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September Programs at McDowell Nature Center

(August 30, 2023) The McDowell Nature Center and Preserve offers a wide variety of programs for adults, children, and families. Listed below are programs for September 2023. To sign up or for more information, go to the Activity Search web page and search by program keyword or number, or call (980) 314-1128. To request a modification based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), please contact staff at (980) 314-1192 or email TRInfo@MeckNC.gov.

The McDowell Nature Center is located at 15222 York Road within the McDowell Nature Preserve (off NC Highway 49 across from Palisades High School). Direct questions to the McDowell Nature Center at 980-314-1128 or email MDNP@mecknc.gov.

See volunteer opportunities at Volunteer Connect.

Hello from McDowell Nature Center,

We had fantastic fun with our Summer camps and programs. Here are more of our cool activities for you to enjoy in the September Program Guide. These include archery, kayaking, hiking, yoga, and nature exploration.

Plan to celebrate all things nocturnal during McDowell Nature Center's 13th annual Nature at Night festival in October. This fun-filled, educational event shines a spotlight on what nature has to offer after the sun goes down. The ticket price includes live animals, crafts, night hikes, wagon rides, s'mores, popcorn, and interactive booths. Registration is now open! Get your tickets here: Nature at Night Tickets.


Program Name: MDNP: Archery 101 (Youth)
Ages 10-12
#142692 Sat, Sep 2nd 1pm-3pm
$15 resident/$18 non-resident
Bows and arrows are some of the oldest tools humans have ever used, and still use to this day! Participants will start with basic terminology, practice proper form and safety with a recurve bow, and then use their new-found knowledge with a little target practice. Pre-registration required.

Program Name: MDNP: Adult Trail Trekkers-August 2023
Ages 18+
(FlexReg) #142611
Tues, Sep 5th 1pm-2:30pm
Tues, Sep 12th 1pm-2:30pm
Tues, Sep 19th 1pm-2:30pm
Get active in nature with a McDowell Naturalist during this 90-minute, adults-only hike. Discover what is happening seasonally throughout the preserve. Meets on the boardwalk in front of the Nature Center unless e-mailed otherwise day of the event. Pre-registration is required.

Program Name: MDNP: Mushroom Madness
All Ages 7+
#142493 Wed, Sep 6th 1:30pm-3pm
#142494 Wed, Sep 13th 1:30pm-3pm
#142497 Thurs, Sep 21st 9:30am-11am
#142492 Sat, Sep 30th 10am-11:30am
September is National Mushroom Month and what better way to celebrate than going on a hike in search of them! We will look high and low. No leaf will go unturned in our search for fungi!
No walk-ins accepted.
Pre-registration required (for adult and child alike).

Program Name: MDNP: Tree Hike
Ages 8-10
#142498 Thurs, Sep 7th 10am-11:30am
Explore the world of trees and what makes them unique! Discover all the different species here at McDowell Nature Preserve. While on a hike we will practice our identification skills, play bingo, and earn prizes. This is a drop off program. Adult participation not required.

Program Name: MDNP: After-Work Hike
Ages 18+
#142501 Thurs, Sep 7th 6pm-7:30pm
#142502 Thurs, Sep 21st 6pm-7:30pm
Unwind after work with a 90-minute hike around the preserve. We will start and end at the Waterfront Deck overlooking Lake Wylie. Pre-registration required.

Program Name: MDNP: Nature Hike
All Ages
#142693 Fri, Sep 8th 10am-11:30am
Enjoy a morning hike with the family at McDowell Nature Preserve. This hike will be on uneven terrain and will be approximately 2 miles. If bringing small children, strollers are not advised.
Pre-registration required (for child and adult alike).

Program Name: MDNP: Preschool Explorers Series
Ages 4-6
Under the Pond #142495 Fri, Sep 8th 1:30pm-3pm
Nifty Nests #142496 Fri, Sep 22nd 1:30pm-3pm
$5residents/$6 non-residents
Little ones and an experienced Naturalist will explore nature together starting with a story and then rotating through discovery stations that expand upon the story which may include crafts, games, songs, animal encounters and/or outdoor exploration. No walk-ins accepted. Pre-registration required.

Program Name: MDNP: Animal Ambassador Meet n' Greet
All Ages
#142503 Sun, Sep 10th 2pm-2:30pm
#142504 Sun, Sep 10th 4pm-4:30pm
Head over to the McDowell Nature Center for a close-up encounter with one of our live animal ambassadors! Discover fun facts about the animalsí adaptations and everyday life out in the wild!
Pre-registration required (for adult and child alike).

Program Name: MDNP: Nature Book and Look
All Ages
#142506 Mon, Sep 11th 10am-11am
#142507 Mon, Sep 18th 10am-11am
#142508 Mon, Sep 25th 10am-11am
On select Mondays, Nature Book and Look offers preschoolers and their families an opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature! Each week, a new fun and educational topic is presented with a nature book followed by a hands-on activity, craft, or exploratory hike! Pre-registration required (for adult and child alike).

Program Name: MDNP: Kids Hiking Club
Ages 8-13
#142516 Fri, Sep 15th 9:30am-11:30am
#142517 Fri, Sep 22nd 9:30am-11:30am
Hey kids, get outside and enjoy your morning with the Kids Hiking Club! This group will meet monthly and explore McDowell Nature Preserve. All kids will receive a trail passport and a 100-mile hike club card to document their trail journeys and collect prizes along the way. This is a drop off program. Adult participation not required. Pre-registration required.

Program Name: MDNP: Kids in the Woods
Weds, Sep 20th-Oct 25th 1pm-4pm
#142491 Sprites: Ages 6-8
#142474 Pathfinders: Ages 9-11
$65 residents/$78 non-residents
This 6-week child-led class is held ENTIRELY outdoors! Children are allowed to sprout and grow at their own pace as they explore, experience, and come to appreciate the wonder of the natural world. Our more capable and oldest KitW, venture to new locations within the preserve to stretch their legs and develop their confidence. They may decide to investigate a stream, bushwhack off-trail, build a stick fort, or muck around in the beaver cove - all under the guidance of an experienced environmental educator. Research has shown that time spent in nature, especially engaged in play, is critical to a child's development. Not only does outdoor play lead to increased physical activity but it can alleviate symptoms of ADHD and asthma as well as promote creativity, self-discipline, problem-solving skills, cooperation and confidence.
No walk-ins accepted.
Pre-registration required.

Program Name: MDNP: Hiking Amongst the Trees
Ages 18+
#142499 Sat, Sep 23rd 2:30pm-3:30pm
What better way to relieve stress than to take a hike in our beautiful nature preserve. Get some fresh air while meeting new people and gaining new insights from your naturalist guide and the natural world. Sign-up for Yoga Amongst the Trees directly following the hike for a well-rounded experience. Pre-registration required.

Program Name: MDNP: Yoga and Hiking Amongst the Trees
Ages 18+
#142500 Sat, Sep 23rd 3:30pm-4:30pm
$7 residents/$8 non-residents
What better way to relieve stress than to take your practice outside in our beautiful nature preserve. Practice grounding and breath in the fresh air during our asana practice led by a naturalist and certified yoga teacher. The yoga portion will be done inside during the colder months. Sign-up for the hike beforehand at 2:30pm for a well-rounded experience. Pre-registration required.

Program Name: MDNP: Outdoor Classroom: Productive Plankton
All Ages (geared towards late elementary age)
#142509 Tues, Sep 26th 3pm-4pm
$4 residents/$5 non-residents
Plankton are microscopic organisms that float around in any body of water- fresh or salt, and Lake Wylie is home to many of these primary producers! Come to the McDowell Nature Preserve's Waterfront Deck to explore what plankton is, their adaptations, and why they are important. Everyone will also make their own plankton tow net to catch and filter plankton from the water to look at under the microscope! Pre-registration is required (for adult and child alike).

Program Name: MDNP: Public Homeschool: Stream Study
#142472 Ages 7-9
#142473 Ages 10-12
Thurs, Sep 28th 1:30pm-3pm
$5 residents/$6 non-residents
Streams and the organisms living within them can be used as an indicator for water quality! Get your feet wet with this hands-on program that is aligned with NC DPI K-12 Standards and Curriculum. Pre-registration required.

Program Name: MDNP: Totally Tube
Ages 11-13
#142608 Sat, Sep 30th 9:30am-2pm
$14 residents/$17 non-residents
Beat the heat on a tubing adventure down a cool local river in the Charlotte area. Take in the sights and sounds of this unique aquatic habitat while hanging with friends.
Pre-registration required.

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