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Welcome to 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 various environmental organizations.  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 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. 
 
After course completion, OCVNs typically volunteer in the following service categories:  Education/Interpretation & Outreach, Citizen Science, Land Stewardship, and Program Support.
 

How to Become an OCVN

1. Complete the 40 hour OCVN course at an approved location. 

To find an approved OCVN course location near you go to Find a Course.  

2. Volunteer.

Once you have completed your coursework, you must volunteer for a nonprofit organization that has a similar mission to the OCVN program (i.e., raising awareness of Ohio’s environment and natural resources through science based education and stewardship) for a minimum of 40 hours within the first full year after completing your coursework. After course completion, OCVNs typically volunteer in the following service categories: Education/Interpretation & Outreach, Citizen Science, Land Stewardship, and Program Support.  See 'About Us' for more details. 

 3. Maintain your certification.

To maintain your status as an OCVN you must continue to volunteer a minimum of 20 hours per year, and attend at least 8 hours of continuing education per year.

News

  1. NO DUMPING - Drains to River

    Little Miami Watershed Network Completes a Milestone

    Dec 14, 2018

    See PRESS RELEASE outlining the accomplishment of the Little Miami Watershed Network in covering the communities of Bellbrook and Sugar Creek Township with Medallions that encourage people to let only water go down the storm drains.  Part of the Network's Protect Our Water program is the hope that people will be reminded to protect our water sources. Water will be Ohio's most sought after resource in years to come and a great benefit to all mankind, if its not polluted.

  2. New Volunteer Pollinator Specialization Class in Central Ohio

    Dec 7, 2018

    We are now accepting applications for the 2019 Volunteer Pollinator Specialization program. Ohio Pollinator Advocates, OSU Master Gardeners, Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists, Chadwick Arboretum volunteers, urban farmers and others are invited to apply.

    Participants will take part in at least 30 hours of educational training through monthly specialization programs. Our emphasis will be on native bee and bumble bee biology and identification. The orientation on 2/11 and 2/12 is required; all other sessions flexible.

  3. Educators Needed - Wild Hearts African Farm

    May 4, 2018

    In 2010 I went through the OCVN program in Montgomery County. It changed my life. After the program, I changed careers and began the process of working towards my dream of creating an educational center in our area, where people of all ages could learn about animals and nature. I went back to college to get my master's in zoology, held a position as an ODNR State Park Naturalist for a few years and wrote a business plan for my venture. I traveled to Belize, Kenya and Namibia to study field conservation and incorporate that into the plan.