Debbie Mumford

Deborah Mumford, MPA, EdD - 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; serves on the Board of Directors of the Alcott School in Scarsdale, New York; and continues to serve on the Board of Directors of Westchester Association for the Education of Young Children (Westchester AEYC).  Dr. Mumford‘s educational background includes graduate degrees and NYS licenses in public administration, special education, and educational supervision and administration, including her doctoral degree in Educational Psychology/Instructional Leadership. Based on her availability, Dr. Mumford enjoys teaching and sharing her love for environmental education at various programs, workshops, and events.   

 
Allan Mumford

Allan Mumford, BS - 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.

 

 
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 has the very time-consuming and important job of taking care of the more than 160 animals that are from a variety of animal kingdoms!  He spends hours every 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, and enjoys raising his family with his wife Rosina in Putnam Valley, New York.

 

 

 Monika Kerschus Granholm, BS 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 Hartsdale, 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 for the past 5 years. 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, BS in Business

 

Carol has been a friend of the Mumford’s for over twenty 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, BS

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, BA 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!

 

 

 

 Courtney Scott, BS in Wildlife Management and Conservation

Courtney joined us in the spring of 2016. She had recently been the Nature Specialist at Kiwi Country Day Camp in Carmel, New York, an active Beekeeper, most recently at the Delaware Valley University Apiary Society in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Courtney is enjoying the animals at The Nature of Things, and works as a part-time animal curator on the weekends. She is anticipating the completion of her M.ED. in Curriculum and Instruction in July of 2017. Courtney brings enthusiasm and a willingness to learn to all of her endeavors and we are pleased to have her on our education staff.

 

 

 

 Jillian Trunko, BS in Environmental Studies; MS Environmental Studies

Welcome to our newest staff member, Jillian, who hails from the Capital Region of New York. Since 2012, Jillian was an environmental educator for the Lake George Association in the Adirondack Park. She also had experience working as an assistant naturalist at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center. She is a trained facilitator for the NYS DEC's Project WET, Project WILD, and Project WILD Aquatic. Jillian is also providing part-time animal care for The Nature of Things. Jillian brings a wealth of environmental education experience to us, with a definite passion to advocate for environmental needs through leadership and educational presentations. Welcome Jillian!

 

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.

Dean Fausel, BS in Environmental Science: 

 Dean came to us in the Spring of 2015 and began our Apple Cidering program for the schools and centers we visit. Dean is the former Staff Naturalist of the Greenburgh Nature Center in Hartsdale, New York, and currently works in Land Management and Conservation. We appreciate his love of Colonial America with his knowledge of Maple Sugaring and Cidering, among other outdoor programs. We welcome him back each Fall with his love for carrying around that 85 pound wooden cider press and that delicious cider soon to follow!

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.