Purple Fringeless Orchid that I had written about in July 2009. It seems that this orchid is indeed rare in Alabama and they were kindly inquiring as to whether I would provide them with the date and location of the find-which, of course, I didn't have an issue with at all.
The department also provided me a link to a database whereby one could lookup and/or enter the spotting of other species- not only wildflowers, but also amphibians, reptiles, fish, etc.
Needless to say, receiving their inquiry "made my day". I am greatly encouraged by the department's keen appreciation and diligence to protecting our wildlife. It was also very reassuring that they took the time to drop me an email and politely ask for more details so that they could log the sighting accurately. They designated the database entry as "Private" to ensure that the location of the orchid will not be visible to the general public- the reason for doing that is to help safeguard the location from collectors. I am glad that they have that policy in place- often times GPS coordinates are provided which would pinpoint the exact location of a species.
The following is a link to the database that is available for use to all. It is especially handy for the browsing of species at a county level. https://heritage.dcnr.alabama.gov/WebEntry/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=/default.aspx New users will need to create a username and password. The site is free and it doesn't take much time to setup an account.
Here is a photograph of the orchid: