Become A First Detector
First Detectors are volunteers who are on the front line of defense against high risk forest pest infestations. Vermont's Forest Pest First Detectors program prepares these volunteers to meet, work with and educate the public about exotic tree pests. The following volunteer position description provides an overview of the responsibilities of a Vermont First Detector. The position description is also available as a PDF.
Basic Skills or Education Required
Able to identify common tree species.
Willing to be contacted by and work with the public.
Able to visit sites and collect pest samples, if necessary.
Have regular access to the internet and e-mail.
Report invasive pest related activities on a quarterly basis.
Willing to sign a volunteer agreement.
The Forest Pest First Detector program prepares volunteers by providing training on technical information about the most wanted tree pests and how to be an effective First Detector.
The training takes place both online and in a face-to-face meeting. The online training consists of 7 modules and is expected to take about 55-60 minutes to complete. We ask participants to complete the online training before the in-person training, which will last 6 hours.
First Detectors will be given a toolkit that includes a manual, hand lens, ruler, sample collection supplies, and mounts of ALB and EAB.
Below is a sample of the types of information a First Detector will receive:
- Pest biology
- The potential impact of the pests on Vermont's forests
- Screening for potential pests
- Sample collection
- Working with the media
First Detectors will be required to sign up for at least one town. Some communities have two First Detectors. The map below shows the distribution of First Detectors around the state.
First Detectors are expected to commit to a one year term, with an opportunity to continue. Participants are expected to respond to monthly requests for assistance from program coordinator, as well as requests from the public.
Be on the front line of defense against forest pest infestations.
Keep up to date on forest pests threatening VT’s forest.
Prepare your community from infestation- the earlier we detect an infestation, the better the outcome.
Interested In Becoming A First Detector?
Contact Caitlin Cusack at the University of Vermont Extension at 802-656-7746 if you are interested or have questions about the program.