Teen Volunteer Programs at the WNC Nature Center
The WNC Nature Center offers two different opportunities for teens to volunteer and gain experience working with animals, interact with visitors, and learn 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.
Are you a hard worker?
Do you enjoy interacting with the public?
Would you like to expand your knowledge of wild and domestic animals?
This summer program utilizes committed and enthusiastic youth to help staff with several of our most popular exhibit areas including: The Critter Cabin, our Educational Farm, and our Nature Research Station!
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:
How to become a Young Naturalist:
- Be between 13 and 17 years of age on June 15, 2017.
- Submit a completed application (First year applicants must include two letters of recommendation) and a completed Parent Liability Release Form by May 1, 2017 at 4:30 pm
- Complete a full-day orientation course
- Provide a minimum of 28 hours of service during the summer
- 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
- Have the ability to 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!
1. Download the Informational Letter for Parents & Young Naturalists (Doc)
2. If you are a new Young Naturalist, fill out the First Year Young Naturalist Application (PDF)
3. If you are a returning Young Naturalist, fill out the Returning Young Naturalist Application (PDF)
4. Return all forms to: Lauren Pyle, Young Naturalist Volunteer Coordinator, 75 Gashes Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28805
Want to know what it’s really like to work at a zoo?
Young Curators are teenage volunteers with an intense interest in learning about care and natural history of animals native to the Southern Appalachian region. Young Curator responsibilities vary seasonally, but may include assisting with: care of education animals, animal enrichment, natural history educational programs and visitor stations, special events, petting area/barn operations, and additional special projects as requested.
Qualifications to become a Young Curator:
This advanced opportunity is available to a select group of 14-18 year olds each fall and spring semester. Students accepted into this program must be able to:
- 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,
- and 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. Participants must be between the ages of 14-18 on the first day of the semester they are applying for.
The spring semester will run on SUNDAYS from 12 pm to 4 pm, March 12 through June 4, 2017. Participants must be able to commit to at least 10 weeks during this time frame.
How to become a Young Curator:
1. Fill out the Young Curator Application for the semester you are applying for. All spring positions have bee filled. Applications for the fall semester will be available in August 2017.
- Applicants who have not previously participated in the Young Naturalist program must submit two letters of recommendation along with their application.
2. Return all forms to: Eli Strull, 75 Gashes Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28805 or email@example.com