Nature Museum hires new exec director

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As it embarks on celebrating its 30th anniversary — and with eyes toward a new phase of program and facility expansion — the Nature Museum announces the appointment of  Vanessa Stern as its new executive director.

The museum is located at 186 Townshend Road in Grafton, and is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Fridays, yearround, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, June through September.

Stern has described her earliest memories to be those of the woods and fields surrounding her childhood home in the Northeast Kingdom. As a teacher for the past 13 years in the public schools of Springfield,  Stern focused on bringing children out into nature to experience its many healing benefits, while deepening their knowledge of “place” and developing their sense of empathy for Earth.

Prior to her teaching career, Stern was executive director of Child First, a childcare advocacy organization in Keene, N.H. She currently sits on the board of the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association, a local land conservation organization, and enjoys leading hikes on the Bald Hill Reserve, a WHPA conserved trail system. She and her husband raised their children on a small sustainable farm in Westminster.

Stern earned a B.A. in Studio Art from the University of Vermont and an M.Ed. with a focus in science from Rutgers University.

Board President Laurie Danforth said, “Under Vanessa’s leadership, we’ll be expanding our variety of offerings to get all ages outdoors where they can fall in love with the wonders of Vermont. Vanessa is a dynamic, creative thinker and a can-do woman.”

Board member Rick Cowan, who has served as interim executive director since Carrie King’s departure in January, said, “Vanessa is at once visionary and practical. Having learned much about the organization as its interim director, I see Vanessa’s experience, skills and leadership style as a perfect fit for the Nature Museum.”

As the organization enters its next phase under the leadership of Stern, the team is hard at work developing new programs, inviting new speakers, and looking ahead to an exciting facilities expansion in the years ahead.

For more information about upcoming events and programs, or to reach Stern, click here.

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  1. Terri Steele says:

    Congratulations Vanessa! Having known Vanessa from 13 years ago when my son was in her first kindergarten class at park street school! We are so excited for you! We will be over to visit now that he will begin his senior year this fall! You have made such a difference in the lives of children who have had the privilege of knowing you! Good luck on your new adventures!

  2. Deborah Smith says:

    Having known Vanessa for the 13 years she was here in the Springfield schools, I am so excited for her and the museum. This is a perfect match for both Vanessa and the museum. Her love of teaching children about the wonders of the natural world and getting them into it is one of her greatest strengths. We will miss her.

  3. Linda Prouty says:

    Hi Vanessa, CONGRATULATIONS!! The museum is very fortunate to have you.

  4. April Todt says:

    Congratulations Vanessa! This is wonderful news!

  5. What a great move for both Vanessa and the museum! Here’s to some dynamic and exciting programming.