In October of 2001, Orchid Society of the Ozarks members Tina and Oid Hankins, while on a hiking trip, discovered a large colony of Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes cernua) bordering the shoreline of Shepards Springs Lake, in northwest Arkansas. Learning that the Fort Smith Water Project was preparing to join Shepards Springs with Lake Fort Smith, the couple organized an OSO conservation project to save the colony from submergence and certain destruction.

In Oid's own words: "In the previous months our efforts, as well as the city of Fort Smith, have been to relocate and preserve these beautiful flowers.
The Conservation Committee members and other volunteers have made several trips to the area where the orchids were found to remove the plants.
They were kept in storage at the Fort Smith Environmental
Facility where Randy Easley, the environmental manager, was extremely helpful and showed great interest in the project.
Through the efforts of society members and biologists Don Clover and Tim Smith, we were able to remove 322 orchids for replanting."





"On March 9th, Channel 5 Arklahoma Outdoors did a story on the conservation effort. Society members and guests along with producer Fred McClure returned to the original dig site to tape footage for the story. At that time the
members dug another 154 plants that came up since the last dig, bringing the total to 476 plants that have been removed for relocation."






"I would like to thank all those who helped in this very important mission toward conservation. We were glad to
have members of the Botanical Garden, Native Plant Society, and the Heritage Commission as part of this effort!"




Tina and Oid remain active and contributing members of the Orchid Society of the Ozarks, and though, with seven children now, they don't do quite the amount of hiking they used to, they still keep a vigilant eye out for other Arkansas native orchid colonies that may find themselves in the path of destruction.


many thanks to Irene Bergal for sharing her photographs of these events...