Forest Pest First Detector Program

In response to the growing threat of invasive pests to Vermont’s forests, state and ferderal partners working with invasive tree pests identified a need to nurture local leaders to assist with ongoing outreach, education and local planning and surveying efforts. To address this need, the partners came together to develop Vermont's Forest Pest First Detectors (FPFD) program. First Detector volunteeres are on the front line of defense against pest infestations.

                      Watch a video clip on First Detectors from the documentary, Invasion Vermont!

Program Goals

The goal of Vermont’s FPFD program is to create a group of well-trained, committed volunteer leaders at the community level to:

  • Increase public awareness about the threat of tree pests to Vermont’s forests.

  • Serve as a local ‘expert’ on the tree pests.

  • Help coordinate local volunteer efforts.

  • Assist their community prepare for and respond to invasive forest pest infestations.


Forest Pest First Detector Program Brochure (PDF)

Role of Forest Pest First Detectors

First Detectors serve as a liaison between the general public, their community leaders, and federal (APHIS) and state partners (Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and University of Vermont Extension).

Key Responsibilities: 

  • Spread the word to community members, town officials and local businesses.

  • Help their community prepare for an infestation.

  • Assist with coordinating volunteer pest surveys.

  • Assist federal and state partners with screening potential pest sightings in your community.

Contact a First Detector in Your Community

If you have questions about forest pests or think you may have spotted a suspicious looking pest contact a First Detector in your area.  Currently there are 147 volunteers representing over 110 communities in Vermont.

Upcoming Trainings

We just wrapped up our 2014 trainings and will offer the next Forest Pest First Detector trainings in the Spring of 2015.  We are more than happy to schedule a training if you already have a group of interested folks.  Please contact Elise to discuss options.

Learn more about how to become a First Detector


First Detectors in the News

VPR News--Vermont Prepares for the Arrival of Emerald Ash Borer

Across the Fence--the Forest Pest First Detectors Program

Farming Magazine--Peril of the Pest


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