A six-week online course specially designed for those interested in learning about inland lakes in which participants learn and explore topics including lake ecology, watersheds, natural shorelines, water law, aquatic plants, and citizen involvement.

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Michigan is blessed with more than 11,000 inland lakes and each provides unique recreational, scenic and environmental benefits. These inland lakes are complex ecosystems and are often negatively impacted by both the people that live near them as well as the water that drains into them. Frequently, local communities struggle to protect and manage inland lakes in a way that incorporates the best available knowledge and resources. Concerned citizens, decision makers, local leaders, resource professionals and lakefront property owners can learn about inland lake management and protection by enrolling in the MSU Extension Introduction to Lakes online course. 

Introduction to Lakes is a six-week online course specially designed for lake users, lakefront property owners, and lake managers interested in learning about inland lakes. From the comfort of home or office, participants have 24/7 access to six online units complete with closed captioned video lectures, interactive activities, additional resources, discussion forums, quizzes and live chat sessions with classmates and Michigan State University Extension experts. Through this convenient format, participants increase their knowledge and understanding of the following topics:

  1. Lake ecology
  2. Lakes and their watersheds
  3. Shorelines
  4. Michigan water law
  5. Aquatic plant management
  6. Community involvement in lake stewardship

The course is taught on a week-by-week basis, allowing for online communication between classmates and instructors through topical discussion forums. The course also includes three pre-scheduled ask-an-expert webinar sessions with instructors and outside experts. MSU Extension course instructors include Bindu Bhakta, Erick Elgin, Dr. Jo Latimore, Dr. Lois Wolfson, Brad Neumann and Paige Filice. 


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Introduction to Lakes Course Information

Registration is currently closed for Introduction to Lakes. The course is typically offered once a year in January. Would you like to stay informed of our next offering? Sign up to be notified when the course is offered next. 

Course Details

Available Benefits and Continuing Education Credits for those completing the 2020 course:

  • 16 Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Pesticide Applicator Re-certification credits (8 Commercial Core & 8 Aquatic [category 5])
  • 6 Master Citizen Planner Education Credits
  • 16 Master Gardener Credits
  • 15 credits in The Wildlife Society Category I of the Certified Wildlife Biologist® Renewal/Professional Development Certificate Program
  • A free one-year membership to Michigan Lakes and Streams Association, including 4 issues of The Michigan Riparian magazine



Paige Filice
Natural Resources Educator
Michigan State University Extension


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