Training & Certification

IPP Workshop

Invasive Plant Patrol Field Workshop

Since the first Invasive Plant Patrol (IPP) workshop in 2002, the VLMP has trained thousands of individuals to screen Maine waters for aquatic invaders. The program was specifically designed to engage widespread participation by individuals with varying amounts of time and expertise to commit to the endeavor, from those who simply want to be more knowledgeable when they are out recreating on their lake, to those who are conducting and leading comprehensive lake wide surveys.

If you are interested in attending an IPP workshop and or joining the volunteer team, please contact VLMP. Check out our workshop schedule for all our workshop offerings, and for more information on becoming a certified monitor visit our Invasive Plant Patrol page. To become a Certified Plant Patroller you must have participated in at least one IPP 101 workshop (or equivalent training), complete the questionnaire (only the portions that apply) and sign the statement of commitment. The VLMP will provide all certified patrollers with standardized field sheets and an ID card.

If you or your group is interested in hosting or sponsoring a workshop, please contact us at 207-783-7733 or vlmp@mainevlmp.org.

 

Workshop Summaries

IPP Plant Paddle

The Plant Paddle is a 3-hour guided exploration that takes place on shore and on the water. This is a fun, informal way to learn about Maine’s native aquatic plants, as well as the invasive aquatic plants that threaten these beautiful and ecologically-important habitats. Participants will each receive a free “Quick Key to Ruling Out Maine’s Eleven Most Unwanted Invasive Aquatic Plants,” and will the practice skills needed to spot suspicious plants while out recreating on the water.

Invasive Plant Patrol 101

Formerly known as ‘Introductory IPP’ this comprehensive, 6-hr classroom experience prepares attendees for conducting or leading invasive aquatic plant screening surveys and satisfies the quality assurance requirement for IPP certification. All IPP training sessions are open to the public and FREE to anyone interested in learning more about the threat of invasive aquatic plants in Maine.

The workshop is presented in four parts:

• Overview of invasive species issues in Maine and beyond

• Plant identification fundamentals

• Plant identification hands-on exercise with live plants

• Conducting a screening survey, tools and techniques

All workshop participants receive an “Invasive Plant Patroller’s Handbook,” and Maine’s Field Guide to Invasive Aquatic Plants.

Advanced Plant Identification

This workshop picks up where IPP 101 leaves off, with more emphasis on learning the ecology and the distinctive physical characteristics of the native plants that inhabit Maine’s lakes and ponds. Attendees will hone their identification skills with live specimens, and have the option of participating in an Aquatic Plant ID Proficiency Certification exam. Bring plants from your favorite lake, pond, or stream to identify and share with others. This is a botany fest of epic proportions! Previous exposure to plant identification (e.g., attending an IPP 101 workshop) is helpful, but not required.

Manual Control Methods for Invasive Aquatic Plants I & II

If invasive plants are not removed, contained and disposed of properly, the removal project may cause more harm than good. This two-day training program is specifically geared for certified SCUBA divers, divers using surface supplied air (SSA) and non-divers providing surface support for invasive aquatic plant control projects. Part I provides an overview of manual control efforts in Maine and detailed instruction (including in-lake practice) for on manual harvesting and benthic barrier techniques.  Part II focuses on Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting (DASH) equipment and techniques.  Participants who complete Part I of this course qualify to become a certified member of Maine’s IAP Manual Control Team and also meet the requirement for participating in IAP control programs that receive State funding. Completion of Part II is required for those who will be participating in State funded IAP control projects involving DASH.

For information on the date and time of this year’s workshops visit our Workshop Page.

Survey Field Methods for Invasive Aquatic Plant Screening

This workshop is for those who have already attended the basic IPP training and would like some guided field experience before setting off to conduct an invasive plant screening survey. Bring your own shallow draft boat or contact VLMP to make alternative boating arrangements. Previous attendance of an IPP 101 workshop is recommended but not required. Please note: Courtesy Boat Inspection training is available as an add-on at some of our IPP Field Methods workshops. Please see the CBI workshop listing below for more information.

Courtesy Boat Inspection Training

Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI) workshops will cover everything needed to become an effective Courtesy Boat Inspector and play a key role in Maine’s IAS prevention effort. You will become familiar with Maine law pertaining to the transport of invasive aquatic plants, practice inspecting boats and equipment for plant fragments and other potentially invasive organisms, be exposed to the basics of CBI documentation, learn how to spot a suspicious plant and what to do with it, and discuss ways to actively engage boaters in Maine’s prevention effort. VLMP Courtesy Boat Inspection training, when offered, is scheduled in conjunction with an IPP Field Workshop or an IPP Plant Paddle. Attendees may participate in one or both portions of these two-part workshops.

View Scope Clinic

This engaging hands-on clinic is a must for anyone working to build and equip an IPP team on their favorite waterbody. The workshop provides expert instruction, scope-building materials, and the necessary tools to construct a variety of view scopes. Scope kits are available at cost for easy assembly at the workshop, and additional kits may be purchased for home construction.

How to Lead an IPP Plant Paddle

A workshop for trained Plant Patrollers, Lake Team Leaders, and Regional IPP Leaders who wish to expand community involvement in local early detection efforts. Plant Paddles are short (2 – 3 hour) events that take place on shore and on the water, and provide a fun and informal way to introduce community members to the threat of IAP and the importance of early detection. This workshop will provide you with everything you need to organize and lead your own community event.

Leaders’ Roundtable

The purpose of this meeting is to bring together the knowledge, experience, and ideas of trained Invasive Plant Patrollers who are playing critical leadership roles in their communities for an exchange of strategies and ideas aimed at building volunteer early detection programs. Individuals interested in learning more about Maine’s Invasive Plant Patrol and forming IPP teams in their communities are also welcome to attend.

The Invasive Plant Patrol workshops are made possible in part by boater participation in the Maine Lake and River Protection Sticker program.

Thank you for helping to keep Maine lakes free of invasive aquatic plants!

Our Mission

The Mission of the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program is to help protect Maine lakes through widespread citizen participation in the gathering and dissemination of credible scientific information pertaining to lake health. The VLMP trains, certifies and provides technical support to hundreds of volunteers who monitor a wide range of indicators of water quality, assess watershed health and function, and screen lakes for invasive aquatic plants and animals. In addition to being the primary source of lake data in the State of Maine, VLMP volunteers benefit their local lakes by playing key stewardship and leadership roles in their communities.

More...

The VLMP is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to the collection of information pertaining to lake water quality. For 40 years, trained volunteers throughout Maine have donated their time so that we may all learn more about one of Maine’s most beautiful and important resources — our lakes.