Welcome to the Wisconsin First Detector Network (WIFDN)

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.


2016 WIFDN online training videos are available for viewing:

  • 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 Anne Pearce (anne.pearce@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, 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