The 19th WOC

ON: Mr. Robert Fuchs, as a co-chairman of the 19th WOC, you should have many important things to tell us about this event. First of all, could you tell a little about the sponsors?
RF: The South Florida Orchid Society (SFOS) and Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society (FLOS) are two of the largest orchid societies in the U.S. (they are the two largest in Florida). Both societies have been affiliates of the American Orchid Society for decades and both produce large annual orchid shows. The Miami International Orchid Show is the largest annual orchid show in the western hemisphere, and the Ft. Lauderdale Orchid Society’s spectacular annual Show marks the beginning of our very busy Florida “show season” each January. We’re confident that the combined experience of both societies will make the 19th WOC one of the best event in 2008. Col. Kone was show chairman for the 11WOC in 1984, and he brings a lot of experience to our board of directors. I have been chairman of the Miami International Orchid Show a number of times, and have participated in all World Orchid Conferences since 1984.

ON: When and where will the 19WOC be held?
RF: The 19th World Orchid Conference will be held in late February/early March of 2008, at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, Florida, USA. Our tentative schedule now is Feb. 23 – 25 for show setup, judging Feb. 26 (daytime), opening party Feb. 26 (evening), and the show and conference open on Wednesday, Feb. 27 through Sunday, March 2.

ON: February-March is still winter in the northern hemisphere, however, it seems that Miami Beach doesn’t have a hard winter, isn’t it? It means that the weather is agreeable by this time?
RF: The weather in South Florida is excellent at that time of the year! Temperatures are very mild, days are sunny and beautiful. In fact this is our prime tourist season because the weather is so perfect on most days. Visitors will love the weather! The Convention Center is only a few blocks from the beach!

ON: What exactly means “Orchids – Nature’s Masterpiece”?
RF: This is our conference and show theme. To us it means a focus on orchids in the natural world, particularly the species and how they are surviving in their habitats and in “captivity” (under cultivation).

ON: Is there already a program? There will be a main subject or it will cover a variety of subjects?
RF: We’re working on the program now. It’s a little too early to have the entire lecture program finished, as of course we will want to include the most current scientific papers based on research that’s being done now. We do plan to have two lecture series, one for the scientific papers and one for the horticulture presentations. There will be lots of interesting and educational programs during the 19WOC from as many of the world’s orchid experts as possible.

ON: Do you have any idea of the number of the lectures included in the series?
RF: We’re still organizing this, but we hope to be able to offer about 40 lectures in the four days of the conference. There will also be educational opportunities at the show, the informal kinds of presentations that we do at the Miami International Orchid Show… we have walking tours of the show, informal programs on orchid culture for beginners and that sort of thing.

ON: Do you have any idea how many nurseries you think will participate in the orchid show?
RF: We hope to have more than 100 exhibitors from all around the world, including commercial firms, orchid societies and individual growers, and of course we hope all of the commercial firms will also participate as vendors.

ON: How many visitors are expected to attend this event?
RF: We expect several thousand conference registrants, and perhaps as many as 100,000 visitors to the show.

ON: People can already do their inscription?
RF: Not yet. We are currently working on the details of the registration process and will have that information available on the conference website as soon as possible. We will be making more conference information available on the website as we finish our planning for all of the different aspects of the conference and show. The 19WOC website address is

ON: There will be accommodation and travel facilities?
RF: Yes, absolutely. We are in discussion now with a number of hotels near the convention center for special conference rates, we will also have an official conference travel agency to assist visitors with travel planning. We’ll be offering tours before, during and after the conference, too, both local and in other parts of Florida and the Caribbean.
If I may also add a comment about something… we are also working closely with the US government agencies that oversee plant import and export, so that the movement of orchid plants and flowers for the conference goes as smoothly as possible. We will have all the information available at a later date. We’re confident that exhibitors, vendors and visitors who follow the US procedures will be able to bring orchids in, and take orchids out, without problems. Miami is the most important US port-of-entry for the cut flower industry, so the federal agencies here are very professional and experienced in handling delicate flower cargo.
Thanks for your interest in and support of the 19th World Orchid Conference! We hope to see you, and your readers, in Miami Beach in 2008!

ON: Thank you, Robert Fuchs.

Robert Fuchs - Co-Chairman
19th World Orchid Conference

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