ANCA Peer CONNECTS: Environmental Learning Center in Vero Beach, Fla.

Mar 24 2023


Check-in starts at 10am. Welcome at 11am.

Join your nature center peers for an in-person ANCA Peer CONNECTS meeting at the Environmental Learning Center (ELC) in Vero Beach, Florida, on Friday, March 24th. This meeting is for any professional in our nature center and environmental learning center community — we welcome both ANCA members and non-members along with professionals from outside Florida to attend.

At this CONNECTS meeting you can learn in depth about the operations of nature centers and related organizations, and engage with peers who understand the challenges you face. Beyond programs, too, you will have the opportunity to visit and explore the Environmental Learning Center, seeing their operations firsthand.

Participants will be able to choose from an assortment of Open Space discussions, sessions where all participants contribute to the conversation. Facilitators guide the dialogue but do not give a formal presentation. These discussions are an excellent opportunity to share with your peers, learn new ideas, discuss trends in the profession, and work together to find solutions.



Registration has closed.



9-10:30am Morning Activities (optional)
Pelican Island Pontoon Tour
Ethnobotany Walk
10am Check-in and Networking
11am Welcome
11:15am-12:15pm Tour of the Environmental Learning Center
12:30-1:30pm Lunch and Networking
1:45-2:45pm  Breakout Sessions
Development, Membership, and Volunteers
Community Engagement and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Site and Facilities
2:45-3pm  Wrap-up and Farewell



Morning Activities (Optional)

Each participant may choose an activity to start the day at ELC. All activities are 9-10:30am at no additional cost.

  • Pelican Island Pontoon Tour — Enjoy an eco-tour on the Indian River Lagoon to view the many birds and other wildlife as we view our nation's first wildlife refuge.
  • Kayaking — Come explore the waters and kayak trails through the mangrove forests surrounding the ELC's lagoon island campus.
  • Ethnobotany Walk — Gain a different perspective on Florida's coastal environment and learn to identify wild edible plants on this guided tour.

Breakout Sessions

Afternoon breakout sessions will be in an Open Space format, where all participants contribute to the discussion. Topics include:

  • Programs
  • Development, Membership, and Volunteers
  • Community Engagement and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Site and Facilities


About the Environmental Learning Center

Founded in 1988, the Environmental Learning Center is a 64-acre lagoon-island nature center located in the middle of the Indian River Lagoon in Vero Beach, Florida. ELC’s goal – through participatory, immersive, nature-based experiences accessible to all – is to deepen the human connection with and understanding of other species on our precious planet, so that all humanity can live in harmony with the rest of our natural world.​

The organization features:

  • An interpretative center with interactive exhibits, aquariums and a touch tank
  • Walking trails and interactive exhibits, as well as a nature playscape
  • Water activities including pontoon boat rides and guided kayak tours
  • Rotating art exhibits and artist series


Address: 255 Live Oak Drive / Vero Beach, FL 32963
Directions on Google Maps



ANCA strongly recommends that all participants who are eligible are up to date on COVID vaccinations. If you are traveling to an ANCA event on public transportation (including trains and planes) wearing a face mask is highly recommended during travel. If you are experiencing COVID symptoms or have received a positive diagnosis within 5 days preceding, please stay home. Any national, state, or local regulation, including an event host site regulation, that supersedes these recommendations will automatically be in effect.