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ORLT's 30 Stories for 30 Years: Dr. Kathy Parker

Kathy Parker on her land in southeastern Clarke County near a creek in a colony of May apples.

Dr. Kathy Parker serves as the Vice-Chair on ORLT’s board, where she is appreciated for the steadfast commitment she has shared since joining in 2016. Having retired from UGA after 30 years of teaching and conducting research in physical geography, Kathy brings a wealth of knowledge about natural systems and communities to the table. She is a talented photographer and an avid birder. On member hikes, Kathy often shares her insights into bird calls and sightings. Here, Kathy describes what motivated her, and her husband Al, to protect their land with a conservation easement:

"Our land is in southeastern Clarke County, where the pressure to develop is great. The lots in our subdivision are large and for the most part, remain forested. Our neighborhood represents a sizeable area with in-tact habitat for many wildlife species. We have recorded over 100 species of birds, many of them in the spring and fall when birds that winter in the tropics and breed farther north are passing through. Because these habitats are dwindling, along with the bird populations they support, protecting our land with a conservation easement helps ensure that these important habitats for wildlife will remain in perpetuity. Protecting the land also provides a way for us to give back—to the broader community and to all the plants and animals whose environment we currently occupy."

When asked what her favorite story is about the property, Kathy replied "There are many, most having to do with birds. It might be the time I was able to sit for close to an hour on our screened porch during a rainstorm, watching a barred owl trying to find a dry spot under the leaves of a dogwood tree--literally 5’ from the screen! Or it could be when I was out working on our trail, clearing the tread, and a male hooded warbler sang his beautiful song as he slowly circled me repeatedly. It could also be the first sighting of the migrating rose-breasted grosbeaks every spring. They are one of the few through-migrators that is a regular but brief visitor to feeders in migration; most other feeder visitors either breed or winter here and are, therefore, here for a while. Those are a few of the many, many things that I love about our land and help to make it special."

Image of a rose-breasted grosbeak captured here by Kathy Parker.

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