January 2020 Edition of the
Michigan Soil and Water Conservation Society

The official newsletter of the Michigan Chapter
of the Soil and Water Conservation Society

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President's Column: ANR Seminar

Michigan Chapter Scholarships Available
Michigan Chapter Mentorship Survey Results


From Students to Stewards Initiative to promote water stewardship, education
Educational Videos from MSU Cover Crops and Soil Health Team
What to Watch in Great Lakes Legislation



A painted winter landscape shows two deer beside a wide river
"Winter Landscape" by Mortimer L. Smith, 1878, oil on canvas


President's Column: ANR Seminar

Saturday February  29th marks the start of Michigan State University’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Week (ANR Week), “a late winter gathering of minds deeply concerned and involved in the today’s world of Agriculture and Natural Resources,” (from the ANR website:  It started in 1914 as Farmers Week when MSU was known as MAC, which historians, senior alumni, and fans of MSU Basketball’s throwback jerseys know stood for Michigan Agricultural College.  It has grown over the years in size and scope and has become a highlight event for Michigan’s agricultural and natural resource communities.
This year’s gathering includes a diverse set of opportunities to learn more about farming, conservation, and recreational activities in Michigan.  Three events kick off ANR week on Saturday.  First, lovers of the outdoors should check out the Quiet Adventures Symposium (at the MSU Pavilion) where attendees can learn about boatbuilding, watershed protection, and outdoor clubs while also connecting with expert paddlers, vendors, and friends.  The other two events are meetings at the Kellogg Center, the Michigan Barn Preservation Network’s Annual Conference and the Great Lakes Lavender Growers annual meeting.
Mid-week highlights include Wildflower Association of Michigan Conference (3/1 at the Kellogg Center), workshops to get training in canning (USDA-certification eligible through the Better Control School) and shoreline protection (The Michigan Certified Natural Shoreline Professional Training and Certification Program), a conference on Great Lakes Protection (3/3 at the Kellogg Center), and a family fishing workshop (3/3 or 3/4 at the Natural Resources Building).  ANR Week will wind down with the Spring Conference of the Michigan Beekeepers Association (3/6-3/7 at the Kellogg Center), a horticultural therapy workshop (3/6 at the Plant and Soil Science building), and the Awards Program (3/6 at the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development).
Please note that most of these events require registration in advance.  You can find registration links and more details about each activity by visiting the ANR Week website listed above.  Mark your calendars for next year’s event (March 6th – 13th, 2021).
Come join us in East Lansing!
Glenn O’Neil
Institute of Water Research – Michigan State University

Michigan Chapter Scholarships Available

Please recommend MI-SWCS scholarship to students working in conservation and related fields. Detailed information and application materials can be accessed at the following link:
Important dates:
  • Deadline for applications:  January 31, 2020.
  • Selection of award recipient: by February 15, 2020.
Please contact Zach Curtis, Chair of Scholarship Committee and Region 2 Director if you have any questions or comments.

Michigan Chapter Mentorship  Survey Results

Many thanks to the 22 members who responded to the Mentorship Survey this fall!

Inspired by our MI-SWCS intern in 2019, the executive committee decided to formally inquire of our members about their careers and skills and whether or not they would be willing to mentor other SWCS members in a chosen area. Members were invited to share their opinion overall and express any concerns they may have about a formal or informal program.


*Note, these are imperfect, summary categories, when in truth these efforts are non-exclusive.
As you can see from the results above, our membership is divided about the commitment required for a formal mentorship program. Still, our executive committee is always brainstorming ways that we can promote informal and professional collaboration among members and partners. If you have ideas, please contact Rebecca Bender, Membership and Outreach Chair, Region 1 Director.

Do you have some conservation-worthy news to share?  Upcoming events or topics of interest to the SWCS Professional Development Committee?  Please feel free to share them with newsletter editor, Rebecca Bender at


From Students to Stewards Initiative to promote water stewardship, education


From Jan. 24, 2020 by Nick Assendelft, EGLE Public Information Officer,, 517-388-3135
Peg West, University Communications, Grand Valley State University,, 616-331-2222

$50,000 grant opportunity through MiSTEM Network will fund K-12 school programs in Michigan

A statewide initiative to teach elementary and high school students about the Great Lakes, Michigan watersheds, and the impact people have on water resources launches today, including $50,000 in funding to integrate water literacy principles into school curricula and continuous improvement plans.

The From Students to Stewards Initiative is a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Michigan Department of Education (MDE), and the MiSTEM Network (Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity) at Grand Valley State University. It is designed to improve water literacy in students from kindergarten through grade 12 and enhance school performance.

From Students to Stewards will emphasize using place-based approaches and real world experiences to engage students and prepare them for high-quality water-focused STEM careers. To help schools accomplish these goals, EGLE’s Office of the Great Lakes, MDE, LEO, and the MiSTEM Network have curated a toolkit of resources, information, and real-world opportunities for students and educators. As part of the funding opportunity, awardees will be asked to field test the toolkit, provide feed back on their experiences, and suggest ways to improve its usefulness.

A total of $50,000 is available through a request for proposals to fund at least five proposals, with a maximum award of $10,000. The programs that are chosen will incorporate Great Lakes and water literacy principles into curricula and continuous improvement plans using a place-based approach. Funds are made available through the Michigan Great Lakes Protection Fund. Awardees will also have access to technical assistance from the Office of the Great Lakes, MDE, and LEO's MiSTEM Network.

Applicants must be part of a project team to qualify for funding. Teams must include one or more schools, local or intermediate school districts, or public school academies; at least one MiSTEM Network Region; and one or more community partners. Any member of a team can be the lead applicant for funding. Applicants are encouraged to reach out to their MiSTEM Network regional directors for assistance.

The application deadline is March 9.

Registration is open for two webinars about the initiative and the funding opportunity:

  • Monday, Feb. 3: Program and toolkit breakdown.
  • Thursday, Feb. 20: Information about the request for proposals.

From Students to Stewards will provide a roadmap for other schools looking to develop Great Lakes-based curriculum and ensure that Michigan is cultivating the next generation of water stewards, leaders, and decision-makers.

For more information or to contact a member of the project team, go to the From Students to Stewards website.

Educational Videos from MSU Cover Crops and Soil Health Team

Check out these 2-5 minute videos online and use them as a tool for creating dialogue and giving great demonstrations; sixteen videos in 2020 and counting.

What to Watch in Great Lakes Legislation

This section provides a brief review of current and pending, key legislative decisions from this month regarding agriculture, environmental protection, and natural resources.
  • Provide for individual tax credit for donation of agricultural products to hunger relief charitable organizations (HB 4038) reproduced 1/16
  • Bill to codify Michigan PFAS action response team (HB 4746) - referred to Committee on Ways and Means with substitute
  • Require control or capture of methane from oil or gas wells (SB0702) - referred to Committee on Environmental Quality
  • Numerous amendments to bottle and can deposit system (see site for more details)
  • (HB 4687) to allow feeding or baiting deer - re-referred to Committee on Government Operations

For additional information on legislative updates, visit the complete listing at or consider joining the MI-SWCS Legislative Committee.


Michigan Chapter SWCS

March 4, 2020 Agriculture National Resources Seminar
AgroLiquid Conference Center, 3055 W. M-21 St. Johns, MI

International SWCS

July 26-29, 2019 SWCS International Annual Conference
Des Moines, Iowa
SWCS is seeking oral presentations, poster presentations, symposia and workshops for the 75th SWCS International Annual Conference

Other Organizations

March 11, UP Agriculture for Tomorrow Conference
Escanaba, MI
Introduction to Lakes is a nationally recognized six-week online course designed for lake enthusiasts interested in learning about ecology, aquatic plants, watersheds, shorelines and more. Course instructors include MSU Extension educators and state agency personnel.

The 2020 course runs January 14th to March 13th. The cost of the course is $115 per person. Register by December 20th to receive an early-bird discount of $95 per person. Registration is open now through January 8th.

April 28-20, 2020 Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Conference
Novi, MI
The 2020 Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Conference, a first-of-its-kind regional conference hosted by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), will identify the water infrastructure challenges faced by the Great Lakes region and discuss solutions to those challenges. Key topics will include funding and finance mechanisms, water affordability, environmental health, water infrastructure planning and reinvestment, innovative water quality solutions, green infrastructure techniques, cybersecurity strategy, and communications practices.  

Michigan EGLE Calendar:,9429,7-135-3308_3333---,00.html

MDNR Calendar:

MSU Extension Calendar:
Copyright © 2020 Soil and Water Conservation Society: Michigan Chapter, All rights reserved.

This newsletter is a monthly compilation of news stories of interest to Michigan SWCS members and stakeholders. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect official policy of the Soil and Water Conservation Society unless so stated.

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