UPDATE: As of Friday, May 8, until further notice, the WNC Nature Center is still temporarily closed to the public. The Nature Center is working closely with the City of Asheville to determine the safest possible date to reopen. This will most likely take place during Phase 3 of North Carolina’s Stay at Home order. 

Open 361 Days a Year: 10:00am – 5:00pm, last entry 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?

Young Naturalist shows a turtle to a child

Young Naturalists

  • Are you 13 to 17 years old?
  • Are you a hard worker?
  • Do you enjoy interacting with people?
  • Do you want to learn more about wild and domestic animals?

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:

  • Be between 13 and 17 years of age on June 15, 2020.
  • Submit a completed application (first year applicants must include two letters of recommendation) and a completed Parent Liability Release Form by May 1, 2020 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!

NEW! Summer Camp Counselor-in-Training Position:

Returning Young Naturalist volunteers are eligible to apply for a brand new volunteer position assisting the Nature Center’s Summer Nature Camps as Counselors-in-Training. 

These full-week, assistant camp counselor positions will be responsible for handling herps for campers, making snacks, assisting campers with crafts,  and helping staff with summer camp activities at the Nature Center. 

Each Counselor-in-Training will be assigned to at least one full week of camp (M-F) for full days (8:30am to 3:00pm) over the summer.

You may be a Counselor-in-Training and still volunteer for shifts as a Young Naturalist or Shift Leader outside of your assigned camp dates. We’re so excited to see returning teens move into this brand new position!

How to become a Young Naturalist:

Attention: We are making an exception to the policy that applications must be filled out by hand. Applications may be completed digitally by the applicant for the 2020 summer program.

1. Download the Information Letter:

2. Fill out your application:

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

  • Are you 14 to 18 years old?
  • Do you enjoy interacting with people?
  • Do you want to know what it's really like to work at a zoo?

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.  Fall 2020 dates/applications are expected to be available in August.  

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

 

1. Fill out your application:  Coming in August 2020!

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