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E-M:/ Cabin Fever? Register today for Michigan Conservation Stewards Program

------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Shari Dann ------------------------------------------------------------------------- REGISTER TODAY TO DISCOVER SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN'S  NATURAL TREASURES AT UPCOMING MSU EXTENSION PROGRAM

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Though southeast Michigan's natural areas may be shrinking, there's a growing interest among residents in conserving and protecting the regions unique outdoor treasures. People interested in the outdoors, natural resources, natural history and the region's environmental challenges are invited to take part in the Michigan Conservation Stewards education program from February through April.

This nine-week short course is offered by Michigan State University (MSU) Extension in Oakland and Macomb counties. ONLY A FEW OPENINGS REMAIN FOR THE OAKLAND COUNTY PROGRAM.  AND, THE MACOMB COUNTY PROGRAM WILL ONLY ACCEPT REGISTRATIONS THROUGH THIS FRIDAY, Jan. 26!

The Michigan Conservation Stewards Program, patterned after the popular Master Gardener Program, offers participants an introduction to such topics as forest, wetland and grassland ecosystems, making choices in natural resources management, the ecological foundations behind management practices and southeast Michigan's conservation heritage. 

Enrollees will have a hands-on overview of Michigan's natural features, including plants; trees; wildlife; aquatic life in lakes, streams and ponds and wetlands; forest ecology; grasslands; prairies; and invasive species.

Instructors will be MSU faculty members, Michigan Natural Features Inventory staff members and Michigan Department of Natural Resources biologists.  Local and regional experts from parks systems and planning departments are also featured. 

The Macomb County program will begin Feb. 10, with a session from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Freedom Hill County Park.  It will continue with Thursday evening sessions that run from 6 to 9 p.m. from Feb. 15 to April 5 at the Verkuilen Building for Macomb County (MSU assembly rooms). Saturday field sessions are scheduled for March 10 and March 24, in partnership with Metrobeach Metropark.  CALL TODAY TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE!!!  Call the Macomb County MSU Extension office at 586-469-5180 extension 7, and ask for Mickie.

The Oakland County program will begin Feb. 3 with a 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. session at the Indian Springs Metropark near White Lake, Mich. It will continue with Monday evening sessions that run from 6 to 9 p.m. from Feb. 3 to March 26 at the Oakland County Information Technology Auditorium. Additional daytime sessions will feature hands-on field learning from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, and Saturday, March 17.  ONLY A FEW OPENINGS REMAIN!  CALL TODAY!  Call the Oakland County MSU Extension office at 248-858-0887.

Modeled on MSU Extension's Master Gardener program, Conservation Stewards will give participants 40 hours of education about natural resources. Those who complete the coursework are then asked to donate 40 hours of volunteer conservation service to receive their Conservation Steward certificate. 

Graduates of the 2006 session have been involved in Oakland County's green infrastructure planning. Others have volunteered for conservation work with nonprofit organizations, parks, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, other governmental agencies, and local land conservancies or watershed groups.

"Programs like this start to develop stewardship skills," said Jim Keglovitz, natural areas program coordinator for Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services. "Lots of times you go through a conservation program and are interested but don't know what's out there or how to get involved -- this wraps that up in one place. Its a benefit to the whole county."

"You understand bits and pieces as the instructors talk, but they put it together so it makes more sense and it gives you a direction so you can see how you might be a steward of our waters, wetlands and habitats," said Jerry Carvey, a 2006 participant and the chair of the Rochester Hills Greenspace Advisory Board.

The $225 registration fee includes all materials (an extensive notebook and handouts, as well as books), refreshments, and lunch during Saturday sessions.

The Conservation Stewards Program is sponsored by MSU Extension in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, The Nature Conservancy, Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services, Oakland County Parks and Recreation, the MSU Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies, and ITC Transmission. ============================================================== ENVIRO-MICH: Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action. Archives at http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/ Postings to: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net For info, send email to majordomo@great-lakes.net with a one-line message body of "info enviro-mich" ==============================================================