UF/IFAS TREC Celebrates 90 Years of Innovative Research for Florida Agriculture

When UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) was founded in 1929, its mission was to develop solutions for Florida farmers focusing on a wide range of crops, including mangoes, papayas, tomatoes, avocados, corn, green beans, and squash.

For 90 years TREC scientists, students, and staff have collaborated with farmers and focused research and extension outreach on tropical and subtropical fruit crops, traditional and tropical vegetables, tropical ornamental crops, agronomic crops and natural resources in the warm subtropics.

Today, TREC is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally as a leading research and education institution for tropical and subtropical horticulture and natural resources and contributes to the economic development and enhancement of the quality of life in Florida.

On October 26, 2019, TREC will mark its 90th anniversary with an evening themed One Night in the Tropics that will serve fine dining, music, and feature live auctions. The event will be held at the Coral Gables Country Club from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Registration is required and sponsorship opportunities are available. The evening will celebrate TREC’s research achievements, and the collaborations and partnerships with the agricultural community. The event will also serve to kick start a capital campaign designed with future students and scientists at the core of its strategic initiatives. Historically, students have been at the core of advancing agricultural research at the center and meeting the future challenges of agriculture by learning from the scientists who mentor them in the areas of grower’s needs.

Come be a part of the history and experience One Night in the Tropics.

Live Auction Offerings Include:

  • A commemorative Woodgrain Miami HEAT Team Autographed Basketball donated by Miami HEAT Charitable Fund;
  • Orchid naming rights to the highest bid of V. Motes First Light XV Miami Mandarin, donated by renown orchid grower Martin Motes from Motes Orchids;
  • Sunset Gator – a one-of-kind piece by renown artist Robert L. Chaplin, is a commemorative piece donated for TREC’s 90th anniversary that is valued at $1,400.00.
  • A NASCAR Championship Suite Package for Two, for the November 17 race at the Homestead -Miami Speedway, provides access to a suite as well an area directly above the pit crew. Guests can move between both areas throughout the day and both areas will be stocked with food and refreshments. This package is donated by FPL.
  • UF vs FSU football ticket package for two to be played on November 30, 2019. Seating package will be in Section 4 and includes a stadium bag, a Gator football autographed by Coach Dan Mullen, a $25 Chili’s Restaurant Gift Card. This item has been donated by The University of Florida Foundation.
  • Tesla will have several vehicles on display and offering two one-evening vehicle vouchers.

About Martin Modes and the Featured Orchid

Dr. Martin Motes is widely regarded as the foremost expert on vandas in the world. His published articles on vandas include descriptions of several new species, among them, V. mariae, for his wife of more than 40 years, Mary. His nursery, Motes Orchids, specializes in unique vanda hybrids of his own creation. In 2009, the species Vanda Motesiana was named in his honor. Martin founded the Redland and Tamiami International Orchid Festivals, the largest orchid events in the United States. He is a Research Fellow at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens and is a consultant on Fairchild’s Million Orchid Project, which aims to restore native Florida orchids to Miami-Dade County.

“The un-named orchid is a unique, very limited edition hybrid, Florida bred and grown from bloodlines available nowhere else in the world,” said Modes. “This free-flowering beauty will be a nearly constant delight to the eye and will memorialize the proud winner of the naming rights forever offering a touch of immortality not to be missed.”

About Sunset Gator and Robert L. Chaplin

Chaplin’s photographic style has been described as diverse. His belief in no rules when creating is evident in the art created for this event. The original one-of-a-kind pieces for purchase have been created specifically for TREC’s 90th anniversary One Night in the Tropics event. Each piece is created, printed, handled, and framed by Robert.

The featured Sunset Gator for the live auction is a simple study of figure and ground. Photographed by Chaplin after sunset, the post-sunset colors reflect from clouds to the pond, in Everglades National Park, allowed him to underexpose and create this simply stated and dramatic figure and ground art.

Other Treats to Enjoy

Attendees will be treated to a variety of activities, displays and vouchers. On display and for purchase will be 12 original, one-of-a-kind art pieces by artist Robert L. Chaplin available for purchase. These are original, one of a kind pieces printed on sugarcane paper, Belgian linen, and canvas. Chaplin will donate 25% of the sales to TREC.

A big thank you to our many sponsors:


Arazoza Brothers Corp., Miami-Dade County Fair Exposition, Inc , Mix’d Greens


Nature’s Way Farm; Richard and Patricia Alger; Railroad Nursery; Silver Vase


Agri Council; Alison & Mike Depew; Corteva Agriscience; Dade County Farm Bureau; Farm Credit of Florida; Hammockwood Tropical Country Estate; Bill & Doylene Losner; Miracle Fruit Farm, LLC; Motes Orchids; Native Tree Nursery; The Nursery Report; Pine Island Nursery; Tamiami International Orchid Festival


Baptist Health South Florida; Harris Contractor; Richard Lyons Nursery, Inc.; Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida


The Nursery Report


Baptist Health South Florida; Diageo; PepsiCo Beverages; Schnebly’s Winery & Brewery


Silver Vase, a unique creation for this One Night in the Tropics event.

Special thank you to Ben Roche and Jason Ryder, co-founders of West Coast’s Miraculex, will be unveiling their frozen treats called Pop Lollies made from Miracle Fruit.


By: Lourdes Rodriguez, 954-577-6363 office, 954-242-8439 mobile, rodriguezl@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human, and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries and all Florida residents.

ifas.ufl.edu | @UF_IFAS


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Posted: August 23, 2019

Category: Agriculture, Events, UF/IFAS
Tags: Capital Campaign, One Night In The Tropics, Robert L. Chaplin, TREC, Tropical Research And Education Center

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