Nature Connection Leadership Conference

Nature Connection Leadership Conference
Register Now
Space is limited

Wed-Fri, January 22-24, 2020

Noon to 4pm. Three days and two nights.

at The Ashokan Center in Olivebridge, NY

2020 Cost:

To keep the conference affordable* to organizations of all sizes, we are offering three tiers of pricing:

Shared Room – Low $425
Shared Room – Mid $475
Shared Room – High $525
Single Room $645
Winter Camping $350
Commuter – Low $350
Commuter – Mid $400
Commuter – High $450

*Please choose the highest level that your organization can afford.

Payment plans available. $75 deposit at time of registration with remaining balance split into payments charged to your card on Sept 1, Oct 1, Nov 1, Dec 1, and Jan 1.

Space is limited. Reserve your spaces today.

Cancellation policy:

If you must cancel please provide at least 30 days notice. Cancellations 30 days or more before the first day of the conference will receive a full refund less the non-refundable $75 deposit. Cancellations from 7 days to 30 days prior to a program receive 50% program credit (non-transferable and valid for one year), 50% balance forfeited. Cancellations less than 7 days prior to the conference will receive no credit and no refund.

Additional Questions?

Drop us an email or give us a call and we'll be happy to answer your questions.
(845) 256-9830

Nature Connection Leadership Conference

A three-day gathering of nature connection school leaders designed to support growing our visions into successful, economically viable and regenerative businesses.

This year’s NCLC is designed for established schools (min 2+ years old). Each school is encouraged to send 2-4 leaders.

Join leaders from Nature Connection organizations throughout North America this January for our 5th annual conference where we will exchange best practices, strengthen our vision, and reenergize ourselves while connecting with peers and fellow leaders.

This year we’ll be at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge, NY, a bucolic 385-acre site with beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces. The new location will give us even more access to winter wilderness and more capacity allowing for each of us to bring more members of our teams.

The 2020 NCLC is hosted by Wild Earth in collaboration with Vermont Wilderness School, Sagefire Institute, Two Coyotes Wilderness School, Sassafras Earth Education, Vashon Wilderness Program, and The Wildwood Path.

Reconnect with a community of nature connection leaders.

Remember our original visions for our school, and reflect on our triumphs and challenges.

Reenergize ourselves, sharing inspiring stories, uplifting songs, and time outdoors in the beautiful Catskill Mountains.

Renew our commitment to nature connection and to sustaining vibrant, healthy organizations that make our work possible.

History of the Nature Connection Leadership Conference (NCLC)

In 2016, leaders from Wild Earth, Two Coyotes, Sassafras Earth Education, and EarthWalk Vermont invited nature connection schools throughout the northeast to come together and focus on strengthening their organizations. The 3-day conference was a big success, 42 leaders from 19 Northeast schools delved into best practices around fundraising, budgeting, marketing, and more.

In 2017, the conference grew to include 46 leaders from 23 nature connection schools throughout North America. Topics included best practices around core topics such as fundraising & budgeting and expanded conversations about decolonization and what it means for us to be allies to other communities.

In 2018, the conference grew to include 49 leaders from 25 nature connection schools throughout North America (including three schools from Canada). At the 2018 conference, Native leaders and wilderness school directors took a deep dive into conversations about what it means for nature connection organizations to be allies to Native peoples.

The NCLC is a collaborative event with participants presenting 90-minute workshops on a variety of topics. Presentations range from didactic powerpoints to interactive discussions and outdoor adventures.

The conference has filled every year, register early to reserve your space.

A Discussion on Compensation and Benefits

Peacemaker Principles
Kawisente McGregor

Decolonization Panel
David & Saskia Vanderhoop, Kawisente, Sachem HawkStorm, & Evan Mitak

Cultural Appropriation & Decolonization- Strategies for Your Programs and Approaches

Financial Aid: Strategies for Equity & Inclusion
Simon Abramson & Sarah Nason

Fundraising: Asking for Money (Not for Spectators)
David Brownstein

Nature Connection Network

Developing New Qualified Field Staff: A Dialogue of Approaches
Amy Hyatt

Nature Connection & Mentoring in Public Schools
Atiya Wells and David Brownstein

Board Basics & Beyond
Dan Gardoqui

Building Capacity through Community Partnerships
David Brownstein & Anika Klem

Building Reciprocity with Native Communities: Towards Decolonizing Nature Education
Trevanna Grenfell, Daniel Vargas, & Connor Stedman

Data Tracking for Effective Storytelling
Simon Abramson & Sam Stegeman

Decolonizing Panel Presentation & Discussion
David Vanderhoop, Kawisente McGregor, & Vincent Mann

Matrilineal Societies: Cross Referencing the Peacemaking Principles From a Female Perspective
Kawisente McGregor

Raising Bigger Money from Individual Donors and Foundations
David Brownstein & Rovika Rajkishun

The Nature Connection Leadership Network

What About The Parents?
Arlene Slocombe & Chris Green

Culture of Mentoring & Apprenticeship: Developing Future Staff From Past Participants
Angella Gibbons & John Chiltowski

Getting Serious about Fundraising
David Brownstein

Growing Awareness & Opening Conversations around Racial & Social Injustice
David Vanderhoop & Saskia Vanderhoop

Nature Connection and Peacemaking in a Post-2016 Election Environment
Amy Hyatt & Connor Stedman

Organizational & Program Budgeting
David Brownstein& Kate Yoemans

Program Design Workshop
Julie Kulik & Amy Hyatt

Reaching Under-Served & Urban Youth, Schools & Community Groups
David Brownstein & Justin Pegnataro

Strategies for Strong Enrollment, Retention, & Customer Relations
John Chiltowski & Simon Abramson

The NCL Network: Let’s Work Together!
Angella Gibbons & Sam Stegeman

Using Mentoring Principles to Run Your Organization
Dan Gardoqui

We Are Nature Rising
Mark Morey

Accessible to All: Nature Connection for Everyone

Bringing the Vision to Life: Organizational Storytelling

Budgeting, Achieving & Reporting Your Financial Results to Your Board and the Public

Creating an Active & Engaged Support Team, Board, Council of Advisors

Fundraising Success: Expanding Sources of Financial Abundance

Integrating Technology into Your Organization

Leadership Self Care

Program Development & Design

Regenerative Governance & Decision Making

Regenerative Staffing: Hiring, Compensating, Evaluating & Promoting Staff

Success & Sustainability through the Power of Relationship Marketing


Wild Earth
Sassafras Earth Education
Vermont Wilderness School
Sagefire Institute


Wild Earth
Sassafras Earth Education
Vermont Wilderness School
Eartharts Ithaca


Wild Earth
Sassafras Earth Education
Vermont Wilderness School
EarthWalk Vermont


Wild Earth
Two Coyotes
Sassafras Earth Education
EarthWalk Vermont


Register now and reserve your space in Nature Connection Leadership Conference today. Space is limited.