Lake Lovers Encouraged to Register for Fully Online AIS Detectors Certification
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Lake lovers of any education level are encouraged to participate in the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Detectors Program’s namesake course that is open for registration and fully online for the first time this year. The AIS Detectors certification is an introduction to aquatic invasive species science, identification, and surveillance. Participants learn how to report invasive species to government officials, best practices for preventing the spread of AIS, relevant rules and regulations, and how to search for AIS on their own.
In the course, participants learn how to correctly distinguish between invasive species and their native Minnesota counterparts. The course covers invasive plants including Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla, and starry stonewort; invasive invertebrates including spiny water fleas, rusty crayfish, red swamp crayfish, zebra mussels, and quagga mussels; and invasive fish including bighead carp, silver carp, round goby, and ruffe.
To become a certified AIS Detector, participants must first complete a self-paced online course that introduces them to species identification, the steps to take when reporting a new AIS infestation, and more. The online course can be completed on any schedule and from any location with internet access. The course is estimated to take a total of 6-8 hours, but breaks can be taken at any point. After the self-paced coursework, participants attend two 3-hour virtual workshop sessions led by program staff and AIS experts. Though online, the workshops are highly interactive sessions that allow for discussions, questions, and networking.
The online coursework must be completed before participants attend the workshops, as such we recommend registering at least a week prior to your workshop dates. Virtual workshops begin as early as May 19, 2021 and the last workshops begin June 9, 2021. Learn more about the program and register for the AIS Detectors course by visiting: https://z.umn.edu/AISDetectors-Register.
The AIS Detectors Program at the University of Minnesota is jointly supported by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and University of Minnesota Extension. The program was created with initial funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, ongoing support from the state of Minnesota, and guidance from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The program aims to help protect Minnesota’s life at the lake by empowering community members through its volunteer programs, events, workshops, and other educational offerings.
Pat Mulcahy, AIS Detectors Program Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org