Introduction to Lakes — an MSU Extension Course, Jan 22 online

Michigan is blessed with more than 11,000 inland lakes and each provides unique recreational, scenic and environmental benefits. These inland lakes are complex ecosystems and are often negatively impacted by both the people that live near them as well as the water that drains into them. Frequently, local communities struggle to protect and manage inland lakes in a way that incorporates the best available knowledge and resources. Concerned citizens, decision makers, local leaders, resource professionals and lakefront property owners can learn about inland lake management and protection by enrolling in the MSU Extension Introduction to Lakes online course.

Introduction to Lakes is a six-week online course specially designed for lake users, lakefront property owners, and lake managers interested in learning about inland lakes. From the comfort of home or office, participants have 24/7 access to six online units complete with closed captioned video lectures, interactive activities, additional resources, discussion forums, quizzes and live chat sessions with classmates and Michigan State University Extension experts. Through this convenient format, participants increase their knowledge and understanding of the following topics:

  1. Lake ecology
  2. Lakes and their watersheds
  3. Shorelines
  4. Michigan water law
  5. Aquatic plant management
  6. Community involvement in lake stewardship

The course is taught on a week-by-week basis, allowing for online communication between classmates and instructors through topical discussion forums. The course also includes three pre-scheduled ask-an-expert webinar sessions with instructors and outside experts. MSU Extension course instructors include Bindu Bhakta, Erick Elgin, Dr. Jo Latimore, Dr. Lois Wolfson and Brad Neumann. Sign up for the electronic MSU Extension newsletter and select “lakes, streams, and watersheds” to stay informed about future offerings.


D2L Header Intro to Lakes

2019 Introduction to Lakes Course Information

Start date: January 22, 2019. The course will open to registrants on January 15 to allow time to get acquainted with the online classroom.

Registration: Registration is now open. An Early Bird rate of $95 is available through December 12, and regular registration ($115) will be available through January 8. Register now for Introduction to Lakes Online

Course Details

Available Benefits and Continuing Education Credits:  Those completing the course can receive the following.

Cancellation Policy: Course access will begin January 15, 2019, for a “Getting Acquainted” week. If you need to withdraw from the course, you can request a partial refund of $50 until January 21, 2019. Once your request is received, you will no longer be able to access the course. No requests for refunds will be considered after January 21, 2019.



Bindu Bhakta
Natural Resources Educator
Michigan State University Extension

National Wildlife Federation Supports Updated Plan to Stop Asian Carp


Contact: Drew YoungeDyke, Senior Communications Coordinator,, 734-887-7119

Statement: National Wildlife Federation Supports Updated Plan to Stop Asian Carp


(November 21, 2018 – Ann Arbor, MI) — Yesterday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its final draft plan to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The draft chief’s report of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam includes both structural and nonstructural measures including an engineered lock fitted with an electric barrier, a bubble barrier, an acoustic barrier, and a flushing lock to stop aquatic invasive species like Asian carp, while maintaining navigation for shipping. The Brandon Road Lock and Dam is located just south of Chicago and is a critical chokepoint to help stop Asian carp from continuing to swim closer to Lake Michigan.  The estimated cost of the project is $777.8 million, up from an earlier estimate of $275 million. A previous draft of the plan included water jets in place of the bubble barrier. 

A summary of the final plan is available here:

Asian carp include species of bighead, silver, black, and grass carp. After escaping from southern United States aquaculture facilities, they have spread rapidly and have reduced native fish populations in waters connected to the Mississippi River watershed, which connects to the Great Lakes watershed through the Chicago Area Waterway System. Asian carp pose a significant threat to our economy, outdoor heritage, and way of life.  In addition, the invasive species is a clear and present danger to the Great Lakes sport-fishery, which is estimated to generate at least $7 billion each year in economic activity.

Marc Smith, director of conservation partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center, issued the following statement in response to the release of the updated plan:

“Across the country, Asian carp are undermining our nation’s fisheries and threaten the Great Lakes $7 billion annual sport-fishery. The Army Corps of Engineers plan to rebuild the Brandon Road Lock and Dam south of Chicago is our opportunity to put stronger measures in place to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The plan includes a gauntlet of technologies to prevent Asian carp from moving past the lock, while maintaining navigation for shipping. The investment in this project pales in comparison to the economic risk if Asian carp invade the Great Lakes. We intend to review the updates to the plan in detail and offer official public comment later, but at first glance this looks like the plan we need to protect our waters, our fisheries, our sport-fishing economy and our way of life.”

Thank you, Community Readers!

What a night! What a conversation! Here is hoping this conversation, once started, never ends.

Many people to thank. Of course, our speaker Steve Pothoven, from NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab in Muskegon. Here are his Invasive talk slides for your further study. Brittany Goode spoke on behalf of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, where you can involve yourself and your friends in many efforts to care for our Lakes and watershed. Tori Harris from the Allegan Conservation District, invited us to act locally to protect the lands and waters we live aboard every day. And then all the help provided by local Water protectors to find our way to acting with the seven generations ahead of us in mind. You will find our list of local land and water and climate protectors running along the right-hand side of our blog. We are constantly working to keep it updated, so please, when you see we have missed an organization, let us know, and we will add it.

We talked about a couple of books you may wish to explore. There is the newly released update of Peter Annin’s The Great Lakes Water Wars, a book highly acclaimed for its reporting. And for a completely different point of view of the world and our place in it, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass. Professor Kimmerer is a Botanist, a poet, and a descendant of the Potowatomie people from the Great Lakes region.

And we ended on an important note. The DUCC and its creation justice team is here for our community. If you wish to see us address another topic or dive more fully into a piece of this one, please write to us at Tell us what you are thinking. To stay informed about what we are up to and when, be sure to subscribe to our notices here. We always announce our programs well in advance. They include education events, film screenings, local road and waterway cleanup actions, sharing harvests, recycling events, green gardening events, green energy awareness, and services focused on environmental justice. Browse this blog to see what we’ve been up to. And that’s just what we’ve imagined so far. With your help, we can imagine so much more.

July 22 Launch for Summer Harvest Table

Gardening is Giving Sign Outlines.jpg

We hope you had the chance to join in with DUCC folks at our Gardening is Giving program in May as Creation Sarah and Compost Ken talked about container gardening, making dirt, and saving our bee populations.

Here’s the next component of our Creation Justice Summer programming — Our Gardening is Giving Summer Harvest Table!

Beginning Sunday, July 22, we invite all DUCC folk to bring along garden bounty they wish to share with members and with the community. We will set up tables outside the church for your veggies, fruit, cut herbs and cut flowers. This sharing of our bounty will be on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have harvest to share, we welcome you to add it to the harvest table before the service.

Harvest table will be available as long as our harvests last. Let’s share what we grow!


Food Waste Program Report

Here in the United States, we throw away 40% of our food supply every year.

Food in our landfills ferments and produces methane gas.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, while methane doesn’t linger as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it is initially far more devastating to the climate because of how effectively it absorbs heat. In the first two decades after its release, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

While contributing to climate change, that wasted food could have fed people who simply don’t have enough to eat in our country. How can we work together to change these statistics?

On Thursday, March 15, the Creation Justice Team at Douglas UCC welcomed Tracey Shafroth, national and local environmentalist, to speak with us on the subject of food waste. She defined the problem for us and helped us understand how communities and individuals are working together to help curb the problem.

Here, along with Tracey’s presentation, is a list of resources we can explore to understand food waste and address it in our home and community. Do you have other resources or ideas? Please contact us to let us know.

Download Tracey Shafroth’s Food Waste PowerPoint File

Explore Food Waste

Reduce Food Waste at Home

Eating Foods In Season

Help Fund Programs that Fight Food Waste in Our Cities

Food pantries within 25 of Douglas, MI:

Christian Neighbors, Inc. (Douglas) (0.4 miles)
(269)857-1050 | 100 Saint Peters Drive, Douglas MI, 49406

Ladders of Hope USA Inc. (6.4 miles)
(269)340-1113 | 717 E. Main Street, Fennville MI, 49408

Shekinah Revival Ministries (7.7 miles)
(616)392-5945 | 1941 Washington Ave., Holland MI, 49423

Providence CRC Pantry (9.4 miles)
(616)396-5661 | 821 Ottawa Avenue, Holland MI, 49423

Hamilton CRC (10.4 miles)
(269)751-8877 | 3596 47th Street, Hamilton MI, 49419

Community Action House (10.6 miles)
(616)392-2368 | 345 West 14th Street, Holland MI, 49423

Holland Spanish SDA Church (10.7 miles)
(517)331-8332 | 169 W. 16th Street, Holland MI, 49423

St. Vincent dePaul Center/St. Frances deSales-Holland (10.8 miles)
(616)392-6700 | 170 W. 13th Street, Holland MI, 49423

Salvation Army – Holland (12.0 miles)
(616)392-4461 | 104 Clover Street, Holland MI, 49423

Love INC of Northwest Allegan County-Pullman (12.2 miles)
(269)236-6295 | 943 56th Street, Pullman MI, 49450

Heights of Hope (12.4 miles)
(616)392-8559 | 995 E. 8th Street, Holland MI, 49423

Community Action House – North (12.9 miles)
(616)738-1170 | 665 136th Avenue STE 60, Holland MI, 49424

His Harvest Stand Pantry (14.7 miles)
(616)748-6003 | 100 South Pine Street, Suite 100, Zeeland MI, 49464

First Congregational South Haven-We Care Food Pantry (16.8 miles)
(269)637-4342 | 651 Phoenix Street, South Haven MI, 49090

Christ Embassy/IMA (17.9 miles)
(269)925-8583 | 1301 M-43 Hwy Ste #4, South Haven MI, 49090

Church of Christ – South Haven (18.2 miles)
(269)637-4861 | 73121 M-43, South Haven MI, 49090

In His Name Ministries/JJMWM (22.7 miles)
(616)896-1570 | 4055 Van Buren, Hudsonville MI, 49426

Carpenter’s House Outreach Church (22.9 miles)
(616)662-2660 | 4995 32nd Avenue, Hudsonville MI, 49426

Love INC – Hudsonville (23.4 miles)
(616)662-3300 | 3300 Van Buren, Hudsonville MI, 49426

St. Vincent DePaul Society – Bangor (23.7 miles)
(269)427-8009 | 201 South Walnut, Bangor MI, 49013

Van Buren United Civic Organization (24.1 miles)
(269)764-8854 | 73292 34th Avenue, Covert MI, 49043

First Congregational Church of Covert (24.3 miles)
(269)906-0906 | 73893 34th Ave., Covert MI, 49043

Epiphany Lutheran Church Pantry (25.0 miles)
(616)681-7205 | 4219 Park Lane, Dorr MI, 49323

Christian Fellowship Assembly Pantry (25.0 miles)
(616)895-7614 | 9930 64th Avenue, Allendale MI, 49401

Before visiting any pantry, we suggest calling ahead to confirm their hours and eligibility requirements.

(This food pantry data courtesy of

This Changes Everything.

On Wednesday night, November 8, Douglas UCC’s Creation Justice Team brings you the movie based on Naomi Klein’s book, “This Changes Everything.”

The New York Times called Klein’s work “The most momentous and contentious environmental book since Silent Spring.”

So we thought: Let’s watch this film and then talk about it as a congregation. What does this work reveal to us, about ourselves and about our work here?

Come along, bring your friends and family. We will have coffee, tea, water, snacks.

We open the doors at 6 for snacks and visiting. We will start the movie at 6:30, discussion follows at 8, with Eric LeJeune facilitating.

Recycling Event and more Recycling Resources

Hey church family!

The Creation Justice team just wants to remind church members that we will be parking a large recycling truck outside the friendship hall this coming Thursday, September 21, from 4 to 6pm. This is a Metal Recycling Event, and the truck will take metal posts, exercise equipment, garage door springs, old grills, vacuum cleaners, filing cabinets, broken appliances, pumps, electrical cords and wires, old Christmas lights, motors, brass and copper, aluminum screens and siding, metal shelving, computers, printers, batteries, and much more! If it’s METAL and has a cord, we will take it.

BUT we cannot take old-style tube televisions or CRT monitors.

Many of you have asked where you can take other items you need to recycle, things like batteries and plastic printers and old style monitors, etc.

The best local resource for finding other recycling opportunities is on our friend Ken Freestone’s Green Michigan website at this link.

Another great place to search is at Earth911, at this link.

We have added a permanent link to these resources on this blog site in the navigation bar, above, for future reference!

Namaste, and happy recycling!


Volunteers Needed: Adopt-A-Beach Douglas Beach Cleanup

Saturday, September  16th

9am  to  approximately 1pm

Please contact Sarah Morgan if you can join us: 512-422-7597

  • Volunteers will meet at Douglas UCC for instructions and then and carpool to Douglas Beach
  • Volunteers will be assigned in teams of 3
    • 1 in charge of categorizing/ tracking what is collected
    • 2 to pick up everything that doesn’t belong on the beach!
  • Teams will be assigned to sections between Douglas Beach and Oval Beach
  • Dress for comfort and function! Bring your own water and snacks.
  • Plan is to convene at a local restaurant afterwards.
  • Our group is open to the public so non-church members welcome
  • We will be emailing all volunteers with more details.

Join the hundreds of volunteers from 6 states who will be cleaning the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie!

To learn more about the Adopt-a-Beach effort visit the website of the Great Lakes Alliance