Vermont’s Forest Pest First Detector Program will provide free training on June 13 in Montpelier for volunteers interested in scouting for three invasive insects–the Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer and hemlock woolly adelgid–in their communities.

Training will be held from 9:30 am to 4:15 pm at the National Life Insurance Company, 1 National Life Drive, in Montpelier. The rain date is June 14. University of Vermont Extension; Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation; Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service have partnered to offer this program.

Prior to the in-person training day, individuals must complete seven online modules. Training will cover pest biology and identification, survey protocol and tools for sample collection and communications, including how to work with the media and respond to calls from the public about insect pests. Individuals are expected to be able to identify common tree species.

Certified Forest Pest First Detectors must commit to a minimum of two hours per month for one year to respond to screening calls about insect pests, visit sites to collect pest samples and act as a local liaison between their community and federal and state partners. They will receive a toolkit containing a manual, sample-collecting supplies and other tools and reference materials. They also will have access to the National Plant Diagnostic Network’s resources and may participate in additional training and research projects.

Early detection of these invasive pests will help minimize economic and ecological damage to forests and prevent populations from becoming established in the state. First Detector volunteers are on the front line of defense against pest infestations.

To register, contact Gwen Kozlowski, volunteer coordinator at the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program, at (802) 656-6646 or by June 9.  To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, please contact her by June 1. Continuing education credits are available.