Grow your appreciation for lakes with the online Introduction to Lakes course

The popular Introduction to Lakes course will be back in session in January 2020.

Lakes hold a special place in our hearts. Perhaps you are fortunate to live on a lake or have a secret fishing spot you like to visit.  Maybe escaping to a lake for a serene and relaxing camping experience is more up your alley. No matter what their value is to you, lakes provide irreplaceable benefits and deserve our appreciation and attention.

This January, Michigan State University Extension invites you to develop a deeper understanding of inland lakes by enrolling in the Introduction to Lakes online course. Introduction to Lakes is a nationally recognized six-week class that is offered in a convenient, self-paced online format. The course is designed for lakefront property owners, lake users, local government officials, lake managers and educators. Course instructors include MSU Extension educators and state agency personnel.

The 2020 course runs Jan. 14 to March 13. The cost of the course is $115 per person. Register by Dec. 20 to receive an early-bird discount of $95 per person. Registration is open now through Jan. 8. Registration information is available on the Introduction to Lakes course web page.

Since the course was first offered online in 2015, more than 500 people across the country have participated. Previous students have said their favorite parts have included their ability to effectively expand their knowledge of lake stewardship and interact with others with similar interests. One student said “hearing from other students broadened my perspective and definition of riparian. I now realize that as each lake is unique so too are its caregivers and their priorities and concerns.”

Students have week-by-week, 24-7 access to six online units complete with video lectures, activities, resources and quizzes. Students communicate with each other and instructors through discussion forums and biweekly webinars. The course’s six units cover lake ecology, watersheds, shorelines, Michigan water law, aquatic plant management and community involvement. A certificate of completion is awarded to those who complete the course and students will receive a free, one-year membership to Michigan Lake Stewardship Associations, including four issues of The Michigan Riparian magazine.

Students can also receive continuing education credits including 16 Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Pesticide Applicator Re-Certification credits and credits in the Master Citizen Planner, Master Gardener, Conservation Stewards and the Wildlife Society’s Certified Wildlife Biologist programs.

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