The Orianne Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of reptiles, amphibians and the ecosystems they inhabit.

Longleaf Savannas Initiative

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Recent Articles

Fieldnotes- February 2021

While we mostly see amphibian activity in February, there are a few reptiles that can be found this early in the year. One of these animals is the Eastern Chicken Turtle (Deirochelys reticularia retucularia). Join Ben this month as he explores a seasonal wetland and highlights this special southeastern turtle.

Photo of the Month: February

Timber Rattlesnake. Photo credit: Tracy Karplus

Occupancy Surveying for Gopher Tortoises

I wrote last month about our recent Line Transect Distance Surveys (LTDS) for Gopher Tortoises on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve. This survey technique has become the standard for the vast majority of the tortoise monitoring that occurs across the southeast and with good reason. The LTDS framework presents a relatively easy survey methodology that can be carried out reliably by a small group of observers. Furthermore, it accomplishes the general goal of monitoring populations for a species that can be difficult to actually encounter using other survey techniques (i.e., tortoises are underground a majority of the time). With all of this said, are there circumstances where an alternative survey approach may be desired to monitor tortoise populations?

Why Are We Afraid of Snakes and How Do We Overcome That Fear?

To this day, I don’t know what compelled me to return to the scene of the slaughter. Morbid curiosity? I didn’t know it at the time, but watching the neighbor kids ruthlessly attack and kill the Gartersnake we had found in a cow pasture that day in the early 1990s would set off a chain […]

Monitoring Gopher Tortoises on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve

The Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve (OISP) contains just over 2,500 acres of protected lands located in the heart of southern Georgia. The property contains a mix of sandhills, small creeks and wetlands, and a large floodplain that backs up to the Ocmulgee River. An impressive 75 species of amphibians and reptiles have been documented on the property, and it provides a home to several rare or imperiled species, including the Eastern Indigo Snake, Gopher Tortoise, and Tiger Salamander. The OISP is also important because it serves as The Orianne Society’s home base in southern Georgia, housing all of our land management and sampling equipment. Over the last 10 years, an impressive amount of management has been conducted on the property. Tree planting, thinning, prescribed fire, and ground cover restoration have gone a long way to restoring the Longleaf Pine forests to their former glory.