President Grant Humbarger announced that thanks to funding provided by a grant from the Elkhart County Community Foundation, board member donations, and in-kind contributions of individuals who have an interest in the future of Woodlawn Nature Center, Woodlawn Nature Council welcomed a consulting team from the Association of Nature Center Administrators November 12 – 14. ANCA is a private nonprofit organization founded to create a professional association for leaders in the nature center profession. The purpose of the ANCA team visit was to meet with a variety of area stakeholders, review the operations and role of Woodlawn Nature Center, and provide guidance on moving forward to best serve the community.
ANCA promotes and supports best leadership and management practices for the nature and environmental learning center profession. Primary focuses of ANCA are to maintain a professional network, promote the identity and professional educational facility status, and provide products and services that will improve performance for the directors and administrators of nature and environmental learning centers.
The ANCA team spent time getting to know the features of the Nature Center and held various meetings with groups that included Woodlawn’s board members and volunteers, past board members and directors, Elkhart Parks and Recreation board members, Woodlawn members, attendees of Woodlawn programs, and other community members who have or have had a connection with the Center. They asked questions to determine what stakeholders see as best features, what community members know about Woodlawn, in what ways Woodlawn is connecting and can connect with the community, and historical and current organizational strengths and opportunities. The consult ended with a summary session Saturday evening where each team member presented segments of a preliminary assessment of Woodlawn’s strengths, opportunities, threats, action and strategic plan suggestions, and recommended practices and steps for capacity building.
The team will next analyze the information they collected and provide a comprehensive report. The report will detail the consult, show the results of the analysis, and provide recommendations for building Woodlawn Nature Council’s capacity to provide opportunity for community members to discover, experience and learn the value of our relationship with nature.
by Vicci Moore