Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program

Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program

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Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN)

OCVN Summer 2024 (In-Person) Program

Registration for this cohort is now closed.

This cohort includes all in-person classes with live instructors, June 11—July 23, at Cincinnati Nature Center's Rowe Woods Location.  

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 (OCVN) 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. 

$325 for the full course (entire six-day series), including all digital reading materials, certification fee with OSU, and live instruction. Application deadline is Friday, May 31, but spots fill fast, so don’t delay! 

This program is available to adults and mature teens 16 and up; however, only participants ages 18 and up who complete the course will receive certification through OSU.

For any questions, please email Director of Applied Learning, Connie O'Conner at coconnor@cincynature.org.


To receive certification, upon completing the OCVN course, participants must document 40 hours of volunteer service and/or continuing education at any Ohio organization with a compatible program mission. After certification, 30 hours of volunteer service and/or 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!

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 organizations and fields.

Course Schedule:

  • Tuesday, June 11, 9 am–5 pm
  • Tuesday, June 18, 9 am–5 pm
  • Tuesday, June 25, 9 am–5 pm
  • Tuesday, July 9, 9 am–5 pm
  • Tuesday, July 16, 9 am–5 pm
  • Tuesday, July 23, 9 am–5 pm

Attendance is mandatory; do not register if you will miss more than 8 hours of time, as you cannot make these classes up at a later date.   

Cancellation and Transfer Policy: 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. Click here to learn more about this program's policies and guidelines.

For more information, visit https://ocvn.osu.edu/ 

For any questions, please email Director of Applied Learning, Connie O'Conner at coconnor@cincynature.org.