First Detector Workshops

The 2017 Illinois First Detector Workshop on invasive plants, diseases, and insects will be offered at eight Illinois sites beginning in January 2017.

In its fifth year, the workshop is being offered through University of Illinois Extension and coordinated in conjunction with the Illinois Natural History Survey’s Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS), the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and the Morton Arboretum. The one-day course teaches participants how to report potential invasive threats. Topics this year include invasive plants and human health, oak tree diseases, and emerging invasive forest insects.

The program focuses on current and new invasive pests, but also provides updates on previously covered topics, according to Kelly Estes, CAPS coordinator. The popular hands-on portion of the workshop allows participants to examine invasive species samples in detail and learn identification techniques that will help them to distinguish these invasive pests in the field. Workshop participants take the knowledge they acquire to their own communities.

“This program increases the eyes and ears in the field,” Estes said. “The threat of invasive species is large, and we can’t get to every corner of the state. Having many people take an interest in learning more about invasive species and how to report them is fantastic.”

In four years, 900 people have taken the workshop, and an estimated 108,000 additional people have become more aware of invasive species indirectly through the dissemination of information by the workshop participants.

Illinois locations, dates, and contact information include:

January 25 – Waterloo; Sarah Ruth (618-939-3434) Register Here!

January 26 – Makanda; Maggie Rose (618-687-1727) Registration Here!

February 9 – Bloomington; Kelly Allsup (309-663-8306) Register Here!

February 10 – Sterling; Bruce Black (815-632-3611) Register Here!

February 14 – Lisle; Sarah Navrotski (630-955-1123) Register Here!

February 15 – Orland Park; Margaret Burns-Westmeyer (708-679-6894) Register Here!

February 22 – Pekin; Jason Haupt or Christine Belless (309-547-3711) Register Here!

February 23 – Taylorville; Andrew Holsinger (217-532-3941) Register Here!

The $40 registration fee includes instruction, an on-site lunch, and training materials. This year, a student rate of $25 is offered. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are also available. The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


This program and materials are based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2014-70006-22557and coordinated by Kelly Estes, state survey coordinator, IL CAPS Program at the Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, and Diane Plewa, Plant Clinic diagnostician and outreach coordinator, Department of Crop Sciences. Additional support for this program will be provided by Christopher Evans, the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan – invasive species campaign coordinator, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Scott Schirmer, plant and pesticide specialist supervisor, emerald ash borer program manager, Illinois Department of Agriculture.