Forest pest first detectors are trained to quickly detect and diagnose early invasive forest pests so that state and federal agencies can control the spread. Species of concern that will be included in 2023 are: spotted lanternfly, tree-of-heaven, round leaf bittersweet, Asian longhorn beetle, emerald ash borer, oak wilt, vining milkweeds including: rough potato, pale and black swallowwort, Russian and autumn olive, European mountain ash, stilt grass, yellow archangel and periwinkle.

Become part of the award-winning Minnesota Forest Pest First Detector volunteer program to help the public find new invasive species affecting Minnesota’s trees and forests, or attend as a refresher for those already active as Forest Pest First Detectors.

How it works

All registrants will complete an online training course in preparation for the in-person workshop. The online course should take approximately 2.5-3 hours to complete, and should be completed prior to attending the in-person workshop. The in-person workshop is 7 hours, and lunch and refreshments are provided. Both online and in-person workshop are required for successful completion of the program.

What you’ll learn

invasive species identification
tree disease identification
reporting methods
common transportation routes for pests

Who should attend

Master Volunteers (Master Naturalist, Master Gardeners, Tree Care Advisors, etc.), tree care professionals, forestry professionals, natural resource professionals, environmental educators, MN Conservation Corps participants, and others. Current Forest Pest First Detector volunteers are welcome but not required to attend.


First Detectors are the front line of defense against likely infestations, and volunteers commit to being available and involved with the program after completing the training. Involvement includes (but isn’t limited to) being accessible to the public for questions, ability to conduct site visits if necessary, and reporting forest pest-related activities.

If you choose to become a Forest Pest First Detector volunteer you must complete the online course and attend a Forest Pest First Detector workshop, and sign a First Detector confidentially form at the workshop. Be sure to notify your instructor that you want to become a Forest Pest First Detector volunteer!

Want to learn about invasive forest pests, but unable to commit to volunteering? Everyone is welcome to attend the training – even if you do not wish to become a Forest Pest First Detector volunteer!

Continuing education units (CEUs)

  • Master Gardener and Master Naturalist continuing education credits

  • MN Tree Inspector Recertification available

  • Minnesota Logger Education Program: 6 hours (workshop)

  • International Society of Arborists:

    • Certified Arborist Science: 8.5 (5.5 for the workshop; 3 for the online course)

    • Municipal Specialist: 8.5 (5.5 for the workshop; 3 for the online course)

  • Society of American Foresters category 1 CFEs: 8.5 (5.5 for the workshop; 3 for the online course)

Forest Pest First Detector workshops are jointly produced and co-sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and University of Minnesota Extension.

This program is a joint venture between Extension, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

During registration you will select an in-person location to attend. All workshops will be from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Wednesday, March 8, Oakdale Discovery Center, 4444 Hadley Ave N, Oakdale, MN 55128, USA
Thursday, March 9, Northland Arboretum, 14250 Conservation Dr, Baxter, MN 56425, USA
Thursday, March 23, Cascade Township Hall, 2025 75th St NE, Rochester, MN 55906, USA

Course Contact

Angela Gupta, UMN Extension Educator of Forestry, agupta@umn.edu (preferred), 507-258-8776 (in a pinch)

Registration questions

Extension Registration, ext-reg@umn.edu

If you experience difficulties logging in

Contact the University of Minnesota IT Help Line at 612-301-4357. Please mention you are using a guest account to register for a non-credit Canvas course.


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