Mike Bechtold has been a familiar face on Saba for 11 years as “the orchid guy” between 2003 and 2014 and then behind the scenes to present. Mike began his interest in orchids as an Army officer stationed in South Korea in 1996. He joined the American Orchid Society in 1998 when he moved to Washington, DC and has been involved in orchid conservation work at the US. Botanic Garden and through independent study ever since.
A biologist by education and quick study on orchids, from 2003 - 2011 Mike spent countless hours in the field searching for and verifying some of the species of orchids Stewart was surveying, most notably, Brassavola cucullata. After Stewart’s death, Mike returned to Saba in March 2011 to work with the Saba Conservation Foundation to set up a plan to sustain Stewart Chipka’s work on Saba. Part of that plan included setting up his weather station at the Saba Conservation Foundation Headquarters. Under the auspices of the SCF, Mike worked with SCF personnel and volunteer Michiel Boeken, to extend a survey on Brassavola cucullata from St. Eustatia to Saba sponsored by Dr. James Ackerman of the University of Puerto Rico. Mike’s ultimate goal is to help preserve Saba and its orchids as “The Unspoiled Queen” of the Caribbean.
What makes orchids unique from other flowers? Find out mid October either at his evening presentation or nature hike along Spring Bay Trail. Mike will also provide useful tips and tricks for caring for your orchids at home.
Evening Presentation: Friday, October 15th
Field Project: Orchid Hike Saturday, October 16th