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Newest ODNR Natural Resources Officers ready to serve Ohioans

Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Press Release

The sixth Natural Resources Officer (NRO) Training Academy concluded last week, as 12 new law enforcement officers were sworn in by Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz during a commissioning ceremony at Deer Creek State Park Lodge and Conference Center.

“I am thrilled to extend a warm welcome to this incoming class of Natural Resources Officers,” Mertz said. “Each officer brings a deep passion for conservation, a strong dedication to law enforcement, and an unwavering commitment to public service, all in the noble pursuit of safeguarding our state parks, forests, nature preserves and waterways.”

ODNR Natural Resources Officers are commissioned peace officers who protect and promote Ohio’s natural resources. They provide law enforcement services to visitors at Ohio’s premier recreational properties. Additionally, they educate the public on boating and safety and natural resources conservation. Officers also assist in emergency response during floods, natural disasters, search and rescue, and recovery situations. 

“Today marks a significant milestone as we welcome these new Natural Resources Officers into our ranks,” ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft Chief Glen Cobb said. “As they become integral parts of their communities, I am excited and proud to watch their positive impact and contributions.”

The new officers received their basic peace officer training at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Training Academy. They also completed an additional four weeks of specialized training related to ODNR operations. In addition to law enforcement procedures and agency policies, the cadets received training in areas of ATV use, communications, vessel operation, advanced firearms and self-defense.

For the next several months, the new officers will continue their training by working closely with experienced officers in their assignment areas.

The new Natural Resources Officers, their hometown, and where they are being assigned are as follows:

• Tristan Ashcraft, Orrville, Findley State Park

• Colt Barnhart, Scio, Fernwood State Forest

• Megan Bedard, Leavenworth, Kan., Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve

• Maggie Bowling, Middletown, Hueston Woods State Park

• Kassidy Hines, Washington Court House, Deer Creek State Park

• Zach Hudson, Cortland, Mosquito Lake State Park

• Nathan King, Wheelersburg, Shawnee State Park and State Forest

• Caleb Mattocks, Meadville, Pa., Pymatuning State Park

• Makya Milhoan, Pomeroy, Forked Run State Park

• Connor Robinson, Bellbrook, Cowan Lake State Park

• Sarah Theobald, Parma, Cleveland Field Office

• Drew Zorn, Athens, Hocking Hills State Park.

The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft provides exceptional outdoor recreation and boating opportunities by balancing outstanding customer service, education and conservation of Ohio’s 75 state parks and waterways.

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

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