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In 2012 Matthew was awarded the Don Eckelberry Award from the Society of Animal Artists. The annual award provides an expense paid trip to the rain forests of Trinidad with accommodations at the Asa Wright Nature Center so that artists can benefit from observations in the field. Matthew was finally able to make his trip in February of 2013 and he took advantage of his time in the jungle doing rapid, expressive drawings in response to his surroundings. He also made several wax studies and a mixed-media sketch of the blue crowned mot-mot which he encountered on one of his forest hikes. The mot-mot sketch was made from a few simple organic elements such as seed pods, calabash shell, palm leaf, branches, and a red plastic lid, all found in the forest surrounding the center. After staining the assemblage with watercolor, Matthew left the sculpture with the center as a gift. Near the end of his stay, Matthew gave a brief talk about his work to a small group of local Artists from the nearby town of Arima. A highlight of the trip was sharing in the work of the participants which included painting, drawing, glass, ceramics and poetry.