Deborah Mumford, MPA, Ed.D. - Owner/Director


Dr. Mumford designed the concept and programs provided by The Nature of Things and continues to manage its presence in the field of environmental education here in the greater Metropolitan area.  She has worked in the fields of environmental education, early childhood education, and higher education for more than 40 years serving as an educator, writer, naturalist, and administrator.  Dr. Mumford designed the outreach program to offer developmentally appropriate curriculum that is inquiry-based to challenge those who are curious about the natural world and its varied habitats and inhabitants. She has been honored to be referred to as “The Critter Lady” by countless schoolchildren and the families she has worked with over the years. In addition to her work with The Nature of Things, Dr. Mumford teaches kindergarten and serves on various committees in the Edgemont School District in Scarsdale; teaches science and early childhood graduate courses as an adjunct faculty member of Mercy College's Graduate School of Education and Westchester Community College; serves on the Board of Directors of the Alcott School in Scarsdale, New York; and various NYSED committees. Dr. Mumford‘s educational background includes a doctoral degree in Instructional leadership, as well as graduate degrees and NYS licenses in public administration, special education, and educational supervision and administration. Based on availability, Dr. Mumford enjoys teaching and sharing her love for environmental education at various programs, workshops, and events.  

Allan Mumford

Allan Mumford, B.S. - Owner/Financial Manager

 Mr. Mumford's background includes an undergraduate degree in business administration and marketing, and more than 45 years in retail and customer service. This is one of our first photos from 1985 in our re-designed office and one of the first computers is visible in the background!!!  In addition to his own career, Mr. Mumford juggles payroll and accounts payable together with finding us the best price on crickets and chicken food!  His shopping trips for fresh fruits and vegetables for hungry tortoises and iguanas have made him quite famous at the local supermarket.



   Marissa Close, M.S. - Assistant Director/Lead Naturalist


Marissa joined "The Nature of Things" in September of 2017 with an undergraduate degree in Biology focusing on Animal Behavior and a Master's in Environmental Science where she is currently working on a Grey Treefrog population study - one of her main sites being her own backyard! Growing up in 30 acres of forest in Salt Point, NY, Marissa gained an appreciation for nature early on and was often found wandering outdoors searching for amphibians and snakes. Sharing her passion of animals and wildlife with the world is her dream job, and she is proud to be a part of The Nature of Things family! 


Edward Voliva

Edward Voliva - Animal Curator 

Ed joined "The Nature of Things" in June 2006 as our Animal Curator, and he has never looked back.  He continues to provide excellent care of the more than 160 animals that are from a variety of animal kingdoms!  He spends his hours each day arranging diets, animal enclosures and developing habitats so that the animals are clean, happy, and healthy.  In addition to The Nature of Things, Ed spends his early mornings loading and unloading trucks for UPS, training and working with border collies in controlling native geese populations, raising his family with his wife Rosina in Putnam Valley, New York.



 Monika Kerschus Granholm, B.S. in Biology - Office Administrator

Monika joined "The Nature of Things" in March of 2015.  Monika grew up on what was once the Hall Estate and currently the home of the Greenburgh Nature Center in Scarsdale, New York. Monika has worked for more than 27 years in accounting and revenue integrity at KLM and Lufthansa airlines. But in addition to her many years in the airline industry, she  worked at the American Museum of Natural History's herpetology  department, and spent many years volunteering at GNC working as a receptionist, scheduler, and museum educator. She also served on GNC's Board of Directors from 2009 to 2014. She and her husband, Carl, and their son live in Hastings-on-Hudson, and continue to be involved on local, state, and federal environmental causes. Monika brings a wealth of animal and nature education experience to us, an ability to manage our administrative needs here at the office, and a desire to see The Nature of Things meet the challenges it faces each day in surviving as small business in the current economy. 


Carol Richards


Carol Richards, B.S. in Business


Carol has been a friend of the Mumford’s for over thirty years.  Each week, since 2010, she has volunteered her accounting and bookkeeper skills to assist us in accounts receivable. Her dedication to our work is most appreciated.




Staff Educators

Lee Fleming


Lee Fleming, B.S.

Lee began her work with The Nature of Things in 2006, and has been an integral part of our teaching staff. She is an avid animal lover, and is responsible for assigning the appropriate animals for each program that is taught, an important task. Before her work here, Lee worked as a Recreation Specialist and Supervisor at Blythedale Children's Hospital for 8 years.  In her spare time, she also substitutes in the Brewster School District, and enjoys her adult children as they pursue they careers.




Sam Weinstock, B.A. in Educational Philosophy and Communications; graduate coursework in Environmental Conservation Education

 Sam joined us in March of 2015 with an eclectic background working with animals, children/teens/ adults in education! He has worked as an animal shelter manager, designed advanced science learning modules for elementary /middle schools in New York and Connecticut, and currently works with disabled adults on the days he is not teaching with us! He has been the camp ecology teacher for the YMCA in Putnam County; conducted programs in Life Skills and Animal Therapy for traumatic brain injury consumers; designed and taught an integrated program for special needs teenagers for Recreation and Community Service; conducted special ecology programming for the Putnam County Land Trust Council; and received national recognition from Tranby Aboriginal Co-Operative College for his work in advancing Aboriginal education in Australia.  Sam is enjoying the variety of programs including Birthday Parties! Look out for his Nature Explorer hat when he visits!




Petra Solarik, B.A.

Petra joined us in November 2017 with a background in marine mammal conservation research. She is also working as a veterinary technician, and is familiar with animal care including horses! She is looking forward to continuing her education, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Natural Resources. Petra enjoys her work spreading understanding and compassion for wildlife through the variety of programs and age groups she works with at The Nature of Things.  She is currently taking classes towards a Masters Degree!



Hadley Biagiotti, B.A.

Hadley joined us in October 2018, coming to us from Green Chimneys, where she worked as an outdoor educator, working with groups of all ages teaching ecology, forestry, animal adaptations and other topics! Hadley looks forward to working with younger children, using her knowledge to create enthusiasm for nature!




Dilhan Dalo, B.A.

Dilhan is our newest addition to The Nature of Things, joining us this past May of 2019. With a background in animal welfare and sustainable development, he brings a knowledge of wildlife husbandry to our program. His past experience includes working at a lodge in South Africa where he was fortunate enough to care for elephants, zebras and lions! Dilhan is excited to be sharing is knowledge and passion for wildlife through educating the younger generation. We look forward to seeing him grow as an educator. 



Seasonal Educators:


Rob Lieblein, BS

Rob joined The Nature of Things in the summer of 2014, and arrived at the suggestion of Jill Eisenstein, a former staff educator here, and a environmental educator at the Sharpe Reservation in Kent, NY. Rob has worked with us since the summer of 2014, and we are fortunate to have him during the winter months as well when he is not busy working as an environmental educator at the Taconic Outdoor Education Center. Rob is currently providing workshops for educators on Mindfulness. Rob and his family reside in the beautiful Beacon area.  Rob is taking a leave from us this summer, but hopefully will be back next year!


Sue Berliner, BA in Education

Sue is another seasonal educator each summer who hails from New Hamburg, New York. She is an environmental educator at the Taconic Outdoor Education Center and a good friend of her colleague and fellow educator from The Nature of Things, Rob Lieblein. Sue is a very thorough researcher when it comes to the animals, and enjoys her work here. We are happy to have her join us during those busy summer months when we are in need of extra hands!



Wendy Mumford - Child Development Credential

Wendy is an assistant naturalist, who has acquired knowledge and experience in animal-care/education as a Mumford family member. She is currently working as a Lead Infant Teacher at Bright Horizons in White Plains, New York. Wendy has worked in early childhood education at Alcott School in Scarsdale; Mt. Kisco Day Care Center in Mt. Kisco; the former Little Children's Garden Center in Mt. Kisco, and Schoolhouse Kids in Bedford, New York.  Wendy has grown up with a variety of different animals and offers amazing program lectures on reptiles and birds. 




Animal Care Interns:

Bella Lais

Matthew Voliva

Kaela Shaulson