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.


Time to Report 2017 Volunteer Activities!

2017 is officially over, but we want to celebrate all of your hard work! It’s time to report your volunteer activities from 2017. Please reply by Friday, January 19th to receive your WIFDN sticker! Read our FAQs below and take the survey here.

Who should report hours? If you have done any volunteer work related to invasive species, we ask you to report your hours! Even if you primarily volunteer for another organization (e.g. a Friends group or Master Gardeners), please report your hours to us. This allows us to get a sense of how much time people spend on invasive species efforts across the state.

What should I report? The form will ask you to report any hours you’ve spent volunteering on invasive species projects from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017. We will ask you to separate your volunteer hours into 3 categories:

  • management: for example, invasive species removal at your park or work done on your property
  • monitoring: for example, submitting reports of invasive species
  • outreach: for example, leading a local invasive species walk or teaching your neighbors about invasive species in their yards

In addition, we will ask you to estimate the number of miles you’ve traveled to complete your volunteer activities (this includes miles driven, ridden on a bicycle, or walked to reach your volunteer destination).

What if I can’t remember how many hours I’ve volunteered? That’s okay! We don’t expect that every person will have a detailed record of their volunteer hours. In this case, please estimate how many hours you’ve volunteered. An estimate is much more helpful to us than no report at all!

Upcoming Events

Monday, January 22nd (9 am – noon) Winter I.D. and Management Workshop, Lussier Family Heritage Center- Madison

Thursday, January 25th (9 am – 3:30 pm) Winter I.D. and Management Workshop, Riveredge Nature Center- Saukville

Friday – Sunday, February 9th – 11th, WPT Garden Expo, Alliant Energy Center- Madison

Saturday, March 17th (9:30 am –  1:30 pm)  Invasive Plants on Your LandKickapoo Valley Reserve Visitor Center- La Farge

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