by Carla on March 13th, 2020

Preserving important habitats is essential for protecting healthy populations of butterflies and
moths. Pierre Howard has documented several species of butterfly on granite outcrops in the
state of Georgia, including on ORLT-protected properties, such as Ogletree and Tigner Road. On the outcrop on Ogletree, Pierre observed the Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneu) and Yucca Giant-Skipper (Megathymus yuccae).

Pierre is ardent: “I wish we could make people understand how valuable your conservation work is. Saving these granite outcrops saves so many species!”

To see more of Pierre's beautiful photos please visit his website

by Oconee River Land Trust - De'Andra on February 25th, 2020

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As the spring season approaches and temperatures rise, the chances that you may encounter young wildlife that appears “abandoned” increases as well. 

Tempting as it may seem, it is best to resist the urge to rescue any baby animal that you see alone. In many cases there is an adult animal nearby that the baby belongs to, even though you may not see it. Animals like deer and rabbits spend a lot of time away from their babies in order to decrease the chances of a predator finding their young. 

Bringing wildlife into the home poses a risk for both humans and domesticated pets that may reside in the home as well. Even if an animal looks healthy, wildlife can transmit life-threatening diseases such as rabies, and can carry parasites such as roundworms, lice, fleas, and ticks that can cause other diseases in humans and pets.
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There are some cases where an animal has truly been orphaned or injured, in which case it does need help. These signs include:
  • The animal is brought to you by a cat or dog
  • The animal is clearly bleeding
  • The animal has an apparent or obvious broken limb
  • A bird is featherless or nearly featherless and on the ground
  • The animal is shivering
  • You can see what appears to be the animal’s dead parent nearby
  • The animal is crying and wandering all day long
Even if you do encounter an animal with one of these signs, without proper training or a license in wildlife rehabilitation, you should not attempt to care for wildlife. If you encounter an animal that appears to be injured or orphaned, the best step to take is to contact a local, licensed wildlife rehabilitator. If you live in Georgia, you can follow this link, scroll down to the “Wildlife Rehabilitation” section, and click the link titled “Wildlife Rehabilitator List.” If you do not reside in Georgia, you can use this link to find the Wildlife Rehabilitators in your state. If you cannot locate a rehabilitator, try contacting an animal shelter, humane society, or animal control agency. 
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Once you've contacted someone who can help, describe the animal and their physical condition as best as you can. Don’t try to handle an animal without consulting a wildlife professional first as even small animals can cause harm. Unless you are told otherwise, here's how you can prepare an animal for a comfortable transport while you’re waiting for help to arrive:
  1. Put the animal in a safe container. For most animals, it is fine to use a cardboard box or similar container. Make sure to punch holes into the box or container for air for (not while the animal is in the box) from the inside out and line the box with an old T-shirt or other soft cloth.
  2. Before touching the animal, be sure to wear thick gloves and cover the animal with a towel or pillowcase as you scoop them up gently and put them in the container.
  3. Don’t give the animal food or water.The wrong food could cause the animal to choke, trigger serious digestive problems or cause aspiration pneumonia. Many injured or abandoned animals are in shock and force-feeding can kill them.
  4. Place the container in a warm, dark, quiet place—away from pets, children and any noise (this includes  the TV and the radio)—until you can transport the animal if instructed by the wildlife professional. Keep the container away from any direct sunlight, air conditioning or heat.
  5. If instructed to transport the animal by a wildlife professional, do so as soon as possible. Leave the radio off and keep talking to a minimum as this extra noise can cause stress to the animals. If they’re injured or orphaned, they’re already in a compromised condition. Keep their world dark and quiet to lower their stress level and increase the chances of them surviving comfortably.

by Caroline on January 7th, 2020

Want to get a variety of experiences in the conservation field? ORLT is looking for a part-time intern to join our team this spring.

Our Conservation Outreach Internship focuses on operating and planning events, social media, written publications, and creating outreach materials.

Click below to download a full internship description and how to apply.

by Caroline on September 5th, 2018

This November, Georgians will have the opportunity to vote in referendum on the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act (GOSA), which would dedicate 75% of existing tax revenues from outdoor recreation sales to land conservation.

GOSA would not be an additional tax, but would simply provide a larger share of existing resources to conservation activities. Some of these activities would include critical habitat protection for game animals and other wildlife, local park and trail improvements, and loans to local governments for acquiring new conservation lands and easements.

For more information and details, please visit

by Carla on July 20th, 2018

July 19, 2018

Charles Seabrook, For the AJC

In the book “The Natural Communities of Georgia,” the authors write: “From cool, moist mountain peaks in the Blue Ridge to the sun-drenched shores of our Atlantic coast, this state boasts an amazing diversity of natural habitats.”

Indeed. The many different habitats, which support a wide range of flora and fauna, make Georgia the nation’s sixth most biologically diverse state.

Braving July’s heat, several of us Georgia Botanical Society members last weekend explored two of the state’s rarest natural habitats — small grasslands known as blackland (or black belt) prairies. One was in the Oaky Woods Wildlife Management Area in Houston County; the other, also in that county, was on private land permanently protected by a conservation easement with the Oconee River Land Trust.

Georgia’s blackland prairies are similar to those found in a narrow belt across the Southeast and stretching into Texas. The belt once was larger, but many of the grasslands were destroyed by agriculture and suppression of fire, which allowed trees to creep in.

According to botanist Tom Patrick with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, remnant prairies persist due to occasional fire and their peculiar chalk-like soils, which shrink and swell, killing trees and other woody plants but allowing hundreds of species of native grasses, showy wildflowers and other herbaceous plants to thrive. Several of the plants are rare.

July is peak bloom time for the wildflowers, and last weekend we found some 20 species in bloom. The dominant flower by far was the gray-headed coneflower, whose bright yellow blooms made the grasslands glow with brilliant color.

IN THE SKY: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: The South Delta Aquarid meteor shower, visible tonight and all next week, reaches a peak of 15 meteors per hour on Friday night (July 27) — in the southeast from midnight until dawn. The moon will be full on Friday. Mercury is low in the west just after dark. Brightly shining Venus is in the west around dusk and sets about three hours later. Mars, also shining brightly, rises out of the east around midnight. Jupiter is high in the south at dusk. Saturn is high in the east at sunset and will appear near the moon Tuesday night.
Reprinted from the AJC. Original article can be found here.