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.


  1. Monarch Butterfly just released

    Beech Creek Gardens Butterfly House, Alliance, OH

    Jul 31, 2019

    Butterfly House at Beech Creek Gardens in Alliance needs volunteers.  This counts toward OCVN hours.  Contact Amy Barr if interested.

    Also, the Norma Johnson Center in Tuscarawas County could use volunteers at the Butterfly House this summer even though the Butterfly Exhibit is over (maybe next year).  Contact Carrie Elvey, The Wilderness Center, 330-359-5235.


  2. Monarch City USA - Cowan Lake State Park - Official Member

    Mar 29, 2019

    Great strides are being made across the county to protect the Monarch Butterfly. Monarch City USA plants milkweed and wildflowers, raises caterpillars at home, tags adult butterflies for research and, most importantly, educates others!

    Cowan Lake State Park has made a promise to the monarchs by becoming an official member of Monarch City USA! Cowan is the first park in Ohio to be designated and only the second park in the nation. More is being done at Cowan Lake to help this species.  Would you like to join us?

  3. 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.