Education & Events for Volunteers ! - Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Training Series "OCVN"


* The first cohort for the Pilot Program is full. Please check back in spring 2023 for information on a future cohort, or contact Christyl to be placed on a list for updates:  


Cincinnati Parks is now a host site for the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist program. 

The OCVN program is a research-based education program of The Ohio State University offered in partnership with several host locations, such as, park districts and OSU Extension offices. The OCVN program emphasizes hands-on natural resource and environmental education coupled with volunteer service. Participants in the OCVN program receive 40 hours of combined classroom and field instruction. Upon completing the OCVN course, participants provide 40 hours of volunteer service at any Ohio organization with a compatible program mission. 

What is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist?

An Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist is an individual with a passion for the natural world who wishes to attend training and use his or her knowledge by giving back to the community through volunteer service. The program has three components: training, volunteer service hours, and continuing education. (See below for instructions on adding your email address to the statewide email list-serve to stay informed.)

After course completion, OCVNs typically volunteer in the following service categories:

Education/Interpretation & Outreach

  • Volunteer to give an educational and/or interpretive program at a park or arboretum. Lead a nature hike or help develop a visitor guide for a natural area! Many of these places depend on volunteers for helping educate visitors.

Citizen Science

  • Volunteer to collect data for a University, agency, or not for profit organization. Wildlife and plant surveys, water quality monitoring, and other scientific monitoring are some examples. These surveys are critical for maintaining and managing for biological diversity.

Land Stewardship

  • Volunteer to maintain a natural area, control invasive species or restore native vegetation. Or, perhaps you’d like to assist in maintaining a trail or other public recreation area. If you like to get your hands dirty, this might be your way of volunteering.

Program Support

  • Nature centers, local, state, and federal park visitor centers, and various natural resources groups need volunteers to work on newsletters, help with educational events, help manage meetings, websites, and even meet and greet the public at information stations. This is a great way to give back if you have physical limitations, want to hone your skills in these areas, or just want to contribute in a way that may be less physically taxing.

OCVN Mission
To promote awareness and citizen stewardship of Ohio’s natural resources through science based education and community service.

Certification Requirements To become an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist:

  • Complete the 40-hour online instruction course (you will receive a certification of completion)
  • Participants must attend 9 of 10 in person training sessions. The ability to schedule "make - up" sessions will be very limited. 
  • Perform 40-hours of volunteer service with an Ohio organization of your choice
  • After certification, 20 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of continuing education annually

  • There is a certification fee to cover the Ohio State Extension Agency administrative function of the program. This fee is TBD, but should be at or less than $100. Details to come. 
  • This schedule is subject to change. 

Program Benefits:

  • Learn about Ohio’s ecology, practice interpretive and education approaches, and build your skills to participate in stewardship and community science efforts near you.
  • 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.

To earn more about the OCVN program and connect to the Ohio State Extension Agency, follow this link their website.

Schedule Summary

This activity has the following schedule

Date Start Time End Time
Saturday, October 01, 2022 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
Saturday, October 08, 2022 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
Saturday, October 15, 2022 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
Saturday, October 22, 2022 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
Saturday, October 29, 2022 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
Saturday, November 05, 2022 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
Saturday, November 12, 2022 10:00 AM 12:00 PM