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.

Register Now for Introduction to Lakes

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 and Brad Neumann. Sign up for the electronic MSU Extension newsletter and select “lakes, streams, and watersheds” to stay informed about future offerings.


D2L Header Intro to Lakes


Introduction to Lakes Course Information

Registration is now open for the 2020 offering of Introduction to Lakes. If you do not have a guest account with MSU, you will prompted to create one prior to registering for the course. 

Register before December 20th for an early bird price of $95/person. After December 20th, registration is $115/person. The last day to register is January 8, 2020. The course will begin on January 14, 2020 and end on March 13, 2020. 

Can't make the 2020 course but want to be informed of our next offering? Sign up to be notified when the course is offered next.

Course Details

Available Benefits and Continuing Education Credits: Those completing the 2020 course will be eligible for the following.

  • 16 Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Pesticide Applicator Re-certification credits
  • 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 Lake Stewardship Associations, including 4 issues of The Michigan Riparian magazine

Cancellation Policy: Course access will begin January 14, 2020 for a “Getting Acquainted” week. If you need to withdraw from the course, you can request a partial refund of $50 until January 22, 2020. Once your request is received, you will no longer be able to access the course. No requests for refunds will be considered after January 22, 2020.


Paige Filice
Natural Resources Educator
Michigan State University Extension


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