Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program

Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program

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Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN)

OCVN Summer 2023 Program

In-person classes on select Tuesdays in June and July from 9 am-5 pm - SOLD OUT

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. 

$300 for the full course (entire six-day series), including all digital reading materials, certification fee with OSU (for ages 18 and up), and live instruction. The summer cohort is the only one offered at Cincinnati Nature Center that is entirely in person!

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, or to join the notification list for the fall cohort, 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, 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!

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.

Course Schedule:

  • Tuesday, June 13 from 9 am-5 pm
  • Tuesday, June 20 from 9 am-5 pm
  • Tuesday, June 27 from 9 am-5 pm
  • Tuesday, July 11 from 9 am-5 pm
  • Tuesday, July 18 from 9 am-5 pm
  • Tuesday, July 25 from 9 am-5 pm

Attendance is mandatory; do not register if you will miss more than one of the six full days, as you cannot make these classes up at a later date and will not graduate. 

Please make sure you will be able to attend at least 5 of the 6 classes because these sessions will not be recorded and 40 hours of attendance is mandatory to graduate. You may miss one of the sessions and still graduate. 


Cancellation and Transfer Policy: All cancellations are subject to a $50 administrative fee per request. No transfers to future cohorts are permitted. Cancellations made with less than two weeks’ notice will not be refunded. No refunds will be issued after May 29, 2023.

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

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