Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification


Experience Your Environment

Sandstone, MN


Mission: To instill a connection and commitment to the environment in people of all communities through experiential learning.

VIsion: A Healthy Planet Where All People Live In Balance With The Earth

Geographic Focus: East-Central MN, Twin Cities Area, Duluth, MN, St. Cloud, MN, and West-Central Wisconsin

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Mr. Bryan Wood

Main Address

PO Box 530 54165 Audubon Drive

Sandstone, MN 55072 USA


Environment, Nature, Education, Experiential Learning





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

k-12, college, youth, family, adult and community programs

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Our Organization's current goals of our Strategic Plan are:

1. Expanding our Client Base Regionally and Statewide
2. Building Organizational Capacity
3. Foster Care and Appreciation for the Earth in All People
4. Model Sustainability Leadership

1.1 Increase Contact, Impact and Reach with K-12 Schools
1.2 Expand Efforts to Reach Broader Regional Markets

2.1 Strengthen Development Program to Ensure Financial Sustainability
2.2 Improve Systems and Accountability for Improved Visitor Experience
2.3 Support and Engage Staff
2.4 Diversify and Increase Available Human Resources

3.1 Create & Implement a Place-Based Interdisciplinary Experience for All Communities
3.2 Encourage Reflection of Mission in Participants
3.3 Strengthen our Portfolio of High Performing Environmentally-Focused Charter Schools

4.1 Reduce Carbon Footprint
4. 2 Encourage On-Site and Long- Term Behavior Changes in Visitors
4.3 Fully Embrace Food as a Mission-Based Program

Through a thorough staff-driven process, we came upon our strategic plan and have organizational buy-in. Our departments regularly meet and look at how their teams are doing, and develop strategies for addressing the benchmarks within the plan. We have quarterly staff meetings where we review the strategic plan, and look at what to address next.

We have various benchmarks for each of the key initiatives outlined above that are broken down into year 1, year 2 and year 3. We track these and regularly follow up on the progress of the benchmarks.

Our current strategic plan began July 1, 2015, so many areas have yet to be accomplished. However, the following have already been achieved: • Visit all new K-12 schools and lead teachers pre- trip to meet with teachers / chaperones / students / parents • Offer Educator Workshops • Increase in-person donor touches through house and park parties, dinners, events and private meetings • Increase lead-time and decrease steps for required K-12 paperwork • Ensure all current and proposed programs are fully scoped and analyzed, with interdepartmental input, prior to commitment or implementation • Expand usage and effectiveness of ACNW database • Emphasize quality over quantity in program offerings • Offer Master Naturalist course for all 2015-16 Naturalists • Offer more non-formal program selections (stewardship, exploration, journaling) • Simplify and strengthen K-12 menu of class options • Build Nature Playscape to encourage free, nature-based play • Fully comply with and participate in the MN Authorizer Performance Evaluation System (MAPES) process in order to achieve the highest rating possible for our organization • Empower staff to proactively clean, repair, update, maintain, report and recommend changes to the ACNW operations and facilities to reduce our environmental impact • Create more visibility of recycling and other methods to reduce a visitor's impact while visiting the Center • Replace purchases of ready-make food items by increasing in-house production (i.e., pizza dough, bread, desserts, sauces, dressings, etc.)

External Reviews




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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity