Michigan Conservation Stewards Program enrolling students for 2016

Intensive volunteer leader training program about conservation and natural science geared towards individuals who want to help restore and conserve ecosystems throughout Michigan.

Volunteers sharing aquatic specimens. | Photo by: CSP
Volunteers sharing aquatic specimens. | Photo by: CSP

Michigan State University Extension is offering the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program (CSP) volunteer leader training program in three locations in the state for 2016. Michigan State University Events registration is now open for Kalamazoo , Oakland, and Washtenaw counties. The classroom locations are for Kalamazoo are at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Oakland will start the day at MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center and will travel to other relevant training locations and Washtenaw will begin at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and travel to other relevant training locations. Individuals interested in volunteer conservation are encouraged to enroll. Programs offered in Kalamazoo County begin on Sept. 8, Oakland County begins on Sept. 6, and Washtenaw County begins on Sept. 7.  The cost is $250 for the seven week training course.

CSP is a great opportunity to learn about conservation and natural science in a community context and assume leadership roles through volunteering time, knowledge and skills as a Conservation Steward. Becoming a Conservation Steward allows you to provide a service related to restoring and conserving Michigan’s ecosystems. Participants will complete the following to become a Conservation Steward:

  1. Classroom and field-based training led by experts in various fields of conservation and natural resources, including lectures, interactive learning and field experiences.
  2. A self-paced online learning modules provided via Michigan State University’s Desire2Learn (D2L) course system that participants will complete on their own.
  3. Volunteer service including the completion of an in-class capstone project related to an area of interest as well as additional community volunteer activities. 

“The most useful thing about CSP for me was networking and finding others with my interests and passion about the environment as well as professionals in the field,” said a past participant. “… I ended up with knowledge across the board. This has helped me to fill in the missing pieces of knowledge regarding the environment as well as encouraging me to be involved.”

The mission of the CSP is to deliver high-quality, locally-based training opportunities to create an informed Michigan citizenry who will practice community-based volunteer conservation management activities. The hallmark of the Michigan CSP is that it seeks to bring together local conservation and stewardship communities through ecosystem-based training experience combined with 40 hours of required service.

For more information about Michigan Conservation Stewards program contact Beth Clawson, MSU Extension Educator. To learn more about invasive organisms and invasive aquatic plants, contact Michigan State University Extension Natural Resources educators who are working across Michigan to provide aquatic invasive species educational programming and assistance. You can contact an educator through MSU Extension’s “Find an Expert” search tool using the keywords “Natural Resources Water Quality.”

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