Pair of summer courses to teach aquatic, terrestrial plant identification skills

What’s the name of that plant, anyway? Take the guesswork out of identifying plants in yards, along trails, or in lakes and streams this summer by joining one or both of the plant identification courses offered through the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station.

Field botany

Experts from KBS, the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Michigan State University Extension and the USDA will lead a six-week Field Botany course focusing on native plants this summer beginning Wednesday, Aug. 7.

The course is open to plant enthusiasts of all levels. Participants will meet from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, from Aug. 7 to Sept. 11, at the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary’s Spruce Lodge, located at 12685 East C Ave., in Augusta. Sessions will consist of classroom sessions and field trips examining a variety of topics, including:

Basic botanical terminology

Trees of Michigan’s forests

The history and distribution of Michigan’s native plant communities

Wetland plants of the Midwest

Prairies and savannas of Michigan

Aquatic plants in inland lakes

Aquatic plant identification

The two-day course on aquatic plant identification is slated for 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 7-8, in Classroom 138 of the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station’s Stack Building. KBS is located at 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, in Hickory Corners.

Jo Latimore and Erick Elgin, MSU Extension, will assist participants in identifying the many species of aquatic plants common in southwest Michigan, understanding their ecological roles, and learning about various aquatic habitats and which plant species are associated with them. Participants will gain skills and experience in:

-Aquatic plant morphology and terminology

-Species identification

-How to differentiate between similar-looking species

The course will use the book “Aquatic Plants of The Upper Midwest: A Photographic Field Guide to Our Underwater Forests.” Copies will be available for class use, or participants may purchase their own. Overnight lodging is available through the KBS Conference Center.


Registration for both courses closes at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, and space is limited to 20 enrollees in each course. Registration for the Field Botany course is $160 for Sanctuary members and $180 for non-members; participants can earn Master Gardener credits for attending. Registration for the Aquatic Plant Identification course is $200 for Sanctuary members and $250 for non-members.

For more information about either course, visit Direct questions to or (269) 671-2510.

About the Sanctuary

The W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary’s mission is to conserve native habitat for migratory and resident birds and to promote environmental awareness through research, education and outreach. Since 1928, the Sanctuary has served as a practical training school for animal care and land management, and remains an innovator in wildlife conservation efforts.

About the Kellogg Biological Station 

As Michigan State University’s largest off-campus educational complex, KBS has put its land-grant values into practice for nearly a century, providing the public with examples of science’s crucial role in sustaining natural and managed communities. KBS students and faculty work to understand and solve real-world environmental problems for a better tomorrow. To learn more, visit