The Nurture Nature Foundation (NNF) was founded in 1991 by Theodore “Ted” W. Kheel (1914-2010), the master labor negotiator, arbitrator and mediator, who devoted most of his life to resolving conflicts. Kheel created NNF to address what he considered the greatest conflict that humanity faces today: the conflict between environmental sustainability and economic growth. Since its founding, NNF has engaged directly in a wide array of projects ranging from transit reform to flood education and urban revitalization. The guiding theme in each case has been to help find and foster environmentally sustainable practices for living on our planet.
Recognizing that more than half of the world’s population currently lives in cities, and that city living is itself environmentally friendly, NNF has concentrated much of its attention on urban areas, such as the town of Easton, Pennsylvania. The Foundation first became involved in Easton when it undertook to restore a large historic building in the heart of the town that lay abandoned and shuttered. NNF embarked on this project knowing that adaptive reuse of old buildings is one means of encouraging environmentally friendly city living and deterring sprawl, and is also a major act of recycling. Although the renovation of the building, now known as the Grand Eastonian Suites Hotel, happily accomplished all these goals, it posed many challenges along the way.
One of the challenges was that the building flooded in 2006, shortly after renovation was completed. Realizing that flooding was itself a sustainability issue, NNF responded by converting another abandoned historic building in Easton into a center for outreach on flooding, and the Nurture Nature Center was born. Soon, the work expanded to include many other related activities, described on this website. In the process, NNC itself became a community anchor and a revitalizing force in Easton, serving the dual purpose of providing outreach on important environmental issues and helping revitalize the urban setting where it is located.