Specializing in compact and miniature orchids suitable
for under lights and windowsill culture

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Speaking Engagements

            Ernie is available to speak to orchid societies, garden clubs, etc. He must arrange these engagements around his work schedule, so we appreciate your patience as we confirm scheduling.
            A detailed list of our lecture topics and discussion of our requests follows. These may seem extensive, but based on our experiences, we feel it necessary to be very specific. We understand that all clubs may not be able to fulfill all of these requests, so we will always be open to negotiation as long as all details are worked out in writing well in advance of our visit.


Current Presentation Topics:

Growing Orchids The EnLightened Way: Gardening Under Fluorescent Lights - A very thorough treatment of growing conditions and considerations is covered. Different types of lighting systems will be introduced with a discussion of advantages and disadvantages of each with particularly detailed coverage of fluorescent lighting. We will show the details of our hobby growing space and give several tips any grower can apply their growing area. NOTE: this is a very popular, information-packed talk; active, informative discussions often break out resulting program lengthening; so we don't recommend this talk if time is tight; or let us know in advance so we can trim some time off as necessary. Ernie's under lights lecture companion article was published in the December 2007 Orchids.
Approximately 60+ minutes.

Semi-Hydroponics - This method of growing orchids is gaining supporters by the day. We have been bitten by the semi-hydro bug too. The advantages and disadvantages of semi-hydroponics and good and bad candidates for semi-hydroponic culture as well as a discussion of media, containers, chemicals, repotting, and other aspects of "S/H" are covered. Ernie's companion article to this talk is slated to be published in the spring 2011 issue of Orchid Digest.
Approximately 45-60 minutes.

Building Your Paphiopedilum Collection Wisely
- Ernie will discuss ideas growers may consider to get the most bang for their buck and growing space while still having diversity in their Old World slipper orchid collection. Alternatives to difficult yet popular species and hybrids, species and hybrids to watch for when searching for certain floral traits, and things to consider when purchasing Paphiopedilums will be discussed as well. General culture differences between the sections of Paphs will be discussed briefly. A fast-paced, information-packed lecture!
Approximately 60 minutes.

Orchidaceous Adventures - A keynote-type talk that's a mix of Jay Leno, Dave Letterman, and Dave Barry in its inspiration. Humor is obviously the intent. Ernie gives his thoughts on keeping the non-orchid-loving significant other happy or just oblivious; odd and humorous experiences from many orchid-related travels and judging; unconventional growing tips; and some bizarre orchid factoids. Goes great with a banquet or holiday meal, especially when adult beverages are served. Audience participation is encouraged.
Approximately 45-60 minutes.

Cochlopetalum Paphiopedilum - This group of Paphs has been overshadowed by the colorful Parvisepalums and majestic Coryopetalum multiflorals; however, we feel these slippers are delightful and very important in modern breeding. The species of successively-blooming Paphiopedilum will be discussed in detail, highlighting how to distinguish between the species as well as the good and bad traits of each species. A broad sampling of hybrids will be shown to give a perspective of the influence these species have in hybridization. Culture will be discussed if desired and if time permits.
Approximately 45-60 minutes.

"New" Vietnamese Paph Species - Paph. vietnamense, Paph. tranlienialnum, Paph. hangianum, and Paph. helenae are presented with a discussion on their relationships to other, more commonly grown species. Hybrids with these species will be outlined with up-to-date registration information. CITES and AOS judging issues surrounding these species and their hybrids will also be discussed.
Approximately 45-60 minutes.

Paphiopedilum Culture - A look at all aspects of growing Old World slipper orchids. Tips for growing and blooming Paphs in greenhouses, under lights, on windowsills, and (dare we say) in the garden are offered based on our experiences with our favorite orchid genus. A brief demonstration of healthy Paph roots and our repotting method accompany this lecture if time permits.
Approximately 45-60 minutes.

Orchid Collection Recordkeeping and Label-making - This is an interactive workshop-style presentation in which we present tips hobbyists can use to maintain a journal of their orchid collection in Microsoft Works, a user-friendly program that is proprietary on many fairly current personal computers. Tips on how to establish a database then generate custom plant labels from Microsoft Word are given. This talk may be presented alone or in conjunction with one of the above talks if your group incorporates a separate workshop or forum into its meetings.
Approximately 30-60 minutes.

Recap of the 19th World Orchid Conference
- The Miami World Orchid Conference took place in late January, 2008 and was a fantastic event! This presentation takes a look back at the week-long conference to give a taste of what you missed or provide a walk down memory lane for those that were fortunate enough to attend.
Approximately 45-60 minutes.

Why all the Name Changes? - The science behind the recent name changes. Why is it a Sophronitis? Isn't that an Oncidium? What on Earth is an Acronia? This lecture puts the foreign-sounding concepts involved in evolutionary taxonomy in everyday terms. You might not agree with it, but we hope to help you understand it.
Approximately 45 minutes.

Orchids by the Yard - After years of growing orchids under lights and outside (seasonally) in the Chicago area, we relocated to sunny Orlando, Florida. A dream come true for almost any midwestern orchidist! The move has faced us with several challenges and some serious rethinking in our orchid collection. It's not as simple as hang and forget! Walk with us as Ernie gives ideas on orchids suitable for the yard and garden in USDA hardiness zone 9 and higher (or those that can spend the absolute longest season outside in higher latitudes). Ernie will give tips on plant selection (highlighting those with extreme temperture tolerance) and outdoor cultural considerations.

NOTE: Ernie can be a colorful individual, thus, the above presentations are rated PG-13 for adult themes, mild language, and sexual innuendo. PG versions are doable with notice, but are a little less fun.

            Ernie is constantly trying to develop new, interesting orchid presentations. Topics in the works are on Brachypetalum Paphs, the True Multifloral Paphs (Coryopedilums), Parvisepalum Paphs, water chemistry, and orchid pollination in nature/various orchid adaptations. These are currently casual projects, but if your organization is interested in one of these talks, we can have them ready with enough notice. If you have a suggestion for a different topic, please let us know. We may also be able to customize a talk for your group with a little notice and some guidelines on what you want.

            Several topics prepared as educational programs for orchid judges are also available. These include judging Cochlopetalum Paphs, Stanhopeas, Sophronitis, intergeneric Catasetinae hybrids, Paphiopedilum rothschildianum, new Vietnamese Paph species, and Phylogenetic Systematics for orchid judges. Again, these lectures are geared toward judging these groups, and are not always appropriate for all audiences. We can probably adapt them for orchid society general membership if desired.


Feedback:

"Ernie from EnLightened Orchids was one of the standout speakers at the Mid-America Orchid Congress meetings this year. He offered a lively exposition on the advantages of growing orchids under lights, but it had an overriding budget conscious, DIY message. Instead of extolling the virtues of high intensity discharge lamps, Ernie championed a set-up of four 4' T12 40W shop light bulbs as a basic starting point. One can build from there -- and he mapped the pros and cons of different lighting approaches -- but the overall strategy was inspirational in its hardware store simplicity. You don't need expensive lights with elaborate rotating systems and cooling fans in order to grow prize-winning orchids."

"I don't know where you found yesterday's speaker, but he gave me so much good information I'm suffering from a bout of information overload.  I'm usually very happy with a speaker if he or she is entertaining and I can glean one or two tidbits of useful information from the presentation.  But yesterday's speaker came up with so much information that I wanted to remember, especially about the hybridizing, it exceeded my meager memory capacity (I'm an older model-no memory upgrades available).  Hopefully at least some of the information will come back to me as I go along.
Anyways, the speaker was outstanding.  And you're doing a great job of finding them.  If you keep pulling speakers like that out of your hat, you'll never lose that job.  Too tough an act to follow."

"I've attended two different talks given by Ernie and both were outstanding. His presentations are well organized, fast paced, easy to understand, and full of information useful for both the beginner and experienced grower. He will also bring excellent quality plants of many interesting crosses."

"Ernie's talk was excellent. Very well organized, logical and well-presented, as well as some good laughs. If anyone needs a speaker -- get Ernie."

"I just had a blast at the 2008 orchid symposium and I got to say one of the highlights was meeting Ernie. Very nice guy who was always willing to answer any questions very thoroughly. His presentation was very informative and surprisingly kept my young mind on the presentaion the whole time. Heck I would listen to it again because I know it wouldn't be the same one. His plants were spectacular and I had to again spend way to much on plants I shouldn't. All paphs. so it wasn't a total waste. I highly recommend his plants after seeing and buying some. He even had time to pitch SlipperTalk in our conversation, gave me a fancy card and everything. Funny thought occurred and sorry if this offends, but during the entire time I met him and listened to him speak I kept on thinking he was the Dane Cook of orchids. Seriously watch one of his stand ups or movies and put an orchid twist on that and that is him. Even kind of looks like him."

"Your Paph talk was actually one of the best I have heard, and I would highly recommend you to any club that wanted a "good paph talk". We have a lot of new beginners, and I feel they were able to come away with a lot of good information, plus a lot of us "older growers", who have heard a lot of orchid talks, appreciated your great information, creative way to show a lot of slides, and winning personality."

"Thank you for coming- excellent presentation!"

"Just a quick note on how much I enjoyed your talk/discussion. It was most informative. Thanks for your frugal approach!!! You the man."

"...a big thank you from all the members-it was the most enlightened (no pun intended) presentation we have ever sat thru."

"Just wanted to thank you for coming to speak to us yesterday. I really enjoyed the subject and got some cool plants."


Speaking History:

Chicago AOS Judging Center (January, 2004; July, 2004; January, 2005; July 2005; January, 2006; July, 2006; July, 2007; July, 2008, January, 2009; July, 2009; January, 2010)
Central Ohio Orchid Society, Columbus, Ohio (April, 2004, April 2010)
Batavia Orchid Society, Batavia, Illinois (May, 2004; June, 2005; October, 2006)
Wisconsin Orchid Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (June, 2004; March, 2007; March, 2008; June, 2009)
Orchid Growers Guild, Madison, Wisconsin (October, 2004; March 2005; December, 2009)
Illinois Orchid Society fall show, Chicago, Illinois (September, 2004; September, 2005)
Orchid Growers Guild Orchid Quest show, Madison, Wisconsin (January, 2005; February, 2006)
• Indianapolis/Hoosier/Central Indiana Orchid Society, Indianapolis, Indiana (March, 2005)
Illinois Orchid Society, Chicago, Illinois (March, 2005; February, 2006; November, 2008; April 2010)
Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis, Missouri (May, 2005; March, 2006; September 2010)
• Three Rivers Orchid Society, Ft. Wayne, Indiana (May, 2005)
Prairie State Orchid Society summer orchid workshop, Springfield, Illinois (August, 2005)
Illowa Orchid Society, Moline, Illinois (September 2005)
Missouri Orchid Society, St. Louis, Missouri (November, 2005)
Tulsa Orchid Society, Tulsa, Oklahoma (March,2006)
Fort Worth Orchid Society, Fort Worth, Texas (April, 2006)
Heart o' Texas Orchid Society, Austin, Texas (April, 2006)
Houston Orchid Society, Houston, Texas (April, 2006)
Greater North Texas Orchid Society, Dallas, Texas (April, 2006)
Shreveport Orchid Society, Shreveport, Louisiana (April, 2006)
Lafayette Orchid Society, Lafayette, Indiana (May, 2006)
Batavia Plain Dirt Gardeners, Batavia, Illinois (October, 2006)
Orchid Society of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota (March, 2007)
Orchid Society of Minnesota and Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Orchid Symposium, Chaska, Minnesota (March, 2008)
Tidewater Orchid Society, Norfolk, Virginia (April, 2007; August, 2009)
Northeastern New York Orchid Society, Albany, New York (July, 2007)
Mid-Hudson Orchid Society, Newburgh, New York (July, 2007)
Triad Orchid Society of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina (August, 2007)
Triangle Orchid Society, Durham, North Carolina (August, 2007)
Sandhills Orchid Society, Inc., Fayetteville, North Carolina (August, 2007)
Cape Fear Orchid Society, Wilmington, North Carolina (August, 2007)
Orchid Society of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (October, 2007)
Foothills Orchid Society, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (October, 2007)
Elmbrook Garden Club, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (February, 2008)
Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (February, 2008)
Manitoba Orchid Society show, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (March, 2008; March, 2009; March 2010)
Northeastern Wisconsin Orchid Society show, Neenah, Wisconsin (March, 2008)
Memphis Orchid Society, Memphis, Tennessee (August, 2008)
Greater Lansing Orchid Society, Okemos, Michigan (September, 2008)
Michigan Orchid Society, Birmingham, Michigan (September, 2008)
Virginia Orchid Society, Richmond, Virginia (October, 2008; December, 2010)
Dunes-Kalamazoo Orchid Society, Kalamazoo, Michigan (November, 2008)
National Capital Orchid Society, Washington, DC (November, 2008)
Maryland Orchid Society, Baltimore, Maryland (November, 2008)
Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri (May, 2009)
Western North Carolina Orchid Society, Asheville, North Carolina (May, 2009)
Long Island Orchid Society, Long Island, New York (May, 2009)
Peninsula Orchid Society, Hampton, Virginia (August, 2009)
Ann Arbor Orchid Society, Ann Arbor, Michigan (September, 2009)
Oregon Orchid Society, Portland, Oregon (September, 2009)
Utah Orchid Society, Salt Lake City, Utah (October, 2009)
Denver Orchid Society, Denver, Colorado (October, 2009)
Mid-America Orchid Congress, Omaha, Nebrasks (March, 2010)
Mid-America AOS Judging Center, St. Louis, Missouri (September, 2010)
Jacksonville Orchid Society, Jacksonville, Florida (February, 2011)
St. Augustine Orchid Society, St. Augustine, Florida (March, 2011)


References:

Suki Nax, Batavia Orchid Society, Batavia, IL
Bill Rogerson, Ph.D., Chicago Judging Center ex-Education Coordinator
Larry Sexton, CJC Judge Advisor; Batavia Orchid Society, Batavia, IL
Steve Troc, Batavia Orchid Society, Batavia, IL
Tom Franczak, Central Ohio Orchid Society, Columbus, OH
Bil Nelson, Wisconsin Orchid Society, Milwaukee, WI
Bob Lewis, Wisconsin Orchid Society, Milwaukee, WI
Barry Lubin, Illinois Orchid Society, Chicago, IL
Leo Schordje, Illinois Orchid Society, Chicago, IL
Elaine Malter, Orchid Growers Guild, Madison, WI
Wayne King, Orchid Growers Guild, Madison, WI
Anita Martin, Central Indiana Orchid Society, Indianapolis, IN
John Burg, Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis, MO
Rose Poehler, Three Rivers Orchid Society, Fort Wayne, IN
Adrian Winheim, Missouri Orchid Society, St. Louis, MO
Gregg Curtiss, Prairie State Orchid Society, Springfield, IL
Darrin Mullins, Tulsa Orchid Society,Tulsa, OK
Pat Hall, Fort Worth Orchid Society, Fort Worth, TX
Bill Ater, Heart o' Texas Orchid Society, Austin, TX
Geoffrey Frost, Heart o' Texas Orchid Society, Austin, TX
Don Ghiz, Houston Orchid Society, Houston, TX
Robert Marsh, Greater North Texas Orchid Society, Dallas, TX
Patsy Boersma, Shreveport Orchid Society, Shreveport, LA
Dick Wells, Lafayette Orchid Society, Lafayette, IN
Charles Bracker, Ph.D., Lafayette Orchid Society, Lafayette, IN
Steve Filmore, Orchid Society of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Bob Bulthius, Orchid Society of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Ruta Mah, Tidewater Orchid Society, Norfolk, VA
Dave Wheatly, Tidewater Orchid Society, Norfolk, VA
Bob Phillips, Northeastern New York Orchid Society, Albany, NY
Isabel Lopatin, Mid-Hudson Orchid Society, Newburgh, NY
• Jack Keply, Triad Orchid Society, Greensboro, NC
Marie Crock, Triangle Orchid Society, Durham, NC
Peggy Bloodworth, Triangle Orchid Society, Durham, NC
Keith Clayton, Sandhills Orchid Society, Fayetteville, NC
Neil and Dottie Lowell, Sandhills Orchid Society, Fayetteville, NC
Carol Wilson, Cape Fear Orchid Society, Wilmington, NC
Tom and Yp de Boer, Alberta Orchid Society, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Nadia Koscielnuk, Alberta Orchid Society, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Ross Otto, Foothills Orchid Society, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Barbara Hart, Foothills Orchid Society, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Beth Gossie-Wood, Elmbrook Garden Club, Milwaukee, WI
Hope Bastian, Elmbrook Garden Club, Milwaukee, WI
Lorne Heshka, Manitoba Orchid Society, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Jim Roy, Manitoba Orchid Society, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Charles VanDyke, Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, PA
Carol Panza, Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, PA
Milt Wittman, Northeastern Wisconsin Orchid Society, Green Bay, WI; CJC
Lorraine Heyden, Northeastern Wisconsin Orchid Society, Green Bay, WI; CJC
Shirley Mah Kooyman, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Orchid Society of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Mark Mills, Memphis Orchid Society, Memphis, TN
Chuck Pintner, Memphis Orchid Society, Memphis, TN
Bill Cadman, Greater Lansing Orchid Society, Okemos, MI
Doris Asher, Greater Lansing Orchid Society, Okemos, MI
Pete Porciello, Greater Lansing Orchid Society, Okemos, MI
Betty Clindinning, Michigan Orchid Society, Birmingham, MI
Carolyn Butcher, Michigan Orchid Society, Birmingham, MI
Valerie Thacker, Virginia Orchid Society, Richmond, VA
David Sombach, Virginia Orchid Society, Richmond, VA
Dea Bishop, Dunes-Kalamazoo Orchid Society, Kalamazoo, MI
Roddy Gabel, National Capital Orchid Society, Washington, DC
Gary Smith, Maryland Orchid Society, Baltimore, MD
Glenn Lessenden, D.V.M., Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
Brett Hopkins, Western North Carolina Orchid Society, Asheville, NC
Claudia Moss, Long Island Orchid Society, Long Island, NY
Lori Delbridge, Peninsula and Tidewater Orchid Societies, Hampton and Norfolk, VA
Alex Challis, Ann Arbor Orchid Society, Ann Arbor, MI
Paige Hartman, Ann Arbor Orchid Society, Ann Arbor, MI
Craig Williams, Oregon Orchid Society, Portland, OR
Barry C. Cole, Ph.D., Utah Orchid Society, Salt Lake City, UT
Keith Funk, Denver Orchid Society, Denver, CO
Doug and Beth Martin, Mid-America Orchid Congress
Eric Cavin, Jacksonville Orchid Society, Jacksonville, FL
Sue Bottom, St. Augustine Orchid Society, St. Augustine, FL


Biography:

            Ernie, born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Marine Biology and Aquaculture from the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL. He spent three years of graduate study at the George Washington University and National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC investigating the physiology, evolutionary biology, and taxonomy of freshwater, South American catfishes in the genus Corydoras. After a nine year stint as a lab manager and technician at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Biomedical Polymer Science Laboratory, he now works as a laboratory manager and safety officer for the NanoScience Technology Center and Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center at the University of Central Florida. Ernie is an accredited AOS judge at the Florida North Central Judging Center, Orlando.
            We have been growing orchids since 1997. Plants were grown under fluorescent lights until the summer of 2010 when we relocated to sunny Orlando, Florida. The orchids now grow on a protected porch and throughout the yard. We grow primarily Paphiopedilums, Phragmipediums, Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis/ Doritis/ Doritaenopsis etc), new world Zygopetalinae (Cochleanthes and relatives), and mini and compact Corsage orchids (Cattleya alliance). In his spare time, aside from maintaining orchids in a lush subtropical environment, Ernie likes to spend time with his wife, son, and cats; bodyboard; brew beer; keep tropical fish; play volleyball and roller hockey; and SCUBA dive.
            See a picture of Ernie here.



Travel:

            The hosting organization should cover all travel expenses and meals for Ernie for the duration of his stay.
            He will drive to engagements within a negotiable reasonable distance of Orlando, Florida. Coach air fare from any of the Orlando area airports is acceptable for farther travel.
            Overnight, non-smoking accommodations for one to three nights depending on the circumstances of meeting time, travel time, prevalence of area commercial growers, etc. is also requested. Motel 6 is perfectly acceptable. We try to travel as economically as possible.
            Since air travel is becoming very restrictive with luggage and fuel fees, we may limit sales to pre-orders plus the number of plants and supplies required to top off the box(es). Hosting societies are responsible for all airline fees not adverised with the ticket value, including, but not limited to, curb side check in, fuel, luggage, additional luggage, oversized lugge, travel to/from airports, etc.


Honorarium:

            Unfortunately, the economy has pushed us to request an honorarium for speaking engagements. Time away from work and home is precious and valuable, and we hope hosting organizations recognize this necessity.
            For orchid societies, we kindly request an honorarium in addition to our travel expenses. A typical honorarium is $200 per presentation/society, but this amount is completely negotiable.
            For garden clubs and other groups with less orchid specificity, we charge a base honorarium of $200 plus travel expenses.


Plants for Sale:

            We offer a wide range of slipper orchids and also some moth and miniature and compact corsage orchids from young seedlings to adults in bud and bloom. Selection will vary by season and mode of travel.
            When we will be offering plants for sale at a meeting, we request to be the only commercial grower offering plants for sale. Non-commercial members may sell plants per the hosting club's by-laws. We also expect our sales tables to be in the main meeting area as to get considerable foot traffic from those in attendance.
            We will not pay table fees for sales at events at which we present a lecture, and any fees for facility rental or facility taxes will be covered by the hosting organization. Local taxes or facility sales fees will be covered by either members purchasing items or the hosting organization. If members will be charged a tax or fee, the hosting organization will make it completely clear to the membership the nature of the additional costs. Such taxes or fees must be brought to our attention in writing early in making arrangements for our visit; otherwise, the hosting club will be charged our standard $200 honorarium.


Announcements:

            The hosting organization is expected to announce our visit to its general membership at least thirty (30) days in advance. The announcement should minimally include
• lecure date
• lecture topic
• meeting time
• meeting location
• our web address (http://www.EnLightenedOrchids.com)
• our e-mail address (info@EnLightenedOrchids.com)
• strongly encourage preorders (if we will be offering plants for sale)
            Announcements will minimally be in the form of a mailed and/or electronic newsletter. If the hosting organization maintains a web site, the same information is to appear on that site at least thirty days in advance of our visit. We reserve the right to charge the hosting organization our base honorarium of $200 if we feel our visit is not sufficiently advertised as outlined above. The hosting club will be charged our base honorarium if the engagement is cancelled by the hosting organization with less than four weeks of notice. This is to allow us to keep our schedule as full as possible- a cancelled date is essentially a date we could've filled with other engagements. We will reciprocate with four weeks' notice if we need to cancel or postpone with obvious exceptions in cases of severe illness or family emergencies.


Equipment:

            All of our presentations are currently prepared in Microsoft PowerPoint. The hosting organization or meeting facility should provide
reliable digital projector (a.k.a. data projector, LCD projector) with accurate color interpretation
• large, flat, white projection surface
• stable surface for a laptop and projector
• electrical outlets
• extension cord(s)
• audio equipment (if necessary, see below)
            We will provide our own laptop computer and can provide a digital projector if one is not available to the hosting organization. The hosting organization will pay any applicable luggage fees for transporting a digital projector via aircraft. Audio equipment should be provided at the hosting organization's discretion based on room size and audience needs; however, Ernie typically projects his voice well.



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