Vanessa Stern
Executive Director
Vanessa has been a life-long lover of nature. Her earliest memories include those of the woods and fields surrounding her childhood home in the Northeast Kingdom. As a teacher for the past thirteen years, she focused on bringing children out into nature to experience its many healing benefits while deepening their knowledge of “place” and developing their sense of empathy for our earth. Prior to her teaching career, Vanessa was the Executive Director of Child First, a child care advocacy organization in Keene, NH. She currently sits on the board of the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association (WHPA), a local land conservation organization, and enjoys leading hikes on the Bald Hill Reserve, a WHPA conserved trail system. She and her husband raised their own two children on a small sustainable farm in Westminster, where they spent as much time as possible outside. Vanessa received a B.A. in Studio Art from the University of Vermont and an M.Ed. with a focus in science from Rutgers University. A passion of hers is connecting people to nature so that we may all rediscover our own personal relationship with the earth. 


 

Jay DeGregorio
Senior Educator
Jay is a passionate environmental educator who loves teaching all people, but most enjoys teaching young students in the outdoors. Jay believes all people can discover wonder and joy in learning, and that environmental education is one of the best platforms to foster these experiences. He was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA but now lives in Brattleboro, VT. Jay enjoys teaching about forestry, wildlife, geography, and ecology. Jay received his B.S. in geography with minors in natural science and geographic information science from Penn State University. He received his M.S in environmental studies with a concentration in environmental education from Antioch University New England. Jay is a weather buff, enjoys amateur photography, loves to snowboard whenever possible, finds joy in any time outdoors, and is big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 
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Jill Bruning
Education Coordinator
Jill is a nature aficionado and life-long outdoor adventuress. She grew up in the woods of southern Michigan where she spent much of her time foraging for morel mushrooms, building forts, and cross country skiing. Jill earned her B.S.E. and M.S.E. in Geological Engineering from Michigan Technological University. It was there in the wilderness of Michigan's Upper Peninsula that she deepened her love of outdoor adventure while backpacking and kayaking the untamed shores of Lake Superior. Jill served on The Nature Museum Board of Directors from 2014 to 2017. She now enjoys serving the organization as the Education Coordinator and loves to see people of all ages making stronger connections to the natural world.


Morgan Stevens , Museum Docent

Morgan grew up in Grafton, VT. Here, she developed a love for the special small town community and atmosphere. She is currently pursuing her Bachelors of Science degree in Business Technology and Management at Vermont Technical College. One day, Morgan hopes to have her own business and continue to work with youth. Morgan enjoys exploring outside, riding dirt bikes, and spending time with family. She often finds herself sitting outside reading a book or going on hikes in her spare time. She is excited to gain experience in the learning and exploration that The Nature Museum offers visitors!



Janessa Palmer, Environmental Educator Intern

Janessa grew up camping, fishing, and paddling throughout Minnesota. After trying veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota, she realized she enjoyed talking about science more than sitting in a lab and wound up earning a degree in journalism. From there, she has taught camping, fishing, and paddling for the Minnesota DNR, spent time along the shores of Lake Superior as a Naturalist for Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, and worked with snakes (and other critters) as a Park Interpreter for Minnesota State Parks. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Environmental Science at Antioch University New England and hopes to apply her learning this summer at the Bellows Falls Fish Ladder.