Minnesota is once again seeking volunteers to join the dozens of citizens who already have stepped up to help keep an eye out for new infestations of emerald ash borer and other destructive invasive pests.  These volunteer “first detectors” form part of the state’s early warning system for invasive tree pests, making it more likely that infestations will be found in early stages when they are easiest to control.


Minnesota is once again seeking volunteers to join the dozens of citizens who already have stepped up to help keep an eye out for new infestations of emerald ash borer and other destructive invasive pests.  These volunteer “first detectors” form part of the state’s early warning system for invasive tree pests, making it more likely that infestations will be found in early stages when they are easiest to control.

In February, experts with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will offer a round of workshops to teach tree care workers, community foresters and others the basics of how to tell the destructive invasive pests from harmless doppelgangers.  In the process, the state will continue to build its network of “first detectors.”

In late February and early March, MDA and its partners will offer six one-day workshops to provide in-depth information on identification of invasive tree pests.  After completing the training, participants are qualified to serve as volunteers in the state’s First Detector Program.  The role of these first detectors is to serve as public contacts for information about these pests and to help investigate reports of potential infestations.

“One key to slowing the spread of invasive pests is to find new infestations quickly,” MDA Plant Protection Director Geir Friisoe said.  “Many of the new infestations in Minnesota have been discovered by people like first detectors — informed citizens who know what to look for and who to call when they find something.  The more help we have, the better our chances to contain infestations.”

Forest Pest First Detector training sessions are scheduled as follows:

· February 22 – Twin Cities - 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – TIES, Larpenteur Room
· February 24 – Duluth – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center, The Boulder Room
· March 1 – Winona – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, The Toner Center, President’s Room
· March 3 – Fergus Falls – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Regional Extension Office (Wells Fargo Bank Building, Lower Level Conference Room)
· March 8 – Andover – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Bunker Hills Activity Center, Maple Room
· March 10 – Hutchinson – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. – AmericInn Room

More details can be found online at http://www.extension.umn.edu/pesticides/2011/EAB/#workshops.