Drumlin Farm Sanctuary Director
Drumlin Farm Sanctuary Director Renata Pomponi has built a life around being curious about science and the outdoors. Her childhood summers were spent outside camping in the New England woods, discovering the wonders in the rocks, fields, and rivers. Her thirst for knowledge is what propelled her to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, where she focused on science indoors while keeping her gaze upon the Charles River, where she rowed, sailed, and continued to explore.
But studying in the physics lab wasn’t Renata’s sole passion, and she much preferred practical application of her studies. Her graduate research focused on adapting theoretical concepts to human use, improving the world through science and technology. From there, she embarked on a career in management consulting, focusing on helping high tech companies to improve their strategic development processes. In between consulting trips, she and her husband Karl spent their weekend and vacation time mountain biking and hiking the local trails.
When her two boys, Noah and Caleb, were born, Renata decided that it was time to merge her love for the outdoors with her scientific background. The youthful curiosity of her sons and her joy in sharing the natural world with them set her on a new path towards a career in science education for kids. As luck would have it, Drumlin Farm was looking for teacher naturalists. And when she took a walk around the property, she knew she had found her home.
Alongside her teaching duties, over time Renata took on new responsibilities in visitor education, interpretation, and strategic planning, working to bring innovative exhibits and programs to Drumlin Farm’s visitors. After eight years, Renata’s greatest joy is sharing her curiosity with all those who come through Drumlin Farm, whether a walk-in visitor or veteran staff member. Her mission as Sanctuary Director is to help the farm continue to be a place where adults and children are inspired to explore, discover, and think about the world in new, innovative ways. Her highest priority is to encourage scientific critical thinking by using the farm as a living laboratory to understand sustainability, climate change, and ecological issues throughout New England.