Thank you for your interest in the Michigan State University Extension Michigan Conservation Stewards Program (CSP), a volunteer leader training program for those who are enthusiastic about learning science-based ecosystem management principles and sharing this knowledge with others to help improve Michigan communities. CSP is ideal for individuals interested in Michigan's natural communities, current conservation issues, outdoor recreation, nature study, natural area management, and a variety of other topics such as lake/stream monitoring and habitat restoration. Through participation in this program, you will learn essential strategies to help restore and conserve ecosystems in St Clair County and throughout Michigan.

Becoming a Conservation Steward involves the completion of the following:

  1. Classroom and field-based training led by experts in various fields of conservation and natural resources, including lectures, interactive learning and field experiences;
  2. Self-paced online learning modules provided via Michigan State University's D2L course management interface which participants will complete on their own time; and
  3. Volunteer service in the form of an in-class Capstone (applied) Project as well as additional community volunteer service related to restoring and conserving Michigan’s ecosystems.

Program partners for the St. Clair County Conservation Stewards Program include Friends of the St. Clair River, St. Clair County Parks & Recreation Commission, and Michigan State University Extension.

The first class will take place at:

St. Clair County Administration Building - Auditorium
200 Grand River Ave.
Port Huron MI 48060

More directions available at:

Instruction is provided by Michigan Natural Features Inventory, University of Michigan, Michigan State University Extension, and a variety of local experts.

Throughout the course, you will be visiting many ecologically diverse locations that highlight the natural ecosystems of the greater St Clair County area. 

2018 CSP St. Clair County consists of approximately 40 hours of instruction:

Seven in-person sessions (21 hours of instruction) will be held on TUESDAY EVENINGS from 6 - 9 p.m. at various locations in St. Clair County.

 The 2018 dates are:

  • September 11: Program Overview/Michigan Ecosystems- St. Clair County Administration Building,  Port Huron
  • September 18: Ecological Foundations- St. Clair Community College, Port Huron
  • September 25: Wetland Ecosystems- YMCA of the Blue Water Area, Port Huron 
  • October 2: Forest Ecosystems- Columbus County Park, Columbus, MI 
  • October 9: Stream Ecosystems- Marysville Golf Course, Marysville 
  • October 16: Watersheds & Water Resources- Fort Gratiot Pond at McIntyre Park, Fort Gratiot Township
  • October 23: Capstone Project Presentations/Graduation- Goodells County Park, Goodells

Two FULL-DAY SATURDAY FIELD SESSIONS (14 hours of instruction). The 2018 dates/locations are:

  • Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.: Aquatic Field Experience at Pine River Nature Center, Goodells, MI
  • Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.: Terrestrial Field Experience at Algonac State Park, Marine City, MI
  • Five SELF-PACED ONLINE LEARNING MODULES will cover the following content: (1) Michigan’s Unique Conservation Heritage & Making Choices for Natural Resources Management; (2) Ecology 101; (3) Forests and Forest Ecosystems and Management 101; (4) Introduction to Watersheds, Lakes and Wetland Ecosystems & Management; and (5) Invasive Species/Climate Change. (approximately 10 hours)

To become a certified Michigan Conservation Steward, participants must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Attend all classes (indoor and outdoor field experiences) and complete online learning modules
  • Complete a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer conservation service within one year (including hours spent on in-class Capstone Project)
  • Comply with the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program Volunteer Agreement and Code of Conduct.

To maintain your certification, Michigan Conservation Stewards must complete the following annually:

  • 20 hours of volunteer conservation service on approved projects
  • 8 hours of advanced training
  • Comply with the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program Manual of Policies and Procedures and the MSU Extension Volunteer Agreement and Code of Conduct

Program Registration Fee: $250. Last date to register is September 6, 2018. A full refund minus a $25 cancellation fee will be assessed to those requesting a refund on or after August 25 and up to seven business days prior to the start of class. No refunds will be issued six or less days prior to the start of class.

Enrollment: To enroll in CSP, please complete the online registration and agreement forms. Full payment is required at the time of enrollment. Once registered for the program, complete details will be emailed two weeks prior to the start of the course with complete instructions on registering for access to the online course in the MSU D2L course system. 

Some partial scholarships for 2018 CSP St. Clair participants are available. The 2018 scholarship application process is incorporated into the course registration. To apply for financial assistance, please complete the entire registration process, including payment of the course registration fee in full. Note: Enrollment in this program is limited. It important that you complete the registration process including paying in full so that you don't lose your seat while you await notification of your scholarship. Requests will be accepted on a rolling basis, reviewed based on the order in which they are received, and until scholarship funds are fully allocated. Awardees will be notified prior to the training registration deadline. All scholarship requests must be submitted no later than September 6, 2018. Those receiving scholarships will receive a refund from MSU upon completion of the program. 

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Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For questions about the program, contact:
Kirsten Lyons, Friends of the St. Clair River Stewardship Director ( or 810-294-4965 or
Bindu Bhakta, MSU Extension SE Region CSP Coordinator ( or 248-858-5198)

For questions or difficulties regarding registering for the program, please contact MSU Extension Oakland County Support Staff person, Cathy Morris (248-858-1639 or