About Us

What is ANCA?

The people who run nature and environmental learning centers began getting together 25 years ago to share ideas, experiences, and hard-won professional wisdom. Those early conversations soon became the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA). We are now an international network of nature and environmental learning center leaders designed to enhance professionalism and provide the support system critical to innovative and progressive management. Read more here 

What is a Nature or Environmental Learning Center?

Some definitions from the Definitions Project, a collaborative project between the National Association for Interpretation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Institute for Learning Innovation:

Nature Center: A facility that brings environments and people together under the guidance of trained professionals to experience and develop relationships with nature. A nature center serves its community and fosters sustainable connections between people and their environment.

Environmental Learning Center: A facility where visitors can learn about natural and cultural resources and how they interact over time.

Visitor Center: A facility, open to the public, that provides information about the area's natural and cultural resources. A visitor center may contain exhibits, visitor facilities, and interpretive information.

Residential Environmental Learning Center (RELC): A facility that provides participants with in-depth multi-day experiences to engage with and learn about the outdoors. RELCs typically provide lodging and meals, along with outdoor and environmental education programming. Programs are typically 2 to 5 days, but many RELCs offer longer experiences seasonally. Learn about our biennial RELC gatherings here.

Best Practices and Code of Ethics

We consider ourselves a best practices organization and strive to recognize and promote best practices in the field of nature center administration - this is our mission.

As a member organization of the Utah Nonprofits Association (UNA), ANCA is committed to and is actively engaged in good faith efforts to meet UNA’s Ethical Standards which include standards relating to mission and evaluation, governing body, conflict of interest, human resources, financial and legal accountability, openness, fund raising, public policy advocacy, and information management. The complete standard of ethics can be viewed here, on the UNA website. ANCA's environmental sustainability statement can be found here, and in the Members Only section of our website.