Hines, cadets begin their path to protecting Ohio state parks


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Training has started for 12 cadets — including Kassidy Hines of Washington Court House — on their journeys toward becoming the newest Natural Resources Officers for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Watercraft. Those officers will be tasked in protecting state parks, nature preserves, forests, and waterways.

“Protecting our natural resources is a vital part of our mission at ODNR and the Natural Resources Officers take on rigorous training to not only protect our outdoor spaces but the people who enjoy them every day.” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “We’re proud of these cadets and the dedication they are pouring into this training program to become highly skilled officers.”

Cadets will take on months of training in the state peace officer program through the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Those who have already served previously in Ohio law enforcement will proceed to field training.

After which, all the cadets enter a new phase of training tailored to the needs of a Natural Resources Officer, such as water rescues, ATV use, close quarters boat navigation, and natural resources law.

The Natural Resources Officer cadets (and their hometowns) include:

Tristan Ashcraft – Norton, Ohio (Summit County)

Megan Bedard – Fairborn, Ohio (Greene County)

Kassidy Hines – Washington Court House, Ohio (Fayette County)

Zachary Hudson – Cortland, Ohio (Trumbull County)

Caleb Mattocks – Meadville, Pennsylvania

Connor Robinson – Xenia, Ohio (Greene County)

Andrew Zorn – Athens, Ohio (Athens County)

Natural Resources Officers in field training include:

Maegan Bowling – Middletown, Ohio (Butler County)

Colt Barnhart – Scio, Ohio (Harrison County)

Nathan King – Lucasville, Ohio (Scioto County)

Makya Milhoan – Pomeroy, Ohio (Meigs County)

Sarah Theobald – Parma, Ohio (Cuyahoga County)

These 12 cadets were selected from 592 applicants. They were interviewed and completed a pre-employment evaluation which included a background check, medical exam, psychological exam, and drug screen. The cadets also had to pass swim and physical fitness standards. After training, applicants will be assigned to serve in a specific state park area.

The window to apply to be a Natural Resources Officer will open in the winter.

The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft provides exceptional outdoor recreation and boating opportunities by balancing outstanding customer service, education, protection, and conservation of Ohio’s state parks and waterways.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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