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Meet the Team

We are united
in our love of this special place.

Everyone on the CNP board and staff brings a unique set of skills and talents to the common goal of making this place the best it can be, sharing it with the community, and fostering a love and appreciation for nature in visitors of all ages!


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Erin Knight

Interim Executive Director

It was during her 13+ years working in land conservation with Upstate Forever, ultimately serving as Land Trust Director, that Erin first visited the land that would become Conestee Nature Preserve. It wasn’t yet protected, or open to the public. There were no trails. Just unmatched beauty, incredible wildlife, and potential. It always called to her, and one day, she answered! Erin is passionate about connecting people and nature, and improving the organization she loves.

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Klyn Carr


Klyn’s joy for the outdoors started when he was young, often going camping with his family in and around the Greenville area. He attended Loyola University of New Orleans and soon after graduating moved to Washington state. There, he worked for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation as an educator and sponsored several of the outdoor education and leadership programs. He wants to help create a space where everyone can experience the outdoors.

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Taylor Earley


An upstate native, Taylor spent her childhood exploring the woods near her home, enjoying wild honeysuckle and collecting snail shells. Her love and appreciation for wildlife inspired her to earn a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of South Carolina. After graduation, Taylor joined the Palmetto Conservation Corps and helped build the Palmetto Trail. Now an environmental educator, Taylor works to instill in others the same passion she’s always had for the natural world.

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Amanda Foster


Amanda’s passion for the great outdoors has been a lifelong journey. With a degree in Outdoor Leadership from North Greenville University, she has spent nearly a decade professionally crafting trails in parks and private lands throughout the Carolinas. Her personal mission at CNP is to sustainably create and preserve trails that serve as gateways for people to explore and connect with the natural world. Amanda loves yoga, music, cats, and rock climbing.

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Jim Groener


Jim discovered his love of nature at the Jersey Shore, but migrated to SC to attend Clemson University for Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. He spent the next 20 years in Florida, honing his skills as an educational tour guide, narrator of animal exhibits, and animal handler. He returned to the Upstate in 2018 and worked at the Greenville Zoo before discovering the most amazing classroom of all, Conestee Nature Preserve.

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Samantha Hart


Samantha grew up exploring the woods behind her house, and has always loved being outdoors. She has a degree from Clemson University in Environmental and Natural Resources with a concentration in Conservation Biology and a minor in Biological Sciences. Samantha worked on the coast as a Naturalist at Kiawah Island, then returned to the Upstate in 2021 and worked as a Life Science Instructor at Roper Mountain Science Center before joining the Conestee team.

Meghan Salm

Meghan Salm


Raised in a small town in the Virginia mountains, Meghan’s desire to protect the environment was ignited early on. Her pursuit of that passion led her to earn a degree in Sustainability from Furman University. Meghan spent a year with AmeriCorps before assuming the role of Sustainability Education Coordinator at Sustaining Way, a local nonprofit. As CNP’s Program Administrator, Meghan cultivates community around nature. A true bookworm, Meghan is always reading a good story.

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Ben Stansell


Ben’s first few visits to CNP were filled with wonder. How could a place like this – where herons perch and trails wind through forest for miles – exist just a few minutes from the urban center of Greenville? Even though he’s helped maintain trails at CNP for over a year, that sense of wonder hasn’t worn off. A former journalist, Ben has enjoyed leaning into his passion for conservation while learning about trail infrastructure and access.

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Sarah Whitmire


Sarah holds a bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Biology and a master’s in Secondary Science Education from the University of Georgia. Prior to CNP, Sarah taught at J.L. Mann High School, was Program Director for a residential environmental education program in Georgia, and had several wildlife field technician jobs tracking everything from rodents to black bears. Teaching outside is her happy place, and CNP is the best classroom she could have asked for!

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Josh Zalabak


Josh grew up camping, fishing and hunting throughout Central Florida. These experiences fostered a passion for nature and an interest in wildlife that led him to a bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of Florida . After 10 years in Animal Care at a zoo in Orlando and the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, he transitioned into marketing, becoming PR coordinator at the Aquarium for just over a year before coming to Conestee in 2021.



Bill Bridges, Chairman
Henry Sullivan, Vice Chairman
Valerie Hollinger, Secretary
Lester Lippincott, Treasurer
Nicole Cendrowski
Andy Finley
Buddy Mills
Chasity Ramos
Ann Marie Ravindran
Scott Trenor
Colin Young
Will Young
Mary Allison Zimmerman
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