Investigating Lake Ecology

Date: July 18, 2015
Time: 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston, MI 48304
Contact: Bindu Bhakta, 248-858-5198, or Cathy Morris, 248-858-0887,

With more than 1,400, Oakland County has more inland lakes than any other county in Michigan. Each lake has unique ecological properties which people influence by their activities on the land and in the water. In this hands-on workshop, participants will investigate lakes, common aquatic vegetation and their role in keeping lakes healthy, aquatic invasive species that threaten lakes, the effects of seasonal changes on lakes, as well as the physical, chemical and biological properties of the water. The workshop will be led by Michigan State University’s Dr. Lois Wolfson and graduate student Emi Fergus, Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Angela De Palma-Dow, and Kathleen Dougherty and Tyler Mitchell from Oakland County Parks. Participants will have the opportunity to explore Independence Oaks County Park’s Crooked Lake via rowboats and a pontoon boat. Activities will also take place inside the Wint Nature Center inside the Park.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Investigate components of ecology and seasonal changes that can impact a lake ecosystem
  • Explore water chemistry and other physical/biological tests to gauge lake health
  • Explore aquatic life in the lake’s transition zone (area between land and water) that helps promote a healthy ecosystem
  • Collect and identify native aquatic plant species
  • Collect and identify aquatic invasive species, and how to prevent their spread

Pre-registration is required. Registration cost is $25/person on or before July 10, 2015. The cost is $35/person on or after July 11, 2015. Workshop registration fee includes park entry, light morning refreshments, and educational resources.

Deadline to register is July 15, 2015. After this date, please call 248-858-0887 to see if space is still available. No walk-in registrations will be taken on the day of the program.

A $15/person cancellation fee will be assessed for those requesting a refund on or after July 16. Deadline to request a refund is July 17, 2015.

About the Instructors:

This workshop is sponsored by MSU Extension and Oakland County Parks.                         

Dr. Lois Wolfson is a Specialist with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Institute of Water Research at Michigan State University. She also represents MSU Extension for the North Central Region Water Network. Her work focuses on educational and outreach programming in aquatic ecology, invasive species, and watershed management and in utilizing computerized information systems as tools for understanding water related issues. Dr. Wolfson teaches an upper level undergraduate field and laboratory course which offers experiential learning for students interested in lake and stream processes and biotic interactions. She received her MS in Botany and PhD in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University.

Angela De Palma-Dow is a recent MS graduate from the Fisheries and Wildlife department at Michigan State University. She conducted her masters research on Isle Royale National Park, and she currently works for both the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Aquatic Invasive Species Early Detection and Rapid Response team, and the MiCorps Cooperative Lake Management Program’s citizen’s monitoring Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch.  When she isn’t out on a lake working Angela teaches Zumba and hangs out with her two cats. 

Emi Fergus is a PhD student in Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. She along with her colleagues study lake ecology from a landscape perspective where she examines broad scale patterns of land use activities (agriculture & urban development) and natural land cover on lake water quality parameters across multiple lakes. Her work utilizes existing state and federal lake water quality databases alongside geographic data to study these relationships. In particular her research focuses on wetland effects on lake nutrient concentrations across different regional settings. She’s excited about exploring Crooked Lake first-hand with class participants.

Kathleen Dougherty is an Education Resources Specialist at Oakland County Parks. Working with partners on educational endeavors, Kathleen supports conservation education in the communities of Oakland County.

Tyler Mitchell is a Natural Resources Technician at Oakland County Parks.


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