August 16, 2018. Our program featured Rachel Hogan Carr who is the Executive Director of the Nurture Nature Center. Rachel was part of the team responsible for resurrecting Hotel Easton into condominiums. The new project opened in 2006 and, one day later, it promptly flooded. The owner of the property, Ted Kneel, recognized the need for public education regarding the risks of flooding. This led to the development of NNC, a center dedicated to engaging the public in learning about environmental risks.
While flood risk education remains a core focus of NNC, the Center has grown substantially since its opening and now also provides a range of ongoing programs for the surrounding community, including science and art presentations and workshops, documentary film series, garden programming, community dialogue forums and youth activities and field trips. Their work in the area of flood risk communication and many methods for engaging the community in dialogue about environmental issues have often been cited as models, and many of the educational materials developed for their programs are now used by governmental bodies and other organizations throughout the country. Their exhibit space offers rotating displays of environmentally-themed art. A recent addition is the giant Science on Sphere globe.
The Center is working on a 6 degrees of connection project funded by NASA that is designed to teach Earth systems to middle school students. NNC works with the National Weather Service and other organizations to help improve communication with the general public. The hope is to get better public response to weather warnings and help people make better decisions during storms. The on-site recycle garden uses no store-bought items. It is used to teach people how to grow food even if their land space is limited. Plants are grown in planters ranging from old shoes to a canoe.
They also run the Buy Fresh Buy Local of the Greater Lehigh Valley (BFBL-GLV) program, which works to increase access to local foods and offers ongoing outreach and events on the subject. NNC also hosts the Easton Star Party starring Terry Pundiak (Watch for the next Party on October 19).