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E-M:/ Connect with Nature through MSU Conservation Stewards Program

A terrific educational opportunity for those within commuting distance of the Lansing area…..






Contact:  Laura Probyn

517-432-1555, ext. 171







EAST LANSING, Mich. -- People interested in the outdoors, natural resources, and mid-Michigan’s environmental issues, whether they are retirees, parents, students or young professionals or others who want to meet like-minded conservationists, are invited to attend the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program starting March 29 in the Lansing area.

This 40-hour course, hosted by Ingham County Michigan State University (MSU) Extension, will kick off with a session from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fenner Nature Center in Lansing.  It will include a look at Michigan’s conservation heritage and an overview of the Conservation Stewards Program. 

The program will continue with Monday evening sessions from March 31 through May 19 in Room 225 of MSU’s Natural Resources Building. These sessions will run from 6 to 9 p.m. and offer hands-on learning on ecology, natural resources decision making, forests, grasslands, stream ecosystems and management, wetlands, agriculture and land use.

There will also be a volunteer expo during the May 12 session highlighting conservation volunteer opportunities in Jackson, Ingham, Eaton, Clinton and Shiawassee counties.

A second Saturday session will take place on April 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will visit Fenner Nature Center and the Rose Lake Wildlife Area in Bath and will hear lectures on ecology and Michigan’s natural features, and take part in hands-on field experiences designed to help them learn about plants, trees, forest ecology, prairies and invasive species. 

A third Saturday field trip set for May 10 will explore the wetlands at the Maple River State Game area in Clinton County, then wind up examining urban wetlands and rain gardens, and sampling streams and rivers in Lansing

As a participant, you will get to:

·       Network with others, get to know people, the community and local resources;

·       Explore the region’s landscape as you learn about nature and the connections between all ecosystems;

·       Experience the fun of being outdoors in nature; and

·       Get involved in improving your community while considering important local conservation issues.

Modeled after MSU Extension’s Master Gardener program, the Conservation Stewards Program asks those who complete the 40 hours of educational sessions to donate 40 hours of volunteer conservation service to receive certificates of completion as Conservation Stewards.   

Instructors include MSU faculty and Extension staff members, representatives from the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, naturalists and scientists from the Capital Region, and Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) biologists.   Additional presenters include conservation-minded people from various organizations and agencies responsible for natural resource management in the area.

The $200 registration fee is due March 21.  Space is limited to 30 registrants.  The full program brochure and registration materials are available at http://ingham.org/ce/ag/home.htm or at http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi/education/stewards.cfm. 

For registration information, contact Connie Vernon at the Ingham County MSU Extension office by calling 517-676-7207.  For information about the learning experiences, contact MSU Extension fisheries and wildlife specialist Shari Dann at sldann@msu.edu or 517-432-0267, or Ray Rustem with the MDNR at 517-373-2457.


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