Welcome to the Wisconsin First Detector Network!

The Wisconsin First Detector Network (WIFDN) is a citizen science network that empowers people to take action against invasive species through invasive species monitoring, management, and outreach. WIFDN provides training and resources through a combination of webinars, instructional videos, and hands-on workshops, in addition to providing volunteer opportunities to citizen scientists.


The schedule for the 2017 Webinar Series is set! Visit our Webinar page to learn more and to register.

March 17, 2017: What to Look for in 2017

Click here to join the webinar!

Join us as we look back on WIFDN’s accomplishments in 2016 and look forward to 2017. We’ll learn about the invasive species we should be on the lookout for in 2017.

April 7, 2017: Drivers vs. Passengers
Do invasive species drive changes in ecosystems, or are they merely passengers in change driven by other ecosystem changes? Learn about these competing ideas and examples of how different invasive species act in new ecosystems.

April 21, 2017: Take Action!
Learn how you can take action against invasive species through surveying for and reporting invasive species. In addition, learn about efforts to control invasive species in Wisconsin

May 5, 2017: Citizen Science and Volunteer Opportunities
Citizen scientists (that’s you!) gather extremely valuable information that can be used by researchers and natural resource managers in Wisconsin and beyond. Learn about volunteer opportunities that will let you flex your citizen science muscles.

Upcoming Events

March 17th (noon – 1:30 pm): Webinar- What to Look for in 2017
April 5th (6 – 8 pm): Citizen Science Spring Kick-Off at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (Milwaukee)
April 7th (noon – 1:30 pm): Webinar- Drivers vs. Passengers
April 10th (7 pm): Citizen Science Apps at Fitchburg Public Library (Fitchburg)
April 21st (noon – 1:30 pm): Webinar- Take Action!
May 5th (noon – 1:30 pm): Webinar- Citizen Science and Volunteer Opportunities
May 11th (5 – 8 pm): Using Your Smartphone to Map Invasive Species at Beaver Creek Reserve (Fall Creek)

Learn more about WIFDN


A native Wisconsin prairie, one of the state’s most treasured natural resources and three invasive species – late blight, emerald ash borer, and brown marmorated stink bug.
Photos courtesy of Ice Age National Scenic Trail, UW Extension, WI DATCP, and Oregon Invasives Hotline

Invasive species are considered to be the number two threat to biodiversity, second only to habitat loss. The effects of invasive species are increasingly evident on Wisconsin’s landscape. Despite efforts by federal and state agencies, non-native insects, plants and diseases continue to establish and spread throughout our state, impacting our economy and environment. While some of these pests are here to stay, many others have not yet been found in Wisconsin, and still more are found at low enough levels that eradication may be possible. Efforts to prevent new introductions and to identify new infestations before they become well established are the best way to ensure the survival of many of Wisconsin’s iconic plants, animals, and ecosystems.

A volunteer removes a flower head from an invasive thistle. Image courtesy of the Catalina Island Conservancy

By joining Wisconsin First Detector Network, you will have access to online training resources brought to you by invasive species experts from across the state. Training topics include terrestrial and aquatic invasive species biology, identification, and reporting. We emphasize species of concern to Wisconsin (e.g. emerald ash borer, late blight, giant hogweed), but we also discuss general resources for other species. We invite participants who are already doing invasive species volunteer work in Wisconsin, as well as people who are looking for new volunteer opportunities.


Garlic mustard infests a forest understory Photo courtesy of Rick Gardner and Arc of Appalachia

Consider becoming a First Detector and help improve our network to minimize the impact and spread of invasive species in Wisconsin.

For more information
Anne Pearce
WIFDN Coordinator