Leadership Awards

Do you know someone who has demonstrated best practices in leading a nature or environmental learning center? Have you been mentored by a fellow nature center administrator or know of a new leader who is doing an exceptional job? Recognize this person by nominating them for an ANCA Leadership Award!

The ANCA Nature Center Leadership Award is intended to recognize outstanding professionals in the field of nature center administration. Candidates should be employed (or formerly employed) in a top leadership role in a nature center.
Deadline for nominations is April 1st each year. Click here for nomination form and more info.

The ANCA Outstanding New Leader Award is intended to recognize outstanding new leaders with less than five years of full-time work experience as the director, executive director, president or other administrator at the highest administrative level at an environmental learning center.
Deadline for nominations is April 1st each year. Click here for nomination form and more info.

2017 ANCA Leadership Award Recipients

The Association of Nature Center Administrators' board of directors is pleased to announce the recognition of two outstanding individuals in the field of nature and environmental education center administration.

Ken Finch has been recognized as the 2017 ANCA Nature Center Leadership Awardee for his visionary environmental education philosophy and his work towards the professionalization of the nature and environmental learning center field. Over a 43-year career, Ken pursued his passion relentlessly, promoting nature pre-schools and the idea of love for nature as the gateway to nature education. Gordon Maupin, retired Executive Director of The Wilderness Center, writes, “Ken Finch championed the paradigm shift that children fall in love with nature first (through frequent, undirected, positive contact with nature) and only then are they inspired to learn about nature and ultimately work to protect the natural world.” As the President of the Association of Nature Center Administrators from 1995-1997, Ken paved the way for critical early growth of the field, emphasizing the “importance of professionalizing our roles as leaders in our communities” Charity Krueger, retired Executive Director of the Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm, writes.  The nature and environmental learning center profession is indebted to Ken’s vision, passion and dedication to environmental education.

Praised for her commitment to conservation, people skills and her ability to focus others on a goal, the Association of Nature Center Administrators recognizes Haley Breniser with the 2017 ANCA Outstanding New Leader Award. Laurie Stanek, member of the Antrim County Board of Commissioners, writes, “I have witnessed first-hand her work ethic and fund-raising capabilities… with her creativity and hard work, Grass River has been able to hire additional staff for conducting educational classes and programs as well as the support staff needed for the day to day activities and office work.” In just three short years as the Executive Director of Grass River Natural Area, Haley has raised over $80,000 in grants used in part to develop the fundraising capacity of her team and resulting in the generation of over $200,000 in donations. It is evident that Haley is a force for positive growth for her center and the profession. 

For questions please contact ANCA Award Chair, Turn on JavaScript!. Past Recipients of the ANCA Leadership Awards can be found here.