Grow your appreciation for Michigan’s inland lakes with the Introduction to Lakes Online course

The award-winning inland lakes course will be back in session in January 2022.

Lake with aquatic plants
Expand your knowledge of lake ecology, watersheds, shorelines and more with the MSU Extension Introduction to Lakes Online course. Photo credit: Paige Filice.

Lakes hold a special place in our hearts. They are an escape from the hustle and bustle of life. Visiting natural areas can improve our moods, reduce stress, and boost immune systems. Perhaps you are fortunate to live on a lake or have a secret fishing spot you like to visit. Maybe escaping on a camping trip to a serene lake in the woods is more up your alley. No matter what their value is to you, lakes provide irreplaceable benefits to our mental and physical health and deserve our appreciation and attention.

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

The 2022 course runs Jan. 25 to March 16. The cost of the course is $115 per person. Register by Jan. 3 to receive an early-bird discount of $95 per person. Registration is open now through Jan. 21. Scholarships are available. Registration information is available on the Introduction to Lakes course web page.

Since the course was first offered online in 2015, more than 1,000 people across the country have participated. Participants continuously praise the level of content and interaction they have with instructors and other students in the class. 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 pre-recorded video lectures, activities, resources, and quizzes. Students communicate with each other and instructors through lively discussion forums and biweekly webinars. Course topics include 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 receive a free, one-year membership to Michigan Lakes and Streams Association.

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 MSU Extension Master Citizen Planner, Master Gardener, Master Naturalist, and Conservation Stewards programs.

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