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Origins, History and Stories of SCVOS

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President    Sandi Fox

   As the current president of the SCVOS, Sandi has been part of the society since 2008 and has also served as the Membership Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary. As a long-standing member, she has arranged field trips, bus trips, holiday parties and many other activities encouraging member participation and inclusion.  

   36 years ago, when Sandi and her husband, Randy, moved to south Santa Clara County, her coworkers presented an orchid as a housewarming gift. Included with the new home was a greenhouse where the Fox’s planned to start their vineyard and make delicious wine. They discovered that growing the vines was easy but making wine is magic. Looking at her housewarming orchid as the only plant in the greenhouse, her collection quickly grew with purchases during orchid shows but especially from San Francisco’s Rod McClellan and Santa Barbara’s Cal-Orchid and Santa Barbara Estates.

Vice President   Virginia Kristo

   Becoming our newest Vice President during 2023 after being a great secretary during 2022, Virginia has been a member of SCVOS intermittently since 2004.

   Her love for orchids began 23 years ago when her mother gave her an orchid after the birth of her daughter.  Amazingly... she got it to bloom again and with that she was hooked.  Plants with "special needs" have always picked her attention as she attempts to grow and flower them.  Since she does not have a greenhouse, she specializes in cymbidiums and Laelia anceps-types as those are somewhat easy to grow outdoors in the Bay Area. Yet, she loves the challenge and will try to grow any type of orchid alongside her succulents and roses.

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Treasurer   Gill Thacker

   Gill is an orchid hobbyist joining the SCVOS in 2022 to learn why his orchids refused to put forth the lovely blossoms they had when he bought them at the store. Since then, and thanks to the educational presentations that are put on by orchid growers with local and global expertise at most of the monthly meetings, he has learned much more than just how to get them to flower again. Treasurer is his first role as an officer of the Society.

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Membership Director   Cheryll Arvola-Moss

   Cheryll has been a member of the Santa Clara Valley Orchid Society for over twenty years. Currently she is Membership Chair having held the position for a number of years. She has also served as Secretary.

   Plants and gardening have been an interest of Cheryll’s from an early age as she fell in love with orchids with the gift of a cymbidium from her daughters and husband, Tom. This love became permanently planted after having the opportunity to help her aunt, Valerie Tonkin, with the termination of her orchid business. This experience opened the door to the world of orchids for her.

    Retired as a teacher, Cheryll’s other passion is handweaving. She is a graduate of Cal Poly Humboldt, formerly Humboldt State University.

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Secretary   Olivia Pham

   Olivia Pham is a recent transplant to San Jose yet, she brought with her a love of plants, especially orchids! She loves to grow all types of orchids and is currently interested in miniature plants. Like any city-dweller, her apartment presents the challenge of growing indoors and outdoors in limited space and less-than-ideal conditions. As a result she frequently experiments with different growing media, artificial lights, nutrients, and more.

   She firmly believes in the power of experimentation and observation in learning to care for plants. Olivia found a great fondness for orchids after caring for a common phalaenopsis and seeing it rebloom. Continually inspired by her orchids, she also strives to bloom wherever she is planted. When she is not staring lovingly at her plants, she may be found hiking on the Northern California trails, knitting, or learning a new craft on YouTube.

Director   Svelatna Perets


Director   Javier Perez Sanchez

   As a member of the SCVOS since 2007, Javier has served in many different positions over the years (Vice President, President, Show Co-Chair). He presently continues supporting the SCVOS as a Director-at-Large and volunteering for many orchid-related activities while being a member of most of the orchid societies in the Bay Area.
   His fascination with orchids began more than 50 years ago after receiving many large plants of Cattleya gaskelliana fallen from trees after a large storm. As his interest grew, his orchid collection followed. He has grown orchids outdoors, in large and small greenhouses, under lights and on windowsills. Throughout his life his interest in orchids and education in botany, tropical forestry and ecosystem ecology has guided him to various places in the world. Learning from nature he keeps trying for better potting methods, growing mediums and orchid growing conditions. He presently focuses on warm growing and outdoor thriving orchids, bromeliads and succulents.

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Director   Audrey Young-Tarter

   Audrey has been growing cymbidiums since 1992 and purchased her first sepal/ventral peloric cymbidium in 1997 - by chance a seedling of a hybrid registered by RJ Dean of Australia as Cymbidium Cleo's melody had mutated as a partial labeloid and sepal peloric cymbidium. This specific cultivar was named Freakout and after getting one, Audrey's passion grew to wanting to learn everything about the hybridization of this cultivar and other similar sepal or ventral partial labelloid cymbidiums.

   Audrey loves to lecture on her favorite subject - peloric Cymbidium orchids - and provides presentations about it. She has also presented subjects such as Back Yard Orchid Growing and The Rod McLellan Acres of Orchids.

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