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URBANA, IL -- University of Illinois Extension has announced the dates for the 2016 Illinois First Detector Invasive Pest Workshops covering important landscape and nursery pests, diseases, and invasive plants. Workshops will be offered at eight locations in Illinois beginning in January 2016.

Early detection and response is key in managing invasive pests. The Illinois First Detector Workshops, now in their fourth year, are aimed at improving first detector training and invasive species awareness. The workshops will cover new topics on current and emerging invasive plants, pathogens, and insects, along with updates on previous workshop topics.

"We are looking forward to another year of First Detector Workshops and are excited about sharing these new topics with participants," said Kelly Estes, state survey coordinator. "Each year the popularity of these trainings continues to grow, but more importantly, the enthusiasm of the participants grows each year. It's wonderful to see so many people taking an active interest in learning more about invasive species and how plant pests can affect their communities."

As in previous years, these in-depth training sessions will cover material that includes: identification/detection; cycle/biology; hosts; sampling; management; commonly confused lookalikes; and regulation.

Specific course topics will include:

• Your role as a first detector

• Illinois Exotic Weed Act

• Jumping worms

• Boxwood blight/Thousand Cankers Disease update

• Insect forest invaders

Those attending will take part in hands-on activities, which will allow attendees to examine these pests and diseases in more detail.

The target audience includes certified arborists, tree care professionals, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, forestry and natural resource professionals, conservationists, and others with an interest in invasive species.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be available for IAA Certified Arborists, Continuing Forestry Education Credits, Master Gardeners, and Master Naturalists.

Workshops will be held at the following locations:

• Jan. 28 Waterloo 618-939-3434

• Feb. 2 Joliet 815-727-9296

• Feb. 3 Champaign 217-333-7672

• Feb. 9 Effingham 217-247-7773

• Feb. 17 Grayslake 847-223-9288

• Feb. 18 Freeport 815-235-4125

• Feb. 23 Quincy 217-322-3381

• Feb. 24 Springfield 217-782-4617

Those interested in attending should contact the host locations above for registration. A $40 non-refundable registration fee covers instruction, on-site lunch, and training materials. Space is limited.

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