Third Sun

Third Sun

February 01, 2021

Meg Murdock


Don't miss the Spring 2019 Issue of ANCA's quarterly publication, Directions, featuring news from the field including:

  • "Collectively, we should be so proud of all we have accomplished in the past year. We hope you feel that pride looking at this list, and that it also energizes you for the year to come."- From Glenna Holstein, Branch Manager- Menomonee Valley at the Urban Ecology Center & ANCA Board Member in Direction's Cover Story: Wow! Reflecting on ANCA's Collective 2018-2019 Accomplishments. 
  • "In addition to four strategies that were developed in 2018, we added a fifth, Identify ANCA's Role in Advocacy. New Action Plans include..."- From Jen Levy, Executive Director of ANCA in Direction's Director's Notes, page 2.
  • "Is power in the workplace good or bad? It can be both!"- From Corky McReynolds, PhD, CPF, Principal at LeadTeam, LLC in Direction's Service Review: The Good Side of Power, page 5.
  • "This also presents a great way to educate and engage the public. With help from local chefs, KNC has been providing culinary programs featuring Garlic mustard for the past 12 years – including plenty of delicious samples, of course!"- From Lisa Panich, Director of Communications at the Kalamazoo Nature Center in Direction's Service Review: Garlic Mustard- Educate and Engage!, page 8.
  • "Once I got going, I found that we could complete an unlimited number of projects during the course of our membership and that I could have 5 active projects at any given moment. The first project I started with was Board Recruitment Strategy. I posted on May 1st and by May 2nd I received interest from a promising professional."- From Peter Punzi, Executive Director at Tenafly Nature Center in Direction's From the Field: Pro Bono is Muy Bueno, page 10.

& more!

Access the issue here!

Don't miss the latest from the ANCA community

Start your 2019 off with news from the field with the 2019 Winter Issue of Directions that features:

  • "The Role of Nature Centers in Local Communities" from Matthew H.E.M. Browning, PhD who reviews research that speaks to a crucial question: What impact should nature centers have in the communities they serve? How should this impact be measured?... Page 1

  • "Kay Carlson's ANCA Success Story" from Keanna Leonard offering a view of how one successful leader has utilized ANCA's resources in her career... Page 6

  • "Designing for the Birds is not just for the Birds" from Kate Scurlock, AIA, Associate, GWWO, Inc./ Architects summarizing best practices for bird-friendly architecture... Page 8

& more!

Next deadline for submitting an article for Directions is March 1, 2019. Please consider sharing your experience and knowledge with your professional community! Find details about contributing here.

The Urban Ecology Center® (UEC) is hosting its second training Intensive for civic and community leaders from cities around the world this summer from July 22 – 26. Attendees are coming to learn about the unique urban environmental education and community center model that the UEC has been running in Milwaukee for over 25 years.

Rather than traveling to other cities, the Urban Ecology Center is bringing interested groups to Milwaukee. 2018 participants hailed from Guadalajara, Mexico; Tiberias, Israel; Medellín, Columbia; and US cities in North Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, Philadelphia, Louisiana, and Texas.

“In addition to our pride in our home city, much of our work revolves around having a sense of place,” said UEC executive director Ken Leinbach. “Our model is founded on understanding and nurturing our place – community members, local partners, land, water, plants, and wildlife. Bringing folks to Milwaukee provides them with the opportunity to see our model in action and helps participants to consider what it could look like in their own communities.”

Building on the lessons shared in the bestselling book Urban Ecology: A Natural Way to Transform Kids, Parks, Cities, and the World written by Leinbach, the Intensive curriculum not only shares first-hand experience with the programs run by the UEC, but has sessions related to getting started, structure, and funding as well.

"We believe that cities of a certain size share a similar problem where green spaces in socially challenged neighborhoods become sites for negative activities. An Urban Ecology Center can turn this around," said Leinbach. "Our goal is to provide enough training and guidance for participants to be able to take the next steps towards doing the same kind of work in their own cities. We believe that our model is replicable around the world and that our attendees will be more successful after coming to Milwaukee to see firsthand how it works, learning from us and each other.”

As is stated on the back of Urban Ecology: "There is a quiet experiment in Milwaukee that is turning heads. It’s a story of a group of ordinary people in an ordinary neighborhood who created something quite extraordinary. It starts with getting a city kid to explore their neighborhood park and has the power to transform a city. It’s remarkable. It’s contagious. And it works as a catalyst for social change."

The Urban Ecology Center has three locations in Milwaukee each serving their surrounding neighborhoods and partnering with local schools to provide environmental education field trips. Each branch is connected to a public green space with native ecosystems that are cared for by UEC staff and volunteers and are used as outdoor classrooms. Annually, 225,000 individuals visit the UEC’s three branches and parks. 

See the event flyer here. Apply to attend here

Thank you for an amazing 2018! We could not continue to support nature and environmental learning center leaders with professional development opportunities without you. Please take a moment to review all you supported in 2018 here

When: March 7-9, 2019
(Thu, 6pm-8pm; Fri & Sat, 9am-4pm)
Where: Held at Chippewa Nature Center, Midland, MI
Facilitated by: Rachel Larimore & David Catlin of Samara Early Learning LLC
Registration: Early bird registration (through January 31) is $395; Regular registration is $485.
Registration will be limited to 15 participants to provide tailored support.

Details: Our goal for this Nature-Based Preschool Business Planning Workshop is to help your nature-based or forest preschool dream take flight. This two-day-and-a-half day workshop will not only help you get started, but also provide you the road map for accomplishing your vision. We will begin with an overview of the business planning process, then we will guide you on questions to ask and tools to answer those questions—all specific to the unique business needs of nature-based and forest preschools. We will provide specific guidance related to these topics:

• Key decisions (e.g., mission, goals, administrative model, partnerships)

• Programming plan (What will the program look and feel like?)

• Site plan (How do I determine if a site is right for my business?)

• Building plan (What does the ideal physical space look like and how can I achieve that vision?)

• Marketing plan (Who is the target market? How do I reach them? How do I identify potential competition?)

• Operating plan (How do I identify the nuts and bolts of my program such as schedule, registration process, insurance, etc.?)

• Financial plan (How do I identify and track start-up and operating expenses?)

• Risk analysis (What might go wrong in my business plan and how might I respond if it does?)

The workshop itself will be a mix of presentations and small-group interaction and problem-solving. We will also visit Chippewa Nature Center’s Nature Preschool. All of these activities are designed to ensure you leave the workshop having made substantial progress on your business plan. Yes, you’ll leave with more work to do, but our goal is for you to leave with a clear road map of next steps to quickly and efficiently make your preschool a reality.

Handouts, snacks, and lunch will be provided.

To register visit

"ANCA linked me to the resources I needed to feel comfortable staying in the nature center field. I have peers now- who are accessible and supportive- and that is a pretty phenomenal thing in this day and age."- Susan Westoff, Executive Director of the Leslie Science & Nature Center

Thanks to you, donors, we've started our Fiscal Year 2019 out strong and we are already $7,000 towards our $37,000 June 30th, 2019 goal. Thank you! Let's keep the momentum going during our Fall Fundraiser: help us match that $7,000 by December 31st, 2018. 

$37,000 in our Annual Fund enables ANCA to continue to organize the Annual ANCA Summit, coordinate Peer Consults, sustain the Mentor Program, publish Directions, identify and acknowledge leaders in the nature and environmental learning center field, support academic research, maintain the digital network of over 650 ANCA Members ready for you to reach out to when you need them, and more!

There are many ways you can give to ANCA this fall:

  • Donate here. Consider becoming a Sustaining Donor at any amount per month by making your online donation recurring. 
  • Celebrate #GivingTuesday with us! On Tuesday, November 27th, visit our Facebook Fall Fundraiser and join the Giving Movement. Paypal and Facebook are matching the first $7 million in gifts on that day. You can also create your own Facebook Fundraiser for ANCA and share how ANCA enhances your professional life with your colleagues and friends on #GivingTuesday and beyond, learn more hereEmail us with questions!
  • Mail your ANCA Donation to, The ANCA Annual Fund, P.O. Box 464, Logan, UT 84323.

It is our honor to have served nature and environmental learning center leaders with professional development resources for 30 years, help us continue on for 30 more! Thank you!

Fall Directions 2018 is out! Download it here

Don't miss the cover story: "Wisdom Nuggets" from Two ANCA Emeritus Members, written by Charity Krueger, Retired Executive Director of Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm in Reading, MI and Dick Touvell, Retired Executive Director of Chippewa Nature Center in Midland, MI. These two leaders share three important things they learned from years as Executive Directors in the field including a list of qualities to look for when recruiting staff members. ANCA Executive Director, Jen Levy, shares the latest from ANCA on page 2 in her Director's Notes including an overview of the successes of the 2018 Summit. Find a compilation of Ideas and Resources from the 2018 Dream Big Summit on page 6 including five participants' top takeaways from this year's Summit including ideas for staff affirmation. Follow that up with Summit Firsts on page 9 from David Ellis, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Doubleknot, 2018 Dream Big Summit Supporting Sponsor and ANCA Business Partner where he shares his experience as a first-time vendor, presenter, and participant at the Summit including themes emerging from presentations and discussions. Don't worry, we're not just looking back at the 2018 Summit but also excited to share about the 2019 Summit in Reflecting on 2018 and Looking Ahead to 2019 on page 10, by Cory Christopher, Director of Center for Conservation & Stewards at Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford, OH, the site of the ANCA 2019 Evolve Summit! Cory shares his experience at the 2018 Summit and how he and his colleagues are preparing to host next year. Do you have a plan for retirement? Not just to make sure you're OK financially but emotionally and mentally as well? Make sure to read over Robert Mercer's, Retired Director of Silver Lake Nature Center in Yardley, PA, article, Retirement Basics, in our From the Field feature on page 12. Bob offers five things you can do to mentally prepare for retirement. Finally, read about recent and upcoming ANCA events and activities in our Feet on the Ground feature on page 14. As always, thank you to our authors and Business Partners who make publication of Directions possible! We hope you enjoy this edition. 

If you are interested in submitting an article for a future issue of Directions, please reach out to


Registration for the 2019 RELC Gathering, January 18th-22nd in Finland, MN at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center is now open! 

Spend 5 glorious days in a northern Minnesota Winter Wonderland in the company of fellow residential environmental education leaders! Expect lots of laughter, learning, and beauty as you exchange ideas and explore our 2000 acre campus. Experience the comforts of our newly renovated MAC Lodge a Living Building Challenge designed building.

Find out more here

Thank you to our hosts at Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center and all the ANCA Rio Grande Valley Partners! Thank you to all who attended as well! It was an amazing Summit. 

You can see some of the fun that we had through this video and in our Facebook Photo Album as well as look over some ideas and documents people are sharing post-Summit in our Google Group

Thank you for your support and participation! 

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