By Jo Latimore, Aquatic Ecologist and Outreach Specialist
Michigan State University

Have people in your community ever disagreed about what is best for your lake? Do you ever wish you knew more about how lakes and rivers work? Have you wondered what resources are available to help protect and manage your lake or waterway? Here in Michigan, lake and stream protection decisions begin at the local level. However, members of the local community may not have a strong background in water resources or the rules and regulations that govern them. Lake and watershed management issues may lead to conflict within communities, and those involved may not have the skills to resolve those conflicts and arrive at decisions that the community can support.

Good news! The Michigan Lake and Stream Leaders Institute provides an opportunity for citizens, local leaders, and water resource professionals to develop these necessary skills. The Class of 2017 will be the 7th session of this popular program. Participants develop their technical and people skills in an atmosphere of openness, trust, and camaraderie, with guidance from expert instructors. Citizens, students, and professionals are all encouraged to apply.


• Study fish, insects and habitat in Michigan lakes and rivers

• Develop conflict resolution and communication skills

• Discover new resources and partnership opportunities

• Explore Michigan water law, regulations, and programs

• Apply your new knowledge and skills in an independent project

Each participant conducts an independent project outside of class. These projects give you an opportunity to explore a topic of personal interest and exercise your new leadership skills. Examples of past participant projects include:

• Developing and delivering an educational program about the benefits of natural shorelines for lakefront residents

• Investigating and promoting the construction of a boat washing station to prevent introduction of aquatic invasive species

• Training elementary teachers how to explore lakes and streams with their young students

• Sharing results and benefits of participation in the volunteer Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program

• Recruiting volunteers to mark storm drains in an urban neighborhood to raise awareness about non-point source pollution

The Michigan Lake and Stream Leaders Institute is sponsored by Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc., Michigan State University Extension,
and the Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and is endorsed by the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership.

To download a 2017 Lake and Stream Leaders Institute Flyer, click here


The Institute is conducted in three sessions that include classroom learning and field experience.

June 2-3: Kettunen Center, near Cadillac

August 18-19: Kellogg Biological Station, near Kalamazoo

October 6: Michigan State University, East Lansing

Sponsors cover most of the costs of the Michigan Lake and Stream Leaders Institute. The participant registration fee of $400 covers the remainder of the cost.

Scholarships are available.

Applications and more information are available online: http://www.bit.ly/MSU-LSLI. You can also contact Dr. Jo Latimore at MSU: latimor1@msu.edu or 517-432-1491.

The application deadline is March 30, 2017.


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