About Us


Carolyn and Matt Nistler purchased Matson’s Laboratory from Gary and Judy Matson in 2014. Carolyn worked closely with Gary until the transition was complete. In 2015, the newly constructed lab facility opened in Manhattan, MT.

Carolyn, a Certified Wildlife Biologist, is an active member of The Wildlife Society and supports a number of conservation organizations, particularly those that emphasize conservation through ethical hunting. Matt and Carolyn are both Hunter Education Instructors and spend time in all outdoor environments, whether exploring wilderness on foot, horseback, or backcountry flying.

Lab Staff

AJ Stephens, Lab Manager

AJ graduated in 2010 from Malone University in Canton, Ohio with a B.A. in Biology. He joined the Matson’s team in 2015, which allowed him to blend his passion for the outdoors with a profession in science. When not working, he thoroughly enjoys many of the outdoor pursuits Montana has to offer, including big-game hunting, downhill skiing, hiking, camping, and backpacking.

Sarah Marsh, Lab Supervisor

Sarah graduated in 2014 from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington with a B.S. in Biology. She was hired at Matson’s in 2015 as a Laboratory Technician and was quickly promoted to Lab Supervisor. Sarah has always been passionate about animals, conservation and the environment. Sarah and her husband enjoy travel, hiking, camping, tubing and the many other outdoor options in Montana.


In 1969, Gary and Judy Matson started Matson’s Laboratory, LLC in Milltown, MT, and have been providing biologists with histological preparations to aid in managing wildlife populations ever since. Gary Matson, MSc (Zoology, University of Montana), has formal graduate training in histology and histological microtechnique.

Gary’s past involvement in conservation issues includes work on the teratogenic effects of the brush killer 2,4,5-T, organizing community opposition to the Northern Tier pipeline, work on land use issues as a board member of the Montana Environmental Information Center, and membership in many conservation organizations.

Conservation Awards

In 2015, Gary Matson was presented with the Montana Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s Distinguished Service Award to commemorate his enormous contribution to the wildlife community. This award is presented annually for those with cumulative, past, current, and/or continuing achievements in wildlife conservation. To see Gary receive his award, check out page 4 of the Montana Chapter’s newsletter.

The Burk-Brandborg Award for outstanding individual contributions in a given year was presented to Gary Matson in 2004 for his leadership with Friends of Two Rivers, a group of Milltown and Bonner residents committed to cleaning up the Milltown Reservoir and removing the Milltown Dam. The conservation award, presented on Earth Day, honors writer Dale Burk and the late Bitterroot Forest Supervisor G.M. Brandborg.

Judy was also awarded the Burk-Brandborg Award for outstanding individual contributions in a given year for her role in finding common ground for citizens on opposing sides of the Milltown cleanup. The Bonner Milltown History Center is supported by a community with a long and unique history. 

Gary receiving TWS's Distinguished Service Award.

Environmental and Safety Concerns

Matson’s laboratory takes the following steps to protect technicians from harmful exposures and to minimize environmental contamination resulting from the laboratory’s operation:

  • All laboratory operations generating chemical fumes are conducted under an exhaust hood.
  • Technicians transferring corrosive liquids are protected by a splash guard.
  • Spent solvents are disposed of using procedures approved by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. Matson’s Laboratory is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency listed generator of hazardous waste, and complies with all state and federal regulations regarding disposal.
  • Acids used in the laboratory are neutralized and disposed of using methods approved by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

Our Core Values

  • To provide accurate results and timely, professional service for wildlife/ecological research and conservation.
  • To develop strong working relationships based on mutual respect and personal accountability.
  • To provide a positive, enjoyable working environment where employees maintain a team approach, and work together to focus on solutions rather than problems.
  • To strive for ongoing personal growth in technical and interpersonal skills.


Throughout our entire business lifetime, begun in 1969, we have enjoyed the full support of you for whom we work… biologists, researchers, and technicians around the world. Your continued help and encouragement are why we’re still here, and we appreciate it.

We expect our facility to be a permanent one, offering standardized technical services on a personal level to the world community of wildlife professionals.

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