Our program featured a road trip to the Nurture Nature Center. The building opened in 1915 as the home of the local chapter of the Independent Order of Oddfellows whose members are charged to “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.” The ground floor became a theater for silent movies and, later, the first sound movies in Easton. At some point, Carl Weller was in the building as he put the finishing touches on his soldering gun invention.
The floods of 2004, 2005 and 2006 along the Delaware River were the impetus for the creation of NNC. The flooding attracted the attention of Theodore Kheel, a prominent attorney who had founded the Nurture Nature Foundation. He discovered that nationwide there was a startling lack of resources for communicating with the public about floods. Thus, was born the NNC which has evolved into a multifaceted institution, where research of national importance is conducted, and a rich array of educational and community programs is offered.
The third-floor houses Science on a Sphere which is a spherical projection system created by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is one of only 150 in the world. It presents high-resolution video on a suspended globe rather than a flat screen, with the aim of better representing global phenomena. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere to explain these complex environmental processes. A single computer drives four projectors that display data on the stationary 6’ sphere. There are over 4,000 datasets available for the Sphere.
We were able to see in incredible detail how the earth would look from space. A nighttime view allowed us to easily spot where civilization exists based on the concentration of light. Rain forests and deserts were dark but major cities were easy to spot. As expected, civilization tended to be located near reliable sources of water. Another view showed the tectonic plates which account for the gradual change in continents, earthquakes, and the formation of mountain ranges. We were able see a visual representation of the super continent Pangaea and how it evolved into our current continental alignment over the course of 300 million years. We saw a projection of 100 million years into the future when the Atlantic Ocean is expected to be wider than the Pacific Ocean.