Meet Our Staff

All SM&NC school programs are taught by professional environmental educators, many of whom hold Master's Degrees. Our educators all have extensive experience teaching children about nature and the natural sciences in both indoor and outdoor settings. We look forward to meeting your group!

Lisa Monachelli, Director of Education
Lisa has been with the SM&NC since 2010. She holds Bachelor's Degrees in Biology and English/Creative Writing from WV Wesleyan College and a Master's Degree in Environmental Education from Southern CT State University. Before coming to SM&NC, she worked for CT DEP Divisions of State Parks and Education, Maine Audubon Society and the New Canaan Nature Center. In 2009, she was named the Outstanding Outdoor Educator for Connecticut by the CT Outdoor & Environmental Education Assoc. Her favorite part of sharing nature with children is to instill appreciation for "nature's underdogs" - those plants and animals often disliked. She is responsible for scheduling all programs, creating many of our public programs, teaching school and after school programs. She is also one of SM&NC's beekeepers.

Malinda Sears, Environmental Education Supervisor
Malinda joined the SM&NC in the fall of 2013. She holds a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has worked for The Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center, as well as a Herpetological Collection Assistant at University of Massachusetts Amherst. Malinda loves to spend her time outside hiking, camping and sharing the wonders of the natural world with her daughter. At the SM&NC she teaches our nature and farm-based school and after school programs, and coordinates the daily care and well-being of our teaching animals and their exhibits.

Victoria Jaffrey, Manager of Heckscher Farm Administration
Victoria has been with the SM&NC since 2007. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science from the University of Rhode Island. Before coming to the SM&NC, she worked at the Bronx Zoo, the CT Humane Society and various horse farms in the area. As Co-Manager of Heckscher Farm, Victoria is responsible for the overall care of our animals, managing farm staff and volunteers and working with our oxen team and working goats. She teaches many of our farm classes, including Otterly Amazing and Hands-on Heckscher.

Mark Mogensen, Manager of Heckscher Farm Operations
Mark has been with the SM&NC since 2008. He Holds a B.A. in Natural Resource Management and Engineering with a concentration in Wildlife Management from the University of Connecticut. Before the SM&NC, he worked for the State of CT Department of Environmental Protection for three years. Mark has a true passion for everything outdoors with an affinity for wildlife and landscape photography. As Co-Manager of Heckscher Farm, Mark is responsible for the daily operation and the maintenance of all farm grounds and buildings. Mark also teaches many classes on the farm including Hands-on Heckscher and the Junior Curator Program. Mark can often be found outdoors on the grounds tending to the farm.

Daniel Brubaker, Farm and Environmental Educator
Daniel has been at the SM&NC since 2013. He holds Bachelor's Degrees in Biology and Environmental Science from Eastern Mennonite University and a Master's Degree in Natural Resources from the University of New Hampshire. Prior to joining the SM&NC team, he has worked as a park naturalist at the Lancaster County Environmental Center and has studied spotted owls in California, coyotes in Yellowstone, leopards in South Africa, and lynx in Ontario. Daniel works with daily care of our farm animals, is one of our oxen teamsters, and also teaches many of our farm and nature-based school and after school programs. He is also one of SM&NC's beekeepers.

Pat Standaert, Environmental Educator
Pat is a long-time, dedicated member of the environmental education staff at SM&NC and has served in many capacities during her 30-plus year tenure, including Science Curator and Assistant Director of Education. She holds a B.S. in Biology from College of St. Elizabeth and has taken numerous graduate-level courses in science and Native American studies. Before coming to SM&NC, she taught general science and biology on the elementary, high school and college levels. She served as SM&NC's 'weather-guru' until 2012, has written numerous articles and created many exhibits for the museum. She teaches our Early American Life, Apple Cidering, physical science and planetarium programs, as well as serving as an educator for our half-day summer camp.

Devan Shulby, Environmental Educator
Devan joined the SM&NC education team in 2016. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Science from the University of Tampa. Devan has a variety of teaching experience from different organizations. She has worked with an assortment of different animals from Great White Sharks in South Africa to seahorses in Florida. In her free time, she enjoys boating, hiking with her dog, horseback riding and spending time with family and friends. Devan teaches many of our natural science programs and also helps to staff our Heckscher WILD! exhibit.

Andrea Wagner, Environmental Educator
Andrea has been with the SM&NC since 2016. She holds a B.S. in Marine Science from Stony Brook University. Previously, Andrea has interned at Mystic Aquarium aiding in animal care and exhibit diving. She has worked as a Science Educator at The Maritime Aquarium and at Project Oceanology on their two research vessels. Andrea loves to explore and observe all of nature whether in the middle of the woods or 100ft below the ocean's surface. At SM&NC, she combines her love of the environment with her love of fostering curiosity of nature in children and the greater community.

Sydnee Foster, Environmental Educator
Sydnee joined SM&NC in the fall of 2016. She is a Central CT State University graduate with a B.S. in Biology. Before SM&NC, Sydnee worked at Roaring Brook Nature Center, where she was involved with the wildlife rehabilitation clinic, in addition to educating the public on the natural history of Connecticut and the surrounding areas. Sydnee is excited to work with the exotic animals in Heckscher WILD! and to share her knowledge through teaching natural sciences both on and off site.
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