Welcome to the home page for the Wisconsin First Detector Network (WIFDN)

Wisconsin First Detector Network is a citizen science volunteer network designed to improve the detection and reporting of invasive species throughout Wisconsin. WIFDN combines online learning through recorded videos and interactive webinars with hands on training and volunteer opportunities.

2016 WIFDN online training will begin the current series of webinar sessions on March 25th 2016. All webinars begin at 1:00 CST and conclude around 2:30. This year the following topics will be covered:

  • March 25th: History of invasions in Wisconsin, overview and update of statewide invasions of insects and diseases. Presented by University of Wisconsin Extension Specialists Brian Hudelson, Director of the UW Madison Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic and P.J. Liesch Director of the UW Madison Insect Diagnostic Lab. Click here to view recording
  • April 8th: Early detection of aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin. Learn about Asian carp and the technology we are using to detect their spread as well as several common EDRR plant species that are invading Wisconsin. Presented by Paul Skawinski, Lake Monitoring Network Educator with UW Extension and Tim Campbell, Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist with UW Extension/DNR. Click here to view recording
  • April 22nd: Biological control of invasive species, an overview of the concept, regulation and future of this method of control of many invasive species. Presented by Roger Becker (University of Minnesota Professor, Extension weed specialist, and director of Minnesota biological control facility). Click here view recording
  • May 6th: Volunteer opportunities available through WIFDN. Listen to Art Wagner and Tony Summers, experts from USDA-APHIS PPQ and UW-Madison discuss volunteer opportunities available for you to participate in. Click here to view recording


Information covered in previous years is available in the Videos page on this website. Please contact Tony Summers (asummers2@wisc.edu) if you have any questions about WIFDN.


Preview introductory video


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, still more are found at low enough levels that eradication may be a possibility. 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


Participants will receive training through paired sets of online videos, which should be viewed prior to the corresponding interactive sessions. Training videos will draw on concepts focused on invasive species biology, identification, and reporting. Emphasis is placed on species of concern to Wisconsin (e.g. emerald ash borer, late blight, giant hogweed); however, resources for general identification are also discussed.  Participants will be required to volunteer 20 hours of monitoring for invasive species upon completing the training. Tony Summers will continue to interact with volunteers as a project coordinator during the summer to provided updates, organize in-field training, and develop volunteer opportunities with agency staff.

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

Tony Summers

WIFDN Project Coordinator