The Naturalist


Diane Tucker, our Estate Naturalist, always wanted to be a naturalist.  An avid birder, botanist and nature enthusiast as a child, she came to Miss Porter’s School as a student.  Like Hill-Stead’s Theodate Pope, she loved Farmington and Hill-Stead.  While still a student she frequently walked the trails on the Hill-Stead property.  Diane is delighted that she is “home” again roaming the historic trails at Hill-Stead.

She ranges over our  woodlands, wetlands and meadows, leads walks and shares her enthusiasm for the environment with our visitors.  She also writes the “Hill-Stead Nature Blog”.  Diane would love to hear from you with comments and questions.

She has shared her passion for nature professionally for over ten years  as a naturalist at many environmental education venues, including Westmoor Park in West Hartford, West Hartford Public Schools, Kegwin Middle School in Middletown, Ct, The MDC Reservoirs and Northwest Park in Windsor.  “As a naturalist,” she says, “I never get bored.  There is always something new to learn.  Sharing the outdoors and helping people to catch the “nature bug” is what’s important to me.  It’s not necessarily knowing the Latin name for everything you find, or even always knowing exactly what it is!  The key is in the excitement and pleasure that can be derived from close contact with the wild world around you.”

She lives not far from Hill-Stead with her husband, daughter and dogs.  An avid organic gardener, she grows both flowers and vegetables.  Diane has a long “yard list” of birds, insects, mammals and other creatures that she has found at her home.  Her long-range project is to create a pond in her backyard to attract amphibians.

Feel free to send nature questions and comments to Diane using this blog. Go to the “comments” section of any blog entry. Or, ask a question using the “search this site” box on the sidebar of the last blog post.  Just enter a topic you are interested in, and blog posts with information about that subject will pop up.  See you on the trails!


14 Responses to “The Naturalist”

  1. Ted Shafer Says:


    Keep up the excellent work at Hillstead. So interesting. I love your writing on the “blog”!!! Hope to visit you soon at the Museum.

    Ted Shafer

    • hillsteadnatureblog Says:

      We’ll look forward to seeing you-this weekend we have “Pond Pandemonium” on Saturday at 10 am. Lots of muddy fun!

  2. Betty Collins Says:

    This blog is awesome! As usual you are a true professional. Great insight, a tremendous knowledge base and a sparkling personality. Keep up the good work. Hurray for Hill-Stead.
    Betty Collins

  3. Amie Gabriel Says:


    You’re doing a great job! LOVE the blog… what a great idea!!!

  4. Betty Collins Says:

    It is so exciting to see you share your wonderful knowledge with everyone on such a spectacular blog! I’m hoping to make it to the Mother’s Day outing.

  5. Patsy Says:

    Loved reading the blog. You do have fun while you work!

  6. Susan Durette Says:


    My husband Ray and I enjoyed your nature walk on Saturday so much. It was a pleasure to be a part of your tour and spotting birds with you. I now look forward to reading your blog and another walk.

    • hillsteadnatureblog Says:

      Susan, The pleasure was all mine. The company on that walk was terrific! I’ll be looking for you and Ray soon. And maybe you’ll come to the poetry on wednesday! Warm Regards, Diane

  7. Mariann Says:

    Hi Diane
    The blog was fantastic. I learned so much. Hillstead is lucky to have you!

  8. Tom Prensky Says:

    It’s always good to learn something new, especially something fascinating like this. Great site! You should add buttons to the bottom of your posts to digg, stumble, etc your content.Thanks again, Tom

  9. Rueben Svoboda Says:

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post.

  10. Parrot Writes Says:

    I’m currently writing a novel set at Hill-Stead (I’m calling it Hillside.) My main character is the head landscaper there, so I’m devouring every bit of information I can find about plants, birds, animals, the lay of the land, weather, and the arrangement of buildings and landscape. I just signed up to receive an email whenever you add a new post to this blog because your information is wonderful. I’ve also printed many things from the Hill-Stead website. I picked this location because my story, set in 2009 at the museum, has a tie to a family who lived there in 1909 when it was a manor. It isn’t about the Pope’s – I’ve created a new family. I am wondering if you might have time to answer a few questions. My blog is Parrot Writes and I can be reached there in any of the comment areas. If you search for Hillside in the archives, you can see a few snippets of my WIP.
    Thank you. (And I understand if you don’t have time!)

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