Meet the Staff

Sam Nunes

Position at Woodcock - Environmental Educator

Years you’ve been at Woodcock - 2

What people think your job is - Park Ranger, perhaps with the fancy hat and short shorts

 

What your job actually is - I work with people of all ages but mostly children helping them develop a better relationship with our environment. I’ve also expanded Woodcock’s reach to older students helping them to develop a better understanding of nature.

Favorite part of your job - When you see someone have a moment of understanding or a strengthening of their bond with nature. For example, when a 1st grade student described a decaying tree trunk giving it’s nutrients to other plants as “one last gift from the tree”. Those moments stick with me.

Most challenging part of your job - coming up with a billion ways to entertain your children

 

A favorite moment at woodcock - After explaining to a girl how trees decompose and turn into food for other plants, she said “its like one last present from the tree”.

How have you been keeping busy during the quarantine - Lots of running, and online trivia with my friends

 

What are your pet’s names - Sascha the Cat, Little Foot, Mortisha, Elphaba, Cookie, Eliza, and Moana (Chickens), and 5 more chicks growing!

What do you do when you’re not at woodcock - I like running! I have a goal to run 300 miles this year

What is your favorite resident animal - Tank and I spend a lot of time together because I help maintain her tank

What is your favorite trail - My favorite trail is the purple trail because my favorite spot is the secret stream on the purple trail. Its always so peaceful and its fun to go each season to see how the landscape changes.

 

What is your favorite place to be at on the grounds - The place we call the secret stream, which is on the purple trail, because it is beautiful and peaceful all year round!

 

Favorite program to teach - I love free exploring with my after school kids

 

What is your favorite food - This is a bit difficult for me… can’t go wrong with cheese!

 

Coolest place you’ve ever been - I really enjoyed my trip to New Zealand! Also hiking Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park in Utah.

If you could have any animal what would it be - I would love to have a pet chipmunk but I also love fennec foxes!

 

Favorite place to go hiking - Any hike that has water nearby. I love big rivers and small streams. Also historic hikes. There are plenty in Connecticut with old buildings taken back by the forest!

What is your hidden talent - In high school I was dance captain of our show choir for two years… but that doesn’t mean I can freestyle dance for you

Jeanne Young

Position at Woodcock - Office Manager
 

Years you’ve been at Woodcock – 6 ½
 

What people think your job is – If they come to Camp or Wreath Festival, they might think I do Camp check in/check out or run wreath tent.

 

What your job actually is – I do these things, but I also handle all of our office operations, customer service, event registration, HR, vendor relations and maintenance scheduling. We’re a small staff who wear many hats, so I’m ready to jump in wherever and whenever needed.

 

Favorite part of your job – Helping to make this space available for the community to enjoy and being a part of this amazing and dedicated staff. 

 

Most challenging part of your job – Keeping all the moving parts meshed together
 

A favorite moment at woodcock – A bobcat sighting on the Yellow trail boardwalk.

 

How have you been keeping busy during the quarantine – lots of hiking, cooking and music making.
 

What are your pet’s names – Charlie the cat

 

What do you do when you’re not at woodcock – Spend time outdoors, cook, thrift, hang out with friends and loved ones.
 

What is your favorite resident animal? – Izzy

 

What is your favorite trail – Green trail. I love the overlook from the benches.

  

What is your favorite place to be at on the grounds – Yellow trail boardwalk

 

Favorite program to teach – I don’t teach, but I’ll say that our amazing educators have taught me so much over the years.

 

What is your favorite food – Thanksgiving dinner

 

Coolest place you’ve ever been – Scuba diving in Bonaire

 

If you could have any animal what would it be – A fox!

 

Favorite place to go hiking – Monhegan Island, Maine

 

What is your hidden talent – refinishing/upcyling vintage furniture

Sarah Breznen

Position at Woodcock- Director of Education

 

Years you’ve been at Woodcock- 11 years

 

What people think your job is- Teaching in the woods!

 

What your job actually is- Working with the best and most dedicated staff, developing and revising programs, managing curriculum, safety procedures, meeting and strategizing with staff, training and mentoring seasonal staff, behind the scenes prep and break-down of programming, learning new things every day, and yes- teaching in the woods! (And in the rain, and the mud!)

 

Favorite part of your job- Being in nature every day

 

Most challenging part of your job- Never enough time in the day!

 

A favorite moment at woodcock- The magical moment Miss Jen and I watched a Polyphemus Moth hatch from its cocoon.

 

How have you been keeping busy during the quarantine- Painting, exercising, DIY projects

 

What are your pet’s names- Melvin the Cat

 

What do you do when you’re not at woodcock- Discovering neat items at tag sales and flea markets, painting, pulling invasive plants

 

What is your favorite resident animal- Sprinkles

 

What is your favorite trail- Green.  I love the twisting branches of the Mountain Laurel and the high vantage point over the swamp.

 

What is your favorite place to be at on the grounds- Our biggest vernal pool in early Spring, listening to the wood frogs and peepers.

 

Favorite program to teach- Vernal Pools!

 

What is your favorite food- Bialoš, my family’s Slovak cheesy bread.

 

Coolest place you’ve ever been- The island of Cres, Croatia where my mom and I volunteered at a griffon vulture sanctuary.

If you could have any animal what would it be- Chipmunk

 

Favorite place to go hiking- Mianus River Gorge (Bedford, NY)

 

What is your hidden talent- Not really hidden- my art!  

Rachel (Merritt) Rogers

Position at Woodcock- Educator  

 

Years you’ve been at Woodcock- This would be my 4th spring.

What people think your job is- Pretty close to what it is.

What your job actually is- Leading school groups into the woods for different programs

Favorite part of your job- convincing children that the woods and nature aren't scary

Most challenging part of your job- not gushing excitedly about what I see and letting the kids discover it on their own

A favorite moment at woodcock- from a 4th grader "I'm British. We don't do muck" or convincing a child who was scared of the vernal pools to actually touch a tadpole

How have you been keeping busy during the quarantine- running the home-school for my 3rd grade son.

Baking, hiking and reading. Finding our long forgotten garden

What are your pet’s names- Panda and Terrance (2 cats)

What do you do when you’re not at woodcock- Read, bake, spend time with my family

What is your favorite resident animal- Vern the spotted Salamander

What is your favorite trail- Red trail

What is your favorite place to be at on the grounds- sitting on the dock

Favorite program to teach- Vernal pools

What is your favorite food- chocolate or pizza

Coolest place you’ve ever been- Cornwall in England

If you could have any animal what would it be- happy with our cats and the wildlife that visit our yard

Favorite place to go hiking- Bennett Pond State Park or coastal Maine

What is your hidden talent- random quotes and references from Musical theater

Allegra Jacobs

Position at Woodcock- Animal Care Coordinator

Years you’ve been at Woodcock- 3 and a half 

What people think your job is- Playing with animals

What your job actually is- Cleaning up after animals when they go potty

Favorite part of your job- The amazing species I’ve gotten to meet and work with. Half of these animals I had never even heard of before I started here.

Most challenging part of your job- Seeing one of them sick or in pain. I worry about them a lot and it is very sad and stressful when someone goes to heaven. 

A favorite moment at woodcock- Tank the Snapping Turtle climbed onto a tree stump at almost a straight 90 degree angle. It’s the little things that make me laugh so hard!

How have you been keeping busy during the quarantine- I’m considered essential work because I have to make sure all the animals are fed and taken care of. In my extended down time at home, I’ve been playing a lot of solitaire and deep cleaning my house.

What are your pet’s names- Inca Belle the Leopard Gecko, Ollivander the Crested Gecko, Augustus the Russian Dwarf Hamster, and I ride a white horse named Dragao

What do you do when you’re not at woodcock- I’m a cosplayer, I love to build costumes and compete with them.

What is your favorite resident animal- It changes every day but I am very fond of Dakota.

What is your favorite trail- Red

What is your favorite place to be at on the grounds- The nature center with all the animals! I also like the waterfall. 

Favorite program to teach- I’m not an educator but I will answer any and all questions that people have about the animals! 

What is your favorite food- chocolate covered strawberries

Coolest place you’ve ever been- Las Vegas Nevada

If you could have any animal what would it be- Changes every day, but right now a marmoset monkey 

Favorite place to go hiking- Seth Low Pierrepont State Park 

What is your hidden talent- I can blink both eyes individually.

Lenore Herbst

 

Position at Woodcock- Executive Director

Years you’ve been at Woodcock- 2

What people think your job is- Well, my kids think I just sit by the pond and boss everyone around all day…

 

What your job actually is- My actual job is very busy, sometimes stressful but also very rewarding. I spend a lot of time planning for events, fundraising, budgeting, meeting people or helping the staff to strategize ways to serve our community. (And if you do see me sitting by the pond, I’m probably just taking a minute to remind myself why we all work so hard at Woodcock Nature Center.)

 

Favorite part of your job- I love when I see kids teaching other kids about things they have learned at Woodcock. I also love seeing entire families out on our trails enjoying time together. And, I think it’s pretty cool to have an office in the middle of 150 acres.

 

Most challenging part of your job- Deciding what to tackle first on my giant ‘to-do’ list! I also find it challenging to balance all the wonderful ideas and plans the staff and board have for Woodcock with what is possible within our budget, staffing and time constraints.

 

A favorite moment at woodcock- When baby snapping turtles hatched from the ground right outside our offices and the entire staff helped them to get to the pond safely.

 

How have you been keeping busy during the quarantine- There has been a lot less downtime than I expected between balancing work and homeschooling. But my husband and I have been having fun introducing the kids to our favorite movies from our childhood like Back to the Future, Karate Kid and Kindergarten Cop.

 

What are your pet’s names- We have two cats named Boots and Sophie and a coonhound named Darwin.

 

What do you do when you’re not at woodcock- When I am not at Woodcock I enjoy spending time with my family, walking my dog, hiking with friends, taking dance classes and browsing through home design magazines and websites.

 

What is your favorite resident animal- Elma

 

What is your favorite trail- orange

 

What is your favorite place to be at on the grounds- On the dock by the pond or at the secret stream

 

What is your favorite food- Pizza

 

Coolest place you’ve ever been- It’s a tie for kayaking in Milford Sound, New Zealand and hiking in El Torcal de Antequera in Southern Spain (pictured: Spain).

 

If you could have any animal what would it be- Lion. The bigger the cat the better.

 

Favorite place to go hiking- Anywhere with a summit or a view. I enjoy Quarry Head in Wilton regularly.

 

What is your hidden talent- I am a trained ballet and modern dancer. Since I don’t do it so often anymore, I guess it’s somewhat of a hidden talent!

Jennifer Bradshaw


Position at Woodcock- Early Childhood Education Coordinator/Birds of Prey.

Years you’ve been at Woodcock- 6 ½ years

What people think your job is- Playing with animals or hanging in the woods.

What your job actually is- Hard work, getting peed on daily, teaching, learning, getting my hands dirty.

Favorite part of your job- Teaching my littles about the wonders of nature and handling our birds of prey.

Most challenging part of your job- Losing our animals to illness or just by old age.

A favorite moment at woodcock- The first time I ever taught a program with our birds.

How have you been keeping busy during the quarantine- Chasing a toddler around and trying to work, all while being 8 months pregnant!

What are your pet’s names- Squishy my Chihuahua.

What do you do when you’re not at woodcock- Play and explore in nature with my son and collect oddities like bones, skulls and taxidermy.

What is your favorite resident animal- Tie between Chubbs & Dakota.

What is your favorite trail- Yellow or Purple

What is your favorite place to be at on the grounds- The Boardwalk

Favorite program to teach- Mommy, Me & the Natural World

What is your favorite food- Bagels w/cream cheese

Coolest place you’ve ever been- Sequoia National Park

If you could have any animal it would be- A Pig

Favorite place to go hiking- Our incredible National Parks.

What is your hidden talent- I can memorize entire movies or shoes, word for word.

Woodcock Nature Center

56 Deer Run Road, Wilton, CT 06897

P (203) 762-7280

F (203) 834-0062

wnc@woodcocknaturecenter.org

Our mission is to connect people to the habitats, plants and animals of Southwestern CT through programs that build awareness, nurture understanding, and advance conservation. 

© Woodcock Nature Center 2019