Beidler Forest Center Director
Matt is an expert in bird biology. He manages many of our key projects, from remapping South Carolina’s Important Bird Areas to avian research. Matt, who has both a B.S. and master's degree from Clemson, also helps build bird-friendly communities, teach bird-friendly forestry, and lead bird walks around the state.
Beidler Forest Center Manager
As an artist, data enthusiast, traveler and passionate birder, Emily brings a rich and unique perspective to her role as center manager for the Audubon Center and Sanctuary at Francis Beidler Forest. With a B.A. in creative writing and fine arts from Kent State, her experiences have ranged from shadowing contemporary artists in New York City to having her own work auctioned off in support of warbler research and studies. Her background with groups such as the Avian Conservation Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, combined with her drive for continued education, will serve her well in her role with Audubon.
Emily is originally from Michigan and has a B.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Biology from Clemson University. She has been an Animal Care Summer Intern for the Philadelphia Zoo and also a Veterinary Technician for the last 2 years before coming to Audubon South Carolina. She enjoys reading and spending time with her two dogs, and her goal for this year is to finish developing a video game.
Seasonal Beidler Forest Guest Relations Assistant
Richard has been leading guided walks and canoe trips at Beidler Forest beginning in 2009. He enjoys art, nature, and computers, and is a generalist in that regard, but during his time here he has designed and painted displays for the visitor center and boardwalk, worked on Audubon South Carolina's website, produced animations for projects, herded cats during summer camp, and helped many adults get over their fear of snakes. He has stayed on the property during one ice storm, one winter bomb cyclone, one thousand year flood, and three... four...? Hurricanes. One of his favorite programs to give are nightwalks, especially during firefly season.
Mark is responsible for the nuts and bolts of overseeing Audubon's Beidler Forest Center & Sanctuary's 18,000 acres of land, including longleaf pine restoration. And if you’re looking for a lost fighter jet, put Mark on it. A former Marine, teacher, and graduate of USC, Mark recently happened on the wreckage of an old military plane, then spent months tracking down its history.
Blue Jay Ambassador
Petey is our resident bird ambassador. He cannot be released into the wild because as a fledging he imprinted on humans. Here at Beidler Forest he helps us teach about birds on a more personal level. He loves attention, being around humans, and enjoys mimicking the calls of Red-shouldered Hawks, Carolina Wrens, microwaves, and much more. His favorite food are mealworms, his favorite dance is called "tippity toes" and his favorite thing to do is attack cameras.
Greenish Rat Snake Ambassador
Lucy (she also goes by "Lucky") has been our resident rat snake since 2015. She is remarkable for her size and also for her curiousity, she often watches as people move around the center and takes interest when we are cleaning her enclosure. Like her predecessor Jake the Snake, Lucy is calm and quick to take a nap while being held, but she also enjoys climbing and has crawled up walls within the visitor center (under supervision, of course).
Corn Snake Ambassador
Checkers has been with us since around 2011 and has a shy demeanor, often burrowing into his bedding after enduring the attention of entire classrooms on a field trip. Though he'd rather be on the ground than climb high, he has been known to escape on occasions when someone forgets to close his lid. On his last escape adventure he was found coiled around the plunger in the maintenance closet. Nice try, Checkers.