Wednesday, October 16, 2013

VSN Herbicide Training & Testing Workshops 2013

Wednesday, November 20 AND Saturday, November 23, 2013
Registration Deadline: Friday, November 1
Hosted by the Volunteer Stewardship Network and the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Interested in becoming certified and licensed to use herbicides on public lands? All volunteers are invited to attend one of these train/test or test only sessions.

The Volunteer Stewardship Network is once again collaborating with the Forest Preserves of Cook County to offer volunteers an opportunity to obtain their public herbicide application license. There will be two days of training and testing opportunities with two train/test sessions and two test only sessions. The train/test sessions are limited to 50 people and the test only sessions are limited to 24 people. These spots will be open on a first-come, first-served basis with Cook County volunteers given priority, and remaining spots available to other volunteers within the Network.


Wednesday, November 20 and Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wed 11-20-13
9:00 am - 12:00 pm Test only  Capacity - 24
9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Train/Test Capacity - 50

Sat 11-23-13
9:00 am - 12:00 pm Test only  Capacity - 24
9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Train/Test  Capacity - 50


Both the Train/Test and Test only sessions will begin at 9 am each day. You may arrive as early as 8:30 am, but please be prompt for the actual sessions.


All sessions on both dates will be held at the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Volunteer Resource Center located at 6100 North Central Avenue, Chicago, IL 60646. Directions at the end of this flyer.


Please bring your lunch (from noon – 1 pm) and a photo ID and calculator (please note: PDA’s and Palm Pilots are not allowed) for the testing sessions.


You are not required to attend a test session. Check with your volunteer coordinator/leader to obtain a copy of the manual and workbook. Study materials are also available by phone, fax, or mail order. Call 1-800-644-2123 for phone orders. Fax your order to 217-244-3469. To order by mail, write to the University of Illinois, PAT Program, 1201 S. Dorner Dr., Urbana, IL. 61801. Specify when ordering which study materials you would like (i.e., for the General Standards exam and/or for one of the Category tests). Allow 1-2 weeks for delivery. Forest Preserves of Cook County volunteers – order forms for manuals and workbooks are available online when your register.


These training and testing workshops are free of charge, however, the “public not-for-hire” herbicide licenses are no longer free. The cost is $15 for an Operator license and $20 for an Applicator license. Payment will be due to the IL Department of Agriculture AFTER the workshop when the agency/volunteer receives their application in the mail. Payment will be required when they return the signed application form. Volunteers may want to check with their agency on a possible reimbursement for this cost and to make sure payment is included with their follow up application form.


Please note: The Illinois Department of Agriculture does not send out renewal or retest notices until mid-November. If you are unsure if you need to re-test, contact your volunteer coordinator/leader first, then contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Springfield office 217-785-2427.


Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. We will try our best to accommodate everyone.

Volunteers outside of the Forest Preserves of Cook County must register with Karen Tharp at by Friday, November 1, 2013. When registering, please provide: date of session requested (train/test or test only), name, phone number, landowner/sponsoring agency, what license you are pursuing (Operator or Applicator), if you are getting an Operator license, what is the name of your Applicator. If you are getting an Applicator license, what additional category you will be taking (Right-of-way and/or Aquatic). Questions call 1-866-876-5463 or Volunteers for the Forest Preserves of Cook County must register online at

Keep in mind, the training session is only a refresher. More space will be available in the test only morning sessions.

If possible, volunteers should study on their own and sign up for the test only session. The training Powerpoint presentation is available to those who want to study on their own, contact Karen Tharp at ktharp@tnc.or for a copy.


If you want to get licensed but are unable to attend these sessions, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) and Cooperative Extension Service offer other training and certification clinics, and testing is available at the IDA office in Springfield 217-785-2427 and De Kalb 815-787-5476 during the week. For training opportunities, contact the Cooperative Extension Services at 1-800-644-2123 or visit their web site However, please try to take advantage of this special training for VSN and Cook County volunteers, if at all possible.

* * * * * * * *

Volunteer Resource Center (VRC), 6100 N Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60646. Driveway, on the west side of Central, is marked by Forest Preserve sign which reads Mathew Bieszczat Volunteer Resource Center. Follow the driveway to largest, oldest Tudor cottage style building on site.

From the North, take I-94, exit at Touhy West. Take Touhy to Carpenter (Central) Ave (traffic light) and turn left onto Carpenter. Follow Carpenter/Central past Caldwell and after Prescott turn right into the VRC driveway.

From the South, take I-94, exit at Caldwell West. Follow Caldwell to Central Ave (traffic light) and turn left. Past Lehigh on Caldwell and after Prescott, turn right into the VRC driveway. Alternatively, take I-94 until exit to I-90 (stay to left) toward O’Hare Airport. Exit at Central Ave North and follow Central past Elston Ave; cross the North Branch Chicago River bridge and turn left into the VRC driveway.

From the West, take I-90 to Nagle Ave. Turn left from the exit ramp traffic light, cross the Expressway and turn right onto Bryn Mawr (traffic light). Follow Bryn Mawr to Central Ave (traffic light) and turn left. Take Central past Elston Ave; cross the North Branch Chicago River bridge and turn left into the VRC driveway.

From the East, follow Peterson Ave. across the Edens Expressway (I-94) where the road becomes Caldwell. Follow Caldwell to Central Ave (traffic light) and turn left. After Lehigh and Prescott, turn right into the VRC driveway.

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