UPDATE: The WNC Nature Center has been working diligently to prepare for a safe reopening that follows CDC, State, and local guidelines. From September 28 to October 4, there will be a members-only week for Friends of the WNC Nature Center. We will reopen to the general public on Monday, October 5. Learn more here.

Open 361 Days a Year: Admissions 10:00am – 3:30pm; park closes at 4:30pm

Teen Programs

The WNC Nature Center offers two different opportunities for teens to volunteer and gain experience working with animals, interacting with visitors, and learning about the wildlife of the Southern Appalachians.

The Young Naturalist program is a large, long-standing teen program that runs through the summer, and the Young Curator program is a smaller, advanced program offered each fall and spring.

Interested in doing your senior project here at the Nature Center?

The Young Naturalist Program went virtual this summer!

We are extending distance engagement opportunities for teens into the fall. If you’d like to join the WNC Nature Center’s teen volunteer community and be a part of video calls, remove volunteer projects, and the occasional workday at the Nature Center, please fill out a Young Naturalist application using the button below.

Only new participants need to fill out an application for the extended Young Naturalist season. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and applicants should be between the ages of 13 and 17 as of August 31, 2020 to be eligible for this extended season!

Young Naturalist shows a turtle to a child

Young Naturalists

This summer program utilizes committed and enthusiastic youth to help staff with several of our most popular areas at the Nature Center during summer break!

Please read the following criteria carefully to find out if you are eligible for this program before filling out and submitting the application.

Qualifications to become a Young Naturalist for 2021:

  • Be between 13 and 17 years of age on June 15, 2021.
  • Submit a completed application (first year applicants must include two letters of recommendation) and a completed Parent Liability Release Form by May 1, 2021 at 4:30 pm
  • Complete a full-day orientation course
  • Provide a minimum of 28 hours of summer service 
  • Contribute $20 to cover costs of t-shirt and program materials upon acceptance into the program
  • Have reliable transportation to and from the Nature Center
  • Be punctual, courteous, dependable, and trustworthy
  • Must enjoy speaking to the public and be willing to engage passing visitors
  • Be willing to follow the rules of the Nature Center and this program
  • Have an enthusiastic attitude and plan to have fun!

How to become a Young Naturalist:

1. Download the Information Letter:

2. Fill out your application: 2021 Applications for Young Naturalists will be available in the spring. 

3. Email completed forms to aschmidt@ashevillenc.gov  or mail them to
Young Naturalist Volunteer Coordinator
WNC Nature Center
75 Gashes Creek Road
Asheville, NC 28805

Young Naturalists Login

Young Curators work in a group

Young Curators

The Young Curators program is cancelled for Fall 2020. 

This program occurs in the spring and fall and is for teenage volunteers interested in learning about care and natural history of animals native to the Southern Appalachian region. 

Young Curator responsibilities vary seasonally and may include assisting with care of education animals, animal enrichment, natural history educational programs and visitor stations, special events, petting area/barn operations, and special projects.

Please read the following criteria carefully to find out if you are eligible for this program before filling out and submitting the application.

Qualifications to become a Young Curator:

  • Be between 14 and 18 years of age on the first day of the semester you are applying for.
  • Be available Saturdays from 12pm to 4pm (generally) to attend at least 10 of the 13 weekends of semester service 
  • Pay close attention to detail and follow directions
  • Work independently on assigned tasks
  • Be willing to handle and care for reptiles, amphibians, and barn animals
  • Demonstrate passion and willingness to learn about the animals living here at the Nature Center
  • Must enjoy speaking to the public and engaging passing visitors

Previous experience in the Young Naturalist program is preferred, but applicants who are new to the Nature Center are eligible to apply.  Applicants will be evaluated by their application, letters of recommendation, and previous volunteer experience, if applicable.  Due to the size of the program, only a small portion of applicants can be accepted each semester.  

How to become a Young Curator:

1. Fill out the Young Curator Application for the semester you are applying for.  The Young Curator program is cancelled for Fall 2020.

  • Applicants who have not previously participated in the Young Naturalist program must submit two letters of recommendation along with their application.

2. Email completed forms to aschmidt@ashevillenc.gov  or mail them to
Teen Volunteer Coordinator
WNC Nature Center
75 Gashes Creek Road
Asheville, NC 28805