African Indigenous Orchids
Gavin McDonald was born in Capetown in
1963, moved to Durban (KwaZulu-Natal) in about 1968 and lived
around there ever since. He
studied for a BSc (Honours) in 1985 looking at taxonomy and
biogeography of Disa and Eulophia (the largest genera of
geophytes in South Africa). He completed a Masters degree in
1988 on the taxonomy and biogeography of orchids in and around
Durban. He lectured at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the
Department of Biology until 1993, then joined the Department of
Nature Conservation at Mangosuthu Technikon. He acted as Head
of Department between 1996 and 1998. Currently heís a Senior
Lecturer and Acting HoD (again, but for a short while) and
registered part-time for a Ph.D. in molecular systematics of
the genus Stenoglottis.
Gavin started growing orchids in 1981, and qualified as a
South African Orchid Council judge in 1989.
He has served as President of the Umhlatuzana Orchid
Species Club, served on the committee of the Natal Orchid
Society. He has been Chairman of Judges for the KwaZulu-Natal
judging region, served 2 terms as National Vice-chairman and 1
term as National Chairman of judges for the South African
Orchid Council. He is still involved in the training of judges
and was one of the task team instrumental in introducing the
new National training program for judges. He has also served as
a corresponding member of the AOS conservation committee (for
Africa) for many years (so many he has lost count).
Gavin has a modest collection of orchids, mostly species
with a handful of indigenous orchids. He has plans in place to
expand this collection to a commercial scale within the next
3-5 years with a special interest in Vanilla and, to a lesser
degree, Phalaenopsis. His
talk will have examples of species of most of the South African
genera of orchids, with some habitat shots, and cultural hints
Presently the DVOS is in need of a person or
of people to act as club Vice President: duties are to
arrange speakers and raffle tables for next year, 2005.
Without speakers there will be no activity at
club meetings except the Show and Tell Table and
will be no Raffle Table.
President Dennis Olivasí request outgoing VP Kathy
Barrett arranged 5 speakers and 2 raffle tables for next
will fall to someone else to keep in contact with these
speakers, confirming their commitment, getting plants
for raffle table and taking the speaker to Dinner.
Feel free to cancel these speakers if you want.
Actually if no one wants to take on the
responsibility of taking the speaker to dinner that
social nicety can be dropped.
Other societies donít take the speaker to
dinner, so why should we? [shrug]
can find speakers by asking Dennis Olivas, Francisco
Baptista or Rob Terry who they have liked to hear in the
past, calling that person up, and seeing if they can
talk. Additionally there is a group of VPs that stay in
contact by email. You
can find out who they have booked and call their
speakers up to see if they want to come to talk to the
have to attend Board meetings the 3rd
Thursday of the month.
have to arrange Raffle Table Plants. Usually the speaker
provides the raffle table plants but in cases where they
canít you only have to ask Dennis, Fordyce or Fred and
Francisco who you may be able to get plants from.
You usually get this info at the Board meeting.
have to tell the newsletter editor and the webmaster who
the speaker is in time for them to put it in the
newsletter, etc. Speakers
usually provide the biography that appears in the
will provide you with correspondence and contact numbers
for the speakers she has arranged to date.
We are in dire need.