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Georgia Southern University partners with The Orianne Society

Georgia Southern students at The Orianne Society’s Indigo Snake Preserve

The Department of Biology at Georgia Southern University and The Orianne Society, a nonprofit organization devoted to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles, have announced a partnership.

The memorandum of understanding between the University and The Orianne Society is designed to enhance cooperation and further the mission of research and education by both partners.

“Faculty in the University’s Department of Biology and scientists at The Orianne Society work to understand and conserve biodiversity in our region. It makes sense that we should cooperate,” said Lance McBrayer, Ph.D., associate dean for research in the College of Science and Mathematics. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to work with such a productive nonprofit organization.”

Georgia Southern University’s Department of Biology is the largest center for biology research and education in southern Georgia. Thus, for its part, the department will provide access to state-of-the-art laboratory space and equipment for scientists from The Orianne Society. Access to laboratory facilities will significantly increase the research infrastructure available to The Orianne Society and will facilitate mutually beneficial collaborations with the University’s faculty and students. Scientists from The Orianne Society will have the opportunity to work as visiting scholars in the Department of Biology.

“This agreement will provide us with a welcome opportunity to collaborate with Georgia Southern University scientists and share our conservation work with large numbers of undergraduate and graduate students,” said Houston Chandler, species coordinator for The Orianne Society’s Longleaf Savannas Initiative. “Access to facilities, especially the Georgia Southern University herpetology collection, will increase our ability to conserve amphibians, reptiles and their habitats in southern Georgia.”

The Orianne Society, a leader in habitat conservation and management in the state, will provide Georgia Southern University biologists access to the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve. This 1200-acre preserve will provide a unique opportunity to access rare amphibians and reptiles such as the federally threatened Eastern Indigo Snake and to see cutting-edge habitat restoration techniques.  The Orianne Society’s extensive network of field sites in the region will expand the educational and research opportunities available to the University’s students and faculty.

Scientists from The Orianne Society will also continue to contribute regularly to the Georgia Southern University herpetology collection, strengthening one of the largest collections of amphibians and reptiles in the Southeast.

“In addition to enhanced research opportunities, students involved in collaborative studies with The Orianne Society will be able to observe the types of jobs that are available in the field of conservation biology. Nonprofit groups are often a source of training opportunities and rewarding jobs for our graduates,” said Steve Vives, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biology. 

The partnership between Georgia Southern University and The Orianne Society is a model for cooperation between public and private entities in the service of conservation-oriented research and education. Information about the outcomes of this partnership will be posted on each organization’s website in the coming months.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 118 degree programs serving 20,418 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. Visit



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