Online Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Courses

For the latest information and registration regarding the Online Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist 40 hour education courses , please consider joining our list serv https://ocvn.osu.edu/about-ocvn and/or contact the local course host of the location in which you are interested.  You will find that at this link https://ocvn.osu.edu/find-course

Course costs range from $100--$200 and typically run for about 3 months.  If you have questions about our program, please feel free to call or email the OCVN Program Director Anne Baird at baird.41@osu.edu or 614-292-8603. 


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 Program Director is housed in The School of Environment and Natural Resources on the Columbus Campus. 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 role of the Program Director and support staff with OSU Extension in the School of Environment and Natural Resources is to:
  • Create and update the base OCVN course curriculum;
  • Offer annual continuing education for course hosts and OCVN participants;
  • Promote volunteer service and continuing education opportunities; and
  • Issue certifications.

Local course hosts manage and offer the 40-hour education OCVN course for their region by building onto the statewide curriculum components with local and regional content.

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 hosted by local parks and nature centers that attend an orientation and ongoing education. 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. A Force for Nature: Lucy Braun

    Nov 24, 2020

    Who was a giant among men in the early 20th century?

  2. OSU Maple Syrup-a nice holiday gift~

    From Tree to Table: Ohio Maple Syrup

    Oct 21, 2020

    From Tree to Table: Ohio Maple Syrup - March 2021

    It's syrup season! Join OSU Extension's Les Ober and the School of Environment and Natural Resources' Gabe Karns and Kathy Smith to learn how tree sap becomes a tasty breakfast treat in this webinar. They will walk you through how to collect sap from trees in your yard to trees in the woods, and turn it into a versatile sweet treat.


  3. Partner of the Year Awards-Glen Helen Association and Brukner Nature Center recognized

    Sep 3, 2020

    Award to be presented at virtual Partners for the Environment Awards Night September 16 at 6:00PM