Presentation and Curriculum

Chapter 1 - Introduction


For this training module, you need the following:

  • One boat prepped and ready for entrance inspection demonstration
    • Remove tarps, place the anchor, be sure you can lower the motor or activate a pump
  • WID log on a clipboard and pen, or data collector, for mock inspector
  • Flashlight, mirror, magnifier and brochure for mock inspector
  • Flipchart and markers for discussion after demonstration and presentation
  • Introduction PowerPoint presentation



The introduction module is divided into five activities in a strategic order.  This module sets the tone for the rest of the training, so it is important to begin on time and be engaging, positive and inviting.

  1. Lead instructor welcomes students to class 
  2. Outside demonstration of an entrance inspection, followed by facilitated discussion
  3. Introductions - name, authorized location, ice breaker (e.g. funny fact or hometown)
  4. Introduction PowerPoint presentation
  5. Questions and Answers (we ask students to hold their questions until the end)


The lead instructor should welcome the students to the classroom.  Other instructors should be introduced at this time also.  Instruct the students that we will begin class outdoors. 


Entrance Inspection Demonstration

Following the welcome, class begins with having all students get up and go outside.  The students do not need to bring anything with them – they just need to come outside and observe.  Have everyone get up (and get bundled if it’s cold out) and direct them to the boat demonstration area.  The trainers do a mock inspection in which one person is the boat inspector and the other is the boater (a volunteer from class or another co-worker can be used for the boater if there is only one trainer).   The boater is very nice.  The boater is from all negative waters, no live bait, no ballast, and has a clean and dry boat.  Be positive - Do not start class with an angry boater or a boater that changes his story mid inspection or a high risk inspection.  The mock inspector does a textbook entrance inspection following the step by step procedures perfectly, without commentary, as if no one was watching.  The purpose of this is to begin the class by showing the inspectors what you want them to do after the class, and how the final product should look and sound.

Once back in the classroom, go around the room and have each student tell you one thing that they did or did not observe the inspector do.  All students need to participate.  Do not let them shout out answers, unless the class is really small.  Facilitate the conversation so that each student feels safe participating.  This first activity will set the stage for the participation in the rest of this course.  This also helps the trainer get to know the students and discover which students are already knowledgeable and which ones have no idea what they signed up for.    

The trainer needs to write down every student’s answer neatly on a flip chart.  It is important to acknowledge the participation to create a meaningful training atmosphere.  When the discussion is complete, the flip charts should be posted on the wall.  This will serve as an ongoing reference during the class.   


The demonstration and discussion activity has allowed the class to open up and have dialogue previously, which enables a safe atmosphere for introductions.  At this point that you should have each student introduce themselves, by saying their name, work location, if they are a new or experienced inspector/decontaminator, and an ice breaker item (silly thing about themselves, pets, hometown, etc.).  Once everyone is done, thank them for being a part of the AIS network working to protect our waters. 


PowerPoint Presentation - Introduction

The introduction presentation includes the basic definitions of an invasive species, the importance of education, the regional history and activities, and an overview of western state programs.  The purpose is to give students a basic understanding of the big picture and to convey their importance in the network of people working to protect our waters.  It is also important to convey that the WID system has been tested – this is a solvable problem and we can keep invasive species out.  The intent is to make them feel they are a part of something very important and instill pride for their role in the success of the program.  We don’t have mussels everywhere because inspectors do a really good job!


Students should learn the following in the Introduction module:

  • What an invasive species is and specifically what an aquatic invasive species is
  • That there are more than just zebra and quagga mussels on our radar
  • Program History
  • Sampling and Monitoring Overview
    • Introduce the mussels life cycle in terms of different sampling methods for different life stages.  This will be repeated in the biology section, and again in the inspection section in terms of standing water, sandpapery bumps, attached adults.  This is a difficult concept for inspectors to understand so it is taught a bit differently in different sections.
    • Definitions for Water Bodies – Basis for Containment or Prevention
    • De-Listing Protocol for Water Bodies
    • Positive and Infested waters to watch out for.
    • WIDS – the big picture – lots of stats – pictures of mussel boats
      • Introduce Quality Assurance
      • Research – We are using the data they are collecting to make informed management decisions.  Good record keeping is very important (first mention of log form).
        • Ballast tank research - We are investing time and money to try and solve the most difficult parts of the WID process.  There is new technology to mitigate risk in ballast tanks due to a collaborative research project.
        • Western AIS State Programs – It’s important to convey that not only are we engaged in a multi-jurisdictional program within our areas, but the problem and the WID network extends beyond those in this class.  They will get boaters from other states and questions about other states rules.  This is a great time to introduce the Building Consensus efforts.
        • Education – The most important thing!  We train inspectors and they train the boaters!  That’s how we win this war!  It’s important to get boaters on our side for the protection of their recreation and their watercraft.  And they have a lot of tools available to help them.
        • Safety – It is critical to communicate the importance of safety up front to ensure that students participating in the outdoor sessions are safe and maintain three points of contact with the watercraft.