measures, we are encouraged to attend “virtually” using the “Zoom meeting” link provided.
Treasurer’s report: Faye
August & September 2021 finance reports
Alie moved to approve the finance report. Geoff seconds.
Began discussion of accounting plans for handling of the Jack Ryder payments - to be continued next month since final payments were made in October.
VP’s update: Cori
Nov 2 - Gary Meyer - Dracuphilia: A Gothic Romance; opportunity table still in the works.
Dec 7 - Paul Bourbin - Caring for Disa’s - short talk / skills session and Show & Tell as usual at other meetings - start at 7pm without a potluck/dinner, working on getting plants & gift certificates for all attendees; Alie also recommended offering a “White Elephant” style optional plant/gift exchange.
Jan 4 - Nicholas Rust - An Introduction into the Wild World of Jewel Orchids
SFOS visit to Tiny Jungle in Daly City
Saturday Nov 7 from 10am - 1pm; $10 admission/donation to SFOS required to attend; plants will be available (donated by TJ) for raffle to attendees - and all are encouraged to shop; note that the online gift certificates we have given out to members at the monthly opportunity tables are for use on Tiny Jungle/Let’s Talk Plants Etsy website only, and will NOT be accepted for discounts on purchases made at this live event.
Membership update: Heidi
Welcomed 10 new members since August: Kevin Jim, Dyann Blaine, Tom Merics, Sam Nelson, Barbara Scrafford, Mishi Nova, Ron Ludwig, Peter Wilson, Melinda Nestlerode & Sally Ottoson. Oct 5th meeting attendance (~25 people attended the in-person meeting and another ~43 on Zoom); Heidi working on getting new name badges made for the 130+ new SFOS members who have joined since April 2020; Sam Wantman offered to assist Heidi with the Avery name tag/label templates used for printing.
Newsletter editor update: Jeff/Beth/Yujin
Yujin Kim has volunteered to take over from Beth, who regrettably needed to step down from the role; next issue will be a combo Oct/Nov issue emailed out on October 20th. Note we are only including a subset of Show & Tell photos, but all are viewable online at the website. Thank you to both Beth and Yujin for their time and efforts. You can contact Yujin for SFOS related business including newsletter content at email@example.com
2021 donation(s) in honor of Jean Lee will be made to City College (CCSF), Helen Crocker Russell Horticultural Library, as well as SF Conservatory of Flowers. Jeff to follow up with Sherry Bridygham to inquire about steps involved to contribute to the CCSF fund she is already setting up with help from Tom Perlite.
POE 2022 SHOW COMMITTEE next meeting - Monday October 18th at 7pm by Zoom
Discussed and supported putting in a display as requested at the upcoming Filoli 2022 “abbreviated orchid exhibit” - email from Jim Salyards (Director of Horticulture) requesting interest in participation - proposed set up on Friday, January 28 and take down on Monday, February 7; San Francisco Orchid Society in the Kitchen, Santa Clara Valley Orchid Society in the Butler's Pantry, Gold Coast Cymbidium Growers Society in the Garden House, Ken Jacobsen representing the Pacific Central Judging Center in the Foyer, and additional plants around the House. Hana, Lynne & Geoff expressed willingness to help with the display. Jeff to follow up with Jim to confirm next steps.
Dave and Hana expressed some concerns about the quality of the sound and video experience for members attending the recent hybrid meetings via Zoom - in particular questioning if the new “Owl” videoconferencing equipment is adequate, or if we need to invest in better equipment and/or hired help to better capture the flowers/plants and people that are “in-person in the room.” The sense is that the in room pictures need to meet the higher quality standard of the pictures now being sent in ahead of time for show and tell conducted by Lynne - and that it quality of the the sound of the speaker (and others attending the meeting) when in the room is not as good as when it was happening virtually with everyone on Zoom. The group was a bit split as to whether this request/expectation is realistic - but agreed to investigate options - starting at the next meeting with Alie and Jeff to show up a little early to see if we can better utilize the setup we have before investing in new/more equipment. Heidi and Hana noted they would forward some information/resources to Jeff to review and consider contacting.
Next Board Meeting: Monday November 8th at 7pm by Zoom
Meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.
SFOS Board Meeting Minutes
October 11th, 2021
CLEAN UP YOUR ACT Your collection grew well this summer thanks to all the excellent care you gave it after reading about the plants inOrchids. Those that summered outside received plenty of rainwater, excellent light and air movement. Many have put on large new pseudobulbs. Cattleyas are forming sheaths, phalaenopsis are hardening their newest growths and dendrobiums are producing terminal leaves on their long canes, basically finishing their vegetative growth for the year. Now is the time to prepare the winter growing space, be it a windowsill, light room or greenhouse. If you have not already done so, take the time to clear out debris from last year, clean and sterilize the surfaces with a disinfectant and plan your strategy for getting all your orchids safely inside for the winter.
NO HIDDEN PASSENGERS With many of your warmer-growing plants, such as vandas and angraecoids, about to come in for the winter before the first cold snaps, September may be your last chance to check your orchids for hitchhiking critters. Any number of undesirable winter residents may have invaded orchids that are outside. Sucking insects, such as mites, scale or mealybugs, are often decimated by the beneficial insects that live in our yards or washed away by rains, but sometimes, small enclaves of these pests survive. Take the time now to look over plants carefully and treat any pests accordingly. Even though they may not be visible on the leaves, colonies of ants sometimes invade the porous interstices of orchid mix. These cannot be tolerated and could cause you a lot of grief if allowed in the greenhouse. Once discovered, the ants must be evicted either by drowning or drenching with an insecticide. It is always a good idea to repot such plants in fresh medium as the old mix is likely to be seriously broken down or badly acidified by the formic acid released by ant habitation.
FLOWER POWER Many hobbyists anticipate the approaching blooming season for many orchids, including cymbidium, phalaenopsis and dendrobiums, by fertilizing plants less frequently and with a lower concentration. In particular, the use of high-nitrogen fertilizers this time of year can inhibit blooming by encouraging plants to continue growing foliage. For orchids that you are expecting to spike in the autumn, switching to a blossom booster fertilizer now can give plants the extra boost they need to flower extravagantly.
THE LITTLE DEATH A few orchids — deciduous dendrobiums, lycastes, many terrestrials (Habenaria, Cynorkis) and some members of the Catasetinae — are showing brown-tipped or yellowing leaves now. Do not be alarmed. Usually shortly after the autumn equinox, as day length starts to shorten, many orchids adjust and slough off leaves in preparation for dormancy. Most of these are benefiting from the cooler night temperatures after enduring the summer heat and are genetically programmed to shut down their metabolisms. Respond by letting these plants dry out and holding back plant fertilizer. Overwatering now can lead to rot problems later in the autumn.
JUST ONE MORE It is so tempting to load up on new orchids during those ubiquitous autumn sales. I certainly cannot preach to anyone about the virtues of restraint when it comes to orchid acquisition, so I hereby release you from any guilt you may be feeling about crowding your collection too much this winter. It may be irresponsible of me to tell you this, but we are what we are. I believe the correct word is “enthusiasts.” So go for it. Order a few new sale plants from orchid nurseries. And have fun.
— Tom Mirenda has been working professionally with orchids for over three decades and is the past chair of the AOS Conservation Committee. He is an AOS accredited judge in the Hawaii Center (email:firstname.lastname@example.org)
Confirm 2022 SFOS Dues Renewals
after Jan 1st
$25: Standard Membership (includes opportunity table access and email newsletters to one person)
$40: Household membership (2 or more people)
$75: Supporting Membership (includes 2 POE weekend passes*, opportunity table access plus email newsletters)
$150: SFOS Patron Membership (includes 4 POE weekend passes*, opportunity table access, email newsletters, one copy of A Bay Area Guide to Orchids and their Culture)
$500: SFOS Benefactor Membership (includes a mention in one of the newsletters, as well as all items in the Patron level - donation value of $350
$1,000: SFOS Orchid Circle (includes everything in the Benefactor level as well as a donation towards SFOS conservation and education funds with a donation value of $850
*We can provide a donation acknowledgement letter in lieu of POE tickets. As a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization, SFOS Memberships and Donations can be claimed as tax deductible.
Please consult your tax professional.
A Bay Area Guide to Orchids and their Culture
This richly illustrated book is tailored specially to the needs of the San Francisco Bay Area Orchid grower, offering detailed orchid culture information along with recommendations of orchids to grow indoors, in cool to warm-intermediate greenhouses or outdoors, with microclimate-specific suggestions for those choosing to grow outdoors.
Note that SFOS paid for the cost of printing and SFOS gets 100% of the profits.
SFOS member, Mary E. Gerritsen
Available directly from the San Francisco Orchid Society
for only $20 at:
Join us as a member via the website www.orchidsanfrancisco.org
If you are not sure about your dues status, just ask!
Automated 2022 SFOS Membership Dues renewal bills for those who paid online via the website will not likely go out until after January 1st.
If you want help with this process we can assist you -
email us at email@example.com
If you cannot use the online process, you can still mail a check along with your contact information to:
PO Box 27145
SF, CA 94127-0145
Images: Copyright 2021
Native Orchid Conference
You can help...
The San Francisco Orchid Society joins other orchid societies and businesses participating in the 1% FOC campaign by committing to budget 1%or more of our net revenue towards orchid conservation projects. For more information:
Please refer to the OCA Website
NOC Symposium Registration now open!
We're pleased to report that registration for the 2022 Port Angeles, WA Symposium is now open. The planning process has resumed and most of the details remain unchanged. Last month Rick Burian visited the Olympic Peninsula (yes, it's still there) where he checked out the venue, tried the food we have planned and, oh yes, he saw lots of orchids.
You will recall that we are limited to 100 registrants. We have 54 "holdovers" so only 46 places remain. Don't miss the opportunity to visit one of our most spectacular national parks, reconnect with old friends (as well as make some new ones), and enjoy the special orchids of the Pacific Northwest.
Additional information and registration instructions can be found on our website:
Join the OCA for an Orchids in the Wild Trip to the island of Sicily (Italy)
April 9 – April 20, 2022
Did you miss out on the Switzerland trip? Here is another chance for you to experience terrestrial Orchids in the Wild!
Itinerary and more detailed information can be found here:
There is no final price for the tour as yet. We are anticipating that it will be no more than $6000, and as soon as we have that information we will update the pdf file.
However, if people want to reserve a place on the tour, they will need to contact Mary Gerritsen (see link above) and send their $1000 deposit to the OCA (see link above).
We hope you can join us! Due to limitations in accommodations and transportation, the maximum number of tour participants is 12.
Our Contact Information
Orchid Conservation Alliance
564 Arden Dr
Encinitas, CA 92024
Images: Copyright 2021 Orchid Conservation Alliance
SFOS Member Classifieds
Current SFOS Contacts
President: Jeff Harris
Vice President: Cori Majewski
Secretary: Alie Fishman
Treasurer (CFO): Faye Rabino
Past President: Dave Hermeyer
Newsletter Editor: Yujin Kim
AOS Representative: Lynne Murrell
Orchid Digest Representative:
Librarian/Historian: seeking new rep.
Show Chair: Cori Majewski
Webmaster: John Rushworth
San Francisco Orchid Society Newsletter
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AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to SFOS.
Go to: smile.amazon.com
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It’s that simple!
Is SFOS setup on your “AmazonSmile”mobile phoneapp?
Open the Amazon app on your phone
Select the main menu (=) & tap on "AmazonSmile" within Programs & Features
Select "San Francisco Orchid Society" as your charity
Follow the on-screen instructions to activate AmazonSmile in the mobile app
Shop as usual and support SFOS!
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I have a bunch of orchids that are clogging up my tiny greenhouse, and they keep insisting on getting bigger. So I want to clear some of them out. They're all free, although if you want to make any donation to the Orchid Conservation Alliance that would be appreciated! Please reply firstname.lastname@example.org, and I can send you a list of what I have. Pickup would be safe and contact-free from my home in the Haight only. Happy growing!
Events & Announcements
ADDENDUM - CONTINUED from October 11, 2021 SFOS BOARD MEETING MINUTES:
Impact Statements (read at Jack Ryder’s court hearing on Wednesday, October 13, 2021) from Tom Perlite, Mary Gerritsen, Jeff Harris and George McRae regarding impact of Jack Ryder’s deceit and theft on them personally as well as the San Francisco Orchid Society:
My name is Tom Perlite and I have been a member of the San Francisco Orchid Society (SFOS) for 45 years. I was on the Show Committee for the SFOS’s annual Pacific Orchid Exposition for over 20 years and was the show producer when Jack Ryder’s theft of society funds took place.
As Show Producer, I was responsible for the organizational aspects of the show and the procurement and payment of goods and services for the show. I worked closely with Jack Ryder in this role, as it was his responsibility, as Treasurer, to pay the goods and service suppliers, as well as receive funds from the commercial vendors participating in the show.
Mr. Ryder was also a member of the show committee, which met every month for 9 months prior to the show, which took place in late February. At every meeting Mr. Ryder would present a financial report indicating the income and expenses for the show, as well as the bank account balance of the SFOS. At every meeting, Mr. Ryder repeatedly lied to the committee, and presented fabricated data on the financial reports presented to the committee. Most of the members of the committee were volunteers and SFOS board members and trusted implicitly the information presented by Mr. Ryder.
I initially became aware of the theft after one service provider and the Park and Recreation Department told me they had not received payment for invoices sent to the society. By the time we were aware of the theft, the bank balance was down to $5000. Since there were not funds to pay these invoices, I paid the $14,000 owed, with my own money, so that we could proceed with the show, the following week.
Mr. Ryder’s actions impacted many people. All of the show committee members were personally devastated by the theft and felt betrayed by Mr. Ryder, who we all considered a friend and colleague. Beside myself, two other committee members also loaned money to the SFOS so that the show could take place. This was a financial burden to all of us.
In addition, Mr. Ryder’s theft of the SFOS funds prevented the SFOS from distributing money to various educational organizations that they support every year, as part of the SFOS mission statement. These include a scholarship to the Floristry and Environmental Horticulture Department at City College of San Francisco, the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, and the Helen Crocker Russell Library in the S.F. Botanical Garden. The theft also prevented the SFOS from functioning in its normal manner due to lack of operating funds.
Mr. Ryder’s theft was not a spur of the moment action, but rather a systematic daily theft of money from the SFOS over the course of many months. I think this systematic theft and the fact that Mr. Ryder lied repeatedly to us all is what bothers me most. His actions hurt all of the members of the SFOS who work so hard to raise funds to distribute to the various educational groups we support. These organizations rely on our yearly donations to provide their services. Mr. Ryder’s theft had a wide-ranging effect on many people.
had to radically downsize the show and our activities, changes that created a lot of negative feelings from our audience who normallyattended the POE and were extremely disappointed in the much smaller show that we were forced to put on at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. Now the Pacific Orchid Exposition has lost its former glory, being a much smaller show (with less than 30 vendors, only a few international), and a considerably smaller attendance. It is no longer a national and international draw for attendees, now most of the audience comes within a 300 mile radius of San Francisco. While still popular with our attendees, every year we field complaints about why we no longer have the show at Fort Mason, how disappointed people are with the displays (we have about 1/4 the area available for displays), and why can’t we go back to Fort Mason?
As one of the former officers still on the SFOS bank accounts, I was able to access the bank accounts, and spent several sleepless (entirely sleepless) weeks tracking down the slight of hand and dishonest practices of Jack Ryder. He had systematically drained the bank accounts of the SFOS, robbing from our savings, checking and endowment accounts. For the most part he stole $300 per day for months on end using an ATM card. He also paid for extravagant meals, expensive wine, used SFOS funds to support his “real estate” promotions (by taking clients out to meals, faking that he was wealthy). This man is a sociopath, with no respect or honor what so ever. It meant nothing to him that it took the efforts of several hundred VOLUNTEERS every year to put on the show and make a small profit, and he had no guilt whatsoever about stealing every penny the society had. Had we not discovered the discrepancy in his financial reports versus the bank account when we did, I am sure that 5 or 10 days later, the San Francisco Orchid Society would have ceased to exist, something that he had no feelings whatsoever for. This man is a crook, a con man, and should never ever have access to any non-profit (or profit) bank accounts. I ended up volunteering to be the treasurer of the SFOS for more than a year to resolve all of the issues, file the crime reports with the San Francisco Police department, meet with officers of the crime division and many other related activities. This required hundreds of hours of my time. I work as an independent biotech consultant, and normally my time (for my clients) is billed at $350/hr. However, I provided all of my services pro bono, but please realize that this effort required a substantial personal investment on my part.
Why is it that some poor man (more often than not a minority such as a black man or Hispanic) can rob a convenience store and if he is “lucky enough” to net $300 that he needs to feed his family (but gets caught) and he gets a felony conviction and spends several to tens of years in jail, yet this white, sociopath, spoilt and non-repentant jerk can steal over $100,000 from an organization that is primary supported by senior citizens (over 90% of the membership of the SFOS has been historically over 50 years of age, and of that, many over 65), who volunteer their time and health for a good cause, and a crook and con man can get away with stealing nearly the entire treasury of such organization, and get away with a slap on the hand? This man needs a serious intervention, above and beyond a slap on the hand and a misdemeanor. A felony conviction, even without a sentence, at least carries with it the significant baggage that would hopefully prevent Jack from ever robbing another profit or non-profit organization again. I should also add that over the last few years I was approached by several other fraternal and other types of organizations where Jack was trying to join (and volunteer to be on boards, treasurer etc). So he has not stopped this type of activity. He continues to be a sociopath and a danger to the community.
Mary E Gerritsen, Ph.D.
To Whom it May Concern:
My name is Mary Gerritsen. I am a past president of the San Francisco Orchid Society, and at the time of the crime, I had stepped down from any director responsibilities, having held the president position for multiple years. However, I still remained involved, serving on the show committee and just advising on general society activities where “organizational history” would be of use.
The San Francisco Orchid Society was world renowned for the Pacific Orchid Exposition (POE), which was, up until 2016, the largest and most diverse orchid show in the USA. It was held at Fort Mason, and featured over 60 vendors, local, national and international and attracted over 15000 attendees, many of whom came from other parts of California, as well as different states and even different countries.
The logistics to putting on such a show were complex, and were for the most part, executed by a team of volunteers (The Show Committee) as well as a show manager (Tom Perlite) and our publicity manager (Frances LaRose). I had served on that committee for many years. The show required a substantial reserve (>$100,000) to put on, requiring pre-payments to Fort Mason (rent and permits), the City of San Francisco (permits and other fees), garbage services, advertising, rental of equipment, tables, drape, electrical layouts, security guards, and many more items too numerous to list. Every year the society would front these costs, and after the show, replenish our bank accounts so that we could put on a show the following year. The profits from our shows were variable, some years we made money and in more recent years, barely broke even. But for the most part, the profits from the show enabled our society to conduct our activities for the rest of the year, which included monthly meetings, speakers (including travel costs and speaker fees), plant tables (basically prizes for our members), scholarships, support to conservation organizations and the Helen Crocker Russel library and Conservatory of Flowers. Organization for the show would typically start 8 months in advance, and the team would meet monthly to go over the budget, costs for new items, progress on reports, contracts etc. When Jack Ryder joined the society and became treasurer, he attended the show meeting, and provided (what we later learned were falsified) reports about the bills he had paid etc for the show.
About 1 week before the POE in 2017, I received a phone call from Ms. Jean Lee, also a past president of the San Francisco Orchid Society, and other than Jack Ryder or myself, apparently the only ones that had been left with authorization to access to balances in our Wells Fargo Account. We had an independent bookkeeper, but Jack had been blocking her access to our bank statements for months and fabricating very convincing and professional looking financial reports. To our complete surprise the balance in our accounts was only a few thousand dollars, and with the POE about to occur, we owed tens of thousands of dollars in past due bills. Many of the bills that Jack had said were paid had not been.
We were cratering on a complete disaster - if we could not put on the show, we could not recover the funds we had invested, but we could not do so since the rent had not been paid and dozens of bills were outstanding. We went into emergency mode, with Tom Perlite, Dave Hermeyer and Maureen Clarke all putting up thousands of dollars to get us through the show. It was only because of their unsecured risk in putting up this money that the society even survived, but for the next few years, the society was on very rough ground. We could not even think of doing a show at Fort Mason again, and
My name is Jeff Harris.
I am the current President of the San Francisco Orchid Society (SFOS) and have served in that role since 2018. I have been a member of SFOS since 2009, and also served in various leadership roles since 2012, including as SFOS treasurer from 2012-2014, and as SFOS Vice President and newsletter editor in 2017-2018.
Jack Ryder’s deliberate embezzlement of well over $100,000 from the San Francisco Orchid Society in 2015 to 2017 (while serving as treasurer) nearly destroyed this San Francisco institution. We rely on a pretty small annual operating budget not only to run the day-to-day operations, to host our online presence, to conduct monthly meetings and other seasonal events for our several hundred members, to provide donations to support local educational institutions and scholarships as well as global habitat conservation efforts, but also to produce the Pacific Orchid Exposition (POE), which is one of the largest orchid shows in the country. SFOS has been hosting this internationally recognized orchid show for approximately 70 years, since it was founded in 1951. In 1990 this popular event outgrew it’s space at the County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park and moved to Fort Mason, until 2016.Though other factors such as rising costs were also involved, Mr. Ryder’s actions most certainly contributed to crippling the society’s ability to financially produce this annual event at scale, and forced society members to personally loan us money just to pay off the overdue bills Mr. Ryder had repeatedly claimed to have paid in his role as treasurer in 2015-2017.Despite the huge impact of Mr. Ryder’s theft and deceit, we have successfully managed to downsize our activities to stay in operation and now slowly recover.Many people involved in running the society and the orchid show event wanted to believe Mr. Ryder, and naively gave him the benefit of the doubt when he lied to us over and over again during his tenure about the financial state of the society.
Mr. Ryder presents himself well. He is intelligent and charismatic, but I am convinced he is a pathologic liar and sociopath who cannot be trusted, particularly with management of other people’s money.After the previous leaders were finally able to forcefully remove Mr. Ryder as treasurer and attempt to begin to remedy the financial situation, most of these people were exhausted by the process and stepped down. Though we have finally gotten him to pay back much of what he stole and some additional amount in “damages,” I have had to personally oversee this protracted process to get Mr. Ryder here today.
I do not believe he has any real remorse for his actions, but finally cooperated in making these payments when he felt he had no other recourse to move on from this episode. Though I do not personally agree that he should be allowed to conduct business as a licensed realtor, or to be able to serve on non-profit leadership boards, I have had to keep quiet in the interest of SFOS getting repayment, albeit about five years later. I strongly recommend that his actions remain easily visible with quick online search to enable others who seek to do a background check on him in the future to take appropriate decisions around granting him employment or access to funds, and avoid a repeat performance of what we have endured.
Jeff Harris, MD, PhD
President, San Francisco Orchid Society
My name is George McRae. I was a member of the society for many many years. I served on the board and on the show staff. I volunteered my time as Plant Hotel chair for the show for many years, as a board member and nominating committee member and finally as President of the society as a whole.
Except for a small few paid show staff, the entirety of the society consists of volunteers. Members who believe in the value of the society as an educational, and conservation and aesthetic asset. Members who donate their funds andif not more importantly their time and sweat equity. The workings of nonprofits such as the SFOS require literally thousands of person-hours each year to not just survive but to thrive. The society and its twice yearly shows and monthly meetings are an historical asset not just to local members but to folks all over the world.
In my year as President, and nominating committee member,we evaluated and reached out to Mr. Ryder to assume the duties of treasurer. A position of the highest trust. That he betrayed that trust is an unforgivable insult and violation of that trust. His exploitation and enrichment was methodical and carefully planned and executed. Not an act of impulse or need. Restitution and damages are one thing. That satisfies the financial crisis he put the society in. The betrayal of trust is quite another. It is not in my scope to put a price on that. I hope the court system will take that into account.
Past President, San Francisco Orchid Society