Youth Climate Summit of the Lehigh Valley

Youth Climate Summit of the Lehigh Valley

Every year starting in 2020 the Nurture Nature Center has hosted a Youth Climate Summit for middle and high school students in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. Our most recent summit in April 2024 was the largest yet, with over 120 students and teachers in attendance! You can read more here or scroll down to details from past events.

What is a Youth Climate Summit? – A Youth Climate Summit brings together young people who want to do something about climate change and helps them develop the tools to take action. This includes talking with experts and climate professionals, hearing about other student groups’ success stories, doing hands-on projects like gardening or creating new goods from recycled materials, and exploring your own personal strengths for climate action. 

Stay involved in climate action year-round! 

While the Youth Climate Summit is a powerful and energizing event, it is also only one or two days out of the year. To create support and opportunities for students to engage with climate on an ongoing basis, NNC will kick off a youth climate action and leadership program in Fall 2025. We need student feedback on what this program should look like! Interested high school students can sign up for updates and share their ideas through the form here:

Are you a teacher potentially interested in getting students involved? Please share these opportunities with them and reach out to Lauren ( or Kate ( to discuss participation in the next Youth Climate Summit!


The 2024 summit featured:

  • Keynote with Dr. Diane Husic from Moravian University  – Empowering youth engagement in climate action and solutions addressing local to global challenges 

    Dr. Diane Husic, Professor and Environmental Studies and Sciences Program Director at Moravian University

  • Youth Share-A-Thon – hear what other youth in PA are doing related to climate action and sustainability!
  • Climate Fair
  • Discover your Climate Super Power
  • Career panel
  • Nature Journaling
  • Science on a Sphere program
  • Fast Fashion session
  • Climate Action Planning
  • Bike rides with Community Bike Works
  • Tree planting * part of the City of Easton’s Arbor Day Tree planting
  • And more!

Friday April 19th Keynote Dr. Diane Husic – Empowering youth engagement in climate action and solutions addressing local to global challenges

Dr. Husic has a B.S. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry (from Northern Michigan University and Michigan State University, respectively). Before becoming founding dean of the Center for Scholarship, Research, and Creative Endeavors at Moravian University, she served as dean for the School of Natural and Health Sciences at Moravian College, and before that, as chair of Biological Sciences. She is also currently serving as the director for the Environmental programs. She has taught courses on biochemistry, environmental science, conservation biology, sustainability, environmental health, and global climate change.

Her research focuses on the ecological restoration of a contaminated site (the Palmerton Superfund site) and examining heavy metal impacts on plants. She is involved with ecological monitoring for climate change impacts along mountain landscapes in the portion of the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania and in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem/Rocky Mountains. Of particular interest is her work at the science-policy interface and work with diverse students at this interface within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030) and the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She has brought delegations of students and faculty to the U.N. climate meetings in various countries on 4 continents since 2009 to develop global citizens who will help address our greatest challenges. Along with 6 colleagues, she recently established the Camaquiri Conservation Initiative in Costa Rica ( – a 500-acre rainforest preserve for education and research. For several years, she has brought students to the country for a course entitled Costa Rica as a Model of Tropical Ecology and Sustainability.

She is an author on over 50 publications and has contributed to several reports – including a 200-page ecological assessment for a Superfund site and the 2011 PA Climate Change Adaptation report. She serves as a member of the steering committee for the international Research and Independent NGOs constituency group and on the Adaptation Taskforce of the UNFCCC Technology Executive Committee. Locally, she works with nature centers and non-profits to develop informal education programming on a wide range of environmental and sustainability issues and finding unique ways to effectively communicate science to general audiences and engage the public in science and policy. She is president of the board for the Lehigh Gap Nature Center and serves on the board and chair of the conservation science committee for Hawk Mountain Sanctuary – an organization that is a leader in raptor science and conservation throughout the world.

Saturday April 20th Career Panel – Turning your Climate Superpowers into a Career

Panelist Bios

Hannah Barg (they/them) is the Climate Network Manager at The Wild Center, a science center and museum in upstate New York’s Adirondack Park. They support the international Youth Climate Summit Network of over 170 summits in 9 countries and 23 states! Prior to The Wild Center, Hannah worked as an environmental stewardship teacher, served as an AmeriCorps member, and supported the development of a pilot climate change education program for teens. Hannah studied environmental science at Goshen College and holds a Masters degree in Experiential and Outdoor Education from Western Carolina University. For their Masters thesis study, Youth Got the Power: Building Youth-Adult Partnerships for Climate Action, Hannah worked with three high school students to design and implement a climate action project at the Durham Youth Climate Summit. They enjoy talking to teens about books, biking, dogs, music and climate action projects. 

Jeff Geist (he/him) is the Manager of Community and Professional Education at Duke Farms, a Center of the Doris Duke Foundation. At Duke Farms, he develops and oversees the various levels of environmental education, from professional-level courses and workshops for adult learners, to school and student education, with a primary focus on educating students from similar habitats and locations along the Raritan River. Jeff also created and continues to supervise an internship program with a focus on increasing equity and access to environmental career fields, while also managing the staff and supervising the 5-acre Community Garden at Duke Farms. He serves as the Board Secretary for the NAAEE State Affiliate, the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE) and sits on the Programs Committee, who  provides professional development opportunities to formal and informal educators throughout New Jersey. He received a bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources from Rutgers University and a master’s in Environmental Conservation Education from New York University.

Caroline Nickerson (she/her) is the Executive Director and co-founder of Florida Community Innovation (FCI), a civic technology nonprofit. She empowers over 50 student innovators from more than five different universities to build social services technologies, engage in research projects, and conduct public service efforts to benefit Floridians. Caroline is also a PhD candidate in Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida. She has worked with SciStarter in various capacities, including as Senior Program Director where she managed the Citizen Science Month Program, SciStarter’s Corporate Volunteer Programs and other programmatic and outreach efforts. She currently works at SciStarter as an advisor. She received a bachelor’s degree in History and Chinese from the University of Florida and a master’s in Public Policy from American University. In her spare time, she volunteers with the UF-VA Bioethics Unit, the Christensen Project (where she serves homeless and underserved groups), and others. As a fun fact, Caroline was the 2019 Cherry Blossom Princess representing the state of Florida and the grand prize scholarship winner at Miss Earth USA 2021 as Miss Louisiana Earth. She was also recently featured in a children’s book about open science!

Check out some more inspiring career paths through these short videos (click in the lower left corner to start play):


The Youth Climate Summit is part CREATE Connections, a project of the Nurture Nature Center under award NA23SEC0080002 from the Environmental Literacy Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or the U.S. Department of Commerce.