Send an Email
McDowell Nature Center
serves as the gateway to 1,132 acres of McDowell Nature Preserve and is
the resource for educational programs and information on the preserve's
natural communities, flora, and fauna. This oldest preserve in
Mecklenburg County protects mostly forested, rolling terrain along the
banks of Lake Wylie.
Download a Map.
Nature Center features live native animals, a discovery hall, and a
gift shop. Visitors can stop and observe nature in action at the Ozone
Garden or the demonstration compost area, or enjoy a natural play area.
Self-interpretive trail guides are available for miles of hiking trails.
variety of programs are offered, including paddling tours of Lake Wylie and environmental education courses for all ages.
Flora and FaunaMcDowell
Nature Preserve protects habitat for at least 119 species of birds, 21
species of mammals, 21 species of reptiles, and 14 species of
amphibians. For a complete list of documented species, download ourvertebrate species checklist.
Among the unusual species that have been found at the Preserve are:
Seminole bat - first record in NC, spotted salamander, Gulf Coast spiny
soft-shelled turtle, and Loggerhead Shrike. McDowell Nature Preserve is
also well known for its diversity of spring ephemeral wild flowers and
is among the best areas in Mecklenburg County to view Pileated
Woodpeckers. The piedmont prairie restoration area of the preserve
provides habitat for a federally endangered plant: Schweinitz's
sunflower, a federal candidate species: Georgia aster, and one rare
plant: prairie dock.
AffiliationsMcDowell Nature Center is a proud
member of the North Carolina Association of Environmental Education
Centers and supports Environmental Educator's of North Carolina. The
Nature Center is recognized as a WNCW Oasis and accepts the Oasis member
discount card for gift shop purchases. The Nature Center is also a
member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Water Quality Coalition, is a
certified National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat, participates in
the Groundwater Guardian program, and serves as an ambassador for
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's Project Feeder Watch.