The Athens-Clarke County region is rich with conservation land, wildlife, and active citizens. Athens-Clarke County is home to over 200 bird species and other wildlife that rely on habitats often maintained by citizens living in this beautiful region. The goals of Oconee Rivers Audubon Society (ORAS) are to promote awareness and protection of the remarkable diversity of nature in our own backyards. The ORAS Conservation Grant program helps us support community members, teachers and students in the Athens area who are working towards the same goals as our organization.
The conservation grant program began in the fall of 2009. Since its creation, the ORAS Conservation Grant program has funded several scientific research projects, community service activities, education initiatives, and conservation projects in the Greater Athens-Clarke County area, and in other areas throughout Georgia. See below for application information and a list of past projects.
* Fall 2021 Grant Application: ORAS is excited to announce that it will be accepting grant applications for the fall gran cycle beginning on September 1st!
Application Period: September 1st - October 15th, 2021
Grant Amount: $300-$500
Eligible Applicants: Any individual wishing to conduct research or complete a project with an emphasis on bird conservation, habitat improvement, or environmental education within Georgia. Applicants must be located in the Greater Athens-Clarke County region or have a connection to the Athens-Clarke County area. This includes students and employees of the University of Georgia or other local educational institutions.
Eligible Locations: Preference will be given to projects conducted in Athens-Clarke County, but other locations in Georgia and surrounding states will be considered
Grantee Requirements: Grantees are required to subtmit an article, photos, or project update to the Yellowthroat, the ORAS newsletter. Some applicants may also be asked to discuss their project at one of the ORAS Monthly Meetings. An ORAS board member will be in contact with each grantee to check progress throughout the duration of the project.
Rubric: Board members will use a simple rubric to review all applications. The rubric is available here.
Application & Instructions: Applicants wishing to be considered for this grant award must complete the following steps:
- Submit ORAS Conservation Grant Application Form.
- Submit an Applicant Letter. Applicant Letters should be a total of three pages, and include a cover letter, budget, and CV/resume. All Applicant Letters must be mailed to email@example.com (conservation "at" oconeeriversaudubon.org).
- Have one Letter of Recommendation (1-page limit) emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (conservation "at" oconeeriversaudubon.org).
Contact: Betsy Kurimo-Beechuk at email@example.com for all inquiries.
Past Funded Projects:
Spring 2017: The State Botanical Garden of Georgia was awarded funds for river cane restoration.
Spring 2017: Zoe Cooper and Mark McConnell of the UGA Bird Banding Cooperative at the UGA Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources were awarded funds to purchase bird banding equipment for public education programs.
Spring 2017: Will Lewis, a graduate student at the UGA Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, was awarded funds to study Veery in the southern Appalachians.
Spring 2017: Catherine Huff, a teacher at Athens Montessori School, was awarded funds to implement habitat improvement projects for school property alongside her students.
Spring 2017: Melody Mosby, a teacher at Athens Montessori School, was awarded funds to implement habitat improvement projects for school property alongside her students.
Fall 2016: Ashley Lohr, a graduate student at the UGA Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, was awarded funds to study Wild Turkey in Georgia's Piedmont.
Fall 2016: Natalie Harris, a student at the UGA Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, was awarded funds to study Eastern Bluebird nestling success in Athens.
Fall 2016: Sandy Creek Nature Center was awarded funds to buy seeds needed to reestablish native plants for pollinators along powerlines and roadsides with the Managed Forest Project.
Winter 2016: Citizens for South Jackson was funded for its work to create bird education materials at the South Jackson Elementary School trail system.
Winter 2016: James Wood, a Ph.D. student at the UGA Odum School of Ecology, used funds to implement a undergraduate service-learning course to restore native plants at a Athens Regional Medical Center park.
Winter 2016: Suzanne Degrasse received funds to begin construction of a songbird rehabilitation facility in Madison County.
Winter 2016: Sam Merker, a graduate student at the UGA Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, received money to create wooden decoys for his study of warblers in the southern Appalachian mountains.
Spring 2016: Grant funds were used by Winterville residents to improve native plantings and bird nesting opportunities at Pittard Park.
Spring 2015: Athens-Clarke County Recycling & Landfill staff used grant money to buy and create more educational supplies for their popular outdoor classroom.
Spring 2015: A grant was awarded to a UGA Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources graduate student studying duck health in the Savannah River area.
Spring 2015: Grant money was awarded to a Ph.D. student at the UGA Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources who coordinated a birdwatching activity for local families at the Veterinary School open house day.
Fall 2014: Linsey Haram, a graduate student in the UGA Odum School of Ecology, received a small grant to study the effects of an invasive seaweed, Gracilaria vermiculophylla, on the foraging ecology of shorebirds at the Georgia/South Carolina coast.
Spring 2013: Funds were provided to an undergraduate research project at the University of Georgia examining the effects of urban habitat fragmentation on the distribution of Brown-headed Nuthatches in Clarke County.
Spring 2012: Funding was provided to Andrea Ayala, a M.S. graduate student at the UGA Odum School of Ecology, who examined how multiple parasites influence disease transmission among feral rock pigeons.
Fall 2011: Brandon Adams, a local Athens-Clarke County school teacher, used grant funds to create a small bird feeder station and garden for children to enjoy outside the school.
Fall 2010: Ben Emanual of the Altamaha Riverkeeper used grant funds to monitor water quality/toxicity, macroinvertebrates, and fish within Trail Creek in Athens following an ecologically devastating chemical spill.
Spring 2010: Kerrie Anne Lloyd, a graduate student at the UGA Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, used grant funds to purchase a "kitty camera" to study the behavior of outdoor cats through the use of a tiny infrared camera placed on a cat's collar.
Fall 2009: Memorial Park Weed Warriors received grant funds to purchase native plants to re-establish in areas cleared of exotic, invasive plants such as privet, English ivy, and Japanese honeysuckle.