Residential Environmental Learning Center

ANCA has helped support Residential Environmental Learning Center (RELC) gatherings since their beginning in 1996. The RELC gathering, offered biennially, brings together executive directors and education leadership staff from residential environmental learning centers across North America. These centers share unique challenges including finding, training and retaining staff; recruiting and preparing participants for multi-day experiences; keeping budgets vibrant during challenging times; facility, food service maintenance, and sustainability; program evaluation; and risk management.

The Residential Environmental Learning Center conference (RELC) is the single most useful gathering of practitioners in the country for residential EE programs. Imagine all of the biggest challenges you have at your center, and in this one weekend gathering you will leave with ideas and ways to approach all of them... from people who have been in the same place as you!
 - John DiDiego, Education Director, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

2019 Residential Environmental Learning Center Gathering:

Register for the 2019 RELC Gathering, January 18th-22nd in Finland, MN at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. Read the RELC 2019 flyer here. Register here. Connect with the Facebook Event here


The RELC gathering, January 19-22nd, 2019, brings together Executive Directors and education leadership staff from residential environmental learning centers across North America. This year, spend 5 glorious days in a northern Minnesota Winter Wonderland at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center! Expect lots of laughter, learning, and beauty as you exchange ideas and explore our 2000 acre campus. See the schedule here. Located on a ridge overlooking Lake Superior, Wolf Ridge is bordered by the Baptism River and features creeks, two lakes, two high peaks, 18-miles of trail and a mixed forest of maple, birch, and spruce. Wildlife is abundant and includes pine marten, eagles, moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, fox, wolves, beaver, peregrine falcons and loons. Facilities include four classroom buildings, two dormitories, a dining hall, a raptor aviary, a library, two auditoriums, two rock-climbing walls, two outdoor ropes courses, and an administration building. Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center was the first environmental learning center in the nation to be accredited as a K-12 school and is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in environmental education. During the school year, more than 12,000 children, teachers, and parent chaperones head to our campus to have their own adventure in learning. Our students come from all over, from more than 165 schools in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin because of our unique location. Our broad spectrum of year-round environmental and outdoor learning programs for children, families, seniors and college students serve an additional 3,000 people each year.


$354 Food, Conference Registration, and Lodging 
$285 Food and Conference Registration (no Lodging)


Experience the comforts of our newly renovated Margaret A.Carigill (MAC) Lodge. The MAC Lodge was designed and renovated to meet Living Building Challenge standards - the highest sustainable building standards in the world. It aims to be NET ZERO for both energy and water (learn more here). Accommodations are dorm rooms with a shared bathroom and bunk beds. A block of rooms has been reserved at the AmericInn in Silver Bay for those interested in off-site accommodations. To book your room call 218-226-4300 and ask for the Wolf Ridge ANCA block before December 14th. There are many other hotels, B&B’s and VRBO’s in the area as well depending on the experience you are looking for.


Our kitchen makes delicious, from scratch meals, serving over 144,000 meals annually. We try to use local and organic food whenever possible - including our organic farm. Our farm team harvests, prepares and preserves over 15,000 pounds of food annually! Our kitchen team can accommodate vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free diets at every meal.


Fun activities available will be:

• Cross-country skiing
• Snowshoeing
• Dog Sledding
• Ice Fishing
• Sustainable food and energy tours
• Citizen Science Research at Wolf Ridge exploration!

If you are looking for notes or documents from past gatherings, please contact ANCA.