Richardson Historic Park & Nature Preserve in Wilton Manors is going to be beautified, thanks to local garden clubs.

The Island City Orchid Project, a partnership between the Equality Garden Club and Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society, has the lofty goal of planting and maintaining 1,000 orchids in the park this year.

“Many orchids are extinct in South Florida; people keep stealing them from the trees,” said Mario Rios, the chairman of the Island City Orchid Project committee and treasurer of the Equality Garden Club. “What we want to do is once we install the orchids, they will start reproducing themselves and create a new colony.”

The Wilton Manors City Commission passed a resolution on March 23 to enter into a memorandum of understanding with both garden clubs for the project. The 4.5-acre park boasts nature trails, natural habitat areas for local wildlife, and is home to the Historical Manor Hours and Carriage House.

The two clubs will be installing the plants in late June or early July, and volunteers who want to learn all about it are welcome to join them. They are also hosting a GoFundMe fundraiser with a goal of $10,000 to keep the Island City Orchid Project going.

“Whoever wants to learn, they are welcome to come and volunteer and that is also the idea, to teach people how to care for the orchids,” Rios said.

Both garden clubs have been active in the community. In November, they spruced up the butterfly garden at Wilton Manors Elementary School, which had fallen into disrepair during quarantine. Last summer, they also partnered with the cities of Oakland Park and Wilton Manors to turn their public parks organic.

The Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society has teamed up with Fairchild Botanical Gardens in Miami to be a part of the Million Orchid Project. Last summer, the club installed 100 orchids in Stunson Park in Oakland Park. They’ve also planted orchids at Broward College-South Campus, Riverland Manors and Colee Hammock in Fort Lauderdale. Boy Scouts in Davie have also participated in the project.

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