Peer Consults

"The ANCA Peer Consult was an important first step in the transformation of our center. The team was made of experienced professionals who understood our work, were observant and insightful, and asked the right questions. The recommendations in their report gave us the clarity and confidence to move forward with a master site plan and a capital project."

— Eileen Fielding, Director of Sharon Audubon Center, 2019 Peer Consult Client

Does your organization face a particular challenge, or does it need specialized help in moving forward? A Peer Consult from the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) is your chance to get insightful advice and proven problem-solving for your nature or environmental learning center, delivered by professionals who know the business — because they’re in it, too!

A Consult involves an intensive two-day visit to your site from a small team of experts, chosen for their familiarity with your challenges. The Consult Team then presents both a verbal and written report with a review of your organization, recommendations, and resources to specifically address the issues you face.

Through the Consult, your organization receives expert guidance for your specific circumstances and operations. This process allows you to efficiently overcome the challenges you face and focus your energy on the important work of your mission.

What Can Be Covered

ANCA Peer Consults provide assistance on a wide range of issues — just about anything involved with the planning, funding, and operation of nature centers, environmental learning centers, and outdoor schools. Our practicing professionals will share their experience on topics you select, including but not limited to:

Board recruitment and training
Capital campaign design
Community outreach
Education programs and exhibits
Facility and land use planning

Fundraising and fiscal management
Management strategies
Marketing and communications
Nature-based preschools
Organizational structure

Personnel and human resource issues
Preparing for strategic/master planning
Risk management
Starting a nature center or outdoor school
Sustainable buildings and facilities

Sample questions from ANCA Peer Consults include:

  • What strategies can we implement to reach the next level with more sustainable and consistent revenue sources, including fundraising, program, and event income?
  • What strategies can we implement to grow our membership?
  • How can we develop a more efficient and effective working relationship between our board and staff?
  • What best practices can be implemented to reach or exceed our capital campaign goal?
  • What strategies can we use to successfully manage the timing and cost of constructing a new facility?

About the Consult Team

Four people stand and smile at the camera. Behind them are indoor exhibits and a taxidermy bison.The Peer Consult Team for Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center in Denton, Neb. Left to right: John Myers, Executive Director of Indian Creek Nature Center; Jennifer Scully, Manager of Black Hill Visitors Center and Nature Programs; Ann Wasser, Executive Director of Severson Dells Nature Center; Jason Meyer, Owner of JKM Consulting, LLC and former President & CEO of Blandford Nature Center.A Consult Team consists of three to five nature center professionals whose relevant backgrounds will carry weight with board members, staff, funders, and supporters. The Consult Team members’ independence allows them to provide objective insights so that you receive sound advice for your unique challenges.

All Consult Team members are experienced ANCA members who hold or have held leadership positions at nature and environmental learning centers. Many team members are current or former ANCA Board Members.

We select one Team Leader who will be the primary contact for the consult, and who organizes the written report for your organization. 

What to Expect

A typical Consult involves an informal reception and discussion on the evening of the Team’s arrival. The following two days are spent touring the site as well as meeting with your staff, board, and stakeholders. As a culmination of the visit, the team provides a verbal assessment of the issues you face. Within a month after the visit, the team provides a comprehensive written report regarding the key issues.

Sample Schedule

Consults typically occur Thursday (Day One) evening through Saturday (Day Three). The days of the week and dates are flexible, however, and will be dependent on the availability of your Team Leader and your stakeholders.


Verbal Report

The verbal report is a presentation of the Consult Team’s analysis of your chosen topics at your organization. Here the team presents to a variety of stakeholders that typically include board members, leadership staff, and other relevant participants. In this report the Consult Team provides actionable advice for next steps at your organization, and also uses this time to answer any questions from the audience.

Written Report

The written report is a comprehensive document that summarizes the Peer Consult and provides an in-depth analysis of your chosen topics at your organization. Often this includes a review of your organization’s core strengths, clear and concrete recommendations on the topics, and resources that will assist you in next steps. The written report also includes information and comments from stakeholder interviews — presented anonymously — for an all-inclusive view of your organization. You can use this report to inform your stakeholders and to help guide your organization through its current challenges.


The fee for an ANCA Peer Consult is $4,000. In addition, the client organization is responsible for Team members’ travel, lodging, food, and relevant incidental expenses.. 

Many organizations have successfully sought grant funding to cover the cost of a Peer Consult.

I'm Interested!

If you’re interested in a Peer Consult and/or want to learn more, complete the Interest Form and we’ll contact you soon.


Please note that we require at least two months advance notice to plan a Peer Consult. ANCA conducts Peer Consults throughout the year, and there are no deadlines to apply.