Project Orchid

Student Scientists Conserving Minnesota Native Plants

The Plant Conservation Program at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum works to conserve regional rare plants and native orchids. The mission is to protect these plants through both applied research and public education.  Now students scientists can participate in this important conservation work through Project Orchid.


What is Project Orchid? 

One-page summary

Project Orchid is a research partnership between the Arboretum Plant Conservation Program and participating partner schools. The program brings authentic, conservation plant-science research into classrooms where students study how orchid seedlings grow and survive under different conditions.  The ultimate goal of the project is to improve the understanding of orchid biology in order to conserve Minnesota’s wild orchid populations and to apply this knowledge to active conservation work. Project Orchid will connect with similar orchid classroom projects underway nationally and internationally in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution (SERC), North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOC), and Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.


Project Orchid Goals

  • Improve the scientific understanding of MN native orchids through authentic research in the classroom.  
  • Spark interest in the conservation of Minnesota’s native plants and the biomes in which they live.
  • Connect Minnesota student scientists with other classrooms participating in orchid research programs locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.        

Project Model Concept

SERC provides an excellent overview of the program below. Much of the structure will be the same for Project Orchid but we will focus on orchids native to our state and develop research questions just for these plants.