Help fight invasive species with the Wisconsin First Detector Network

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University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Mark Renz and Tony Summers will be offering online training to the public on invasive species identification. For more information about the Wisconsin First Detector Network, please read their press release below.

Invasive species are expanding throughout the state of Wisconsin each year. While these species are often overlooked, they are impacting our state’s economy, environment, and even human health. Wisconsin’s First Detector Network (WIFDN) was established in 2014 to train citizen scientists help prevent these impacts by looking for and reporting invasive species. In the inaugural year we trained over 100 people that contributed over 700 hours towards this effort.
In 2015 we are seeking additional members to train (existing members can participate for free). What does it take to become a WIFDN volunteer?
1. Passion for protecting Wisconsin from invasive species

2. Register for training videos/webinars ($30 registration fee, see below)

3. Volunteer 24 hours of service towards invasive species monitoring or education

Participants will receive detailed training on invasive species biology, impacts, and identification as well as the opportunity to participate in projects specifically designed for WIFDN members.
It all begins March 13th with the first of 5 biweekly webinars.
Click here to register for the 2015 WIFDN training. Registration is $30 and open until March 26, 2015. If you cannot afford the registration limited scholarships are available please contact us!
See our website for more details about WIFDN and the training session: fyi.uwex.edu/wifdn
Tony Summers, WIFDN Coordinator; PHONE: 608 262-9570; asummers2@wisc.edu

Wisconsin First Detector Network

Agronomy’s Mark Renz launches the Wisconsin First Detector Network to track invasive species across the state. The following text is Mark Renz’s press release:

For those interested in invasive species (all taxa) see below for an opportunity to join Wisconsin’s First Detector Network.

Invasive species are considered to be the number two threat to biodiversity and the effects are increasingly evident on Wisconsin’s landscape. While many of these pests are here to stay, others have not yet been found or are at low enough levels that eradication may be possible. Unfortunately many of these populations go undetected until eradication become difficult, if not impossible.

To address this issue we have developed Wisconsin’s First Detector Network (WIFDN). The goal of this network is to educate citizen scientists about invasive species biology, ecology, and identification and develop networks that increase awareness and knowledge of invasive species locations across the landscape. This network will work closely with agency staff, and others at the federal, state and local level.

Participants will receive training through a combination of prerecorded videos, interactive online sessions, and in-field volunteering projects. Trainings will be available to Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists only in 2014, but will be available to the general public in 2015. The cost of registration is $30, which grants access to interactive online training sessions and access to hands on training opportunities.

If interested please view a preview video by visiting the website (http://fyi.uwex.edu/wifdn; scroll down to see video). We are accepting registration for this training on the website. Training (online) will begin on March 21st, and occur approximately every two weeks (see: http://fyi.uwex.edu/wifdn/trainings/ for details). Trainings will be recorded, and available if participants miss a training session.

For questions please contact the WIFDN project coordinator, Tony Summers (asummers2@wisc.edu;608-262-9570) or myself.

In the toolbox: Invasive Plant Control Database

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The Midwest Invasive Plant Network has published an online search tool to find information on invasive species control- Invasive Plant Control Database. From this website, go to Resources and then to Tools. The MIPN database works best if you already know the invasive plant species that you have. To help with identification, the Herbarium at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has a very nice image catalog of invasive species in Wisconsin, including the counties where they have been found and species descriptions. Another great resource that categorizes the invasive species by habitat is hosted by Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources.

Still unsure of the plant species, try University of Wisconsin’s weed identification tool or go to the PlantDOC website to find your local Extension agent and submit a digital image for identification. The Extension Specialist for Invasive Plants at UW-Madison is Mark Renz and his contact information is here.