Audubon South Carolina has named a new center director for the Beidler Forest Audubon Center and Sanctuary, an 18,000-acre haven in Harleyville which includes the world’s largest virgin cypress-tupelo swamp forest.

Matt Johnson has been promoted from director of bird conservation and engagement, to the position of center director. Johnson has more than six years of experience at Audubon South Carolina.

“Having started my career with Audubon as the Education Manager at Beidler, I’m thrilled to return in a new role to this preserve that I love so much,” Johnson said. “I’m excited for the chance to introduce people from all over South Carolina and beyond to this truly one-of-a-kind ecosystem."

Johnson’s turn at the helm comes one year after Alma Busby-Williams was hired as center director. Prior to Busby-Williams, Mike Dawson lead the center for 38 years.

In his new role, Johnson will work to elevate Beidler as an important community resource and vital bird and wildlife habitat, while overseeing day-to-day operations and management of the center. Johnson has 11 years of experience in bird biology and science education and a B.S. and M.S. degrees from Clemson University.

“Matt is a proven and passionate leader and an expert in his field, and we’re excited for him to begin this new chapter of his Audubon career,” said Audubon Senior Vice President of States and Audubon South Carolina Interim Director Rebeccah Sanders.

In addition to Johnson’s promotion, Nolan Schillerstrom has been promoted from Coastal Program Coordinator to Coastal Program Associate. For the last five years, Nolan has led the organization’s coastal program through on the ground research, community and media outreach, and in the training hundreds of volunteers.

Schillerstrom has B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Cornell College and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from College of Charleston.

“In addition to doing yeoman’s work for South Carolina’s coastal bird stewardship program, Nolan was instrumental in securing the $700,000 National Fish and Wildlife grant that, along with the enormous generosity of private and corporate donors, helped secure the fate of Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary, one of the state’s most important rookeries for our threatened coastal bird populations,”Sanders said.