Matt’s career with The Nature Conservancy began in 1998 as a seasonal field assistant banding endangered birds and mapping their nesting habitat on the Fort Hood military base in central Texas as part of a joint project between TNC and the Department of Defense. From there, he became the preserve manager for TNC’s Texas City Prairie Preserve where he led habitat restoration efforts and worked closely with the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Recovery Team to track the population of this critically endangered species.
Matt came to work for the Indiana Chapter in 2001 as the north-central Indiana land steward. He became a burn boss and led prescribed fire and invasive species control efforts across more than a dozen TNC properties in that part of the state.
Since 2015, Matt has served as the Director of Conservation Programs for the Indiana Chapter. In this role, he oversees the science, land acquisition and land management work of the Chapter. He also is the past chair and current member of the Midwest Division Conservation Cabinet, which is responsible for developing and reviewing many of the conservation strategies being implemented across the five states of the Midwest Division.
Matt is also an award-winning nature photographer and author. His works include Indiana State Parks: A Centennial Celebration which features Matt’s landscape photography of Indiana’s state parks. A more recent book, Endangered and Disappearing Birds of the Midwest, tells the story of forty bird species across the Midwest that are most in need of conservation efforts. The book won a silver medal in the 2018 Foreword Reviews Independent Book Awards competition, and a bronze medal in the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards—a competition involving books from nearly 2,500 different publishers from the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and several other countries.
Matt was recently asked to write the forward for the re-release of the classic work The Birds of Indiana, featuring the life histories of many of the bird species of the state as well as the artwork of William Zimmerman. Matt’s photographs have appeared in several other books and national magazines, including Bird Watcher’s Digest and National Wildlife.
Matt, his wife Karyn, and their four children live in Crawfordsville, Indiana where they enjoy kayaking along Sugar Creek, hiking at Shades State Park and serving in their local church.