Invasive species workshops planned
The 2017 Illinois First Detector Workshop on invasive plants, diseases and insects is scheduled to be offered at eight sites throughout the state beginning in January.
One of the workshops is planned on Jan. 26 in Makanda. Information is available by contacting Maggie Rose at 618-687-1727.
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 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.
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 are also available. Workshops run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.