Annual Summit

         Dream Big Summit Logo 2018

Join ANCA for the ANCA Summit 2018
September 19th-23rd, McAllen, TX
Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center

Ready to register? Read the Brochure here and follow the guidelines below.

If you've been dreaming of checking these things off your bucket list:

  • Attending a conference just for nature center leaders
  • Starting relationships with about 150 nature and environmental learning center administrators
  • Joining a global network of 650 nature center leaders
  • Hearing about the latest trends in the nature center field
  • Exploring the nature center network in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas
  • Attending a conference in a beautiful 1930s adobe mansion on 20 acres of conserved land where 230 bird and butterfly species can be spotted

... then the ANCA DREAM BIG SUMMIT 2018 is for you! 



What is the ANCA Summit?

The ANCA Summit provides the unique experience of connecting with other nature and environmental learning center administrators from throughout North America. There is no better way to discuss and share your questions, challenges, and lessons learned than face-to-face with your peers.

What can you expect?

  • You will connect with colleagues
  • You will share best practices and trends in the profession
  • You will learn new things and be challenged
  • And of course, you will have fun in a relaxed and casual setting!

Whether you are new in the field, mid-career, or a veteran leader, there will be programming designed for you!

What Does the Summit Include?

Full- and Half-Day Workshops are scheduled for Thursday, 9/20 – you choose which ones to attend when you register. These sessions offer a rich learning experience with workshop leaders who are experienced and knowledgeable in their topics.

Facilitated Discussions, scheduled on Friday, 9/21, and Saturday, 9/22, are a unique feature of the ANCA Summit. Instead of a single voice presenting information, everyone present will enrich the discussion by contributing his or her ideas and experiences. The result is a synergistic dialogue that brings out an abundance of perspectives, possibilities, and renewed energy. During Facilitated Discussions, participants can explore various topics in depth.

Workshop Sessions allow participants the opportunity to learn about new programs and ideas. These 90-minute sessions allow for presentation time and dialogue among the group.

Open Space on Saturday, 9/22, afternoon provides an opportunity for participants to create their 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. In the Open Space Meeting, Summit participants will gather and collectively design the session topics that will be offered during the afternoon. We ask you to bring to the meeting those topics that you feel will be relevant and meaningful to you and the group.

Pre- and Post-Summit Field Trips. Don’t leave the Rio Grande Valley without time spent exploring the local flora, fauna, food, and culture of the area! ANCA Summit Field Trips offer the chance to add to your professional development experience while taking advantage of unique opportunities to visit additional nature education sites, spend time with local experts, and interact with your peers. These field trips were designed with ANCA members in mind and should not be missed! They will take place on Wednesday, 9/19, Sunday, 9/23, and Monday 9/24.

And More...! Get a peek at the schedule here

The ANCA Summit is hosted at an ANCA member center which gives participants the opportunity to: meet and talk with the staff; tour classrooms, exhibits, and trails; go behind-the-scenes to look at offices, storage, and maintenance; and simply relax and enjoy the flavors of the region through food, drink, and unique entertainment!

About our 2018 Summit Host- Quinta Mazatlan

The South Texas region is the gathering point of many unique ecosystems filled with indigenous wildlife habitats. This rich delta area has evolved over thousands of years into a beautiful natural and cultural destination. Located at the center of the Rio Grande Valley, in McAllen, is Quinta Mazatlán.

An historic adobe hacienda forms the centerpiece of this 20-acre urban sanctuary surrounded by tropical landscaping, native woodlands and trails; home year-round to hundreds of bird species and many other animals.

Quinta Mazatlán’s mission is to preserve the 1930’s adobe estate and native plants and wildlife of the region, while providing a sanctuary for environmental education, conservation, cultural events and ecotourism.

The center is developing a Strategic Plan to improve the existing space; and expanding its footprint to enhance the experience for visitors. The focus will be on the development of the Center for Urban Ecology, a unique research facility in partnership with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Quinta Mazatlán welcomes annually over 100,000 students, local visitors and tourists from across the country. The World Birding Center and all the nature centers help to position The Valley as an ecotourist destination contributing millions to the region’s economy. Great cities need great green spaces, and we are working towards that goal.


$425.00 per 1 Day Rate (Before early bird discount is applied.)
$498.00 per 2 Day Rate (Before early bird discount is applied.)
$545.00 per Full Package (Before early bird discount is applied.)

New to ANCA? The registration fee includes a one-year Associate Membership for all brand new members.

Early Bird Discount

Before 6/10/2018 a discount of $50.00 will apply to all 1 Day Rate Registrants.
Before 6/10/2018 a discount of $50.00 will apply to all 2 Day Rate Registrants.
Before 6/10/2018 a discount of $50.00 will apply to all Full Package Registrants.


ANCA provides scholarship funding based on financial need. Priority is given to applicants with small budgets and to first-time attendees. Please call Jen Levy at 435-787-8209 with any questions.

  • Summit Scholarship Application – Deadline, June 1
  • Awards Announced by June 15


All lunches and dinners, Wednesday dinner through Saturday dinner, are included with Full Package Summit registration. If you register for the 2-Day Rate, dinner the night before your first day through dinner on your second day are included. If you register for the 1-Day Rate, lunch is included. The Summit registration fee does not include pre- or post-Summit field trips. If you are bringing guests to the Summit, you can purchase meals and field trips for them.

Summit Payment Policy

You are required to remit the Summit registration fee(s) within 10 business days from the day you register. If you do not remit payment within 10 business days, understand that ANCA may cancel your registration. After ANCA cancels your registration due to non-payment, you will have to re-register at the current rate available. ANCA reserves the right to take all appropriate action necessary to collect payment if any cancellation is made after August 22nd. Please refer to the cancellation policy for refund details. If you register after August 22nd, you must remit payment immediately.

Cancellation Policy

All requests for refunds must be submitted to Turn on JavaScript! by the dates listed below.

Summit Registration, Guest Meals, and Field Trips:

Before August 1, 2018- Full refund less a $50 per person administration fee

August 1 through August 22, 2018- Full refund less a $100 per person administration fee

After August 22, 2018 - No Refunds



Registration Guidelines:

1. Read the Registration Brochure and be ready to sign-up for the field trips and workshops you are interested in attending before you move on to step two. 

2. Visit the Summit Registration Form and create the Summit Package that is right for you! You will have the option to mail a check or pay online with a credit card. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the ANCA Office at 435-787-8209.

3. Please provide a photo of yourself (headshot preferred) for the Summit Participant Directory. Email your photo (jpg format, less than 1MB) to Turn on JavaScript! by August 10. Please label the photo with your first and last name.

4. Secure Accommodations:

Host Hotel- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel

Just minutes from Quinta Mazatlán World Birding Center is the host hotel, the beautiful newly renovated full-service DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel. Your reservation includes a full hot breakfast buffet each morning and of course DoubleTree’s famous cookies at check-in!

Make yourself at home in one of the 262 spacious two room suites each equipped with mini - refrigerators, microwaves and wetbar. Flat-screen televisions with cable programming provide entertainment, while the complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected. Each room is equipped with Sweet Dreams® by DoubleTree bedding with luxurious linens, duvet and plush pillows, In-room coffee from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Two telephones with voicemail, & Aroma Actives Hair & Body Care Bath Amenities.

Enjoy recreational amenities, including an indoor pool and a spa tub. Complimentary shuttle service to and from McAllen Miller International Airport (MFE), Simon La Plaza Mall and 3-mile radius of hotel, same day laundry services and dry cleaning, 24-hour Business Center, 24 Hour DoubleTree Fitness by Precor®. 2nd Street | Bistro & Bar. Gourmet Market, and Starbucks® 

SINGLE or DOUBLE OCCUPANCY                     $99.00 (Special rate does not include 15% occupancy tax)

Call in to 956-686-3000 & request the Nature Center Administrators Group Rate or book directly online.

 Other Hotel Accommodations

There are many other hotels in the area around the McAllen International Airport for your choosing.

5. Plan your Travel:


Quinta Mazatlán World Birding Center
600 Sunset Drive
McAllen, Texas 78503

Flying In

  • 4 minutes from the McAllen International Airport (MFE) to Quinta Mazatlán in McAllen. The airport, host hotel, and host nature center are all within 4-6 minutes of each other. MFE offers non-stop jet service from Houston, Dallas, Orlando and Las Vegas via United, American, and Allegiant Airlines. Complimentary Shuttle from the Host Hotel (DoubleTree Suites by Hilton McAllen) to the Airport is 6 minutes away (1.4 miles). 
  • 45 minutes from the Valley International Airport (VIA) in Harlingen to Quinta Mazatlán in McAllen.

Both airports provide taxis, car rentals, Uber and Lyft services.

Summit Transportation

  • The Host Hotel-DoubleTree Suites by Hilton will provide complimentary shuttles.
  • Metro McAllen Transit will provide a complimentary Trolley (holds 32 seated and 18 standing) during the Summit to take guests back and forth from Host Hotel to Host Nature Center.

Wednesday               Sept. 19        3:15 pm to 11:00 pm

Thursday                   Sept. 20        6:30 am to 11:00 pm

Friday                        Sept. 21        6:30 am to 11:00 pm

Saturday                   Sept. 22        6:30 am to 11:00 pm

Sunday                      Sept. 23        6:30 am to 12:00 noon

(On Sunday, the trolley can assist with McAllen Airport drop-offs)

  • ANCA Friends in The Valley—Some nature centers will have vans and can assist with rides if possible.

6. Connect with your Summit-Going Peers:

Join the ANCA Summit 2018 Facebook Event to get updates and network.

7. Keep Checking Back for More Programming Details



Thank you to our 2018 Summit Sponsors!  

Sustaining Sponsors  

This could be you! Distinguish yourself as one of the Sustaining Sponsors of the Dream Big Summit! 


Supporting Sponsors


 LAiglon Foundation Logo

L'Aiglon Foundation


Contributing Sponsors

Marshall & Sterling

LeadTeam Consulting Logo 

LeadTeam Consulting

 Phone Skope Logo

Phone Skope

Split Rock Studios 


GWWO Architects



Table Sponsors

Development for Conservation 

Development for Conservation

 iZone Imaging

Studio Outside


The Kubala Washatko Group


Ayers Associates


The East Foundation