Virtual lakes convention brings lake science to your home

Register today for the Michigan Inland Lakes Convention Sept. 16-18

A picture of a lake.

Every two years the Michigan Inland Lakes Convention sparks ideas and inspiration among passionate lakeshore owners, lake scientists, policy makers, and conservationists. This year’s three-day convention will take place Sept. 16-18 and is being held virtually for the first time. This year’s theme, “Conserving Lakes in a Changing Environment,will include more than 50 engaging presentations and 10 workshops that highlight inland lakes research, best practices to protect lakes, and the diverse fish and wildlife that call Michigan lakes home.

The convention is a unique opportunity to learn from prominent leaders in lake management and conservation from the comfort of your home. More importantly, it is an opportunity to learn best practices for the protection and preservation of lakes. Building from the success of previous Michigan Inland Lakes Conventions, and the virtual presence of this year’s event, organizers expect that well over 300 attendees will tune in. All presentations and workshops will be presented live but also recorded and available for later viewing in case you miss one during the event.

There will be themes for every interest, including communications, invasive species, natural shorelines, fish and wildlife, watersheds, lake management, lake stewardship, and climate change. Presentations range from the importance of dragonflies, to watercraft decontamination methods that prevent invasive species, to a discussion on high water levels. The agenda will also include a series of five-minute lightning talks from organizations that traditionally have educational booths at the convention.

In addition to presentations, the convention will also host 10 interactive workshops. If you want to brush up on your communications skills consider attending the popular Michigan State University ExtensionCommunicating through Conflict” training, which provides tools and techniques to handle tense situations and interpersonal conflict effectively. Eric Eckl, communications expert and founder of Water Words That Work, will be offering two communications workshops on utilizing social media to share environmental messages and making the most of mass media. If fish are more your thing, consider the inland lake fisheries identification and habitat workshop hosted by Brian Roth, associate professor in the department of fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University. Back by popular demand, there will also be workshops on algae and aquatic plant identification.

Wednesday and Thursday will include two keynote speakers who are internationally recognized for their contribution to the field of lake science. Robert Thorson, professor of geoscience and department head at the University of Connecticut and author of “Beyond Walden: The Hidden History of America's Kettle Lakes and Ponds,” will present “Michigan Inland Lakes: Their Different Origins and Why This Matters for Lake Managers.” His presentation, and the book from which it came, Beyond Walden, is for those who want to help preserve lakes for the future. Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, professor of limnology and co-director of the Data-intensive Landscape Limnology Laboratory at Michigan State University in the department of fisheries and wildlife, will present “Lessons Learned from LAGOS: Creating and Using Big Data to Understand Lakes at Broad Scales of Space and Time.” During her talk she will share lessons learned from creating and using LAGOS - a lake and landscape database of approximately half a million lakes in the contiguous U.S. including thousands in Michigan.

If you are an avid photographer or writer, consider contributing to the convention photo or creative writing contests. Show off your talent for getting the perfect photo and your love for Michigan lakes by taking a photo on, around, within, or containing Michigan lakes. New this year, the convention is also hosting a creative writing contest. Break out your pencil and submit fiction and non-fiction, prose, poetry or any other writing sample related to inland lakes in Michigan. Participants in both contests are urged to submit works related to the convention theme, “Conserving Lakes in a Changing Environment.” Submissions are due Aug. 15 and winners will receive gifts donated by convention sponsors and will be highlighted during the event.

Join the conversation and learn how to protect, enjoy, and manage our beloved inland lakes. Registration, agenda details, and contest information is available on the Michigan Inland Lakes Convention website. The registration fee is $30 and is all-inclusive for three days. The deadline to register is Sept. 11.

Stay informed of the convention and other inland lake learning opportunities on Facebook with the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership. The Michigan Inland Lakes Convention is a program of the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership, a collaboration of diverse organizations with a common mission to advance stewardship of Michigan's inland lakes. The convention is sponsored by a variety of public and private organizations including the Michigan State University Institute of Water Research, Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership, Michigan Waterfront Alliance, Michigan Lakes and Streams Association, CD3 General Benefit Corporation, Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan, Michigan Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society, and PLM Lake and Land Management.

 A version of this article originally appeared in the Oakland Lakefront Lifestyles magazine.

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