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Office Location:

Mecklenburg County
Park and Recreation
5841 Brookshire Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28216



Volunteer Services

​Get Involved!


   Kelly Costa, a UNC-Charlotte Political Science major, volunteers her artistic skills at Reedy Creek Nature Center
If you are a Scout seeking a service project, contact ​Volunteer Services (980-314-1046) or your local Nature Center Manager to find an appropriate project need.​

Check out the Master Naturalist Program!

Program Description

​The Central Carolinas Master Naturalist (CCMN) Program is an adult certification program designed to educate and train a corps of volunteers to provide support in the conservation, management, and interpretation of natural resources and natural areas within Mecklenburg and the surrounding 13 counties (Central_Carolinas_map"). The Program is administered by Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, Division of Nature Preserves and Natural Resources.

What is a Master Naturalist?

Master Naturalists are adults who are passionate about the natural world, have a concern for the local environment, and want to give back to their community through volunteer service. They make a difference in the community through education and stewardship and assist the public in understanding and appreciating the natural environment. Master Naturalists are valued for their natural resource knowledge and dedication. They truly are "Master Volunteers."

Become a Master Naturalist

Once accepted into the program, participants must successfully complete the following three program components to become a Certified Central Carolinas Master Naturalist: 

1)    Basic Training Course:  This course is offered annually in the spring. Classes meet one day per week (March – May) at various locations in and around Mecklenburg County and are taught by a variety of local experts. Most classes combine classroom and hands-on/field experience. Class attendance is mandatory. Classes offered as part of the Basic Training Course may include, but are not limited to:

  • ​Historic Naturalists
  • Weather & Climate​
  • ​Ornithology
  • Botany​
  • ​Geology
  • Aquatic Ecology​
  • ​Forest Ecology
  • ​Herpetology​​​
  • ​Mammalogy
  • Entomology​
  • ​Sustainability
  • Wetland Ecology
  • Ecological Concepts
  • Interpretation & Teaching Skills​​

2)    Volunteer Service:  After completion of the Basic Training Course, a minimum of 40 volunteer service hours must be completed on approved projects then on an annual basis thereafter to maintain certification. Volunteer service must be conducted within the Central Carolinas program area. In addition to program administration/support, volunteer service projects focus on the following key areas:

Citizen Science   Stewardship   Environmental Education

    Advanced Training/Continuing Education:  After completion of the Basic Training Course, a minimum of eight (8) continuing education hours must be completed in advanced training then on an annual basis thereafter to maintain certification. 

Program Benefits ​

CCMN Program participants not only increase their knowledge in natural history, but they also interact and network with fellow naturalists and local organizations with similar interests. They receive benefits such as invitations to participate in volunteer recognition and social events, trainings/workshops, and volunteer service opportunities.

As a participant of the CCMN Basic Training Course, individuals are also enrolled as a Continuing Education student with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) - a CCMN Program Partner. Upon Completion of the Basic Training Course, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion and accredited continuing education units from CPCC.  In addition, contact hours obtained through the CCMN Program can be applied toward certification/re-certification requirements for the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification and the National Association of Interpretation Certified Interpretive Guide programs.

How Do I Get Started?

The CCMN Program is a year-round program. Individuals must be fully committed to attend all Basic Training Course classes, devote time to volunteering, and on-going training.


  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Must pass a criminal background check.
  • Must have access to transportation and internet.
  • Must have a background or strong interest in natural history.
  • Must have a willingness to learn and a desire to share knowledge with others.
  • Possess or be able to learn communication and public speaking skills.
  • Previous volunteer or community service experience preferred, but not required.

To Apply

The application deadline for the CCMN Program and 2020 Basic Training Course was December 6, 2019. Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2020 course. Please check back in Fall 2020 for information on the 2021 Basic Training Course. You may also email the Master Naturalist Program Coordinator and request to have your information added to the contact list to receive an email notification when the next application process opens.

To apply, complete and submit the following online forms:

Information submitted on the Volunteer Enrollment Information Form will be used to conduct criminal background checks. Applicants will be notified by Mecklenburg County Human Resources regarding the status of their criminal background check. Applicants that do not pass their criminal background check are ineligible to participate in the CCMN program and Basic Training Course.

All eligible applicants will be notified of their selection status. After notification, accepting applicants will be required to pay 50% deposit within 10 days of acceptance notification. The remaining balance is required within 30 days of the first day of the Basic Training Course.

Cancellation & Refund Policy:  Individuals needing to cancel should do so in writing (email) to the Master Naturalist Program Coordinator. Cancellations must be made at least 30 days prior to the first day of the basic training course. Payment(s) received will be refunded minus a 10 percent administrative cost. No refunds will be given if cancellation is less than 30 days. A fee is charged for all returned checks.


Information listed in this section is for current members in the Central Carolinas Master Naturalist Program. Click the links below to access useful information and resources:

Program Contact Information

Erin Hall, Master Naturalist Program Coordinator
Phone:  980-314-1204


Office Location:

Mecklenburg County
Park and Recreation
5841 Brookshire Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28216



Volunteer Services