3 youth smiling in outdoor wooded area wearing rubber chest bootfoot waders

Neighborhood Ecology Corps

Learn About the NEC Program

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What is the Neighborhood Ecology Corps (NEC)? NEC Application FAQs

What is the Neighborhood Ecology Corps (NEC)?

The Neighborhood Ecology Corps (NEC) is a program for middle and high school students focused on building environmentally literate citizens with a holistic view of their communities through hands-on experiences. 

In the NEC, participants develop friendships, gain comfort in the outdoors, participate in service-learning projects, and deepen their understanding of the relationship between their community, ecology, and environmental justice. Participants can also be connected with advanced educational and career opportunities through this program. 

Participants will meet weekly with their cohort, and engage in field trips on select teacher workdays throughout the year. Weekly meetings include staff-led activities, guest speakers, and more.

NEC Application

youth in stream cleaning out a trash trout
child and adult looking through binoculars outdoors

Year One: Learning About Communities 

The first year focuses on helping participants gain comfort in the outdoors, develop friendships, and learn about the natural world on an introductory level. Participants engage in a week-long day camp at the start of this year. 

youth studying rocks

Year Two: Investigating Communities 

This year builds upon the learning and comfort of the first year, inviting students to take a deeper scientific look at the natural world to identify connections to their communities. There will be an extended outdoor experience at the end of the year. 

teens working in community garden

Year Three: Impacting Communities 

The third year focuses on exploring ways to create positive change in our communities. Students may observe town hall meetings, identify community needs, and engage in service projects. There will be an overnight camping experience at the end of the year. 

NEC Application

group of teens in the nature with dip nets

Neighborhood Ecology Corps second-year cohort at Lake Johnson with dip nets.

Apply for the Neighborhood Ecology Corps

Complete this application to become part of the NEC, learn about the outdoors, create lasting friendships, conduct field experiments, take field trips, and more! 


When are the meetings? 

Year one meets on Tuesdays, year two on Wednesdays, and year three on Thursdays. Meetings typically run from 4 - 5:45 p.m., September-May. 

Where is NEC located? 

The NEC program is based out of Walnut Creek Wetland Park. 

Are all three years required? 

NEC was intentionally created to offer increased knowledge, skills, community connection, and growth over the course of three years, but participants may elect to stop at any time. 

What is the program cost? 

There is no cost to NEC participants. 

Who can join? 

NEC is open to all middle school students, with a focus on serving the Southeast Raleigh community. 

How do I become part of the NEC? 

NEC accepts applications every spring and summer and may have space throughout the rest of the year. Contact us for details.
NEC Application

Connect With Us

If you are interested in joining the Neighborhood Ecology Corps, becoming a volunteer or guest speaker, or finding out more, please contact us.

Neighborhood Ecology Corps
950 Peterson Street
Raleigh, NC 27601 

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