2022 Annual Summit

ANCA Summit — Thrive Outside, Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills, Md. Aug 1-5

Nature centers, outdoor schools, and environmental learning centers are ready to thrive. Spending time in nature has proven critical for the health of our communities throughout the pandemic, and while the past few years have been both challenging and devastating, we can turn to the outdoors to provide the connection and inspiration we need to move forward. Thriving outside holds true to all of our missions, while it’s also a solution for many of the challenges we face. It’s time to increase outdoor access, take care of ourselves, and ensure that everyone can flourish in nature — it’s time to thrive outside.

If you’re a leader at a nature center or related institution, join us at Irvine Nature Center to connect with other leaders in the field, grow your skills, and energize your organization’s work.


Registration is $550 per person. The Summit is for current ANCA Members or employees of Organization Members. We do not want the cost of a membership to be a barrier to attending and will offer two discounted membership rates for non-members to join at the Associate or Professional levels. Scholarships are available.

Learn More About Registration

What to Expect


As the first in-person ANCA Summit since 2019, the Thrive Outside Summit will be an important time to connect with other leaders at nature and environmental learning centers. We will maximize our time together through active learning and direct experiences, including opportunities such as:

FACILITATED DISCUSSIONS where you can converse and learn from peers on a specific topic. Facilitators ensure a shared dialogue that brings out an abundance of perspectives, possibilities, and renewed energy.

WORKSHOPS for you to expand your skill set and learn in-depth on a single topic, while also directly engaging with experts.

FIELD WORKSHOPS in which you can visit cultural organizations around the Baltimore area, and personally learn from their operations.

OPEN SPACE SESSIONS provide an opportunity for you to create your own meeting, continue a session that needs more time, or find a group to address an issue that was not presented elsewhere during the Summit.

NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES will help you grow and strengthen your personal network. With spaces for small group and one-on-one interaction, you can create connections that will endure long after the Summit.

Learn More About Programs 

Program Proposals

We are still accepting program proposals for Workshops and Facilitated Discussions — the deadline is May 23. Do you have an idea for a session? Learn more here.


Summit events begin on Monday, August 1 and continue through Friday, August 5. Summit lodging, at Garrison Forest School, will be available Sunday night through Saturday morning.

See the Schedule


Located less than 20 miles northwest of downtown Baltimore, Irvine Nature Center showcases the beauty of Maryland’s natural landscape. Summit participants will have the opportunity to explore Irvine’s property in depth, as well as to learn about operations such as Irvine’s programs, nature preschool, and facility management.

Learn About Irvine

Lodging & Travel

We have secured housing at the Garrison Forest School (GFS), located two miles from the nature center. The GFS campus is beautiful and provides a relaxing space for connecting with nature and with peers. We will be the only group on site. Shuttles will run daily between GFS and the nature center. 

Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) is 23 miles from the nature center. 

More about Lodging & Travel


Presenting Sponsor

Brown Advisory


 Sustaining Sponsor

GWWO Architects

 Supporting Sponsor

Taylor Studios INC web


 Contributing Sponsors

doubleknot logo

LLNF Logo small

Hennebery Eddy Architects

Table Sponsor

The Kubala Washatko Architects


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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