First Detectors Training offered in Bloomington on February 9th

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Invasive Species Workshop Trains First Detectors in Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The 2017 Illinois First Detector Workshop on invasive plants, diseases, and insects will be offered at eight Illinois sites beginning in January 2017.

In its fifth year, the workshop is being offered through University of Illinois Extension and coordinated in conjunction with the Illinois Natural History Survey's Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS), the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and the Morton Arboretum. The one-day course teaches participants how to report potential invasive threats. Topics this year include invasive plants and human health, oak tree diseases, and emerging invasive forest insects.

The program focuses on current and new invasive pests, but also provides updates on previously covered topics, according to Kelly Estes, CAPS coordinator. The popular hands-on portion of the workshop allows participants to examine invasive species samples in detail and learn identification techniques that will help them to distinguish these invasive pests in the field. Workshop participants take the knowledge they acquire to their own communities.

"This program increases the eyes and ears in the field," Estes said. "The threat of invasive species is large, and we can't get to every corner of the state. Having many people take an interest in learning more about invasive species and how to report them is fantastic."

In four years, 900 people have taken the workshop, and an estimated 108,000 additional people have become more aware of invasive species indirectly through the dissemination of information by the workshop participants.

Illinois locations, dates, and contact information include:

January 25 – Waterloo; Sarah Ruth (618-939-3434)

January 26 – Makanda; Maggie Rose (618-687-1727)

February 9 – Bloomington; Kelly Allsup (309-663-8306)

February 10 – Sterling; Bruce Black (815-632-3611)

February 14 – Lisle; Sarah Navrotski (630-955-1123)

February 15 – Orland Park; Margaret Burns-Westmeyer (708-679-6894)

February 22 – Pekin; Jason Haupt or Christine Belless (309-547-3711)

February 23 – Taylorville; Andrew Holsinger (217-532-3941)

Each workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is a $40 registration fee which includes instruction, an on-site lunch, and training materials. This year, a student rate of $25 is offered. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are also available. More information will be released through Facebook on each date/location, but please feel free to use the contact list above for more details. Registration for the Bloomington workshop can be found at

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please call 309-663-8306.