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We need your help:

Become a Vermont Invasive Patroller!

Early detection is vital to protecting Vermont’s water bodies from harmful invasive plants and animals.  With more than 800 lakes and ponds throughout the state, volunteers play a key role in our surveying efforts.  Vermont Invasive Patrollers (VIPs) monitor water bodies for new introductions of invasive species and report their findings to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Volunteering as a VIP

We ask volunteers to:

  • Participate in a VIP workshop to learn how to identify and survey for aquatic invasive species;
  • During the summer, survey for the presence of invasive plants and animals in a local lake or pond (or a section thereof); and
  • Notify DEC staff of their survey(s) and submit suspicious samples for positive identification.

VIP map

VIP Workshops

A VIP workshop spans two to five hours.  All workshops include introductory presentations and hands-on time with plant and animal specimens in the classroom.  Longer workshops also include “field” time on the water to learn survey techniques and practice plant identification skills.  Specific topics addressed include:

  • The fundamentals of lake ecology
  • The difference between native, exotic, nuisance and invasive species
  • How invasive species are introduced and established
  • How to identify common aquatic plants and animals, both native and invasive (the latter will be emphasized)
  • How to conduct surveys for invasive species in their natural habitat


VIP Logo

group of people in canoes at a VIP training session

person in canoe conducting an aquatic plant survey
person using hand lens to identify an aquatic plant
man looking at plant samples at a table

2015 Workshop Schedule




VIP Workshop - National Life Annex

190 Junction Road, Berlin, VT

Friday, June 12th

9:30 am - 2:30 pm
Registration is Closed

VIP Workshop - Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

4472 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes, VT

Friday, June 19th

9 am – 3 pm

VIP Practice Survey - Lake Memphremagog

Newport, VT

Friday, June 26th

10 am – 12 pm


Registration is required.

Participants are required to bring their own canoe or kayak to participate in the Montpelier and Newport field sessions.  Please indicate on the registration form if you are unable to bring your own canoe or kayak, or if you have an additional boat you’d be willing to share. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee participation in the field portion if you do not have your own boat available.

Canoes will be provided by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum for the Vergennes field session. 

If you have any questions, please contact Bethany Sargent.

Host a VIP Workshop

Do you have a group of volunteers interested in becoming VIPs? If so, consider hosting your own VIP workshop!

It’s helpful if you can provide:

  • An indoor venue with electricity
  • A nearby waterbody that can be paddled, preferably with an existing invasive species infestation, such as Eurasian watermilfoil, suitable for plant survey field training
  • Canoes and/or kayaks and personal flotation devices (i.e. life jackets) for as many participants as possible.



If you’re interested in becoming a VIP or hosting a VIP workshop for a group of volunteers in your area, please contact Bethany Sargent at or (802) 490-6129.


VIP Resources


person identifying aquatic plants

VT DEC Watershed Management Division 1 National Life Drive, Main 2   Montpelier, VT 05620-3522   Tele: 802-828-1535    Fax: 802-828-1544

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