The formal training program is the responsibility of the OCVN coordinator or committee managing the program. Instructors are OSU faculty, ODNR professionals, Extension Specialists, Extension Associates, experienced Volunteer Naturalists, and other experts.

The training program is to provide a balanced, integrated practical course in natural resource science.

The following are the Core Topics:

(Other topics based on local needs may also be part of the curriculum.)

  • Soils
  • Plants
  • Forests
  • Insects and other Macroinvertebrates
  • Reptiles & Amphibians
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Ecological Concepts
  • Effective Education Practices
  • The Art of Nature Interpretation
  • Exploring Ohio's Watersheds
  • Aquatic Life
  • Stewardship
  • Geology

Volunteer Naturalist Certification Requirements:

  • 40 hours of combined classroom and field instruction
  • 40 hours of approved volunteer service projects.
  • After certification, requires 20 hours volunteer service and 8 hours advanced training annually.