COVID-19 Response Stories

The nature and environmental learning center field consists of caring, creative, and resourceful people who excel at facing adversity head-on. No matter how challenging the circumstances, our members are finding ways to provide for their communities. I am inspired by these stories and will continue to do what I can to support our members. — Jen Levy, ANCA Executive Director

Every organization is limited in what it can do right now, given the situation of social distancing. You don't have to totally cancel your operations, however — instead, we must innovate to provide value in different ways. Here we are compiling stories of how ANCA members are responding to the coronavirus crisis so that you can find some inspiration for your own organization's response.

Indian Creek Nature Center Pivots to Virtual Plant Sale

Indian Creek Nature Center Plant Sale (Photo by Liz Zabel)One of Indian Creek Nature Center's most significant fundraisers, their annual plant sale couldn't be postponed due to timeliness of planting, and canceling would have meant a major loss of funding. That left one option: pivot. The center's team quickly moved the sale online, and still brought in over $25,000 in sales. Read how the team managed the change.

Create Calm out of Chaos

CCSC staffAs leaders in the nature center profession, one of our roles is to be a steady, calm presence during times of chaos. But, how do you do that when the world you knew has turned upside down? Nancy Patterson, Manager of the Campbell Creek Science Center, shares nature-based leadership practices to help you create the calm out of chaos your community desires. 

Planning When the World Changes Every Few Days

Reflection Riding 2019 Summer CampPresident/CEO Mark McKnight shares how Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center has been able to navigate the abrupt changes in the pandemic, and offers three suggestions for how other organizations can prepare for and respond to change. See his recommendations here.

Dunes Learning Center Inspires Imagination in "The Search for Sandsquatch"

Graphic that says, "The Search for Sandsquatch"The Dunes Learning Center is thinking big for their digital content — or perhaps, thinking bigfoot? Their video series, The Search for Sandsquatch, combines real-world problem-solving with an engaging storyline to connect with the Center's audiences. Find out more about how the search came to be.

Chattahoochee Nature Center Organizes Blood Drive, Saves Lives

Alicia Evans and Tamara Kinmon Events DirectorChattahoochee Nature Center considered hosting a blood drive in the past, but that was one of many possible activities. Once the coronavirus crisis came, however, they decided this was the right time to hold a blood drive with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. Read Alicia Evans' story about how CNC saved lives.

AmeriCorps Members Finding New Ways to Serve the Community

When the coronavirus suddenly transformed our world, Severson Dells Nature Center's AmeriCorps volunteers switched gears from environmental education to helping serve food through Lifescape Community Services, Inc. Read about that switch here.

Huron County Nature Center Taps the Power of the Pen

penpals1When social distancing became the norm, Huron County Nature Center's naturalist asked herself how she could connect with children in the most impactful ways. Rather than create exclusively digital content, she went a different, more tangible route — and now has over 50 pen pals throughout the US. Read about Caitlin Stone-Webber's pen pal program here.

Fenner Nature Center Pivots to Virtual Marketplace

FNC maple syrup smallWhen Fenner Nature Center decided to cancel its fundraiser Maple Syrup Festival three days before it was scheduled, the staff pivoted to create an online Maple Marketplace in this time of social distancing. Learn how they developed a completely new system within 36 hours of canceling the festival.

Stokes Nature Center Fosters Digital Engagement in Face of Crisis

Stokes Nature Center story timeMany nature centers are pivoting to create digital content for their audiences in this time of social distancing. Read how Stokes Nature Center quickly developed their own plan to virtually connect with their audience.