Located in Dooly County, near Unadilla in south central Georgia, the 176-acre Oakbin Pond Preserve and an adjoining 19-acre conservation easement protects 221 acres of habitat for rare and imperiled plants and animals. About 80% of the preserve is open cypress pond. The remainder is in the process of being restored to longleaf and shortleaf pine forest.
Oakbin Pond Preserve is home to the largest and healthiest of the less than 20 documented worldwide populations of Canby’s dropwort, a plant in the parsley family. The site provides ideal growing conditions for the federally endangered plant. The deep, poorly drained soil traps water and maintains a shallow pool, while the high organic content provides a wealth of nutrients. Because Canby’s dropwort requires sunny habitat, the site’s openness is crucial to the population’s health. Drainage of wetlands in the mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain for conversion to agricultural uses has severely affected the plant, hence the preserve’s importance.
Though not as direly imperiled as the flora, the fauna is varied and interesting. Night herons, wood ducks, alligators, snakes, and cotton rats inhabit the site. The elusive bobcat may also frequent the area.
The Nature Conservancy conducts an intensive annual monitoring program to assess population health of the dropwort and works with surrounding landowners to protect a buffer zone around the pond. Volunteers have helped plant trees, clean trash, and mark boundaries.
A boardwalk provides some access to the wetland. However, prior arrangements must be made to visit the preserve by calling Elise Cormier at (404) 253-7210 or email firstname.lastname@example.org