Tag Archives: meet the staff

Meet the Staff: Lead Naturalist Tia Pinney

How many bee hives does Drumlin Farm have? Which species of New England wildlife live here? Where can I see wild edible plants?

Meet Tia Pinney, Drumlin Farm Lead Naturalist, who, more often than not, will have the answer to your Drumlin Farm question.


“So much happens here at Drumlin Farm,” says Tia, a biologist who grew up on a dairy farm in Connecticut.

Tia not only leads programs like cheese making, birding trips, and nature walks, but she also serves as our ecological management coordinator, stewarding the health of the sanctuary and its habitats through sustainable practices. Since 1994, when she first started working at the farm, Tia has overseen efforts to maintain New England’s wildlife on our 206-acre property, managing staff and volunteers in planting projects and citizen science.


Perhaps the most exciting part of Tia’s job is developing and teaching professional development for school teachers to integrate new science standards into their curricula with emphasis on authentic nature-based field work.

“To engage students with science is fascinating,” she says. “This curriculum really gets students to think. Teachers are taking students outdoors and they’re doing real science!”

Do you want to ask Tia a question? Here are all of her upcoming programs.

Meet the Staff: Geoff Nelson, Property Manager

IMG_4918“There is no typical day.”

Geoff Nelson, who has worked at Drumlin Farm since 2008, knows just about everything there is to know about the facilities, buildings, and grounds of the wildlife sanctuary and Mass Audubon headquarters, which is located just across the street.

“Our work is very weather dependent,” he said. “On any given day, we may be plowing the driveways or cutting away trees felled by a windstorm.”

In addition to keeping the wildlife sanctuary in top shape for our visitors, Geoff and his team are responsible for coordinating with contractors, overseeing volunteer projects, maintaining the beautiful landscape, or even building a Native American-inspired shelter for Drumlin Farm Community Preschool students.

As a kid, Geoff was an outdoor enthusiast, always exploring or building forts with his childhood friends. Before Geoff became the property manager at the farm, he studied graphic arts and photography at Lyndon State College, and like many of the people who work here, his career path evolved over the years to suit his passions for the environment.

“It came from a concern for the environment and the need to do all I can to integrate this with environmental education, especially for our children,” said Geoff.

His passions led him to work at the Hemlock Overlook Center for Outdoor education, as well as The Discovery Museum, where he was the exhibits director. While there, he put his college studies to work by building interactive exhibits for museum visitors of all ages. And to Geoff, the correlation between science and activities at Drumlin Farm is built in to the landscape and buildings.

“In the past, there was a big disconnect between earth science studied in school and the world of nature,” he said. “Now, the public is beginning to see the interrelatedness of farms to their everyday lives.”

The work Geoff does as property manager is part of a larger system that touches everything and everyone working on the farm.

Geoff’s love for the outdoors hasn’t changed one bit since childhood. Today, he spends weekends and vacations biking and hiking, and even once worked as a ridge runner for the Appalachian Mountain Club.

It’s pretty clear that Geoff’s role at Drumlin Farm suits him perfectly!

Meet the Staff: Emma Scudder, Food and Farm Educator


When you first meet Emma Scudder, the first thing you’ll probably notice is her dirt-clad fingernails. As the food and farm educator at Drumlin Farm, Emma is always exploring new ways to translate the complexities of farm science into concepts anyone, from preschoolers to adults, can understand.

And sometimes, that involves getting your hands a little dirty.

“The farm is such a dynamic environment,” says Emma, who started working at the farm in April of 2015.

When Emma left her childhood home in New Hampshire to study environmental science at Tufts University, she didn’t know that her love for food and passion for sustainability could merge into her ideal career path. But after years of involvement with the Tufts Garden Club, as well as City Sprouts and Groundworks, she soon realized that not only was this the path she wanted, but it was essential for passing down the knowledge of environmental sustainability to future generations.

So with her degree and experiences tucked under her belt, newly graduated Emma taught preschoolers on Martha’s Vineyard as part of Island Grown Schools, a farm-to-school nonprofit. It was only a matter of time until she decided to continue sharing and teaching this message of healthy eating and the importance of sustainable agriculture at Drumlin Farm.

“I love feeding off the energy of the kids,” says Emma. “Seeing their interest and curiosity motivates me every day.”

In addition to teaching preschoolers how to press apple cider, make pumpkin butter, and grow their own garden in Boyce Field, Emma also teaches children and families, teens, and adults through Drumlin Farm’s Know Your Food programs, which she manages. And if you were at Woolapalooza, you probably munched on her carrot cake.

“Food is a great way to connect people to the farm,” says Emma. “Plus, you can reap the benefits of a successful ‘science experiment’—by eating it!”

Interested in taking a class with Emma? Here’s what she has coming up:

Kids in the Kitchen
Baking Bread
Sourdough Breadmaking