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Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program

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Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN) Program (Online & In-Person)

In-person classes at Rowe Woods on three Saturdays:
September 17, October 8, and October 29, 9 am–5 pm

Live online instruction on Zoom on Tuesdays & Thursdays:
September 20–October 27, 6–8 pm

Click here to register!

Hosted by Cincinnati Nature Center in collaboration with OSU Extension in the School of Environment and Natural Resources, the mission of the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist program is to “promote awareness and citizen stewardship of Ohio's natural resources through science-based education and community service”. The program emphasizes hands-on natural resource and environmental education coupled with volunteer service. Coursework includes training in geology, plants, insects, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, ecology, stewardship, and interpretation. Classes are offered throughout the state, and Cincinnati Nature Center is the largest provider. 

Participants of this OCVN course will have 24 hours of live online class time and 24 hours live at Cincinnati Nature Center, plus readings and multiple-choice quizzes. You must have access to a computer and internet to take this course.

$270 for the full course, including all reading materials, certification fee with OSU, in person classes, and live online instruction.  

To receive certification, upon completing the OCVN course, participants must document 40 hours of volunteer service at any Ohio organization with a compatible program mission. After certification, 20 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of continuing education are required annually to remain certified. If you choose not to pursue certification, you are still welcome to take this course for your own knowledge and enjoyment.   

This is a great way to meet like-minded new friends and get to know Nature Center staff while taking your commitment to nature a step further! 

For this cohort, this is a hybrid class with a mix of virtual and in person classes. If you prefer to attend an all in-person version, click here to be notified when registration becomes available.

Available to adults and mature teens 16 and up. Application deadline is September 7, 2022, but spots fill fast, so don’t delay!

Program Benefits:

  • Learn about the biology, ecology, and natural history of Ohio and how to share the knowledge with others. 
  • Become part of a local and statewide network of dedicated volunteers. 
  • Apply your talents and passion to protecting, restoring, and understanding Ohio's natural treasures.
  • Meet Nature Center staff, professors, and experts from a variety of fields.

For more information, click here to read the brochure or visit 

Attendance is mandatory; do not register if you will miss more than 4 hours total.

In-Person at Rowe Woods:

  • Saturday, September 17, 9 am – 5 pm
  • Saturday, October 8, 9 am – 5 pm
  • Saturday, October 29, 9 am – 5 pm

On Zoom:

  • Tuesday, September 20, 6-8 pm
  • Thursday, September 22, 6-8 pm
  • Tuesday, September 27, 6-8 pm
  • Thursday, September 29, 6-8 pm
  • Tuesday, October 4, 6-8 pm
  • Thursday, October 6, 6-8 pm
  • Tuesday, October 11, 6-8 pm
  • Thursday, October 13, 6-8 pm
  • Tuesday, October 18, 6-8 pm
  • Thursday, October 20, 6-8 pm
  • Tuesday, October 25, 6-8 pm
  • Thursday, October 27, 6-8 pm

Registrants will meet at our Rowe Woods location (4949 Tealtown Rd., Milford, OH 45150). 

All cancellations or transfers are subject to a $50 administrative fee per request. Cancellations made with less than two weeks’ notice will not be refunded. No refunds will be issued after September 2.