starry trek

Join us on August 15, 2020!

Starry Trek is a statewide event focused on searching for one of Minnesota's newest aquatic invasive species, starry stonewort (and other invaders). Starry stonewort is an invasive algae that was first found in Lake Koronis in 2015 and has since spread to 14 Minnesota lakes (learn more about starry stonewort and our research here). This event is an opportunity for you and to team up with us and hundreds of your fellow Minnesotans to better understand its distribution in Minnesota. Sign up here to receive updates from MAISRC so you're alerted when registration is open!

What do participants do during Starry Trek?

You will meet at a local training site hosted by one of our local partners where you will receive a brief training on how to identify starry stonewort and other target aquatic invasive species and how to follow the search protocols. Groups are then sent out to nearby priority lakes to follow the protocols and bring back any suspicious organisms. Starry Trek is a free event and no experience or special equipment is required. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

How does participating in Starry Trek make a difference?

In both 2017 and 2018, Starry Trek volunteers discovered new populations of starry stonewort. Follow-up surveys by Minnesota DNR specialists confirmed these new findings in Wolf Lake (Hubbard County, 2018) Lake Beltrami (Beltrami County, 2018) and Grand Lake (Stearns County, 2017). As a result of the Grand Lake discovery the local lake association and MN DNR teamed up in a rapid response plan to remove the small patch of starry stonewort. Other notable finds by Starry Trek participants include the discovery of a new populations of Eurasian watermilfoil in Winona County (2017) and Aitkin County (2019) and a new zebra mussel population in Dakota County (2018). Over 200 Minnesotans have joined in this effort and searched over 200 public water accesses each year since our inaugural event in 2017.

Where can I sign up?

Starry Trek will be held on Saturday, August 15, 2020. Local training sites will be announced in early summer of 2020. Registration will open in summer 2020.

Who organizes the event?

Starry Trek is organized by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and University of Minnesota Extension in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Funding for Starry Trek is provided in part by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Starry Trek is held in coordination with AIS Snapshot Day, an aquatic invasive species search event held in Wisconsin on the same day hosted by the River Alliance of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Extension, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Thanks to our 2019 partners:

AIS Detectors Volunteers • Aitkin County SWCD • Anoka County Parks • Becker SWCD • Beltrami County ESD • Big Stone 4-H AIS Team • Carver County Water Management Organization • Cass County Environmental Services • Chisago County • Crow Wing County • Dakota County • Douglas County Land and Resource Management • Forest Lake Lake Association • Hubbard County AIS Program • Itasca County SWCD AIS Program • Lac Qui Parle SWCD • Lake County SWCD • Lake of the Woods SWCD • Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe • Meeker County SWCD • Morrison County Land Services • Ramsey County Conservation • Sherburne SWCD • St. Croix River Association • Stearns County COLA • Turtle Lake Association • Wright SWCD • Youth Eco Solutions (YES!)