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Flower power

USPS dedicates Wild Orchids stamps

James A. Fowler, the photographer whose images appear on the Wild Orchids stamps, speaks during the dedication ceremony.

The Wild Orchids stamps will celebrate the exotic beauty of the flowering plants and call attention to efforts to preserve them, Postal Service and horticultural community leaders said at the stamps’ dedication ceremony last week.

There are more than 30,000 species of wild orchids in the world. Many that are native to North America are endangered or threatened, making sightings in their natural environment increasingly rare.

“Orchids can be hard to find in a natural setting and today there is a conservation effort to preserve these beautiful flowers,” said Jacqueline Krage Strako, the Postal Service’s chief customer and marketing officer, who spoke at the ceremony. “Each of these stamps represents a masterpiece of nature that blossoms with color. They also continue the Postal Service tradition of showcasing the natural beauty of flowers on stamps.”

The Wild Orchids stamps, which feature images of several species, are available in booklets of 20 and coils of 3,000 and 10,000 at Post Offices and

The dedication ceremony was held Feb. 21 at the American Orchid Society Library at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, FL.

Other speakers included Georgia Tasker, a horticulture writer and Pulitzer Prize finalist; Susan Wedegaertner, president of the American Orchid Society; James A. Fowler, the photographer whose images appear on the stamps; and Lawrence Zettler, director of the orchid recovery program at Illinois College.

The speakers discussed how orchids contribute to the ecosystem and why it’s vital for the unique plants to survive in an age of extinction.

Said Zettler: “I want every child here today — and those born tomorrow — to be able to see, to smell and appreciate the orchids that are part of our ecosystem and our nation.”

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