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Abbott Laboratories staff assist in the recovery of the eastern prairie fringed Oorchid
Midwest Region, July 24, 2018
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Energetic volunteers from the staff of Abbott Laboratories graciously donated their time to take demographic data of and hand pollinate a population of the eastern prairie fringed orchid that is naturally occurring in a remote location of Abbott property.
Energetic volunteers from the staff of Abbott Laboratories graciously donated their time to take demographic data of and hand pollinate a population of the eastern prairie fringed orchid that is naturally occurring in a remote location of Abbott property. - Photo Credit: Cathy Pollack (USFWS)
A close up of the infloresence of the federally threatened eastern prairie fringed orchid.  Notice the top flowers are still in bud.
A close up of the infloresence of the federally threatened eastern prairie fringed orchid. Notice the top flowers are still in bud. - Photo Credit: Sue Dees Hargrove (Illinois Department of Transportation)
Two of these ladies are holding styrofoam plates which  hold many toothpicks with eastern prairie fringed orchid pollinia at the end of the toothpick.  This pollinia came from a different but nearby orchid population and is placed on the stigmatic surface of an eastern prairie fringed orchid flower within the Abbott population to ensure seed set and in essence maintain the population. The cooler is used for safer transport of the styrofoam plates with orchid pollinia in the field.
Two of these ladies are holding styrofoam plates which hold many toothpicks with eastern prairie fringed orchid pollinia at the end of the toothpick. This pollinia came from a different but nearby orchid population and is placed on the stigmatic surface of an eastern prairie fringed orchid flower within the Abbott population to ensure seed set and in essence maintain the population. The cooler is used for safer transport of the styrofoam plates with orchid pollinia in the field. - Photo Credit: Cathy Pollack (USFWS)
Close up of a styrofoam plate with many orchid pollinia on the ends of the toothpicks.
Close up of a styrofoam plate with many orchid pollinia on the ends of the toothpicks. - Photo Credit: Cathy Pollack (USFWS)
Actual hand pollination of a flower of the eastern prairie fringed orchid.
Actual hand pollination of a flower of the eastern prairie fringed orchid. - Photo Credit: Cathy Pollack (USFWS)
The awesome Abbott group working hard in the field helping to recover the eastern prairie fringed orchid.
The awesome Abbott group working hard in the field helping to recover the eastern prairie fringed orchid. - Photo Credit: Cathy Pollack (USFWS)

Abbott Laboratories is an American health care company with its headquarters in Lake Bluff, Illinois. One portion of its large campus includes 160 acres of undeveloped land. Forty of these acres support a naturally occurring population of the federally threatened eastern prairie fringed orchid. Blooming plants actually occur in three separate areas over the 40 acres. Over the years, the numbers of blooming plants have ranged from three to 154 annually.

At other Illinois orchid populations, volunteers monitor and hand pollinate the eastern prairie fringed orchid, but because Abbott’s populations of orchids cover such a large area and are so remote, there was difficulty in transporting volunteers to the site to complete demographic data collection, hand cross pollination, and seed capsule monitoring. The number of blooming orchids per year dictates how much time volunteers need to spend at the site. The higher the number of blooming plants at a site, the more hand pollination (time consuming) is required to ensure annual seed set for maintenance of the population. Typically, during this orchid’s bloom period, temperatures are in the 90s with high humidity, which are difficult working conditions.

This year, staff from Abbott Laboratories graciously and wholeheartedly welcomed the opportunity to volunteer their time and energy to complete the annual demographic data collection and hand pollination of this plant. This year the population had 30 blooming plants. Better yet, these energetic people are committed to taking on the responsibility of continuing this work annually and are excited to be part of the orchid’s recovery effort. The Fish and Wildlife Service sincerely thanks Abbott Laboratory volunteers, for their commitment in recovering this species.


Contact Info: Cathy Pollack, 847/ 608-3101, cathy_pollack@fws.gov
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