Staff & Board of Trustees

Our Staff

The Nature Center employs more than 25 full-time, part-time and seasonal staff who are dedicated professionals. Approximately one-third attend to the administration of the Nature Center and two-thirds to the educational programs.

Our educators come from diverse backgrounds; many hold Masters degrees and all have extensive experience in the environmental education profession. Our teachers believe in the benefits of an interactive learning environment. We are dedicated to providing programs that include experiences involving interactive, hands-on lessons in a comfortable learning atmosphere. We strive to deliver programs that meet the needs of mixed audiences.

Name Administrative Staff Extension
Mary Emerson Interim Executive Director 19
Kevin O'Leary Director of Finance & Business Operations 17
Katie Harris Development Associate 13
Giancarlo Descenza Facilities & Grounds Manager 14
Jennifer Rayher Director of Marketing & Special Events 64
Name Education Staff Extension
Jacque Bazelow Animal Care Assistant &
Environmental Educator
Debbie Jaeger Program Administrator, Registrar &
Facility Rental Coordinator
Bill Flynn Director of Animal Care &
Environmental Educator
Chris Hendershot Director of Education Programs &
Environmental Educator
Derick Hips Lead Environmental Educator &
Birthday Coordinator
Michelle Hips Director of Community Engagement
Volunteer Coordinator &
Environmental Educator
Sammi Ocher Visitors Center Naturalist 10
Name Early Childhood Staff Extension
Meredith Ahlbrerg Preschool Teacher  
Patrizia Dallemule Preschool Teacher
Christine Dinella Preschool Teacher
Judy Gilroy Preschool Teacher
Mary Hayes Preschool Teacher  
Claire Jones Preschool Teacher  
Marianne Kay Preschool Director 16
Emily Kerchoff Preschool Teacher  
Whitney McCarthy Preschool Teacher  
Kate McCormack Preschool Teacher  
Claudia Murphy Preschool Teacher
Lisa Socci Preschool Teacher  
Lindsay Tucker Preschool Teacher  
Paula Yonkers Preschool Teacher  
Anna Zielenski Assistant Preschool Director &
Summer Camp Director

Board of Trustees

The administration of the New Canaan Nature Center is overseen by a Board of Trustees,
the members of which are drawn from both the Town of New Canaan and surrounding communities.

Board of Trustees

Linda Andros, President
Kristin Barnard, Secretary
Amy Carpi
Lisa Kaine-Dunn
Mary Emerson
Cindy Havens
Ainsley Hayes
Kristen Hibbert,
John Hutchins, Treasurer/Vice President
David Prill
Peggy Toce, Vice President
Toddy Turrentine
Tia Whinery
Priscilla Woyke
Ellen Zumbach

Dr. Bryan Luizzi, Ex Officio
Robert E. Mallozzi III, Ex Officio