Building community around AIS monitoring and response efforts has been a key component of the AIS Detectors program, starting when new Detectors cohorts form and continuing through community events like Starry Trek. Having a space to share ideas and learn from each other has helped Detectors become better stewards of our lakes and rivers. However, our community building opportunities were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, so the AIS Detectors team set out to create new networking events that could help connect people around topics related to AIS issues.
Along came the Detector Connector! The Detector Connector is a monthly social gathering hosted by the AIS Detectors team. Each month, the team announces a theme for folks to discuss. Previous discussion topics have included broad ideas like AIS monitoring and focused discussions around specific AIS, like zebra mussels. Held on the first Friday of each month, the Detector Connector Zoom provides a forum for people to share ideas and resources and enjoy their morning coffee together. Detector Connectors are held virtually, so participants can join the discussion from all across Minnesota and beyond!
Since the Detector Connector launched in January 2021, each gathering has drawn over 30 participants and featured great conversations and knowledge exchange. Each month, AIS Detectors volunteers ask each other questions, share their ideas, discuss successes and challenges of their work, and interact with AIS Detectors staff. We’ve also had MAISRC researchers join in on the fun! Participants have consistently indicated that they want to connect with people they have met during Detector Connectors to continue the discussion.
Interested in joining the conversation? The Detector Connector is held on the first Friday of every month and is open to anyone who has completed the AIS Detectors Core Course or AIS Management 101. Note that registration for the AIS Detectors Core Course is now open! You can learn more by visiting the course registration page or the AIS Detectors FAQ page. We hope to see you soon!