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Conservation Stewards Program

Explore the foundations of conservation and learn about diverse terrestrial, wetland and aquatic ecosystems in Michigan.

Image of the program logo with a lake in the background

The Michigan Conservation Stewards Program (CSP) is an 8-week, hybrid educational program for adults who are enthusiastic about learning science-based ecosystem management principles and sharing this knowledge with others to help improve their local communities. Through this program, learners will learn essential strategies to understand and help restore and conserve ecosystems in Michigan communities. This program includes field experiences to explore area natural communities, online learning, and indoor classes held in unique places. Participants also put their learning into action by working directly with local conservation groups. This fall, CSP will be offered in Berrien, Macomb, Marquette, and Newyago counties. Each county will be instructed and organized by MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, and/or a variety of local conservation organizations and experts. 

Program Components

  • Weekly, Virtual Lessons
    • Online course content to review and complete on-your-own via the course website prior to each week's session.
  • Weekly, In-person Sessions
    • Up to three hours of lecture and field instruction at various locations within Macomb County.
    • 8 total sessions
  • 1-2 Saturday, In-person Field Days
    • Half-day field experiences at locations within Macomb County.
  • Capstone (Applied) Project related to restoring and conserving Michigan’s ecosystem, with guidance provided by local instructors

Program Topics

  • Foundations of Conservation
  • Ecological Foundations & Michigan Natural Communities
  • Michigan Conservation Heritage
  • Society & Conservation
  • Terrestrial, Wetland and Aquatic Ecosystems

Certification Requirements

  • Full attendance in weekly sessions and field days
  • 2 excused absences are allowed
  • Completion of weekly online content and 80% or above on all online quizzes
  • Completion of Capstone Project

Program Requirements

  • This program is for adults (18+) only.
  • The weekly sessions and field trips will be in Macomb County. Please review the locations listed on the Macomb County pages of the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program website to ensure the travel distance is pratical for you for all weekly sessions and field days. Attendance is critical to the learning experience, and required for a program certificate.


Scholarships are available for all and help offset the program registration fee. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, first complete the scholarship application below. Do not complete the participant registration for your location until you receive an email with details regarding your scholarship application. This email will provide instructions on how to complete your registration for CSP.

Click here to apply for a CSP Scholarship.


Program Fee: $250
Registration includes a copy of a "Field Guide to the Natural Communities of Michigan" which will be provided to each participant at the first session of the course. 

Cancellation Policy
All cancellation requests on or before Aug. 21, 2024, will be refunded in full less a $25 administrative fee. Cancellations received on or after Aug. 22, 2024 will not be refunded.

Click here to register for the Macomb County program.