Upstate Chapter January Speaker

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The Nature Conservancy’s Kristen Austin on “The Blue Wall Reserve” 

On Tuesday, January 17th at 7:00 pm at Landrum Depot in Landrum, SC (and also via Zoom), Kristen Austin of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) will be presenting: “The Blue Wall Preserve: A Natural Resource Light in the Dark Corner.” 

The Blue Wall Preserve, located just outside of Landrum, SC, has been owned and managed by TNC since 1997; they are now in the process of developing a dam removal project. During the presentation, you’ll learn how this project will restore the hydrology of Vaughn’s Creek, a South Carolina Outstanding Resource Water and headwater to the Broad River Basin.

The program is free and open to the public. Arrive at 6:30 for socializing and refreshments. Landrum Depot is at 211 S 562, Landrum, SC 29356. The meeting can also be accessed via Zoom.

(If the link above doesn’t work, click this link or copy and paste it into your browser:

About Kristen

Kristen Austin is TNC’s Upstate Conservation Director. She has worked with TNC since 1998 when she began her career as the statewide volunteer coordinator to advance land management projects on Nature Conservancy preserves in Missouri. She later launched a grassland conservation program in southwest Missouri working with farmers and ranchers on habitat management to benefit both conservation and the local economy. 

In 2004, Kristen transferred to the Conservancy’s South Carolina Chapter to establish an office in Greenville focusing on forest and freshwater initiatives across 19 counties in the Upstate of South Carolina stretching from the Blue Ridge to the Piedmont. She works with her colleagues and partners on multiple natural resource management projects to create tangible, lasting conservation results. A few examples of this work include:

  • Managing real estate transactions to conserve lands and waters
  • Co-leading multi-state and agency partnerships for forest health
  • Holding a stakeholder seat for the Broad River Basin Council for the State Water Plan

Since moving to Greenville, Kristen has been active in the Upstate South Carolina community, serving on the City of Greenville’s Green Ribbon Committee from 2016-2020 and receiving the Community Spirit Award in 2011, among many other achievements and honors.


Kristen Austin with Yellow Lady Slipper orchids

Prior to The Nature Conservancy, Kristen was an outdoor educator and taught at field schools in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the Pacific Northwest. Her teaching background instilled in her the importance of connecting people with nature. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a double major in Environmental Sciences, and Religious Studies. In her free time, you will find her out hiking with her husband, Erik, and dog, Max, or focused on University of TN football and basketball, or out on the Pickleball court. 

Kristen has two life sayings which inform all of her work:

  • “Leave a place better than the way you found it.”
  • “To those whom much is given, much is to be expected.” 

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