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Stacey Gummey, Founder, Executive Director and Lead Teacher

Stacey is a certified Forest Kindergarten Teacher, a trained Pennsylvania Master Naturalist and herbalist.  She is also a native of Kennett Square, PA. Stacey began her studies at West Chester University in Pennsylvania with a focus on Art Education. She went on to MCCA Training Institute in Maryland and received her Early Childhood Education Development and Curriculum Teaching Certificate and also studied the Reggio Emilia Approach where she honed her skills as an Early Childhood Educator. After 5 years as a classroom teacher and 8 years as a Director at a large playgroup in Washington,  DC. Stacey Gummey founded Hickory Hill Nature School to meet the needs of families who value the Forest Kindergarten philosophies and to offer an alternative to a 4 wall classroom that does not fit all children's needs.  Stacey has come full circle in her love of nature as she experienced a very nature rich childhood in Kennett and Unionville growing up. Stacey and her husband Michael are also the proud parents of Endsley (10) and Hutch (7). They currently reside in Chadds Ford, PA. 

Jill Panunto

HHNS Teacher

Jill’s love for nature began during childhood where she spent her days immersed in imaginative play on her family’s 8-acre wooded land in Pennsylvania. She could often be found building forts, climbing rocks or searching for turtles near the creek.

 

While earning her Bachelors in Business Administration and pursuing a career in real estate, Jill continued to seek solace in the natural world. She found hiking and running outdoors as a means to de-stress.

 

Today, Jill loves taking her four children to wander new hiking paths and swim in creeks, while striving to introduce curiosity and connection to the world around them. Jill credits time spent outdoors to an appreciation for what nature has to offer us aesthetically, physically and spiritually.

 

Jill works as a chapter leader with ICAN of Delaware and as a birth doula. During her free time, she enjoys quiet walks alone, reading, and wild edible foraging.

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Josie Marsh

Josie Marsh has been working for the last 2 years for Fairville Friends School, first as a substitute and then as a teacher's assistant.  She also created and taught "Nature Camp" for the Kennett Library and spent some time at The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County.  Although she has an engineering degree, since having children Josie has returned to her childhood roots and now enjoys helping children discover the beauty of imaginative outdoor play. During her free time, Josie enjoys going on outdoor adventures with her family, riding bicycles, gardening, cooking, and advocating for trails, sidewalks, and bike lanes in the Kennett area.

Peter Thomas

Pete and his wife, Natalie, have three grown children and two grandchildren.  He is a long-time outdoors person with a degree in forest resources and a career in agriculture.  After retiring, he joined the Delaware Nature Society as a Teacher/Naturalist and teaches school groups and summer camps at Ashland Nature Center and Coverdale Farm Preserve.  He loves the wonders and joys of children and nature, and he is excited to join the HHNS teaching team!  Pete continues his own growth through regular naturalist classes, and he is often hiking, cycling, and enjoying nature.

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