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Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program

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Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN) Program

Tuesdays and Thursdays, June 8-July 29, 6-8 pm

Hosted by Cincinnati Nature Center, in collaboration with The Ohio State University, this very popular course has been delivered online to more than 100 happy customers in 2020.

The mission of the OCVN 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. Teens aged 16 and 17 can join adults in this course.

All required classes are on Zoom. Cincinnati Nature Center is sponsoring one free in-person field day at Rowe Woods in Milford Saturday, July 17, using strict COVID protocols.

Participants of this OCVN course will have 32 hours of live online class time and will be required to do 10 hours of at-home outdoor investigations, plus readings to prepare for a multiple choice quizzes. You must have access to a computer and internet to take this course.

Upon completing the OCVN course, participants are eligible to volunteer 40 hours of volunteer service at any Ohio organization with a compatible program mission. Following the required volunteer service, certification is granted by OSU.

After certification, 20 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of advanced training 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 more information contact Connie O’Connor at

Available to adults and mature teens 16 and up. Application deadline is May 20, 2021. But spots fill fast so don’t delay!

Program Benefits

  • Learn about the biology, ecology and natural history of Ohio and how to share that 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 experts in a variety of fields

Attendance is mandatory. Do not register if you will miss more than one class. All cancellations are subject to a $50 administrative fee per request. Cancellations made with less than two weeks’ notice will not be refunded.

All sessions are virtual on Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8 pm except for the optional field day on on July 17.

Cost is $265 and includes training manual and certification fees to Ohio State University. (Discount price of $160 for current Cincinnati Nature Center volunteers with 20 hours of service over the past 12 months). 

For more information, contact Connie O’Connor at

Summer Course Schedule

  • Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - Welcome
  • Thursday, June 10, 2021 - Geology
  • Tuesday June 15, 2021 - Soils
  • Thursday, June 17, 2021 - Watersheds
  • Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - Plants
  • Thursday, June 24,2021 - Forests
  • Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - Ornithology
  • Thursday July 1, 2021 - Aquatic Life
  • Tuesday, July 6, 2021 - Interpretation
  • Thursday July 8, 2021 - Entomology
  • Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - Herpetology
  • Thursday, July 15, 2021 - Mammals/Bats
  • Saturday, July 17, 2021 – OPTIONAL Field Day from 9 am – 3 pm 
  • Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - Pollination
  • Thursday, July 22, 2021 - Ecology
  • Tuesday July 27, 2021 - Stewardship
  • Thursday July 29, 2021 - Wrap/Volunteer