by Carla on July 23rd, 2018

Position: Development and Outreach Director

Oconee River Land Trust

The Oconee River Land Trust (ORLT) is a non-profit organization that protects more than 30,000 acres of Georgia’s river corridors, forests, and farmland. The Land Trust works with private landowners to protect these natural features and collaborates with governmental entities to protect public land.

Job Description

ORLT is hiring a Development and Outreach Director. This position will be responsible for supporting the mission of ORLT by directing ORLT’s fundraising efforts, coordinating opportunities for the public to experience protected land, and by communicating land trust news to the ORLT community and to the public. This position works with the executive director, board of directors, members, corporations, and foundations to secure gifts and to build long-term relationships with the community in support of the mission, programs, and services of ORLT.

Education and Experience Requirements
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Working experience in one or more of the following areas: development, donor relations, event planning, marketing/communications, environmental education, or related experience or equivalent
  • Experience and/or interest in the natural world
For a full job description and instructions on applying, click here.

Applications due August 15, 2018.

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.

by Carla on June 25th, 2018

Experience globally rare Blackland Prairie habitat with ORLT and the Georgia Botanical Society!  This multi-stop tour, which was coordinated by the GA Bot Socs, includes a stop at a  prairie protected by ORLT in 2017,  a stop at Oaky Woods WMA, and depending on heat, we will also explore limestone bluffs and cooler places. Afterwards, folks are welcome to stay for dinner at Yoder’s in Montezuma and for a pastry shop visit.

The prairies support several species that are rare in the state of Georgia, including Boykin’s milkwort (Polygala boykinii) and Dakota vervain (Glandularia bipinnatifida), and a disjunct population of Southeastern Bold Goldenrod (Solidago rigida). In bloom will be gray-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), shown at left. Southeastern Bold Goldenrod, which typically blooms August-September, may also be visible if it blooms early. Walking along forested trails through chalky bottomland hardwood forests, we will also see species such as dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) and Cherokee sedge (Carex cherokeensis).

The prairies are located in Houston County, south of Macon. The walk is free and open to the public. No registration necessary.

Meet at 10am at Flash Foods/Taco Bell in Bonaire, at the corner of GA Hw. 247 and 96.

Facilities
: At the meeting site only. Participants invited to nearby Yoder’s Mennonite restaurant for dining afterwards and the bakery shop

Walking Difficulty: Easy to moderate, lasting all day, some bushwhacking, covering up to 3 miles, mostly in grassy habitat and along jeep trails.

Bring: Snacks, water, lunch, butterfly binoculars, notebook, hat, sunscreen.  Wear long pants, hiking shoes for ankle support and double socks to avoid ticks and chiggers. 

Trip Leader: Tom Patrick, (706)476-4541 (cell)   tom.patrick@dnr.state.ga.us

Questions for ORLT? email Carla Francis, Outreach and Development Coordinator (carla@oconeeriverlandtrust.org) or call 706-552-3138

Photo from Gardenia.net


by Carla on May 30th, 2018

Conservation Coordinator Joins Land Trust

A former environmental analyst with the University of Georgia has joined ORLT as conservation coordinator.

Margaret Myszewski spent a decade at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government focusing on issues concerning land use, sustainable development, water quality, and climate change.

Most recently, she was program coordinator for the Georgia Coastal Research Council at UGA, an organization focused on improving scientific exchange between coastal scientists and decision makers in Georgia and promoting the incorporation of the best available scientific information into state and local resource management.

A native of Iowa, Margaret earned her bachelor’s degree at Drake University in Des Moines. She holds a master’s degree in Medical Microbiology from UGA and earned her law degree at the University of Oregon with an emphasis in environmental and natural resource policy.


by Carla on May 30th, 2018

By Carla Francis, Outreach and
Development Coordinator



Having recently returned from a wolf tour of Yellowstone National Park, Karen Middendorf sat down for an interview. Enthusiastic descriptions of wolves, elk, and moose followed. “She’s one of us,” I quickly gathered.

Middendorf, who joined the ORLT board in February, has been involved in the Athens community for many years. She is the founder of Firehall 4 Animal Hospital, a 10-year member of the Athens-Clarke County Planning Commission, and a founding member of the Piedmont Gardeners.

A resident of Clarke County for nearly 40 years, she originally hails from Huntingburg, Indiana. A handful of years after earning her undergraduate degree from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Purdue University, she and her late husband, Wayne, moved to Athens. There they raised 4 children on their horse farm in northwestern Clarke County.

In 2016, Middendorf sold Firehall 4 Animal Hospital, where she still works part time as a veterinarian. She now spends more time with family, gardening, quilting, and hiking in the mountains.

Middendorf credits her father, a two-time board member of the Nature Conservancy, for her appreciation of the natural world. She fondly recalls visiting family forestry land with him, where she learned in person the positive impacts timber stand improvements can have on forests.

Middendorf is well-equipped to serve on a board that works to protect a variety of landscapes, from forests to farms.

Welcome to ORLT, Karen!

Photo by Jason Thrasher