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 of 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.
Senior Climate and Education Researcher
Maggie Beetstra is a Senior Climate and Education Researcher at the Nurture Nature Center. She holds a Ph.D. in environment and natural resources with a concentration in environmental social science from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree in public administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental earth science from Washington University in St. Louis. Maggie previously worked for the Evans Policy Analysis and Research Group and the Climate Impacts Group, and she recently completed a Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship in the NOAA Office of Education. Her research focuses on how people make conservation decisions, and she is particularly interested in research that engages community members throughout the process. At NNC, she will lend her expertise to the growing social science research agenda.
Coordinator of Local Foods and Environmental Initiatives
Madeline Squarcia is the coordinator of NNC’s Buy Fresh Buy Local of the Greater Lehigh Valley (BFBLGLV) program. In her role, Madeline works to promote, educate, and communicate about the local food economy and further integrate the broader environmental mission of NNC with BFBL. Madeline is a ’22 graduate from Lafayette College with a degree in Engineering and Environmental Studies. She is an Easton native who has always loved exploring the outdoors and connecting with her community. In her time at Lafayette, she was highly involved with local food and environmental programs and was a regular LaFarm (Lafayette Farm) volunteer. She is well traveled and has studied abroad in Madrid where she learned about sustainable development. Madeline is a creative solution seeker and passionate about finding equitable and sustainable methods to improve environmental, economic, and social systems. Her passions are being put to work here at NNC!
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.
Community Outreach and Education Assistant
Carlyn Turner, NNC’s Community Outreach and Education Assistant, has a wealth of experience working with children in various capacities, and understands the profound impact of mentorship and education. Holding an Associate of Science degree in biology from Northampton Community College, she brings a deep love for all things living to her outreach efforts. Carlyn finds solace in the great outdoors through hiking, backpacking, and observing the natural world around us. When she’s not on the trail, she enjoys channeling her creativity into knitting and crocheting and has previously incorporated this skillset into her nonprofit volunteer work in the form of a long-running fiber arts group. She has enjoyed serving her community in meaningful ways and builds upon this experience here at NNC!
Lauren Fosbenner is the Project Specialist at the Nurture Nature Center. She holds a master’s degree in environmental policy design from Lehigh University and has completed extensive graduate coursework in social science research methods, climate change, and environmental justice. Lauren’s role at NNC is to assist with developing, planning, and implementing various grants and projects. She is energized by the Lehigh Valley’s strong sense of community and rich natural environment, and she is excited to work on community-driven approaches to environmental challenges in this region and beyond!
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.
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.
Nurture Nature Center Resident Artist Tom Maxfield is an illustrator and naturalist. Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Tom spent his youth exploring the countryside. Tom studied art at Marywood University and was a high school art teacher for 28 years. He is an accomplished illustrator and potter. He does work with a focus on environmental education such as NNC’s Living Local Teaching Mural that illustrates over 80 environmental situations. Tom’s love of the environment expanded into other projects like serving as an official on local governmental boards. He helped to initiate the Open Space Program and to establish the EAC (Environmental Advisory Council) in Lower Saucon Township, PA. He lives in the rural area of Lower Saucon with his wife, Keri and still enjoys exploring the countryside.
Patrick Painter is working at NNC as a Community Fellow through Lehigh University’s Community Fellows program. A student at Lehigh University, Patrick is completing coursework towards a master’s degree in Environmental Policy Design, and holds a bachelor’s degree in International and Area Studies with a certification in Global Engagement from the University of Oklahoma. During his undergraduate experience, Patrick focused his studies on climate change and adaptation research, participated in the Model United Nations program, and studied abroad in Arezzo, Italy where he interned with the city’s Department of Governance, Innovation, and EU Policies. At NNC, Patrick is assisting with a social science project on WPC’s Suite of Precipitation Products, along with other projects including CREATE efforts. His academic and career interests are in climate change policy and risk management, a fascination that he credits to his life-long passion for weather research and time as a Youth Ambassador for NNC’s CREATE Resilience project.
Angel Ortiz, Facilities Coordinator, is responsible for building management.
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 Executive Director Rachel Hogan Carr, at 610-253-4432 or firstname.lastname@example.org.