Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program

Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program

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Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN)

OCVN Fall 2023 Program

Registration for this course is now closed.

This cohort is a hybrid class with a mix of virtual and in-person classes:

  • Live online instruction on Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays (September 26–November 2) from 6-8 pm
  • In-person classes at Rowe Woods on two Saturdays (October 7 and 28) from 9 am-5 pm


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. 

$280 for the full course, including all reading materials, in person classes, and certification fee with OSU (for ages 18 and up), and live online instruction. Application deadline is Tuesday, September 12, 2023, 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, 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:

  • On Zoom: Tuesday, September 26, 6-8 pm
  • On Zoom: Thursday, September 28, 6-8 pm
  • On Zoom: Tuesday, October 3, 6-8 pm
  • On Zoom: Thursday, October 5, 6-8 pm
  • In-Person at Rowe Woods: Saturday, October 7, 9 am – 5 pm
  • On Zoom: Tuesday, October 10, 6-8 pm
  • On Zoom: Thursday, October 12, 6-8 pm
  • On Zoom: Tuesday, October 17, 6-8 pm
  • On Zoom: Thursday, October 19, 6-8 pm
  • On Zoom: Tuesday, October 24, 6-8 pm
  • On Zoom: Thursday, October 26, 6-8 pm
  • In-Person at Rowe Woods: Saturday, October 28, 9 am – 5 pm
  • On Zoom: Tuesday, October 31, 6-8 pm
  • On Zoom: Thursday, November 2, 6-8 pm

Attendance is mandatory; do not register if you will miss more than four hours—including either of the two Saturday dates. Missing more than four hours of Zoom classes or either of the Saturday dates would exclude you from graduation; there are no makeup dates. 


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. No refunds will be issued after Tuesday, September 12, 2023 at 6 pm. 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.