Grow your appreciation for inland lakes with January online course

Share or view as webpage  |  Update preferences

- DNR News -

Jan. 4, 2022
Contact: Paige Filice (MSU Extension), 517-676-7291 or Joe Nohner (DNR), 517-599-6825

Grow your appreciation for Michigan’s inland lakes with Introduction to Lakes Online course

Introduction to Lakes Course

Lakes hold a special place in our hearts – no matter if you're a Michigander born and raised, or a visitor to the Great Lakes State – and can provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Visiting natural areas can improve moods, reduce stress and boost immune systems.

Whether you live on a lake, visit a secret fishing spot or escape the daily grind on a camping trip to a serene lake in the woods, lakes provide irreplaceable benefits to our mental and physical health and deserve our appreciation and attention.

This month, Michigan State University Extension offers an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of inland lakes with enrollment in the Introduction to Lakes Online course, a nationally recognized, award-winning, six-week class in a convenient, self-paced online format. The course is designed for anyone who has a passion or curiosity for inland lakes, including lakefront property owners, local government officials, lake managers and educators. Course instructors include MSU Extension educators and state agency personnel.

Registration and course information

The 2022 course runs Jan. 25 to March 16 and costs $115 per person. Register by Jan. 10 to receive an early-bird discount of $95 per person. Registration is open now through Jan. 21. Scholarships are available. Registration information is available on the Introduction to Lakes course webpage.

Since the course was first offered online in 2015, more than 1,000 people across the country have participated. Participants continuously praise the level of content and interaction they have with instructors and other students in the class. One student said, “Hearing from other students broadened my perspective and definition of riparian. I now realize that as each lake is unique, so too are its caregivers and their priorities and concerns.”

Students have week-by-week, 24/7 access to six online units, complete with prerecorded video lectures, activities, resources and quizzes. Students communicate with each other and instructors through lively discussion forums and biweekly webinars. Ask-an-Expert webinars provide opportunities to learn from experts at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State University and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. Course topics include lake ecology, watersheds, shorelines, Michigan water law, aquatic plant management and community involvement. A certificate of completion is awarded to those who complete the course, and students receive a free, one-year membership to Michigan Lakes and Streams Association.

Students also can receive continuing education credits, including 16 Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Pesticide Applicator Re-Certification credits and credits in the MSU Extension Master Citizen PlannerMaster GardenerMaster Naturalist and Conservation Stewards programs.

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to