Overview

Pesky Plant Trackers badge, plants and text

Become a Pesky Plant Tracker Volunteer who observes seasonal change in wild parsnip or Japanese knotweed (details below). Volunteers are important! Their observations give land managers important information about when to manage these invasive species.

 

Pesky Plant Tracker Volunteer

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Time & location

Time commitment: 4-6 hours upfront then 5-30 minutes per week

Location: You live near or can easily get to a site with wild parsnip or Japanese knotweed plant(s). Because you will visit this site once a week, ideally from ~March through ~October, think of a place that is convenient.

Citizen scientists observing plants. Photo by Dr. Stephan Carlson

Photo by Dr. Stephan Carlson

Is it right for me?

Being a Pesky Plant Tracker Volunteer is right for you if you can consistently visit a wild parsnip or Japanese knotweed plant at least once a week. The time needed for each observation is ~5 minutes per plant (excluding travel, and ~5 minutes for data entry if you use paper datasheets instead of the mobile app). Before your weekly tracking begins, you will need to complete the training (~4 hours), find a plant to track (~2 hours), and join Nature's Notebook (~20 minutes). See below for details and links to get started.

I'm ready! How do I get started?

  1. COMPLETE THE TRAINING to identify wild parsnip and Japanese knotweed; track seasonal change; and be safe around wild parsnip.
  2. FIND wild parsnip and/or Japanese knotweed. This step is explained in the training.
    • When: Any time.
    • How: Are you trying to find these plants during fall or winter? See these resources!
    • Time commitment: varies, approximately 2 hours
  3. JOIN Nature's Notebook. This step is explained in the training.
    • When: after finding a plant (or plants) which you will track
    • Time commitment: about 20 minutes
  4. TRACK plants & SHARE what you observe. This step is explained in the training.
    • When: ideally once a week (or as often as is convenient)
    • Season: March through August for wild parsnip; March through October for Japanese knotweed
    • Time commitment: ~20 minutes per week
    • How: Use Nature's Notebook mobile app, website, or paper datasheets
    • Note: Protective clothing is required when working around wild parsnip (click for safety information)
    • Optional: attend Pesky Plants events such as Tea Tuesdays for guidance from staff and participants

Other than becoming a Pesky Plant Tracker, how else can I volunteer?

New in 2021, two additional volunteer roles are being planned:

  • The Field Experiment Tracker requires more time than a Pesky Plant Tracker.
  • The Incidental Observer requires less time than a Pesky Plant Tracker.

See details below.

Field Experiment Tracker (pending - see below)

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Coronavirus safety

Currently this opportunity is not available because of coronavirus safety guidelines. This information will be updated if and when field experiment sites allow volunteer access.

Time & location

Time commitment: 3-6 hours per week

Location: You live near one of these Minnesota cities: Cloquet, Grand Rapids, Becker/Monticello, or Waseca

Preferred background: Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists are encouraged to apply.

Common Garden Tracker

Is it right for me?

Being a Field Experiment Tracker might be right for you if can spend 3-6 hours a week visiting a Field Experiment Site, from March through October. The number of visits per week ranges from one to two times, depending on the time of year. This high level of service is only recommended for people who live near the field experiment sites, located in the following Minnesota cities: Cloquet, Grand Rapids, Becker / Monticello, or Waseca.

Before volunteering, staff will train you on how to collect data (~4 hours).

 

I'm ready! How do I get started?

Currently this opportunity is not available because of coronavirus safety guidelines. Please contact Abbie ([email protected]) for information about being a Field Experiment Tracker.

Incidental Observer (details are in development)

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Time & location

Time commitment: 5 minutes, minimum one-time activity, no training required.

Locations: Visit a marked plant. (A map of marked plants is being developed, check back later.)

Using the iNaturalist app to upload a photograph
Photo by Srloarie2 via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Is it right for me?

A map of marked plants is being developed. Marked plants will have clear signage and will be located in high-traffic areas such as parks and trails. Please check back later for updates.

Being an Incidental Observer is right for you if you encounter a marked plant and can upload 2 or 3 photographs of the plant to iNaturalist. This can be a one-time activity, or you may repeat it as often as you like. (For example, if your neighborhood park has a marked plant, take a photo every time you visit. Or, challenge yourself to find marked plants at multiple locations.)

Before participating in this way, join iNaturalist (5 minutes) and learn how to upload an observation (5 minutes). This option requires no training.

I'm ready! How do I get started?

This opportunity is under development. Please check back for a map of marked plant locations.