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Gulf & Main Magazine

Goodlad & Swank Insurance in Lehigh Acres Now Home To Nearly 500 Orchids

Jun 06, 2022 06:48PM ● By Stephanie Hatley

Photo Courtesy of Goodlad & Swank Insurance's Facebook page

In the 1800s, when the Florida East Coast Railroad plowed through, the orchid lost its habitat in southwest Florida. But Dr. Jason Downing with the Million Orchid Project at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami is seeking to provide places of sanctuary for the native flower. "We are attempting to put one million of our lost orchids back in nature. These are orchids that are native, that were once here but were lost due to poaching and habitat loss," Dr. Downing explains.

Community partners and schools across the area have chosen to be part of the Million Orchid Project, the largest educational outreach program dedicated to orchid conservation in the country. Butch Swank is one of those community partners. He offered his insurance business as a safe place for the orchids to grow. "A manatee, a bald eagle. I mean you name it. If it’s something that is rare and beautiful and you want to protect it, I mean that’s just human nature," Swank shares. Nearly 500 orchids are now growing outside the business.

If you'd like to get involved in bringing beauty back to southwest Florida, visit the Million Orchid Project online to learn about ways to support its mission.