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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Interested!- Click HERE to to download the fillable PDF Application 

All applications are due by Friday, January 5, 2024.

Please send completed applications via email to Kristen at

If printing your application, please bring or mail it to the Mahoning County Extension Office, 490 S Broad Street Canfield, OH 44406 by Friday, January 5, 2024.

Mission -

The mission of the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN) program is to promote awareness and citizen stewardship of Ohio's natural resources through science-based education and community service.

The OCVNs role is to support partners as their volunteers in meeting the needs of our citizens in the area of natural resources education.

Activities Include:

  • Identifying and educating the public about invasive species
  • Understanding the aspects of nature in our region 
  • Giving public presentations relating to nature
  • Hosting events for the public
  • Get to know the local nature centers, parks, and other sites where you can volunteer

To become an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist, you must:

  • Complete 40 hours of combined classroom and field instruction
  • Perform 40 hours of approved volunteer service within the first year
  • After certification, 20 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of advanced training are required annually               

Training Topics include:

  •  Soil, Geology, & Watersheds
  •  Ecology & Stewardship
  •  Working with the public & communication skills
  •  Botany & Forests
  •  Entomology & Herpetology
  •  Ornithology & Mammals

Interested in joining our 2024 OCVN Training?  

General Information:

  • Class Times - Please contact OSU Extension or visit the website – – to get an update on the day of the week and time of day classes are offered. These change each year, so the day might be different from when you last spoke to a staff person. They are generally 8 or so evenings, from 6-9pm and 3-4 Saturdays from 9am-3:30pm. The 2024 schedule will be posted soon. In 2023 classes were held on Tuesdays from 6-9 pm and Saturdays from 9 am - 4 pm. The 2024 schedule will be posted soon. Saturday classes are typically field trips to other off-site locations and to visit our community partnerships. 
  • Fees - Course - The cost of the class (after you are accepted) is $225. Payment is made after the interview is conducted and you are accepted into the class. This fee includes the manual, refreshments, some meals, speakers, and more! Once applications are received, they will be reviewed for acceptance into the program. 
  • Fees – Background Check - There is no background check required because you will not be considered an OSU Volunteer. All applicants will become a volunteer at a different site and will follow the rules of the chosen site (personal choice).
  • Reading/Quizzes - The class requires some reading before class and a quiz (10 questions) for each chapter. This is open book at home.
  • Volunteering - The volunteer requirements after the class are 40 hours in the first year. This starts after class is completed. For each year after, the requirement is 20 hours of volunteer time and 8 hours of continuing education each year.