Note: Volunteer support is no longer available through the University of Minnesota. The home organization for the Pesky Plant Trackers campaign is USA-NPN.

Remote video


Become a Pesky Plant Tracker by taking the self-paced, learner-driven online course. You may launch the course at any time and no enrollment is necessary. The free course takes about 2-3 hours to complete.

The course shows you how to:

  • identify wild parsnip and Japanese knotweed
  • be safe around wild parsnip
  • observe seasonal change in plants by inspecting leaves, flowers, and fruits
  • share weekly observations using Nature's Notebook

When you are ready, click button to LAUNCH COURSE

Tech needs: Take the course on an Internet-enabled computer, tablet or phone. The course runs like a slideshow on an Internet browser. Advance through slides that contain text, images, videos, and links to outside resources.

Tech tips: You do not need a Google account or to sign in to Google. However, if you do sign in to Google, the course will save your progress, allowing you to close the browser and return later. If you do not sign in, the course will start at the beginning each time you pull up the URL.

Timing: Take the course at your own pace. Expect to spend ~2 to ~3 hours. Although there is no deadline, completing it quickly gives you more time to participate as an observer. Observations as early as mid-March are encouraged. However, there is no cut-off time. Start observing as soon as you are ready.