May Meeting - "Someone to Watch Over These," Dan Hope, Oconee Rivers Land Trust

The chairman of the Oconee River Land Trust (ORLT) board of directors will explain how the organization works to protect critical habitat and important farmland throughout Georgia at the next meeting of the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 7, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Dan Hope, long-time conservationist and a founder of Sandy Creek Nature Center, will speak on “Someone to Watch Over These,” about the role of the nonprofit ORLT in permanently protecting diverse habitats through the conservation easements it administers in partnership with landowners all over the state. ORLT is coming off a banner year in 2014, when it placed more than 6,000 acres of land in conservation easements, added staff and opened a new office in Athens.

Much of the land protected by the ORLT remains undisturbed, providing habitat for birds and other animals. Owners who voluntarily place their land in a conservation easement give it permanent protection from development, creating spaces that help improve air and water quality and enhance the environment for people and communities.

Hope has more than 30 years of experience in parks, recreation and leisure services. Besides helping to found the nature center, Hope was a senior public service associate with the University of Georgia’s Institute for Community and Area Development and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, and is a retired faculty member of the College of Environment and Design. He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Recreation and Park Association (GRPA), and in a variety of other offices within GRPA.

The Audubon meeting will be held in the Nature Center’s expanded Education and Visitor Center, 205 Old Commerce Road off U.S. Highway 441 north of Athens. To reach the center from the Loop 10 bypass, exit at U.S. Highway 441/Commerce Road and turn north toward Commerce. Go approximately a mile, turn left at the Sandy Creek Nature Center sign and go to the end of the road. Turn left at Old Commerce Road; parking for the Education and Visitor Center will be on the right.

For more information, visit, or contact Audubon chapter President Richard Hall at or Publicity Chair Roger Nielsen at

The Oconee Rivers Audubon Society is a nonprofit organization of people brought together by a love of birds and nature. We strive to promote conservation and provide a voice for environmental issues, we organize several local conservation projects each year, and we host public presentations on subjects related to birds, nature, and conservation at our monthly meetings. Audubon meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month at Sandy Creek Nature Center. Please check our news and events pages to learn about upcoming activities.