Sentinel Plant Network Annotated Resource List 

Below is a list of materials to help you with public outreach and how you might use these at your garden. 


Sentinel Plant Network WebsiteThis is your centralized hub for accessing diagnostic materials, First Detector Training Materials, SPN Outreach Materials, and more!  There are even threat-specific checklists developed for Sentinel Plant Network members to help guide you in reporting potential threats to your local diagnostic lab. 

How might you use it:  

  •  Bookmark this website for easy access and to be able to share it with colleagues. 

  • Download full-color digital versions of interpretive signs on specific plant pests and diseases in both English and Spanish, or have signs printed for FREE on aluminum through the Sentinel Plant Network Store

  • Use the Sentinel Plant Network Toolbox to access materials on scouting resources, pest/pathogen newsletters, training resources and more. 

  • Showcase the importance of monitoring for plant threats and your garden’s efforts to proactively maintain the health and biodiversity of ecosystems in your community by sharing that your garden is a member of the national Sentinel Plant Network and share a link to the Sentinel Plant Network website on your garden’s website and relevant printed materials.   


Sentinel Plant Network Scouting Alert Sign-Up:  Scouting Alerts are timely, location-specific email reminders of plant pests and pathogens to monitor in your area. 

How might you use it: 

  • While participants in Sentinel Plant Network Workshops are automatically signed up for these alerts, you may want to share this sign-up form with colleagues and volunteers, especially those that work closely with plants in your garden’s collections. 


First Detector Program:  The First Detector Program is a training program for the early detection of significant plant pests and pathogens. Early detection of threats is the most effective form of defense against significant pests and pathogens before they become established. The network of First Detectors includes people who interact frequently with plants on a daily basis such as public garden professionals, public garden volunteers, master gardeners, extension county educators, and more. 

How you might use it:  

  • Encourage staff and volunteers who are interested in taking on more leadership roles in monitoring of plant pest detection to complete the First Detector training, either online or at a local workshop. 

  • Sign up to receive the First Detector e-newsletters. 


National Plant Diagnostic Network: The National Plant Diagnostic Network is a premier diagnostics system with over 70 diagnostic labs in 50 states and 4 territories (Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa). These labs serve a diverse clientele on a wide array of plant health issues. The NPDN is divided in five regions: Northeast, Southern, North Central, Great Plains, and Western. 

How you might use it: 

  • Find your state’s diagnostic lab for reporting potential threats. 

  • Learn about upcoming NPDN events and workshops. 

  • Sign up to receive the NPDN Communicator (e-newsletter). 

  • View current and past issues of the NPDN Communicator. 

  • Request data from the NPDN. 


Don’t Move Firewood: Don’t Move Firewood’ was developed by The Nature Conservancy building on conversations under the auspices of the Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases. The Continental Dialogue is a group of organizations and individuals that cultivate and catalyze collaborative action among diverse interests to abate the threat to North American forests from non-native pests. 

How you might use it: 

  • Use their resource library to download free posters and kid’s coloring pages to educate visitors on the importance of getting firewood locally where you will burn it. 

  • Visit their firewood map to learn more about state-specific rules, regulations, and pests of concern for firewood users. 

  • Visit their Frequently Asked Questions section to review language you might use to help educate the public on the importance of not moving firewood. 

  • Check out their “August is Tree Check Month” page to get free resources to encourage the public to take 10 minutes every August to check their trees for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle. (The USDA officially declared “August is Tree Check Month” in 2019 to curb the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle.) 

  • Sign up for their e-newsletter to get updates. 


Hungry PestsHungry Pests is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s signature outreach initiative to raise public awareness about the invasive pest threat. The pests targeted by the Hungry Pests initiative are federally regulated invasive species whose introduction into the United States and spread within the country is assisted by the activities of the general public. These pests have the ability to cause significant harm to U.S. agricultural and environmental resources. Through the Hungry Pests website and outreach materials, the public can learn how to Leave Hungry Pests Behind. 

How you might use it: 

  • Check to see if your state has a federal quarantine for any of the USDA’s federally regulated pests, and see if there are any state-level quarantines. 

  • Find the contact information for your state’s State Plant Health Director. 

  • Submit a report of unsolicited seeds and/or inform garden visitors of how they can report any unsolicited seeds they have received in the mail. 

  • Sign up to receive e-newsletter from the USDA on the latest plant health news and information. 


Plant Heroes: The Plant Heroes educational resources are for young adults who share a love of nature and interest in science. The American Public Gardens Association heard about their passion and invited them to join together as a "super team" to detect and combat bugs and diseases that harm plants and ecosystem health. The Plant Heroes scout for these threats and report suspicious sightings to their county extension or local forester, who contacts officials, provides mission details and scientific supplies in order to defeat the bad bugs and diseases.  Materials include activities, comics, field guides, and lessons. 

How you might use it: 

  • American Public Garden Association members can order free printed nature lessons to be sent straight to your garden. 

  • Share the website with parents and educators at local schools, nature centers, forest preserves, nature camps, etc. and let them know that these materials can be downloaded and printed for free. 

  • Read the News section to review a carefully curated collection of recent plant studies, facts, tips, videos, art, articles and ideas worth sharing. 

  • Sign up for the Plant Heroes monthly newsletter for access to the newest lessons, activities, and announcements.