CEE Change Fellow Margaret Beetstra smiling in a red shirt with trees in the background
  • Margaret (Maggie) Beetstra (she/her)

    Senior Climate and Education Researcher, The Nurture Nature Center
  • CEE-Change Fellow
  • 2023
United States

Maggie is a social science researcher and educator engaging with communities about climate resilience and weather events to increase preparedness to natural hazards.

About Margaret Beetstra

Maggie (she/her) is a social science researcher and environmental educator with a passion for community engagement in science. She is the senior climate and education researcher at the Nurture Nature Center, a nonprofit in Easton, Pennsylvania that focuses on the intersection of science, art, and community through local projects and national research.

In her current role, Maggie conducts social science research with National Weather Service partners about how people use flood forecast information. She also engages with local food initiatives, contributes to municipal climate planning processes, and works to build resilience to climate change across the Lehigh Valley. Before joining the Nurture Nature Center, Maggie was a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Education.

Outside of work, you can usually find Maggie outdoors going for a long walk, running, hiking, biking, or playing tennis. 

Maggie’s Community Action Project (CAP)

The Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania has many colleges and universities with programs and offices for the environment and climate change. However, there is minimal coordination across these institutions or convening of students for environmental civic engagement.

Maggie’s community action project works to identify gaps within and between Lehigh Valley colleges in the environmental, sustainability, and climate spaces. It involves interviews with faculty, staff, and students at multiple Lehigh Valley colleges and universities to understand the environmental and civic engagement efforts happening on campuses, what is not happening, what is planned, and what additional support the colleges might need. The Nurture Nature Center (NNC) will use this information to determine how and where to best use their limited resources to support the colleges and universities and to build local community relationships. As an independent non-profit in the Lehigh Valley, NNC could become a convener across local colleges and universities in this space.

In addition, civic engagement will be a focus of the 2024 Lehigh Valley Youth Climate Summit hosted by NNC. Maggie will foster youth participation in civic engagement activities at the summit. Additionally, other CEE-Change Fellows will be involved in the summit to share information about their careers to date and encourage the youth to continue learning and engaging in environmental and civic action work together.

Maggie’s project will conclude by sharing findings with internal and external audiences. The hope is that by laying the groundwork of identifying local college and university needs and interests, plus engagement with hundreds of area youth, NNC can identify and develop future opportunities and mechanisms for continued collaboration beyond the project period.