Michael Nelson – Refuge Director
Michael is a graduate of Penn State University with a BS in Recreation and Parks Management with a focus on Outdoor Education & Environmental Interpretation. Michael started volunteering at the Refuge in 1991, began working full-time as an Educator / Naturalist in 1996, and became the Refuge Director in October 2000.
Marisa Nelson – Program Director
Marisa has been familiar with the Refuge since 1992, when she worked as a co-op student through SouthamptonCollege. She then became a registered nurse after graduating from Pace University. Having a love for both careers, Marisa had spent her summers working at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, and returned to her nursing career during the rest of the year. Marisa has worked full time at the Refuge as an Environmental Educator since 2003, and was hired as Assistant Director in the spring of 2006.
Tonito Valderrama – Environmental Educator
Tonito has a background in museum and art education from C.W. Post Long Island University. He is also a national exhibiting environmental artist who has focused on local environmental issues such as deforestation and endangered species. Tonito has studied and enjoyed birds of prey, botany and Long Island’s varied ecosystems. His passions of nature, education and art have been well blended for the environmental educator position as of April 2010.
Renee Allen — Environmental Educator
Renee Allen graduated from SUNY Brockport with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science and a concentration in Terrestrial Ecology. During her time at Brockport, and several summers working at Quogue Wildlife Refuge, Renee has had great opportunities which have only helped to expand her passion and knowledge for wildlife. It is her desire to share her love and appreciation for the environment to local community, so that they leave the Refuge with a greater understanding of wildlife and the diverse environment we live in.
Kimberly Stever – Office Assistant
Kimberly, graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Her love for nature and conservation has taken her as far as the Kenyan Rift Valley to study Evolution and Ecology. As a Long Island native, Kimberly learned that some of the rarest ecosystems exist right here at home. She is excited to contribute to the preservation of the Refuge and the education of its visitors.
Matt Benham – General Maintenance
Matt Benham is the newest member of our team. He is a serious outdoorsman who has hiked the Continental Divide Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is an avid freshwater fishermen, craftsman and minimalist backpacker with a positive attitude and we are thrilled to have him working with us.