2023 Annual Summit

Summit logo: on the left, a green circle contains an illustration of mountains in the background and a stream leading up to them. Pine trees project up on the left side of the logo. On the right, the text: ANCA Summit 2023 / Community Solutions: The Maine Coast Summit / August 21-25 at The Ecology School in Saco, Maine.

THE ANCA ANNUAL SUMMIT, taking place this year August 21-25 at The Ecology School in Saco, Maine, is the premier professional development opportunity for leaders of nature centers, outdoor schools, and related organizations. With a focus on leadership and management practices for our unique profession, the Summit provides participants with a wealth of knowledge, strategies, and resources to help them excel in their work.

The Ecology School's rustic campus provides the perfect backdrop for this week of learning and networking. Situated on a historic 105-acre farm just twenty minutes from the Maine coast, The Ecology School will allow Summit participants to explore the natural wonders of Maine while connecting with peers in a scenic and welcoming setting.

Whether you're just starting out in the field or you're a seasoned professional, don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn, grow, and connect with professional peers.

"Absolutely amazing. I came away energized with new ideas, new contacts, and a sense of community and support!"

— 2022 Summit Participant

An aerial view of The Ecology School as the sun sets in the top-right corner. A river bends in the bottom-right corner.An aerial view of The Ecology School's campus in Saco, Maine.

About the Summit

The Ecology School

The 2023 ANCA Annual Summit will take place in person at The Ecology School, an outdoor school that transforms how people think about science, food, the environment, and themselves through joyful, hands-on learning for all ages. The Ecology School operates from its campus at River Bend Farm, a historic farm located on a scenic bend in the Saco River. The campus features an agroecology farm and buildings designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, so that visitors can directly explore sustainable living practices, food systems, and ecosystem conservation.

More About The Ecology School


In the variety of Summit programs, you can connect with peers and experts in a supportive learning environment, while also building a network of professional relationships that will strengthen your work throughout the year. Programs include:

Facilitated Discussions

Share with your peers, learn new ideas, and work together to find solutions.


Learn in-depth on a single topic, expand your skill set, and engage directly with experts.

Open Space

Create your own meeting, continue a session that needs more time, or find a group to address a topic that was not presented elsewhere.

Field Workshops

Visit nature education sites in southern Maine and explore their operations firsthand.

Field Trips

Visit additional sites, spend time with local experts, and interact with peers.


Grow your professional network and create connections that will endure long after the Summit.

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More About Programs 


Monday, Aug 21
Check-in begins mid-afternoon, dinner and Summit Welcome in the evening

Tuesday, Aug 22
Field Workshops, Concurrent Sessions, Extra Activities

Wednesday, Aug 23
Open Space, Field Workshops, ANCA Leadership Awards Ceremony

Thursday, Aug 24
Concurrent Sessions, Open Space, Closing Dinner

Friday, Aug 25
Breakfast, Check-out, and Field Trips



Inside a dorm room at The Ecology School.Inside a dorm room at The Ecology School.Built to the highest standards of sustainable construction as part of the Living Building Challenge, The Ecology School's Dormitory immerses participants in a restful forest setting near the beautiful Saco River. From the Dormitory all of River Bend Farm is immediately available, with over three miles of trails, a one-acre sustainable farm, and a waterfront on the Saco River to explore.

If you choose to stay at a location other than River Bend Farm, we encourage you to book your stay as soon as possible — coastal Maine is a popular destination in August, and lodging availability will be competitive.

More about lodging


Situated just 30 minutes from Portland, The Ecology School is accessible by multiple airports, as well as by train and bus.

More about travel


Registration includes:

  • All programs on your selected days, including extensive options for concurrent sessions, two Field Workshops, and three unique networking opportunities
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), Monday evening through Friday morning
  • Additional activities (birding, yoga, and more)
  • The ANCA Leader Award Ceremony

More about registration


Curious about the Summit? Here are some frequently asked questions about the event.

Still have questions? Email ANCA Membership & Programs Coordinator Daniel Auer at .


Do you have a business that would benefit from engaging with Summit participants? We offer a variety of sponsor packages through which you can support the nature center field while building brand awareness and marketing leads among decision-makers at organizations throughout North America.

More about Sponsorship

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