Nature Forward

Connecting People and Nature in the Capital Region

aka ANS   |   Chevy Chase, MD   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Nature Forward

EIN: 53-0233715


Nature Forward’s mission is to inspire residents of the greater Washington, DC region to appreciate, understand and protect their natural environment through outdoor experiences, education and advocacy. We seek to create a larger and more diverse community of people who treasure the natural world and work to preserve it.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Lisa Alexander

Main address

8940 Jones Mill Rd

Chevy Chase, MD 20815 USA

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Subject area info


Natural resources

Water resources


Wildlife biodiversity

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Population served info

Children and youth


Ethnic and racial groups

NTEE code info

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Environmental Education Programs

Nature Forward provides GreenKids programs to more than 14,000 public school students and teachers annually. We also offer a nature preschool and kindergarten, summer camps, and countless natural history explorations and Naturalist Hour presentations for adults. We host biennial Taking Nature Black and Naturally Latinos conferences to connect and empower diverse environmental leaders.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Children and youth

ANS provides opportunities for adults to hike, bird and botanize at more than 120 nature classes, field trips and outings each year. These programs offer nature novices and experienced naturalists alike a wide array of opportunities to explore and learn more about our area's natural history. All programs are led by experienced naturalists; foray lectures are at the Woodend Sanctuary,.

Population(s) Served

Thirty-six Natural History Field Studies courses, offered quarterly on a rotating basis, provide a unique opportunity to learn natural science from experts while exploring the ecosystems of the Central Atlantic region. Intended for the lay person and taught at the college freshman level, these evening courses are open to anyone at least 18 years old. Individual courses are useful to professional and amateurs alike in acquiring knowledge of specific subject matter and enhancing enjoyment of the out-of-doors.

The Natural History Field Studies curriculum has been designed to provide participants with a comprehensive and stimulating overview of the regions natural history and conservation issues and applications with an emphasis on learning in the field. A Certificate of Accomplishment is awarded for completion of a required curriculum of 39 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) taken in five subject areas.

Population(s) Served

GreenKids is a grant-funded educational outreach program of the Audubon Naturalist Society. GreenKids provides participating public schools with two years of free resources and field experiences to foster watershed stewardship and environmental literacy while meeting established curriculum goals. GreenKids operates in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland and Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia. The GreenKids Network provides continuing support to alumni schools upon completion of the two-year GreenKids partnership.

Population(s) Served

The Audubon Naturalist Society Water Quality Monitoring Program is one of the largest and longest-running citizen science programs in the country. Since the early 1990s, the program has operated throughout Montgomery County and in parts of the District of Columbia. For many years, it also operated in northern Virginia.

Our region's environment faces huge challenges as our population continues to grow. At ANS, we believe that our quality of life depends upon the preservation of our precious remaining forests, wetlands, water resources, and open space. We work with government officials and citizens to encourage careful planning and environmental policies, which will ensure our children inherit a clean, safe, and beautiful environment.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Maryland Green Trees Award 2018

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants attending course/session/workshop

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Environmental Education Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Public school students and adults in the DC metro area

Number of clients who self-report increased skills/knowledge after educational program/intervention

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Environmental Education Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Based on before and after verbal questions to individuals or teacher reports

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Goal 1 – Enjoy
Grow a range of powerful experiences for our shared and diverse communities to form positive
emotional connections to nature that lead to discovery and engagement with the natural world.

Goal 2 – Learn
Equitably share knowledge with people of all ages and backgrounds about how nature works, its
components, how it affects us, and how we affect it.

Goal 3 – Protect
Act as a steward and catalyst for protecting our region’s natural environment in the face of the
climate crisis as well as preserve, maintain, and grow natural habitats for the future.

Goal 4 – Lead, Collaborate
Evolve Nature Forward’s role as a convener and connector in the region, modeling the
transformation of a historic environmental organization moving into the future.

Goal 5 – Sustain
Sustain and strengthen the core functions that allow Nature Forward to carry out its mission and
support success in the future.

We have set detailed objectives and assigned the directors responsible and target audiences for each of the five pillars listed above for the current fiscal year. The status of each of these goals will be reported and reviewed on a quarterly basis by our Leadership Team and Board of Directors.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Diverse children, youth and adults, including people with disabilities, from Montgomery County, MD, Prince George's County, MD, Washington, DC, Fairfax County, VA and Loudoun County, VA.

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    To be more inclusive, we changed our name in November 2022 to Nature Forward. Focus groups, surveys and workshops were used to gather feedback.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


Nature Forward
Fiscal year: Sep 01 - Aug 31
Financial documents
2021 Annual Report 2020 FY2020 Audited Financial Statement
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 4.82 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 22% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

Source: IRS Form 990 info

Nature Forward

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Sep 01 - Aug 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Nature Forward

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Sep 01 - Aug 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Nature Forward

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Sep 01 - Aug 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

This snapshot of Nature Forward’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $1,621,032 -$178,869 -$6,582,614 $1,531,262 -$208,739
As % of expenses 44.1% -4.1% -164.7% 27.2% -5.0%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $1,509,797 -$304,800 -$6,582,614 $1,411,296 -$357,368
As % of expenses 39.9% -6.7% -164.7% 24.5% -8.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $5,564,742 $9,248,570 $3,770,947 $5,220,387 $5,136,432
Total revenue, % change over prior year 38.2% 66.2% -59.2% 38.4% -1.6%
Program services revenue 24.9% 17.5% 22.3% 18.9% 25.4%
Membership dues 3.7% 2.0% 4.1% 3.0% 3.1%
Investment income 1.7% 1.6% 3.9% 2.8% 4.8%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 18.3% 16.6%
All other grants and contributions 59.9% 73.7% 64.0% 42.9% 40.0%
Other revenue 9.8% 5.2% 5.7% 14.2% 10.2%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $3,672,009 $4,398,102 $3,997,655 $5,635,530 $4,212,550
Total expenses, % change over prior year 8.2% 19.8% -9.1% 41.0% -25.3%
Personnel 63.8% 63.1% 70.1% 45.8% 67.0%
Professional fees 18.3% 17.8% 13.0% 45.7% 22.7%
Occupancy 3.6% 2.6% 7.2% 2.9% 2.5%
Interest 0.3% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.2% 1.5% 0.8% 0.7% 1.6%
All other expenses 13.9% 14.8% 8.9% 4.9% 6.1%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $3,783,244 $4,524,033 $3,997,655 $5,755,496 $4,361,179
One month of savings $306,001 $366,509 $333,138 $469,628 $351,046
Debt principal payment $46,944 $62,282 $0 $155,035 $411,147
Fixed asset additions $233,928 $154,592 $0 $486,403 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $4,370,117 $5,107,416 $4,330,793 $6,866,562 $5,123,372

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 8.5 6.4 8.0 6.2 7.9
Months of cash and investments 17.9 22.7 27.1 22.0 27.5
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 9.8 7.3 7.0 7.2 8.9
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $2,601,492 $2,330,253 $2,669,239 $2,918,511 $2,760,878
Investments $2,878,121 $5,995,082 $6,343,696 $7,408,925 $6,909,505
Receivables $550,434 $2,205,209 $2,292,376 $1,244,307 $582,383
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $4,116,003 $4,250,310 $4,162,384 $4,560,173 $4,488,312
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 34.6% 36.0% 37.5% 35.0% 35.9%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 12.9% 7.0% 10.1% 14.5% 9.1%
Unrestricted net assets $5,681,139 $5,376,339 $4,940,393 $6,351,689 $5,994,321
Temporarily restricted net assets $1,552,089 $6,146,668 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $719,724 $1,119,724 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $2,271,813 $7,266,392 $7,871,629 $6,353,565 $6,245,148
Total net assets $7,952,952 $12,642,731 $12,812,022 $12,705,254 $12,239,469

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Lisa Alexander

Executive Director since August 2013, Lisa joined Nature Forward in 2004, previously serving as Deputy Director and as Director of the Environmental Education Program. She helped develop our GreenKids Program and served as its first Project Director from 2005 to 2008. Before joining the staff, she previously worked on numerous, nationally-based educational programs and outreach efforts. Lisa served as an Educational Resource Specialist in the National Digital Library of the Library of Congress, the Vice President of Marketing and Sales for the Wheetley Company (an educational publishing product development group), the Director of Product Development and Marketing for Delta Education, the Science Product Manager for the School Division of Addison-Wesley Publishing Company and as National Science Consultant for Scott, Foresman and Company.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Nature Forward

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

Nature Forward

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

Nature Forward

Board of directors
as of 01/19/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Diane Wood

Beth Ziebarth


Hughey Newsome


Rob Timmons


Dr. James Burris

Georgetown University

Noel Carson


Sarah Davidson

World Wildlife Federation

Josefina Doumbia

Retired, World Bank

John Green

Sandy Spring Bank

Rebecca Lemos-Otero


Rebecca Long

American Forests

Chanceé Lundy

Nspiregreen LLC

Bill McGrath

MCPS Physical Disabilities Program

Abel Olivo

Defensores De La Cuenca

Isha Renta López


Alan Spears


Nancy Voit

Nature Educator

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/19/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/19/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.


Fiscal year ending
There are no fundraisers recorded for this organization.