BEMIDJI -- The University of Minnesota is seeking volunteers in the Bemidji area for its Pesky Plant Tracker program.

Pesky Plant Tracker is a volunteer program that empowers citizen scientists to identify, observe, and report on invasive plants in their area, a release said.

The program, created by the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center at the University of Minnesota, focuses on invasive wild parsnip and Japanese knotweed, two significant invasive species in the state.

Pesky Plant Trackers collect valuable information on these species by observing and reporting seasonal changes in leaves, flowers and fruits. This data informs MITPPC research on the control and management of these species.

The observation season for these plants runs from March or April through October, so winter is the best time to get trained. Training includes the basics about invasive plants, resources for locating plants near you, identification tips for wild parsnip and Japanese knotweed and instructions for data collection. Trainings are entirely online.

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Becoming a Pesky Plant Tracker is free and open to anyone. Additional details about the program and registration information are available at mitppc.umn.edu.