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 throughout Northern 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 Planners for the Northern Michigan Conservation Stewards Program include Kirtland Community College and Michigan State University Extension.

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

Tuesday evening class sessions will be held at:

Kirtland Community College
4800 West 4 Mile Road
Grayling, MI 49738

There is no charge for parking at the facility.

Throughout the course, you will be visiting ecologically diverse locations that highlight the natural ecosystems of northern Michigan. 

The 2019 CSP Northern Michigan Summer/Fall Session consists of approximately 40 hours of instruction:

  • Eight in-person sessions (24 hours of instruction) will be held on TUESDAY EVENINGS from 6 - 9 p.m.:
    • September 10: Program Introduction; Capstone Project Partner Introductions
    • September 17: Aquatic Ecosystems: Lakes, Wetlands and Streams
    • September 24: Michigan Conservation Heritage
    • October 1: Ecological Foundations
    • October 8: Terrestrial Ecosystems: Forestlands
    • October 15: Ecosystem Threats: Climate Change
    • October 22: Capstone Projects & Commencement- Kirtland Community College
  • Two FULL-DAY FIELD SESSIONS (14 hours of instruction) will be held on SATURDAYS from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.):
    • September 21: Aquatic Invasive Species, location TBD
    • October 12: Forests and Forested Wetlands
  • Five SELF-PACED ONLINE LEARNING MODULES (approximately 10 hours of self-paced material) will cover the following content:
    • Michigan's Unique Conservation Heritage & Making Choices for Natural Resources Management
    • Ecology 101
    • Forests and Forest Ecosystems and Management
    • Introduction to Lake and Wetland Ecosystems & Management

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 MSU Extension Volunteer Agreement and Code of Conduct.

To maintain status, 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 Conservation Stewards Program Volunteer Agreement and Code of Conduct

Program Registration Fee: $250
Scholarships are available by contacting Julie Crick at for more information.

Last date to register is Aug. 27, 2019.
A full refund minus a $25 cancellation fee will be assessed to those requesting a refund on or after Aug.27, 2019 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. Partial financial aid may be available. Please see "Scholarships" section below.

For complete program details please visit the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program page.

Download Event Flyer

Registration for Conservation Stewards Program - Northern Michigan is open.
Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on August 27, 2019.

There are 24 openings available.


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, or about registering for the program, contact the Northern Michigan CSP Coordinator, Julie Crick at or 989-275-7179.