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.


GLEDN Monthly Challenge: October 2017

The final GLEDN Challenge of the year is upon us! For the October GLEDN Challenge, we urge you to keep an eye out for invasive shrubs and trees. Many of these species become easier to spot in the fall as they stay green and/or retain their leaves longer than native species. This month’s challenge is to submit 3 reports of invasive shrubs or trees observed in Wisconsin during October. Not sure what to look for? Think about the buckthorns and honeysuckles in addition to burning bush, Japanese barberry, multiflora rose, and black locust, among others. Reports submitted by Friday, November 2nd will be eligible. You can submit reports with the GLEDN app, on the EDDMapS website, or email us: WIFDNcoordinator@gmail.com.

Report Volunteer Activities

It’s that time of year again! As we slide into the last part of the year, we’d like to celebrate all of your hard work. Click here to report your volunteer activities.

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

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 August 31, 2017. We will send another form at the end of the year to gather hours volunteered from September 1 – 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. We’d like to celebrate the hard work WIFDN participants have done, and we can’t do that unless people share what they have been doing!


Upcoming Events

Wednesday, October 11th (9 am – 12 pm), Invasive Species I.D. and Monitoring Workshop, UW-Madison Arboretum, Madison

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