AIS/IPP Certification



Why Certify?

Certification is central to the work performed by Invasive Plant Patrol volunteers. By certifying IPP volunteers, LSM can ensure that their submitted data is accurate and scientifically credible. LSM offers three tiers of certification to IPP volunteers (IPPers). Each tier represents a volunteer’s deeper understanding of aquatic invasive plants, survey methods, and quality control. LSM values the data submitted from certified volunteers and keeps it as public record.


Certification also comes with perks.

Certified volunteers receive lifetime technical support from LSM, assistance with plant identification, data quality control & quality assurance, discounted admission to our joint annual conference, and access to our statewide network of like-minded volunteers. As a thank you to their hard work and dedication, LSM gives special recognition to volunteers for every five years served.

Tiers of Certification

Tier 1 – IPPers are eligible for Tier 1 certification after attending a Plant Paddle workshop. Tier 1 IPPers have demonstrated that they know about the threats of aquatic invasive plants, understand basic plant structure and botany, and can determine whether a plant is suspicious or not. Tier 1 certified IPPers learn how to use and receive a Quick Key  upon attending a Plant Paddle.

Tier 2- A more advanced level of certification, Tier 2 Ippers have a greater understanding of aquatic plant botany and identification and survey and screening methods. Volunteers can become Tier 2 certified by viewing IPP 101 and completing its attending quiz, plus attending a Live Plant ID workshop. Tier 2 certified IPPers learn how to use and receive a copy of LSM’s Field Guide to Aquatic Invasive Plants upon certification.

Tier 3- Tier 3 is the highest level of certification offered by LSM. This Tier is reserved for those who want a master-level understanding of aquatic plants and ecosystems. Tier 3 certification is obtained by attending an Advanced Plant ID course and passing a written exam. *Tier 3 certification is currently on hold until 2025.*

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