Nurture Nature Center (NNC) is a joint project of two nonprofits with a shared name and purpose: the Nurture Nature Center Inc. (NNC, Inc.), formed in 2007 and headquartered in Easton, Pennsylvania, and Nurture Nature Foundation (NNF) created in 1991 and headquartered in New York City. NNF maintains a separate website that summarizes all of its projects, including NNC, and its leadership is described there. The leadership of the NNC, Inc. is described below.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jane K. Stanley is an attorney with over thirty years of legal and financial experience involving tax exempt organizations. She is an honors graduate of Columbia Law School and Harvard and a Fulbright Scholar.
Rachel Hogan Carr is a social scientist with a master’s degree in environmental policy design from Lehigh University, who has been a community leader in the Lehigh Valley for many years and has recently gained national recognition for her work at NNC. A summary of her background is included below.
Nicholas Zumas is a lawyer who lives in Bethlehem and has practiced law there since 1975. He attended Lehigh University and has a masters of law degree from New York University, and a J.D. from Dickinson School of Law. Zumas has dedicated significant legal and financial expertise over the years to help a number of local nonprofits.
Rachel Hogan Carr is the Executive Director of the Nurture Nature Center. She holds a master’s degree in environmental policy design from Lehigh University, where she focused her research on improving flood risk communication through social science. Rachel helped to found NNC, and prior to that, worked as a community organizer and in urban real estate development. She has served as principal investigator on several flood-related research and education projects in partnership with National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In 2011, Rachel was named Distinguished Informal Science Educator of the Year by the American Meteorological Society. She serves on the boards and leadership teams of several local organizations, including the Easton Hunger Coalition and Karl Stirner Arts Trail, Inc. She also serves on professional advisory boards including: National Weather Service Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center’s Customer Advisory Board; Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Residual Risk Subcommittee of the Technical Mapping Advisory Committee; State College Weather Forecast Office Integrated Weather Impacts Team. She has been active in Easton civic initiatives, including as a co-founder of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. Rachel is a Certified Floodplain Manager.
Kathryn Semmens is the Science Director of the Nurture Nature Center. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental and earth sciences from Lehigh University, along with a master’s degree in marine policy from the University of Delaware and a bachelor of science in environmental studies from Ursinus College. Kathryn was employed previously as a postdoctoral associate at the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture and has also worked for the Pew Environment Group in Washington, D.C. Her awards include a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship for doctoral research, a Udall Environmental Scholarship and a EPA Greater Research Opportunity Fellowship for her undergraduate studies. Kathryn’s interests focus on the nexus of science, policy, and community. Her responsibilities at NNC are to help advance the organization’s outreach efforts on scientific and environmental issues generally, with a special emphasis on floods, climate change, and social science research.
Keri Maxfield, Art Director if the Nurture Nature Center, has been working in the visual arts for over 25 years. She received her BFA with a double concentration in Studio Art from Kutztown University. Keri’s work ranges from the creative to the highly technical. She is skilled in design and visual communication of scientific data and social messaging. As Art Director, Keri is in charge of supervising and unifying the visual arts and arts education components of the Nurture Nature Center in accordance with its mission. She coordinates art exhibits in the building’s four gallery spaces and oversees the visual interpretation of science content both at center and its grant projects. She has worked on a number of social science research projects focusing on environmental risk messaging, including NOAA/NWS product design. Her interests lie in the overlap between art, science and society and she has managed five grants through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts that engage local artists and community members in creating visual art in response to local environmental issues.
Buy Fresh Buy Local Program Director
Allison Czapp is the new Local Program Director for NNC’s Buy Fresh Buy Local of the Greater Lehigh Valley (“BFBLGLV”) program, succeeding founding director Lynn Prior. Allison manages the Lehigh Valley’s Double SNAP program, which allows people using food stamps to double their dollars for fresh, local produce. She also works to promote BFBLGLV partners and research various sectors of the food system, including producer-only farmers markets, infrastructure and low-income access. Allison attended graduate school at New Mexico State University, studying Cultural Anthropology with a focus on Food Studies. She currently chairs the Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council Steering Committee, and has been an active participant in various boards and organizations that seek to move the local food system forward.
Kelly Neetz has been working in the Accounting Field for more than 15 years. Her extensive experience ranges from handling the day to day accounting operations of a $30 million company to providing payroll and other financial accounting services for a group of twenty companies simultaneously. She has a degree in accounting from DeSales University. Kelly volunteers her free time for an organization dedicated to helping families impacted by the critical illness of a child, for which she creates custom cakes and other special treats.
Jeff Mucklin, NNC’s Outreach Educator, graduated from Northampton Community College with a degree in journalism and a focus on science communication. Before working at NNC, he organized public science demonstrations on topics of popular interest, such as the chemistry of fireworks. At NNC, Jeff is a Science on a Sphere docent and helps develop programs for the Sphere, along with other educational programs. He also works at the National Canal Museum in Easton as a science educator.
Liesel Dreisbach, NNC’s program coordinator, has been a Penn State Extension educator for nearly 25 years, first in youth development (4-H) and later in community and economic development with a focus on helping non-profits improve their sustainability. She has also been a high school classroom history teacher in New York City as well as Palestine. Liesel holds a masters degree in teaching. She is a member of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. Gardening is her avocation.
Lauren Fosbenner, NNC’s Project Assistant, holds a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and an integrated degree in Engineering and Social Science from Lehigh University where she focused on the intersection of the scientific, political, and societal foundations of environmental issues. She previously conducted research to support a sustainable rural mushroom farming operation in Cambodia, co-founded a peer education organization focused on LGBTQ+ issues, and worked as an NNC intern and Community Fellow. At NNC, Lauren provides support for the organization’s social science research, educational programming, and outreach efforts.
Urban Gardening Program Coordinator
Pam Ruch is in charge of NNC’s Urban Recycle Garden, a stunning display case of the potential for such gardens in urban areas. She has a masters of environmental science and a degree in horticulture as well as years of experience working with volunteers and interns and organizing garden-related events for the Morven Museum & Garden. Ruch has also managed test gardens for Organic Gardening magazine and worked with the farm-to-table restaurant at the historic Glasbern Inn in Fogelsville. She writes for several online and print organizations, including the Home Garden Seed Association. Ruch has been a presenter at NNC’s series on the Art of Journaling and now maintains a blog and website on that topic at Artofnaturejournaling.com.
Buy Fresh Buy Local Outreach Coordinator
Ellen Underwood is a Berks County native who has worked in many aspects of the local foods system. When she was in high school, her mother participated in a community garden that inspired Ellen in a lifelong career in agriculture and the environment. Ellen received her degree in Environmental Studies and Philosophy from Albright College where she focused on the cultural drivers of environmental values and behaviors. She has worked for a number of local farms and producers in the Berks and Lehigh areas, most recently as the Wholesale Packaging Manager for Primordia Mushroom Farm. She spent 2017-2018 serving in Americorps as an Agriculture & Nutrition Educator and Graphic Designer for the Montezuma School to Farm Project in Southwestern Colorado. Equipped with a new passion for the outreach and marketing side of the local foods system, she was drawn back to Pennsylvania to be in contribution to her own communities. This led her to Buy Fresh Buy Local where she is excited to connect consumers with healthy, fresh foods and support the GLV’s vibrant local food economy!
Peter Reese, Facilities Coordinator, is responsible for building management. He has decades of experience as a mechanic and theater set builder.
We are always looking for volunteers to help out with our community events. We need volunteers for the following:
- Front Desk Greeter
- Boy Scout/Girl Scout Visit Assistant
- Docents for Science on a Sphere Programs
- Table Facilitators During Community Dialogue Forums
- Community Outreach Events/Easton Farmers’ Market Booth/Festival Booths
If you are interested in an internship at the Nurture Nature Center, please contact our Program Coordinator, Liesel Dreisbach-Williams, at 610-253-4432 or Liesel@nurturenaturecenter.org.