science, education and dialogue

About Us

Focus on Floods is a project of Nurture Nature Foundation and Nurture Nature Center, Inc., which together are building the Nurture Nature Center in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Nurture Nature Foundation, which is dedicated to addressing the fundamental conflict between economic development and conservation of the environment, began developing Nurture Nature Center in the wake of three major floods in the Delaware River Basin in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The Center is located in the flood-prone city of Easton, Pennsylvania, at the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, in an historic building currently being restored. Nurture Nature Center (NNC) uses science, art and dialogue to help communities address local environmental risks, including flooding. Nurture Nature Center includes a variety of exhibits, programs, and other educational activities related to the river and other environmental concerns.

Focus On Floods is a flood education campaign developed through a cooperative partnership with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service. Focus on Floods was designed to help residents and individuals in the Delaware River Basin and beyond improve their flood readiness. The project shares information with individuals, via radio, television, Internet and other venues, about how to use National Weather Service flood forecasting and warning tools, and other critical flood preparedness information.  It has recently expanded to include information about coastal flooding and social science related to flooding.

In 2009, NNC began a Flood Forum Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, that took place after repetitive flooding in the Lehigh Valley. NNC hosted community discussions about flooding in three of the hardest hit communities. A report summarizing that project can be found here. Through work on the Flood Forum Project, NNC recognized that people were eager to learn the science behind risks like flooding that threatened their homes or communities. Since 2009, NNC has been working to develop a community dialogue model around these topics.

In 2010, Nurture Nature Center received an award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to install the administration’s famed exhibit, Science on a Sphere®, and to create a new program for the SOS about the connection between climate and flooding.  SOS is a 6-foot suspended globe that displays breath-taking visualizations of earth and space, and is the centerpiece exhibit at NNC.  NNC’s new SOS program, Rising Waters, has been shared with the international Science on a Sphere network of more than 80 museums and organizations around the world who have the SOS exhibit.

Our Team

Rachel Hogan Carr, Director of Environmental Outreach for Nurture Nature Foundation and Director of the Nurture Nature Center, is in charge of programming and facilities for the Nurture Nature Center.   She has a diverse background in community development, that includes community organizing as well as assisting with adaptive re-use of historic buildings.  Ms. Carr has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Policy Design from Lehigh University.  She is a member of the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center’s Customer Advisory Board and a past member of the Board of Directors for the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc., and the Easton Environmental Advisory Council.  She has been active in Easton civic initiatives, including as a co-founder of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, and as Vice President of the City’s Home Rule Charter Study Commission.

Kate 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, Project Assistant and Graphic Design specialist,  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. Ms. Maxfield served as Art Director for a national non-profit association for 8 years before beginning her own graphic design business with a focus on environmental issues. For the past 10 years, she has been working locally to protect the area’s natural and historic resources. Ms. Maxfield is the President of the Saucon Creek Watershed Association and serves on several
regional committees that promote sustainable practices.

NOTE: This web site and related content was initially prepared by NNF under award number NA09NWS4670005 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Dept. of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of NOAA or the US Dept. of Commerce.

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A Project of the Nurture Nature Foundation

© The Nature Nurture Foundation 2012 All Rights Reserved.

This website was prepared by NNF under the award number NA09NWS4670005 from NOAA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce. The statements, findings, conditions and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of NOAA or the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.