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Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program

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Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN)

OCVN Spring 2023 Program

Click here to register!

In-person classes at Rowe Woods on two Saturdays (March 25 and April 15) from 9 AM - 5 PM

Live online instruction on Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays (March 21 – April 27) from 6-8 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 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 16 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.

$280 for the full course, including all reading materials, certification fee with OSU, in person classes, and live online instruction. 

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.

Application deadline is March 7, 2022, but spots fill fast, so don’t delay!


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.  

For this cohort, this is a hybrid class with a mix of virtual and in person classes. 

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 experts in a variety of fields.


Attendance is mandatory; do not register if you will miss either of the two Saturdays or if you will miss more than 4 hours of online instruction—there are no make ups.


Online Schedule:

  • On Zoom: Tuesday, March 21,  6-8 pm

  • On Zoom: Thursday, March 23, 6-8 pm

  • On-Person at Rowe Woods: Saturday, March 25, 9 am – 5 pm

  • On Zoom: Tuesday, March 28, 6-8 pm

  • On Zoom: Thursday, March 30, 6-8 pm

  • On Zoom: Tuesday, April 4, 6-8 pm

  • On Zoom: Thursday, April 6, 6-8 pm

  • On Zoom: Tuesday, April 11, 6-8 pm

  • On Zoom: Thursday, April 13, 6-8 pm

  • In-Person at Rowe Woods: Saturday, April 15, 9 am – 5 pm

  • On Zoom: Tuesday, April 18, 6-8 pm

  • On Zoom: Thursday, April 20, 6-8 pm

  • On Zoom: Tuesday, April 25, 6-8 pm

  • On Zoom: Thursday, April 27, 6-8 pm


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 March 7, 2023.

For more information, visit 

For any questions, please email Director of Applied Learning, Connie O'Conner at