Michael Nelson – Executive 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 – Assistant Director
Marisa has been familiar with the Refuge since 1992, when she worked as a co-op student through LIU Southampton. 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 by the Board in the spring of 2006.
Cara Fernandes – Program Director
Cara is a graduate of Stony Brook University where she earned a bachelor’s in Environmental Studies, concentrating in Marine Science and Ecology. She first started at the Refuge as an intern in 2014 and continued to work summers throughout college. As Program Director and Environmental Educator, Cara enjoys sharing the Refuge’s unique history and ecosystems with visitors of all ages.
Kimberly Stever Troncoso – Development Coordinator
Kim is a graduate of Stony Brook University, she began at the Refuge as the Benefit Coordinator/Administrative Assistant in 2015 and became Development Coordinator in 2023. Her main focus lies in achieving annual and long-term fundraising goals for the Refuge’s daily operations and long term improvements. With her blend of knowledge and practical experience, Kim leads the way in securing the resources needed to protect and preserve the QWR for future generations.
Alicia Crohan – Animal Caretaker / Environmental Educator
Alicia is a graduate of Suffolk County Community College with an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. She first started volunteering at the Refuge in 2019 helping with animal care & guided hikes. She expanded her knowledge in animal care working as a Veterinary Assistant until she started working at the Refuge in 2022. As Animal Caretaker, Alicia enjoys observing wildlife & educating guests on our resident animals.
Tonito Valderrama – Environmental Educator
Tonito has a background in museum & 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 & enjoyed birds of prey, botany & Long Island’s varied ecosystems. His passions of nature, education & art have been well blended for the environmental educator position as of April 2010.
Nadia Trejo – Environmental Educator
Nadia is a graduate of Delaware Valley University where she earned a Bachelors of Science in Conservation and Wildlife Management, with a minor in Secondary Education. Nadia began working as an intern in 2015 through the Southampton Broader Horizons program and after college returned to the Refuge in 2023 as the educator for Little Naturalists Summer Camp. As one of our environmental educators, she enjoys sharing her passion for birding and protecting natural habitats with visitors.
Jessica Graham – Administrative Assistant / Membership Coordinator
Jessica is a Stony Brook University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies focused in Marine Ecology. She enjoys visiting aquariums and zoos, birding, and loves to be around nature whenever possible. As an Administrative Assistant/ Membership Coordinator, Jessica is dedicated to making sure everyone has a positive experience when visiting the Refuge.
William VanVliet – Maintenance / Grounds Keeper
William is an experienced outdoorsman, local firefighter, and East End native. He is experienced in caring for animals and enjoys hiking, camping, and barbecuing in his spare time. Will joined the QWR team in October 2023, you might see him maintaining the QWR trails on your next visit – say hello!