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Volunteer training for AIS detection to begin in April

MINNEAPOLIS — Registration is now open for AIS Detectors, a new volunteer network and science-based training program launched by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center in partnership with University of Minnesota Extension.

Participants will learn how to properly identify and report new findings of aquatic invasive species such as starry stonewort, zebra mussels, round goby and others. After being trained, AIS Detectors will serve a critical role by helping the Department of Natural Resources respond to reports of possible aquatic invasive species, weeding out false positives, being on the lookout for new infestations and providing outreach to their communities.

The program is ideal for motivated adults over the age of 18, including aquatic invasive species managers and inspectors, lake association members, Master Naturalists, and anyone else who has a desire to learn more about AIS. Detectors will learn how to identify 11 aquatic invasive species that are threatening Minnesota, as well as their common lookalike species.

The program consists of a self-paced online course and one in-person workshop. When registering, participants will choose their workshop date and location.

Options include:

• Andover on April 21;

• Mankato on April 28;

• Detroit Lakes on May 4;

• Alexandria on May 5;

• Grand Rapids on June 2;

• Bemidji on June 9;

• Brainerd on June 16.

The course fee is $175, which includes unlimited access to the online course, a printed training manual, the full-day in-person workshop (including refreshments and lunch), an AIS identification field guide, and networking opportunities with other AIS Detectors and experts.

To learn more and to register, please visit www.aisdetectors.org.

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