For Immediate Release, October 22, 2019

Contact:

Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 522-3681,
tcurry@biologicaldiversity.org
Martina LeForce, Berea Kids Eat, (859) 302-1522 leforcem@berea.edu
Jim Scheff, Kentucky Heartwood, (859) 334-0602, jim@kyheartwood.org
Roger Peet, artist, (503) 753-7027, toosphexy@gmail.com

Community Mural Celebration to Be Held Saturday November 9 in Berea

White Fringeless Orchid Featured in National Endangered Species Mural Project

BEREA, Ky.— Local groups have teamed up with a national nonprofit conservation organization to create a new mural of an endangered Kentucky wildflower that will be unveiled at a celebration Nov. 9 with a work party and free community meal.

The mural will feature the white fringeless orchid. It’s the latest installment in the Center for Biological Diversity’s national endangered species mural project, which highlights imperiled plants and animals that are special to their regions.

“We’re really excited to be joining with the Berea Kids Eat program and the Center for Biological Diversity to help tell the story of the white fringeless orchid and the outstanding, but threatened, biodiversity of the Daniel Boone National Forest,” said Jim Scheff, director of Kentucky Heartwood.

“This exciting mural calls attention to the importance of both understanding and protecting our local ecosystems as a long-term investment in the futures of our children,” said Martina LeForce, coordinator of Berea Kids Eat. “This community-driven effort shines a light on the many ways that food, our sense of place, and art can benefit all of us, and it's really something to celebrate together."

Who: The mural and event are sponsored by Berea Kids Eat (a program of Grow Appalachia at Berea College), Kentucky Heartwood, Spotlight Playhouse and the Center for Biological Diversity. Artists Roger Peet and Tricia Tripp will be available for interviews at the site as they paint the week before the celebration.

What: Community Mural Celebration, Work Party, and Meal

Where: 530 Glades Road, Berea, KY 40403

When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. rain or shine

A community service work party will run from 10 a.m. to noon to remove weeds and invasive species, mulch the community orchard, clean up the waterway, and learn to test water quality. Some gloves and tools will be provided; volunteers are encouraged to bring gardening gloves if possible.

A celebration and program will be held in the pavilion at noon, followed by a free community meal of soup beans, corn bread and greens sourced from the community garden, farmer’s market and area farms. Children from the Berea Independent School District and Berea Farmer’s Market are preparing dessert as part of a cooking class.

Site Background
The 16-by-42-foot mural is being painted on the wall of Spotlight Playhouse, a children’s and community theater and event center adjacent to the community garden run by Grow Appalachia and Berea Kids Eat, a summer food-service program. The building once housed a Walmart but now harbors community space. The garden site was once a non-sanctioned dump but was purchased by Glades Christian Church and transformed from neglected land into a community garden with Grow Appalachia. Garden staff are working with the city to restore the on-site stream, a tributary of Silver Creek. Volunteers have cleared much of the riparian area of invasive species to promote native plants, with new trees donated by Berea Urban Farm and Sustainable Berea that were planted by volunteers and women in the Harvesting Hope drug addiction recovery program.

Mural Project Background
A white fringeless orchid mural was originally painted in Old Town in 2016 but was lost following a fire.

The Center’s endangered species mural project has now installed more than 20 murals around the country, including grizzly bears in Oakland, California; a jaguar in Tucson, Arizona; a Mexican wolf in El Paso, Texas; Indiana bats in Cincinnati, Ohio; Carolina flying squirrels in Asheville, North Carolina; freshwater mussels of the Tennessee River in Knoxville, Tennessee; monarch butterflies in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and a watercress darter in Birmingham, Alabama.

The project is spearheaded by Portland, Ore., artist Roger Peet, who teams up with local artists to bring larger-than-life endangered species to public spaces to increase appreciation for the regional biodiversity that makes places special. The project aims to celebrate local endangered species and encourage people to make connections between conservation and community strength.

Species Background
The white fringeless orchid is a 2-foot-tall endangered flower that grows only in forested wetlands in five southeastern states. In Kentucky the elegant flower grows in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The orchid is pollinated by butterflies, including eastern tiger swallowtails, spicebush swallowtails and silver-spotted skippers. It is threatened by logging, feral hogs, and climate change. It was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2016.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.