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Who We are:

museum volunteers

Museum Volunteers make up the backbone of the Museum. Wheather it's driving up the mountain on a snowy afternoon to feed birds, or educating the public at an exhibit at a local festival, they are always on hand to help out. Over the years, the Museum has been fortunate to encounter so many people in so many stages of their lives and careers it is impossible to name them all. It is just as impossible to leave them out.  Thanks to all of the past, present and future volunteers! 

Would you like to volunteer?


As with any non-for-profit organization, the Board of Directors is key to fulfilling our mission. The individuals listed below donate their time and efforts to making it all happen.  If you are interested in supporting them in their good work or joining the team, please reach out to Edward Metcalfe

John Greene

Owner of Greene’s Servicenter

Board member since 2022

John has worked in his family’s automotive business for over 55 years, the past 30 running the business. He has been a part of the Wilmington planning commission, Valley Vision 2000 committee, and a long-time member of the Wilmington trails committee, developing and connecting regional hiking trails. As a member of the local Masons, he is the caretaker for the 200-acre Pool Farm property that adjoins the Museum’s Mountainside facility.


Edward Metcalfe

Owner of Vermont Distillers, Inc. SVNHM founder and Executive Director since 1997

Ed has extensive business experience and is a long-time advocate of environmental education. He served for five years on the Whitingham Planning Commission, three as its chairman and served nine years on the Whitingham School Board and six years as School Board Chair of the Twin Valley School District. He is a licensed pilot in Sailplanes, Hot-Air Balloons, and Airplanes; is a certified scuba diver and is a past EMT and fire department member. He has been a member of the Whitingham-Halifax Lions Club for 36 years. He now serves on the boards of the Hogback Preservation Commission, the Trust for Wildlife and is the founder/Director of the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum.


Tamara (Tami) Purcell

Owner of Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors

Board Member since 2024

Tami has been working in the family business, which started in 1965, for 38 years. Prior to real estate Tami had an animal science background and for the past 30 years has owned a small horse farm. She currently serves on the boards of the Windham County Humane Society and the River Gallery School of Art. Tami is a member of the Brattleboro Rotary Club.

Wanda Walkowiak

Physical Therapist at PT Plus Board member since 2022

Wanda has been employed as a Physical Therapist for 30 years, an active volunteer in her community, she took much pride and involvement with VINS Environmental Learning for the Future program (ELF) managing the local program for 7 years, she has been an active volunteer community service volunteer with the Deerfield Valley Lions Club.


John (Jack) Widness

PhD Retired academic pediatrician and researcher Board member since 2019

Since retirement, Jack has become active in conservation work, including service on the following boards: Trout Unlimited (Connecticut River Chapter); Hogback Mountain Conservation Association (Vice President); and the Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds. During summers, Jack supervises the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Greeter Programs at Harriman and Somerset Reservoirs. He is an also active member of his local Lake Raponda Association in Wilmington.


Mary Therese Wright, MFA

Painter, Printmaker, Metalsmith, Curator, Educator and Collaborator Board Member since 2024

Mary is a Museum trained animal care volunteer. Mary provides weekly overall animal care and enrichment for our non-releasable education birds, reptiles and mammals. Professionally, Mary’s artwork and community based art projects have been shown throughout the United States. Mary was a founding director of Campicaso@, a traveling artist-run organization focused on connecting school age children through media and creativity. Mary opened Gallery Wright, a brick and mortar retail exhibition and teaching space, representing 25 regional and national artists in Wilmington, VT in 2001. Mary taught workshops in school systems, artist-run spaces and non-profits. Mary has served on Boards and Advisory Boards of local and state arts organizations and numerous Town committees. For the past twenty something years, Mary has called a small Vermont town with a big wild lake, home.

museum staff

When it was founded in 1997, the Museum was the unpaid labor of love for Edward Metcalfe who ran the operation by  himself. Over the years he took on a few volunteers, eventually an assistant director was hired, and by 2023 we were operating with 3 paid staff and up to 4 contract staff at a time.  This is only the beginning and we are looking forward to a future Museum on par with the biggest attractions in the state!  Are we hiring now? Take a look here to find out.

executive director, michael clough With a career in environmental and non-traditional education spanning 25 years, Michael has been at the Museum since 2009 when he started as a volunteer raptor trainer. As Managing Director he oversaw volunteers, social media and facilities needs and is the primary educator for the Museum's off-site and Pool Nature Center Programs. Hired as Executive Director in 2024 he continues in those roles and works closely with the board and community to promote the Museum's mission and move us forward into a very exciting future.

office manager, kristine sweeterAmong many unofficial roles, Kristine serves as the hub for most Museum activities. She helps with grant writing and administration, program development, promotions and most importantly scheduling and billing for our over 250 presentations a year! As Director of the local Whitingham Free Library Kristine is also in a great position to provide a different viewpoint to our education activities and facilitate the Museum's relationship with libraries around the State.

animal care manager, rhys seiffertWith a focus on providing our education animals with top-quality care, Rhys joined the Museum staff with a strong background in that area. Building off a degree in Captive Wildlife Care from unity College, Rhys has continued in the field working with a variety of domestic and exotic animals with a focus on husbandry.  Their work with the Forest Park Zoo has also included some education, so watch for Rhys participating in Museum programming in the future!


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