American Orchid Society Recognizes Longwood Gardens’ Peter Zale for Orchid Conservation Work

A man with blonde hair and a grey shirt sits near a research area with a microscope and plant samples

Kennett Square, PA – Longwood Gardens announced today that Associate Director of Conservation Horticulture and Plant Breeding Peter Zale is a recipient of the esteemed Philip E. Keenan Award by the American Orchid Society for outstanding contributions to orchid conservation.

The Philip E. Keenan Award, named after the prominent orchid conservationist and founding member of the North American Native Orchid Society, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding dedication and achievement in the realm of orchid conservation. 

“Recognition of Peter’s work with the Philip E. Keenan Award from the American Orchid Society is a testament to his steadfast dedication and innovative efforts in the field of orchid conservation,” said Paul B. Redman, President and CEO of Longwood Gardens. “We congratulate him on this well-deserved honor and his enduring leadership in preserving these botanical treasures both within our Gardens and around the world.” 

Zale leads Longwood’s orchid research program, guiding a team of scientists and horticulturists focused on conservation horticulture, plant exploration, plant breeding, and living collections. With a focus on U.S. native orchids, Zale has developed and implemented a comprehensive conservation horticulture program that encompasses seed banking, seed germination, development of living collections, and restoration of orchid populations. 

“We thank the American Orchid Society for this honor and for recognizing our efforts to help conserve orchids in the wild and in gardens,” Zale said. “I am excited to continue our research on native orchids and demonstrate how it can be used to make a contribution to the advancement of orchid conservation programs worldwide.” 
The American Orchid Society presents the Philip E. Keenan Award annually to two first-place recipients, each receiving $500, and two runner-up recipients, each receiving $250. The selection process involves nominations and approval by the board of the American Orchid Society.

About Longwood Gardens
In 1906, industrialist Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954) purchased a small farm near Kennett Square, PA, to save a collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber. Today, Longwood Gardens is one of the world’s great horticultural displays, encompassing 1,100 acres of dazzling gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, a 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ, and grand conservatory. Expanding on its commitment to conservation, in 2024 Longwood Gardens acquired the 505-acre Longwood at Granogue, a cultural landscape in nearby Wilmington, Delaware. Longwood Gardens is the living legacy of Pierre S. du Pont, bringing joy and inspiration to everyone through the beauty of nature, conservation, and learning. Open daily, Longwood is one of more than 30 gardens in the Philadelphia region known as America’s Garden Capital. For more information, visit