2017-2018 LRCC Conservation Journal

The Lakes Region Conservation Corps (LRCC) develops skills and experiences for conservation professionals. LRCC members are the driving force behind the Squam Lakes Association’s conservation efforts. The program provides hands-on conservation work experience and numerous certifications over a broad range of areas, which ensures that LRCC members are capable of independently approaching a variety of tasks in the environmental conservation field. Members remove invasive species from the Squam watershed, manage and act as caretakers at our backcountry campsites, maintain the SLA’s 50+ miles of trails, educate the public on local and regional conservation initiatives, spearhead reports on conservation efforts, lead SLA volunteer crews and ensure the daily functioning of the Squam Lakes Association’s programs. 

Learn more about the LRCC program here. 

To view the most recent journal submissions, click here.

To view Conservation Journals from previous summers' Squam Conservation Internship, click on the links below.

      2017

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     2013

May 11, 2018

Erin

This year in New Hampshire we seem to have not had a spring season at all. I’ve been trying to take all of the seasonal changes in stride because this climate is completely new to me, but I’m told this is not normal. Which makes sense I suppose, considering our lake thawed out and then about 2-3 days later we were hitting 85 degrees… No complaints here though, because I live for the summer! It just means here at the SLA we went from doing desk work 3 or 4 days a week to needing to suddenly completely transform our campus for tourist season!! Trails needed to be re-opened, our boat Calypso needed to be re-decked, mud that we ripped up plowing has to be smushed back into the ground, planning for terrestrial invasives removal day, ramping up summer water quality monitoring, servicing all of our scuba diving gear, and getting ready for our new AmeriCorps members to join! All of this amidst now frantically checking myself for ticks every time I feel the slightest tickle since they seem to also be enjoying the new warm weather.

Did I mention I’m excited? Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and the sun is shining. I think I used to take summer for granted in Texas because it’s sort of summer 8 months out of the year. Now it means that we get to really dig into what I feel like our Lakes Region Conservation Corps will do best, field work. With our crew being comprised of former Squam Conservation Interns, Intern Managers, JSLA camp counselors, and some brand-new AmeriCorps members to mix it up, I think this is going to be one of the SLA’s most epic summers yet.

It’s also a whole new season for us alums to learn even more new skills, something I always think we can’t keep topping. Last week I learned how to install decking on Calypso as I mentioned, and for two days this week we’re doing ax and trail work training through the US Forest Service (USFS) so we can work on USFS land! I don’t think I’ll be able to squeeze my resume onto one page anymore by the time I’m done here, and I couldn’t ask for a prettier area to be working in to get it done.

Erin is from Dallas, Texas. She graduated from the University of Austin where she majored in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavioral Biology. Click here to read Erin's bio.

May 4, 2018

Becca

This is a two-part journal about why I love serving at the SLA followed by how much I have grown to love the state of New Hampshire.

Part 1: Why I love serving as an AmeriCorps member for the SLA  

As winter finally winds down and spring slowly rolls in I have had lots of time to reflect on all of the amazing things I accomplished throughout the last 6 months. Learning how to operate a snowplow, skiing for the first time in 10 years, walking out on a frozen lake to do water quality, compiling and analyzing all of our 2017 milfoil data, and doing trail work with multiple feet of snow on the ground is the short version of the story. There is something else that I was able to do this winter though that I did not expect to enjoy nearly as much as I did and that was having the opportunity to attend a number of different conferences and workshops. My last journal touched on this topic as well, but since then… you guessed it, I attended yet another conference and I think this one was my favorite of them all!

A few weeks ago I attended Saving Special Places, a land conservation conference in Alton, New Hampshire. I chose 2 different workshops to attend, one on creating story maps and the other about tips for recruiting and working with volunteers. Both of these had the wheels in my head turning about ways I could better serve the SLA. The keynote speaker was inspirational and extremely enthusiastic about conservation and how important it is for communities to connect with the land surrounding them. I spoke with a number of people after the workshops, during lunch, and even on my way out when I overheard two people talking about a concert I was interested in going to. Conferences are not only a place for me to learn new skills and ideas to bring back to the SLA, but also a place to connect to the dedicated and passionate conservation community. I am looking forward to attending even more conferences this summer!

Part 2: I love New Hampshire

If you have consistently read all of our journals you probably know by now that I’m from Chicago. My life back home was vastly different from the life I lead in New Hampshire. Out here there are no music venues half a mile from me or restaurants and shops on every street corner. On the flip side, back home there are no mountains for me to hike, climb, or ski down and certainly no entirely frozen over Lake Michigans for me to walk out onto. I traded in the concrete jungle for something that more closely resembles a real jungle and I couldn’t have made a better decision in doing so.

Last weekend I finally checked something off the list I made early last summer, titled “things to do in New England” when I went rock climbing at Rumney Rocks! For years I had wanted to learn how to climb, but never really found the time or opportunity to do so. Shout out to Melissa, SLA’s Community Engagement Coordinator, for finally taking me there and showing me the ropes (pun most definitely intended).

So what I’m getting at here is that New Hampshire has slowly become a second home to me. Living here as opened up my eyes to many new experiences and opportunities I did not have back home. If it weren’t for finding the SCI program back in April of 2017 I would have never realized just how incredible this place is. I may not be living here for much longer, but I definitely know the skills I learned and the experiences I gained will be with me for the rest of my life. Oh and I’ll always have a beautiful lake to come visit!

Becca is from Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University with a BA in Biological Sciences and a minor in Environmental Science. Click here to read Becca's bio.

April 27, 2018

Kyle

We’ve hit the half way point in the program and with it one member’s term has ended, and two others have a brief reprieve before they begin their second term with the LRCC at the SLA. The SLA cottage where we have been living is dead quiet. I love it. Don’t get me wrong, living with roommates is great but solitude is important too. There’s certain stressors that aren’t debilitating but contribute to some emotional weight when you share a room with someone else. The stressor could be something as benign as trying to stay quiet in the morning when your roommate has a day off. It’s not something I would think twice about doing when sharing a room, but the freedom to get out of bed with thirty different variants of stretch noises is true freedom. It’s not that I need to be obnoxious when I wake up, it’s that I can be without affecting anyone else. Though, I’m usually the last one awake in the house so I could groan all I want when I wake up… But it’s different now! Maybe… Either way it’s been a nice break from the hectic mornings in the kitchen. I do miss them, but most of them will be back.

We did have a nice potluck to commemorate the end of the first LRCC group to go through SLA’s new AmeriCorps partnership, but once all the left-over bean dip was eaten it was back to the ol’ grind. Winter is finally stepping back and giving the grass some much needed sunlight and we are getting everything ready for the summer term and our new members. I’m looking forward to some familiarity in the region. I do love winter; I think it’s absolutely gorgeous, but it’s a lot like eating Mac N’ Cheese. It’s delicious, but I don’t want it for every meal.

We’ve been able to work a lot more with school groups thanks in part to our fantastic new director of education, Leigh Ann. Being with the kids rekindles my joy of watching them learn and become inquisitive about nature. Just the other day Connor and I went to Holderness Central School to participate in the After-school Care and Enrichment (ACE) program and one of the kids there had never heard of a peregrine falcon. “WHAT! Peregrine falcons are SO COOL let me tell you EVERYTHING I can possibly remember about them.” This kind of knowledge sharing is my favorite. It’s all good and well to learn about peregrine falcons in school or by reading but catching those teachable moments when they are most relevant is so much better. It creates a memory seed. As you get older and learn more, these seeds grow into huge trees of knowledge and the idea that I may have helped cultivate the landscape of the mind is inspiring.

We all have our struggles and kids are no different. The scale of an issue may change, but the emotional impact it has is just as real. If you are ever feeling down just remember that someone somewhere is having a near mental breakdown because they can’t draw a photorealistic bald eagle at the age of 7. Which happened that same day. Twice. It’s important not to shrug something like that off and think “well they’ll get over it.” They will, but those types of emotions are tender and usually have some other underlying reason for appearing. In this case it was because the student felt as if they couldn’t participate in the activity because they were unable to draw perfectly. The remedy was for me to attempt to draw a bald eagle outline so that they could color it in. It worked beautifully, and I hope that minor victory added on to many others like it to create the foundation of “maybe this can be fixed” thinking. That’s the same thinking that goes into conservation and stewardship. Small victories add up and instill confidence in an idea, whether it’s drawing or protecting a watershed. I’ll happily wake up quietly in the mornings if it means I get to do that every day.

Kyle is from Rochester, New York. He is working towards a degree in Chemistry from SUNY Oswego. Click here to read Kyle's bio.

April 18, 2018

Maggie

The winter season is coming to a close and weather is starting to get warmer. With the ice slowly disappearing, I was finally able to canoe out and clean the duck boxes to prepare them for the future nesting wood ducks on the lake. Not only does warm weather mean getting out on the lake to canoe and swim, but it also means wildlife is returning. Every morning as I walk to work I pause to listen to the different birds that are starting to return for the spring. This has only amplified my excitement for the coming season here at the SLA. With wildlife returning and plants beginning to sprout, the need to be proactive when it comes to looking out for invasive species is a must.  Ben and I have worked on planning a watershed wide terrestrial invasive plant removal day. We have worked with the surrounding towns to organize this event kicking off the removal season in May. I am happy to be staying on for another term as a member of the Lakes Region Conservation Corps. Starting on May 21st I’ll learn how to scuba dive to help the SLA’s initiative to remove the aquatic invasive plant, variable milfoil,  from the lake. We will continue working on terrestrial invasive plant removal, doing trail maintenance, running educational programs, and working on individual projects, and so much more.

Based on all the work we were able to get done this winter and how exciting it was to be a part of this new program, I can't wait to see how the energy here changes as warmer weather comes.  The past months serving with the SLA provided me with so many valuable skills and experiences, while introducing me to the conservation field, and seamlessly transitioning me from academia. Being around the incredible staff at the SLA has changed my perspective of what it means to be a conservation professional. The variety of things I learned from my months of service is endless and with that I will be forever thankful to the SLA.  Learning how to drive a boat, winterizing boat engines, taking on large scale projects, aiding in conservation initiatives, running educational programs, and being a part of our expanding terrestrial invasive removal program are just a few of the many things I have done while being here. Thank you to this wonderful organization, I can't wait to see what the summer brings.

Maggie is from Swampscott, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. Click here to read Maggie's bio.

April 10, 2018

Ben

This week was the final week of my Lakes Region Conservation Corps contract, and so I wanted reflect on the experience in this journal. A little while back, around the AmeriCorps week of service, a few of the LRCC members here at the SLA were interviewed by an AmeriCorps VISTA member. He asked us some fairly generic questions about our service, including “Why did you want to be an AmeriCorps member?”, and at the time I just stuttered something out about serving within the community. While it wasn’t the worst answer for being totally off the cuff (you know how it is when someone unexpectedly points a camera at you), looking back at it I don’t think it was a correct response either. To truthfully answer the question about why I wanted to be an AmeriCorps member, well, I’d have to say I didn’t know. When I first got into the program, I had no idea what it really meant to be a part of national service. Some of the parts of the position description sounded interesting but didn’t quite encompass the opportunities and experiences I would be a part of as an LRCC member.

In the last almost half-year since I arrived in New Hampshire I have been able to do so many incredible things within this amazing community. Not only have I developed my own skills and professional experience, but the integration of conservation, education, and sustainable access that the SLA promotes allowed me to be part of something further reaching than just that. It’s been a unique opportunity being able to connect all sorts of people, from our dedicated volunteers to folks here to enjoy the lake for the first time, with the environment around them. Rather than asking why did I want to join AmeriCorps in the first place, I think the better question would be why did I sign up again? Even though this winter/spring term with the LRCC is all but over I’ll be back again for the summer/fall program, excited to continue the service work that has become such an important part of my life. All that said I am really sick of the snow and cold, so if it could hurry up and turn into summer by the time I get back in May that would be great.

Ben is from Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from the College of Wooster with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Ben's bio.

April 2, 2018

Connor

As the weather is balancing between above and below freezing between daytime and nighttime, respectively, New Englanders are becoming crazed with Maple Sugar Madness, a diagnosis I made up as a Midwesterner. It’s a great time of year to utilize one of nature’s blessings for the process of collecting sap and making syrup, and this year in particular seems to be great for this activity. This past weekend, the Squam Lakes Association, Squam Lakes Conservation Society, and Lakes Region Conservation Trust put on a Maple Sugar Day event at Burleigh Farm to celebrate the wonder and beauty of all things maple sugary. It was a great day to showcase all of the effort that goes into processing sap into syrup. There was plenty of maple sugar tasting that left me wired for the better half of the next day. While I was at this event, I kept thinking to myself, “Why haven’t I been more involved with this before?” I certainly had the opportunity while I was in college in Minnesota; I could have even taken a single credit course titled “The Natural History of Maple Syrup”. While I complain about this, I should say that I actually have had the opportunity to make maple syrup two springs ago, through the generosity of our Executive Director, EB James. I guess I’m just a little sad that I don’t do enough of this. I have Maple Sugar Madness envy.

Another side of the weather effects around New England this time of year deals with mud, probably my least favorite thing about spring. The magical atmosphere of winter is withering away and being replaced by soft, mushy, muddy aspects of early spring. This is an important time for us as a conservation organization to get the word out about environmental sustainability, especially for our trails that we maintain. Around this time of year, the trails become very fragile and delicate, as the ground is very soft and there still are some icy patches where the snow had been packed down from previous hikers. Seeing partial ice on the trails, hikers will want to walk around those areas to get to their destination. However, when people walk off of the trail boundaries when the ground is soft and muddy, it begins to pack down and close up the spaces between all of the living matter under the soil. This prevents the surrounding vegetation to acquire the necessary amount of nutrients from the soil that they need to thrive. Above ground, the trail path begins to widen and more rocks and roots become exposed, leading to erosion. Due to the nature of this issue, the SLA closed its trail last week and is encouraging the public to stay patient so that our trails can stay in good shape for future public enjoyment. Visit our page to learn more about this. In the meantime, I will be lamenting as the snow disappears and the temperatures rise.

Connor is from Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Saint John’s University in Minnesota with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Connor's bio.

March 22, 2018

Erin

As much fun as office and field work has been this winter, it’s really nice to have the weeks interlaced with events like conferences, committee meetings, and service days. We’ve had a lot of opportunities like this lately and I think it’s helping save my sanity until actual spring arrives, not this icy in-between stuff.

This past Friday we got to take part in the AmeriCorps Service Day as the second newest AmeriCorps program in New Hampshire. It was another awesome opportunity where I got to learn more about the extensive programs under AmeriCorps like AVAP and VISTA. We also got to bond more at our various service sites with SCA, or the Student Conservation Association, which is a similar program to ours, as they do a lot of hands on conservation work throughout the state. They rough it wayyy more than the members do at our wonderful Conservation Cottage, so I think we all got a better appreciation for how comfy our housing is. I got to spend my morning volunteering at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, helping them clean out some of their education prep rooms. We got to watch one of the animal care staff train one of their turkey vultures, which was super cool. It was really fun to spend a day helping out somewhere that works so closely with animals.

The other recent breakup from the snow and ice was a meeting this past Monday with the SLA Conservation Committee. Myself and a few of the other AmeriCorps members got to sit in and talk about the projects we’re working on with those on the committee. It was awesome to get to have discussions about what efforts will be the most beneficial for the Squam Lakes and how to go about getting them done- the past few months we’ve mostly been working on developing our projects, so talking about how to actually implement them was really exciting for us.

I’m really excited as we approach the summer season to see how all of the time we’ve been putting into our projects will come into fruition- I’m sure some things will work well, others will fail, and some things will have to be completely re-designed. This is both the curse and blessing of hands-on conservation work and I think we’re all looking forward to the challenges.

Erin is from Dallas, Texas. She graduated from the University of Austin where she majored in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavioral Biology. Click here to read Erin's bio.

March 15, 2018

Meghan

It’s been a while since I had the privilege of writing a Conservation Journal, and I’m sad to share that this will be my final contribution, as my time here at the Squam Lakes Association will come to an end in the beginning of April. So it seems fitting to present my highlight reel from this AmeriCorps program, funny stories and poignant moments to give you a glimpse into the countless things I’ve learned in my time here.

Independent projects have been a staple for us LRCC members since the beginning. I know I’ve said before that water quality is one of my biggest intellectual curiosities, so naturally I ended up with three independent projects that fit under that umbrella category. I’m particularly proud of the work that I (along with my fellow LRCC member Ben) have put in to the Toxics project. The two of us have learned how to write a Quality Assurance Protection Plan (QAPP) for the EPA, extensively read academic literature, and created a toxins sampling plan for this upcoming summer. This project has a special place in my heart because it helped me solidify my future academic goals. I’m excited to observe from afar the extensive collaboration (shout out to our friends at the Loon Preservation Committee and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services) that will occur on this wonderful lake!

This AmeriCorps program has also further solidified my need to work in an outdoor environment. From the miles walked through the forests, along the Crawford Ridgepole Trail, clambering through the caves at the top of Mount Morgan, and trekking through Chamberlin Reynolds by the light of the blue-blood-super moon. I’ve always been a kid who loved being outside, and the addition of snow this winter made time outside even sweeter! Becca and I were the two designated snow people during this past Nor’easter, and I’ll tell you, there aren’t words to describe standing in the middle of the Chamberlin Reynolds West Parking lot at 5:30 in the morning in the complete silence, continually spinning in circles to try to soak up every last glimpse of the snow globe. Besides being so pretty to look at and so distracting when trying to get work done while it’s peacefully falling, snow also helps us to keep better track of the natural world around us, through the preservation of tracks!

Connor and Ben are both working with the app iNaturalist, and therefore all seven of us eagerly look for wildlife and tracks to catalog. One morning, every single employee of the SLA ended up crowded around the glass doors in the Great Room, staring out into Piper Cove. There was a bit of open water near the big rock at the entrance to the cove, and two bald eagles were circling, trying to catch a poor duck. The duck kept diving while the eagles sat on the edge of the ice waiting for it to come back. Ultimately, the duck never resurfaced. In less gruesome news, Erin, Connor and I have seen so many different tracks on our hikes - chipmunk, turkey, rabbit, dog (not wolf, Connor...), raccoon, and other various birds.

Before becoming an LRCC member, I was completely clueless in operating a chainsaw, splitting wood, driving a plow truck, all things regarding ice safety, using a Microsoft Access database (shout out to Erin and all the hours spent with the water quality data that our volunteers collect, we appreciate you!), maintaining and creating a trail network that minimizes erosion and increases public access to the watershed, and shoveling out a composting toilet. I promise you this program has taught me even more than that, but excessive lists are tiring to read. I’m honored (but also nervous) to have the privilege to speak at the AmeriCorps Service Week event at the State House this Friday. Hopefully I can paint an eloquent picture for everyone else in the room so they can comprehend how amazing the life of a Lakes Region Conservation Corps member is!

I couldn’t be more grateful for the five months that absolutely flew by at our little paradise of a lake, and I know this place will continue to draw me back for visits for years to come. Hopefully see you all at the Ridge Race in September!

Meghan is from Sleepy Hollow, California. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in environmental studies. Click here to read Meghan's bio.

March 8, 2018

Becca

Over a week ago I complied a list of all the potential topics I could write about in my next conservation journal. That list included 12 different things, only one of which I will actually mention in this entry because since then I added even more things to that list that I found to be more important and relevant. I guess what I’m trying to say is there are always endless amounts of projects, activities and events to write about and picking and choosing between them isn’t easy. I would write about them all, but I don’t think anyone really wants to read a 10-page paper about my experience as an LRCC member. So here’s what I settled on…

This past month I had the opportunity to attend two different events that both tie directly into the independent projects I am working on. The first was the New Hampshire Land Trust Coalition Annual Meeting and Workshop. The workshop was centered around ways to find balance when hiking on some of the most popular trails throughout the state of New Hampshire. Here we heard three different perspectives on trail management. The first was a talk about Concord City Trails given by Beth Fenstermacher. Some of the issues they face are vandalism and waste being left on the trails (dog poop, for example). They are working to combat these issues both with the police and with a group of very enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers. Next, we heard from our very own, Brett Durham, about the issues we at the SLA face with the overuse of Old Bridle Path up to West Rattlesnake. Finally, we heard from Wendy Weisiger of the Society for the Protection of NH Forests. The trails leading up to Mount Major and Monadnock Reservation were the two topics she discussed. These both receive a high volume of people on a daily basis and with that comes a lot of waste and damage to the trails. Social media and engagement with volunteers are two ways to try to overcome some of the damage done on the trials.

This all ties into one of my independent projects, the creation of new kiosks at trailheads and on our islands. Wendy talked a lot about Leave No Trace and having proper signage for the trails. With a high volume of people hiking our trails it is important for people to be well informed about the land they are on and ways they can still enjoy the trails, but with careful use. With inspiration I derived from the workshop, I hope that upon completion our new kiosks will be engaging and informative, aesthetically pleasing, and successful convey our mission and message.

The other event that I attended was the 19th Annual Maine Milfoil Summit. Prevention, early detection and removal of invasive species were three of the main topics discussed, all of which we do in here in the Squam Lakes Watershed. This was a great opportunity to connect with others who share the same passion for the eradication of these nasty invasive species.

Finally, I couldn’t end this journal without mentioning where this wonderful group photo came from. The SLA partnered with Waterville Valley Resort for another ski day on February 28th. This event allowed our members and staff to ski at a discounted rate and gave us, the AmeriCorps crew, a chance to meet new people and discuss the work we do here for the SLA. A number of members attended and we engaged with non-members as well, many of whom entered the raffle that Pam organized. A big thank you to Waterville Valley for bringing together the SLA team and members for a day of skiing! I think this picture sums up my continued excitement about winter in New England! I never thought I would say this, but I don’t want winter to end just yet...

Becca is from Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University with a BA in Biological Sciences and a minor in Environmental Science. Click here to read Becca's bio.

March 2, 2018

Kyle

With such a large space between journal entries it is easy to cherry pick the best moments of a month or a couple weeks and relate them to the SLA mission in a positive way. The ease of attaching great moments to the SLA’s mission is a good thing. It exemplifies that the service we are completing is directly related to the mission and that it shows that our efforts create great moments, as any good experience should. However, I don’t really believe that the best moments are a good example of why our work as AmeriCorps members is so important.

Many of our best moments come after overcoming a challenge, and our jobs as conservationists is to overcome those challenges. I would never want to diminish successfully conquering a difficult task, but I truly believe that it’s what you do to finally reach that success that matters. For instance say your goal is to make a great salad. You go to the store and you buy all the necessary ingredients and you make a salad that turns out delicious. You succeeded in your goal, but it wasn’t very difficult. Compare that to someone looking to make a great salad who grows their own vegetables and makes their own dressing. Even if it is the exact same salad, the journey to get the second is much more rewarding than the first. But then you have to take context into consideration. What if the person who made their own salad ingredients has lived a lavish life and was easily able to afford and maintain a nice garden, and the person who bought the ingredients from the store did so with their first paycheck after living on the streets for years? The more I think about these types of situations the more I realize that it’s the comparison itself is an issue. Both worked hard in different ways and both are happy with the outcome. The only possible way you could begin to understand something like this is through comparison.

So is comparison bad? Absolutely not. But, comparing yourself to others is bad. You should compare yourself to yourself. That’s the only way to really understand your limits. Constant success probably means that you’re likely not living up to your full potential. Constant failures probably mean that you aren’t learning or changing in any definable way. Failure that eventually becomes success is perfect. It means that you shot high, you missed, and you learned and grew enough from that failure to transform it into an eventual success. That right there is a great moment. At the point of failure you know your limit and can identify what needs to change in order to succeed. That’s my favorite type of moment.

You may be wondering how this relates to our work as AmeriCorps. It’s the journey. It’s everything that happened before the salad. As AmeriCorps members we have a goal, much like the salad maker. Our goal as members is the same: to “get things done for America”. But our paths are all different. Our experiences, even if they are the same, are all seen from a different perspective. It’s how we build ourselves and how we learn from our mistakes that form us into our ideal self, and AmeriCorps allows us to do that. It seems kind of selfish to say that my best moments are when I’m helping myself, but if I can’t figure out how to improve myself then there is no way I am going to be able to help someone else. That’s why AmeriCorps is so great. You can do both simultaneously. Compare that to any other job and ours is the best! Actually, don’t do that.

Kyle is from Rochester, New York. He is working towards a degree in Chemistry from SUNY Oswego. Click here to read Kyle's bio.

February 26, 2018

Maggie

Winterfest was a huge success! After all our hard work preparing for the event it was so amazing to see how many people showed up to support the SLA. It's always a cool experience to see all your hard work pay off. The days leading up to the event were filled with clearing the ice ricks, shopping for supplies, picking out names for the trail mix cookie competition, building the bonfire, creating the mini golf course, and so much more.

Everyone at the SLA played a crucial role in making Winterfest go so well. Ben, Connor, and I took on the job of creating the mini golf course. We had a lot of fun planning out the course and making each hole unique. With bridges and tunnels and finally a snowman to end the course, it was amazing how well it turned out. Meghan and Kyle started out the day being the grill masters making sure there was plenty of food to feed our guests. Erin, Becca, and Katri helped organize cars and make sure people knew where to park. I spent the early half of Winterfest taking footage for a video that Kyle and I will edit together to show winter activities at Squam. I also helped to make sure things were running smoothly, from helping chili servers, to heating water for hot chocolate, to helping the grill crew. This being my first Winterfest, I was expecting it to be a lot of people but I was pleasantly surprised with how many people actually showed up!

Although initially overwhelming seeing all of our guests show up all at once, the SLA staff was well equipped to take on any challenge the day brought and we were able to ensure that it went smoothly. The event was well planned out thanks to all the help from our wonderful staff and volunteers.

Helping the SLA with an event that further connects the community and this organization was inspiring. Having the opportunity to complete my service at the SLA, where staff are dedicated to conservation efforts around the watershed and ensuring that the public continues to enjoy the natural beauty and resources of the Lake, has been incredible. After participating in Winterfest it was amazing to see the support that we have from the community. I loved being a part of Winterfest and can't wait for future events at the SLA!

Maggie is from Swampscott, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. Click here to read Maggie's bio.

February 15, 2018

Ben

There are many differences between winter up here in New England and “winter” back home in North Carolina. Of course, there is the snow and the lakes freezing over, as well as the constant snow removal that comes with it (you might take it for granted, but being able to drive to the grocery store a few hours after it stops snowing is still kind of a magical thing to me). The most interesting difference, however, has been how active the community stays through out the winter. In the south when it gets cold and kind of snowy, we mostly just retreat back inside and wait it out. Up here folks keep taking advantage of all of the amazing outdoor opportunities year-round. They just trade out the running shoes for skis, boats for snowmobiles, balls for pucks, and carry on.

I’ve been able to try a lot of these winter sports and activities for the first time, and have had some great experiences continuing our goal of balancing access and stewardship through the past month. For example, the LRCC got the opportunity to join the Lake Winnipesaukee Association and the Lakes Region Conservation Trust for a morning of cleaning up trash out on the ice. After the big ice fishing tournament that happened over the weekend, we expected to have our hands (and bags) full picking up trash left over. We ended up, after scouring most of the large area of Center Harbor Bay that the anglers occupied, barely finding any trash on the ice and leaving almost empty handed! It’s amazing to work in a community that not only stays active throughout the winter, but also stays mindful of the environment as they are out there enjoying what the Lakes Region has to offer.

We are looking forward to hosting our own event, the 21st annual Winterfest, to share this appreciation for the lakes and the community. Along with all the rest of the preparation that goes with it, I’ve gotten to add one more life skill to my portfolio: designing and building a miniature golf course. The course, constructed out of snow, is one of the many treats planned for this Saturday and, more importantly, has opened up all kinds of career options for me if this conservation thing doesn’t work out.

Ben is from Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from the College of Wooster with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Ben's bio.

February 8, 2018

Connor

We certainly get to do a lot of different activities within our service time, which allows us to experience the area in a multitude of ways. I really enjoy hiking in New Hampshire; hiking is something I never really got a true taste of growing up in Iowa. The challenging hikes up to the rewarding views of the landscape are always a great to experience. So, when we were faced with tackling personal projects at the SLA, I was excited to work on a project involving the trails that the SLA maintains within and around the Squam watershed. The project includes updating our signs and blazing, determining alternate trail routes to prevent erosion, and profiling our trails to provide useful information to the people accessing them. It’s a great project, ambitious as it may be, since we need to collect the correct mileage for each of our trails while we’re also taking on other important tasks such as winter water quality and our educational programs for the public. That being said, if people are looking to get involved with the SLA, it’s a great project that could use their help. With the help of volunteers, we can map out our trails in a much shorter time span, while also spreading the SLA’s mission. I encourage anyone interested in helping with this project to contact Melissa Leszek.

Onto a different New England experience I had recently, the SLA had a Ski Day generously hosted by Waterville Valley this past Saturday. The day was an opportunity for SLA members to gather together for a fun day out on the slopes, I partook despite my lack of skills on the slopes. I had never skied before, and have only snowboarded on the bunny slopes in Colorado when I was about 12, so I was pretty nervous about how this day was going to turn out, but I was determined to have a good time. I decided to stick with snowboarding, but was quickly questioning my decision as I tried to move around with only one foot strapped in. I was the awkward person that caused a backup on the first lift because I couldn’t move efficiently towards the chair. When I did eventually get on the lift and exit at the top, I waited nervously as others went on ahead, looking for a gap in the crowds so my embarrassment wouldn’t be as severe. When I was ready, I descended (probably too quick) and tried to turn on my toes. It didn’t work. I fell about 3 times within the first hundred feet of the slope, and then realized I could go down nicely if I just braked with my heels most of the way. This method was repeated throughout the day on slopes of higher difficulty and I eventually got used to going down the slopes, but I was still very hesitant to try any turns on my toes. That will have to be a project for next time. All in all, I had a great time, and I’m extraordinarily grateful to Waterville Valley for providing the opportunity.

Connor is from Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Saint John’s University in Minnesota with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Connor's bio.

February 2, 2018

Maggie

It’s been awhile since I last wrote a journal. So much has happened! From chainsaw training, winter water quality, the ice harvest, getting my car stuck in the driveway (again), to taking part in a Wilderness First Aid training course. I can say that every time it comes to writing a new journal I struggle to figure out how to sum it all up. Luckily my fellow LRCC members have talked about winter water quality and chainsaw training so I can go right into my experience with Wilderness First Aid.

Wilderness First Aid (WFA) training was both informative and incredibly fun. This past weekend, Ben and I took part in a WFA course at the Holderness School. I must say that it was not what I was expecting. I was prepared to sit in a lecture all day. To my surprise we spent a marginal amount of time being lectured by our instructor but the rest was all acting out scenarios, which was really fun!

With fake blood and costume makeup in hand our instructor picked out people who would be the patients. I had the opportunity to be a patient several times. It may seem kind of silly to act out specific scenarios, but it was a great way to learn. I went from being unconscious and unresponsive in cold water, to being attacked by a bear and going into shock, to choking on bread, to having a radius and ulna fracture. In each of these scenarios I had different levels of consciousness and my course mates had to figure out what happened to me. Using whatever materials they had on hand, they worked together to assess the situation and care for my injuries.

The first scenario in which I acted in I “fell” off high rocks into a stream. My head was above the imaginary water but the rest of my body was submerged. I was supposed to be unconscious and unresponsive with a head wound. The group had to lift me out of the “water.” It’s kinda scary and slightly uncomfortable to be lifted by a group of strangers. I was worried they would drop me. Luckily I was not, and they proceeded with a patient assessment. For the bear attack scenario, I had possible internal bleeding on my lower abdomen with an injured arm and a head wound. All of this trauma caused me to go into shock. It was interesting pretending that my vitals were high, then higher, and then dropped causing me to become unconscious. I learned that’s the tell-tale sign of someone going into shock. When it came to the scenario in which my arm was fractured, my teammates had to properly put my arm in a splint. They used a rigid support item, excess clothing as padding, and a large jacket for a sling to successfully stabilize my arm.

All of these experiences as a patient made it easy to transition into being someone doing the care. When it came to assessing injuries, figuring out how to correctly splint a leg, to lifting a victim and moving them to a safe location, I found myself very calm and confident in my ability to successfully complete each scenario our instructor put us into. In just two days I learned a lot of new and very useful information. Thankfully I now know the steps, I know what to look for, and I know that as long as I remain calm and collected I can help when it is needed.

Maggie is from Swampscott, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. Click here to read Maggie's bio.

January 29, 2018

Erin

We recently did a couple of training days for something I can honestly say I never thought I would attempt- chainsaw use. This was a sort of surprise addition to our LRCC training, and was much needed due to the large amount of trees blown down on trails, and the large piles of logs that need to be cut up to use for firewood at our campsites.

I’d be lying if I said the days leading up to the training weren’t slightly nerve-wracking, and I even began to worry that the chainsaw would be too heavy for me to hold for extended periods of time… We were given homework to read- two several hundred page long manuals, which were of course dry but very informative. Training day began with a slideshow about safety, then slides about cleaning the chainsaw, then more slides about safety, then even more… and then in the last two hours of the day we actually started to use the chainsaws. And you know what? Something about reading 300+ pages and sitting through 6 hours of safety training about a topic actually made me very ready to begin doing it, and I was not nearly as nervous as I had been that morning.

We started with just starting the chainsaw (which proved to be the challenge I wasn’t expecting..), and then actually began cutting up some logs! Sweating despite the cold, I successfully cut off a small limb from a tree downed in the parking lot. Of course I got a few safety corrections from Brett, because there’s a lot to remember, and it may sound like a small feat, but it was still a good feeling. We went on to practicing on larger logs as well.

The reason I came back to the SLA to serve in the LRCC program was because, despite the love/hate relationship I have with this, I am always pushed outside of my comfort zone. Always safely, and always with plenty of encouragement, and always to do things I never thought I would be doing. I think it’s had a huge impact on what I feel confident in pursuing in the future, and overall makes me a much better conservationist. A lot of the challenges ahead and conversations we need to have to protect the environment will take us out of our comfort zones, and I think I’m getting a great head start.

Finally, to give you the best portrayal of that day, I’m including a picture of Brett standing next to me and lecturing everyone about something I did wrong. Cheers!

Erin is from Dallas, Texas. She graduated from the University of Austin where she majored in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavioral Biology. Click here to read Erin's bio.

January 24, 2018

Meghan

As I’m sure you’ve heard from lots of other LRCC members who’ve written recently – winter is in full swing over here on Squam Lake. I know that Kyle and Becca have both highlighted the ice harvest, so I won’t explain it all over again, but just know that it was really cool. As a young child, I read all the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder – and they do a harvest for the ice-house in those, so seeing it in real life was awesome.

The wondrous activities of last week continued with winter water quality, ice safety, and chainsaw training. I’ve already written a conservation journal about water quality during the rest of the year, which I really enjoy, and doing it on the ice is even better. Rebecca and Katri were on skis, and the rest of us were snowshoeing along out to the Piper Cove site. Ben did a great job with the auger and sampling went pretty smoothly. I’m looking forward to getting to explore the rest of the lake via the ice – hopefully checking off every single water quality monitoring site (I didn’t manage to get them all during open water season). Ben and I also had a positive experience with the snow blower (and trust me when I say positive experiences with that machine are sort of hard to come by) clearing our two ice rinks out in front of headquarters. And then the rain came and sort of ruined all of our hard work, but anyway. Hopefully the skating rinks will be back in business soon, and definitely for Winterfest, which is coming up in a month!

Chainsaw training was another highlight of last week, my parents do not generally trust me with dangerous machinery, but I did all of my reading to prepare, crushed my safety quiz, and feel confident in my ability to safely operate a chainsaw. We even got the chance to practice on a tree in the field that was flattened during the last windstorm. Hopefully soon we will able to apply these skills out on the extensive SLA trails network, I know that there are downed trees blocking several trails that we are anxious to remove. It’s always a fun and productive use of time to add new skills to our repertoires. I think that’s something that this AmeriCorps program has really shown me – because I’ve had countless opportunities to learn new and useful skills from each and every one of the staff members at this organization. I’ll be back soon with another Meghan update, but until then – let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! 

Meghan is from Sleepy Hollow, California. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in environmental studies. Click here to read Meghan's bio.

January 15, 2018

Becca

After spending 2 weeks back home in Chicago where it was just as bitterly cold as it was back here in NH I returned feeling even colder, more tired and very stressed about catching up on work I missed. My second day back I went into the day with a list of things I needed to accomplish, but little did I know I was in for much more than just a day filled with catching up. That afternoon I got to witness one of the coolest things I have seen here on Squam. All 8 of us were back in the same room for the first time in almost three weeks and we were ready go see the Ice Harvest that Rockywold Deephaven hosts. I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant, but I was excited because this was the first time I would be stepping foot on a completely frozen over lake. I had no idea I would feel like I just stepped into one of the scenes from my favorite Disney movie, Frozen.

There are many steps that need to happen in order to harvest the ice. First an area had to be measured, individual squares were cut out most of the way down and then a chainsaw was used to cut the perimeter of all the squares. From there, the blocks of ice were pushed over to one side, each one was separated using a large ice pick. The blocks of ice were put on a conveyer belt and then finally moved onto the truck to be transported to the ice house. I watched all of this with amazement. If that smiling face doesn’t scream happiness I don’t know what does. I did not want to leave the ice that day. I could have watched this process all day long.

Each season I’ve spent here has brought new opportunities to learn about everything that takes place on the lake. I love having the opportunity to connect with other people and organizations that also work on Squam. Winter has proven to be just as interesting, beautiful and challenging as the last two seasons have been. This was hands down one of my favorite days as an LRCC member so far and I’m looking forward to many more experiences to come!

Becca is from Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University with a BA in Biological Sciences and a minor in Environmental Science. Click here to read Becca's bio.

January 10, 2018

Kyle

To be honest, it can sometimes be difficult writing these journals. It’s not because there’s nothing to say or that I can’t find the words to describe what we’re doing, it’s because sometimes you get so swept up into the flow of things it can be jarring to stay still and reflect on everything that’s been going on in your life.

Our lives as LRCC members are very cumulative. We are constantly learning or being trained in new skills that either help us develop even more new skills or are something we need to keep in our ‘talent toolbox’, ready to be whipped out at a moments notice. It’s a lot like math. Both require a lot of information that needs to be deeply ingrained in order to properly grow as an expert. Some of these skills are incredibly important to know, but will hopefully never have to be used such as how to properly act if you fall through ice on the lake.

The unfortunate thing about being taught or reading up about something new is that it isn’t truly learned until it is put into practice, and most times practice lends itself to mistakes. That’s how we learn. It can make the learning process slower when we cannot make those mistakes, such as dealing with thin ice on the lake or with chainsaw training. The learning process needs to be halted the instant the scale tips towards ‘incorrect’ in order to be safe. Luckily for us, there aren’t that many skills at that level.

A recent learning experience involved ice harvesting at Rockywold Deephaven Camps. It was fantastic. It was right after the cold snap so the ice was in good form. The other LRCC members and I donned our microspikes and set off onto the ice. It’s comforting seeing a truck and multiple huts sitting safely on the surface. Once we got close enough to see the actual ice being harvested any doubt about being on the surface of the lake were pushed aside as fifteen inch cubes bobbed by with hooked poles following closely. As always, you can never be one-hundred percent sure about being safe from falling through ice (unless you are at a skating arena), but in this situation any fear or trepidation was instead replaced by a low-key vigilance.

Watching the workers cut the ice and move it into the truck had me thinking about how much time, effort, pain, and practice went into ice harvesting. The first people to do it were pioneers of the skill and had to learn everything through practice. Almost all skills with any amount of danger or attention to safety had to start somewhere. It becomes beautiful when you realize that the accumulation of generations upon generations of knowledge learned and taught allow us to be in the position we are today. Safety standards and precautions are there for a reason, and some people in the past may have unfortunately lost their lives practicing skills such as ice harvesting. But humans learn best from mistakes and seeing where things go wrong. It’s important to embrace mistakes when the consequences are low, and to appreciate knowing when to stop when the consequences are high.

At the end of the day I can say that I am proud to be another link in the chain of knowledge that grows between each generation, and I can’t wait to help the younger generations build upon what I learn.

Kyle is from Rochester, New York. He is working towards a degree in Chemistry from SUNY Oswego. Click here to read Kyle's bio.

January 8, 2018

Ben

I recently returned from visiting family in Florida, and it was eye opening. For starters, when I flew back to NH the air temperature effectively dropped 70 degrees over the course of a few hours. This was shocking, to say the least, but I promise I’m still happy to be back. As someone who is lucky enough to be working in the conservation field, however, another aspect of the trip really stood out to me. We spent some time at the state parks in the city, and as we hiked or biked around an overwhelming proportion of the plants and animals we came across were invasive species. I was particularly taken by how many non-native reptiles we saw (iguanas, Cuban anoles, curly-tailed lizards, etc.), but there were invasive species of all different shapes, sizes, and taxonomical classifications. While Miami is significantly different than Holderness (for many, many reasons but particularly because its climactic similarities to the tropical regions many of these invasives originate from) it still struck me as a poignant example of the impact of invasive species. This suite of exotics completely changed the landscape, replacing mangroves with scrubby pine forests or making once common native species a rare site, and were devastating the ecosystems that made Florida special.

This is all to say that it’s a new year, and with it the SLA is tackling many new projects related to conserving what we love about Squam, including the threat of invasive species. In particular, terrestrial invasive plants are now in our scope, but we need all the help we can get to make our projects successful. The first step in solving any problem is identifying its extent, to understand the presence of these invasive plants in the watershed. I have been working with the other AmeriCorps members to make the tools to assess these invaders available for our community, to allow volunteers to contribute to the project on their own time. So stay tuned for news about a helpful guide to the terrestrial invasives in the Squam Region, using your smart phone to report their locations, and programs where you can get directly involved in invasive removal efforts. I’m not saying you have to make it your new years resolution, but I bet it’d be easier to learn what Japanese Barberry or Oriental Bittersweet looked like than it would be to give up chocolate! The choice is yours.

Ben is from Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from the College of Wooster with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Ben's bio.

January 5, 2018

Connor

Well we can say that we survived the holidays on Squam despite the annoyingly-timed snow storms. It was my first time spending the holidays away from home, and I mostly spent my time removing snow from SLA-maintained facilities and locations. Nothing better than shoveling 6 inches of ice-covered snow. But I don’t want to complain about it, I’d rather like to focus on the positive aspects of the events. I’ve reestablished my plowing proficiencies and upgraded myself to a plowing Jedi master. I can do that because I said so. The final task in my leveling up process was probably the point in which I had to dig the plow out of the snow because I got the truck stuck. But whatever, now I know (and knowing is half the battle). It was also fairly enjoyable just to drive around the lake between clearing out parking spaces for our trail network, even if the roads were a little snowy and slippery; it helped keep us awake. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the generosity of E.B. and his family for inviting Kyle and me over for Christmas Eve dinner. It was an awesome gesture and definitely made me feel more at home.

After Christmas Day, I thought I deserved quite the break, so I spent nearly all of last Tuesday under the covers of my bed, watching cartoons with a heating pad on my back. It was pretty much everything I needed. But then I eventually decided to go back to work… on Thursday. The full time staff were still away, so it was a great time to do some painting in the offices, an activity I rather enjoy and find quite relaxing, mostly due to the fumes and lack of air circulation. But I kid again. And I again wonder why I didn’t take a before and after picture of the rooms, because I was pretty proud of how they turned out in the end. We often forget to do the same for sections of trails after we exclaim, “Wow, it looks so good!... Did anyone take a ‘before’ picture?” But now as I write this, the full time staff have returned, and the offices are not so quiet as they were the previous week. Actually, they might be a little more quiet because there isn’t the sound of my podcasts blaring as I paint offices.

Connor is from Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Saint John’s University in Minnesota with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Connor's bio.

January 2, 2018

Maggie

Completing my AmeriCorps service during the winter at Squam has proven to be full of new experiences. My newest acquired skill is using the snow plow. Driving the big truck with the plow on it has definitely been something to get used to. It's always a bit of a shock getting into the driver seat, the sheer size of the vehicle makes me feel very small. But it also makes me feel powerful when I can just clear my way through any snowy obstacle. It’s something I’m going to enjoy getting better at over the next few months.

The start of winter allows me to participate in one of my favorite activities, winter birding. Everything is so quiet and pristine in the winter, creating perfect conditions when it comes to listening for bird calls, even if you get pretty cold in the process. I had the wonderful privilege of running an Adventure Ecology program last week called Wingin’ It in the Winter.  I taught about winter birds frequently seen in the Squam Lakes region. I'll have to say, being able to teach the participants about something I love was an experience that I am so thankful to have had. Teaching about each of my favorite birds, tricks when it comes to identifying them, their calls, songs,  and the important role birds play in our ecosystem, was really cool, and to have five enthusiastic participants made it even better. Environmental education has always been something I have wanted to do. It's something that is deeply important to me. Finding fun ways to communicate with the public about how interesting the environment is can be a very rewarding experience. I was lucky to have run a successful program and I hope I was able to show my guests how wonderful birds are. Having run my first Adventure Ecology program made me excited to keep running more in the future. For my next program I will teach participants about invasive species, hopefully it is as successful as the birds!

The snow seemed to not want to stop as we approached Christmas. I drive a small sedan without four wheel drive. I feared for the worst when it came time for me to leave for the holiday. I was stuck in the SLA parking lot, so incredibly stuck. Every time I went to move my car the wheels just could not get any traction leaving me feeling hopeless and stranded. I prepared to call my mother telling her I was not going to make it for Christmas when Connor and Kyle saved the day. As I sat in my car defeated and incredibly frustrated Kyle came running to the rescue with the plan to tow me out of the parking lot with the truck. It was a glimmer of hope. They attached the back of my car to the truck, I put the car in neutral, and Connor drove me out. It was so amazing that it worked. Some may even call it a Christmas miracle. To try and avoid ever getting that stuck again (wishful thinking?) I decided to go buy snow tires for my little car. Now, hopefully, I'll be slightly more prepared for driving in poor conditions!

Maggie is from Swampscott, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. Click here to read Maggie's bio.

December 22, 2017

Erin

I’ve just come home to Texas for a few days for Christmas, and boy howdy is there a slight difference in weather... I went shopping in flip flops yesterday, I think that says enough. I was telling my parents about trail work up in the Crawford-Ridgepole Trail network, and they said if my water bottle was freezing it should be too cold for trail work! They were joking of course, and thankfully I’ve been taught very well by everyone at the SLA how to dress so warmly for outdoor work that I actually sweat on a lot of the below-freezing days.

I wish I could show them how beautiful and peaceful it is hiking in the snow. The other week we hiked Algonquin, and while there wasn’t snow on the ground in Holderness, once we got up to the ridge there was about a foot of snow on the ground. After a while of hiking, we began to see a lot of poop (like A LOT)… then a lot of giant hoof prints (horses?)… then some clumps of rough fur, and we realized we had to be hiking with a group of moose!!! If you remember from my earlier journal, this is one of my main goals while in NH, to see a moose. So I begin to run ahead in excitement only to be reminded by everyone that I probably don’t want to run upon a bull by myself. Slight disappointment that we never did come upon any, but it was an amazing introduction to the new world that comes in winter.

It’s my favorite thing to do during our snowy hikes, look along the path for different animal tracks and things. Last week while hiking the new Fisher Ridge trail we saw two big areas in the snow where some deer must have bed down for the night. It was really cool to see how they had chosen a spot that was perfectly hidden from all sides because it was down in a little valley along the path. I’m convinced I saw some wolf tracks along Undercut Trail the other day, although they could have been a large coyote. But the cutest by far are the mouse tracks! You can always see their two tiny feet, and they can’t jump high enough to get all the way out of the snow so they just sort of make a little trudged path with foot stamps in it along the way. Needless to say, I’m enjoying the new (to me) environment up here in NH and will continue to get excited every time it snows for at least another month.

Erin is from Dallas, Texas. She graduated from the University of Austin where she majored in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavioral Biology. Click here to read Erin's bio.

December 18, 2017

Meghan

Welcome welcome welcome wintertime! My favorite season made a beautiful appearance last week with two separate snowstorms, the first one dropping just a few inches, and then Tuesday brought somewhere around 10 inches. Becca and I had the privilege of learning how to plow that night, I’m sure you already heard about it from her because it’s definitely her new favorite activity. I really enjoyed it as well – although my back was definitely very sore the next morning from shoveling the entire front parking lot, back deck, and several other areas. Because it gets so hot in the truck while plowing – I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt – and got quite a lot of stares in Golden Pond during our snack break. It was an awesome feeling to stand in the parking lot of Chamberlin Reynolds in the above-mentioned outfit – plus my trusty LL Bean boots, in the darkness with light snow falling (it was the tail end of the storm).

The arrival of winter has also brought several less-awesome/more-frustrating moments, most of them revolving around the beloved boat Calypso. It’s been a daily duty for the last few weeks to drive Calypso out of the cove and back, maintaining a channel through the ice. This often involves the very large metal ice-breaker, and sometimes the canoe paddles, sometimes a little forward-reverse-forward action (“ramming”) – but generally, we are successful. Before a couple days ago, the hardest part was backing the boat perfectly up to the dock. So cue the tumultuous times.

On Tuesday, during the torrential snowstorm, Ben and Maggie made a very valiant effort to get the boat out, but they were unsuccessful. On Wednesday morning I went to shovel off Calypso’s deck and discovered that repeatedly dropping the anchor off the front of the boat did a decent job at breaking the ice. So after lunch, Connor, Erin, Ben and I decided to make an attempt, and it went horrendously. Apparently it was a great source of entertainment for everyone at both SLA and SLCS. The ice was approximately 3 inches thick, and after an hour we had gone roughly 30 feet. Dropping and pulling that anchor back up is remarkably exhausting. And then we had the alarming realization that we couldn’t even get the boat into reverse (we need to replace the shifter cable apparently). So we had to kill the engine, and paddle the boat back to the dock. I’m sure it was quite a funny scene. Calypso is still in the water, and the very cold temperatures these past few days have definitely made the ice much thicker. I’ve been told that boat removal will now involve a chainsaw – which sounds pretty fun. Stay tuned for more winter adventures!

Meghan is from Sleepy Hollow, California. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in environmental studies. Click here to read Meghan's bio.

December 15, 2017

Becca

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to plow 6+ inches of snow? Well, now is your chance to find out. First off, plowing snow doesn’t just consist of attaching the plow to the truck and going at it, there’s a lot more to it. Some necessary items include: shovels, sand, shorts, extra clothes, headlamp, water, food and maybe some more extra clothes for when the first set of extra clothes gets wet. The truck is kept at a very warm temperature to ensure that any snow that flies into the windshield immediately melts, shorts are a must. On the other hand, you have to jump out at times to shovel certain areas and walkways; so warm clothes are also a must. Which can lead to some pretty interesting outfits… my first day plowing I walked into Golden Pond with sweatpants and t-shirt on.

Now we can move on to the actual process of plowing. It’s almost as if you are in a real life video game. Moving the snow around in such a way so that it doesn’t block driveways or the road. Then there are obstacles like rocks, trees and cars that should be avoided. We have both the steering wheel and the plow control in our hands to direct where we want to place the snow. To begin, the plow must always be in float mode. This makes it so the plow can follow the flow of the ground. When you go to dump the snow on a pile you must then always lift it up off the ground. If you’re like me, you need to be reminded anywhere from 10-50 times to keep the plow all the way up when you back up. If you fail to do so you will drag much of the snow you just tried to get rid of back in the way making even more work for yourself. After all those reminders I finally got the hang of switching from float to raising it all the way up. Patterns of leaving my finger on the up arrow became second nature by the end of the night. That’s when the fun started to kick in.

Plowing snow is now another skill I can add to the long list of things I have learned here at SLA. Like many other jobs we do, it can be pretty tiring, but it is very rewarding and lots of fun. I am looking forward to many more snowy nights spent plowing this winter!

Becca is from Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University with a BA in Biological Sciences and a minor in Environmental Science. Click here to read Becca's bio.

December 13, 2017

Ben

Here it comes: winter. With snow on the ground and all! That might not seem like a big deal, but the little dusting we are getting this weekend will probably be as much snow as I’d see in a whole winter back home in NC. There are so many new experiences associated with “winterization” that are routine up here, but are completely novel to me. I’ve learned how to plow and use a snow blower, tasks that I will become all too familiar with before too long it seems. I spent a whole Saturday making firewood which, with the beautiful snowy vista of the lake before me the whole time, I’m pretty sure is some version of living the American dream. I don’t even own an ice scraper for my car (I should probably change that soon).

There are so many little experiences and new moments here at Squam that have really made the past month incredible. Not only because plowing and owning an ice scraper are generally valuable life tools, but in seeing how each of the little parts in our work contributes to the bigger picture for the SLA. I think the common perception of conservation work is more in terms of these overarching ideas, stuff like “save the loons”. That’s not a wrong way of thinking about it, those are our long-term goals too, but there are so many more pieces to even coming close to completing such a task. These pieces are made up of the skills of professionals with SLA, the efforts of my fellow LRCC members, and the passion and volunteering that comes from the community in the watershed. It’s then the goal of an organization like the SLA to bring together all of the pieces, small and large, and fit them into these long-term goals.

What I’m trying to say is that I know I came into this position with just a general interest in getting involved in conservation work, but not much of an idea of what that actually entails. From my experience here, I’ll take away lessons about turning little parts of a goal into tangible results and how to survive a winter in New England.

Ben is from Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from the College of Wooster with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Ben's bio.

December 11, 2017

Kyle

I’m experiencing Squam in a whole new way this time around. In the past I have mostly worked during the summer with about a month of fall time up here. Now, with the first true snowfall, I am finally experiencing a winter Squam. It’s almost like there is a piece of the puzzle that I was missing before. I already know how serene and green the summer can be and that adds a beautiful contrast to Squam now. The trees don’t have leaves anymore (aside from those admirably persistent beeches), there aren’t as many critters and birds zipping about, and if I were to see another boat on the lake with me while doing water quality I would be astonished. It’s almost eerie, but it gives me a totally different perspective of the area. But change is good. With change, new doors are opened and new opportunities are available. I can ski here now. I can put on my micro-spikes to use and hike up an icy four thousand footer. I can go sledding down Shepard’s Hill. Ok probably not that one, but it’s fun to imagine. As if I wasn’t already enamored with the natural beauty of the area, now it’s contending with a giddy desire to skate on a frozen lake every morning. But there’s still work to be done.

The ice I so badly want to skate on is being crushed daily by the weight of our Calypso as we clear a path to the open part of Squam from Piper Cove so that we can easily get out to perform lake duties such as Water Quality and shipping lumber to the campsites to repair platforms. That’s a long sentence without punctuation, but I promise it’s right because we are also performing a lot of indoor research and computer work that requires extensive writing and reading skills. We can work on so many projects so late into the season because our working winter staff numbers are effectively doubled, with our AmeriCorps team being capable of impactful field work that includes trail maintenance and snowplowing. On top of that, we each have independent projects that are working to improve the Squam Lakes Association as an organization ranging from becoming a cyanobacteria specialist to spearheading updated trail signage.

The abundance of staff also allows us to run adventure programs twice a week. Have you always wanted to add a winter hike on your quest to become a Squam Ranger, but never felt safe doing it without a hiking buddy? Well now some of us are hosting hike days where you can join us on a hike. Just this past weekend I was joined with others to work on campsite skills such as knots, wood splitting, and bear hangs. There’s just so much opportunity to tackle projects, and we’re all tugging at the reins to begin as many as we can.

I can’t say I like winter in Squam better than summer yet, but I suppose time will tell. The one thing I can say is that I miss seeing a lot of the summer regulars, and I hope that with the increased amount of winter events that we are hosting some of the summer folk will have increased incentive to experience and enjoy the area in the winter as I am.

Kyle is from Rochester, New York. He is working towards a degree in Chemistry from SUNY Oswego. Click here to read Kyle's bio.

December 5, 2017

Connor

I’m starting to remember how much of working with the SLA involves endurance. There are never really any short days, and the work is fairly strenuous most of the time. Take last Thursday for example. I spent the entire day raking one of our hiking trails. Just raking. For the entire day. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I actually rather enjoyed it. But, there’s only so much the body will allow for one kind of activity for that extensive of a time frame. I didn’t start to feel anything until about 6 hours into raking the trail, but I noticed that my work was getting sloppier and my form was becoming lazier. But there was still work to do, and myself and my rake-mate, Meghan, were eager to finish. We pressed on until we had to head back in, and we started to feel the pains from our labor. I’m fairly certain I fell asleep at 7:30 that night.

Luckily, Friday was looking like it was going to be a fairly relaxing day. I was wrong. We were told to fix one of the tent platforms in Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest. This process would involve moving 2 dozen 16’ boards onto our work boat and then moving them to the campsite. Then we would start working, which would involve removing all of the boards and nails from the frame… and that process took us the entire day. We didn’t even get to the stage of hammering in the new boards, but I think I was fine with that because my back wanted to explode before I even started working. The point I am making with these two examples is that we often work on tasks that take us a surprisingly long amount of time, which takes a great deal of endurance. I’m generally okay with that because it gives me the opportunity to space out and think about fun things in my head, like pirates or something.

What I noticed that was especially strange while I was working these two days and the days since was how I am now constantly hungry. Like so much to the point that I think I’m a monster. And I realize it’s likely because I’m constantly doing work that burns a lot of calories, as opposed to sitting on my couch and watching cat videos like I was doing at home. Again, I’m not complaining. It’s a lot better this way. I just hope that I can sustain a lifestyle of eating an entire kitchen’s worth of food on a day-to-day basis. Anyway, here’s a picture of me hugging a mooring. Enjoy, friends.

Connor is from Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Saint John’s University in Minnesota with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Connor's bio.

December 2, 2017

Maggie

I have learned and experienced so much in the short time I have been here it's hard to believe it’s only been a month. To name a few, I have helped reroute the start of the Five Finger Point trail, cleaned out the Clivus (composting toilet) on Chamberlain Reynolds, blazed the entire Fisher Ridge Trail, learned how to winterize the boats, helped with disaster relief phone calls with Volunteer New Hampshire, and learned that for my 23 years of life I have been calling a wheelbarrow a wheel barrel.

Trail work, although hard, is probably one of my favorite things that we do for the SLA. To see that we can make positive changes to the many trails we maintain and make sure they continue to be enjoyed by the public is truly a wonderful feeling. Being outside in the cold may not seem like it would be a very fun activity, but as long as you keep moving it can be a very positive experience especially when you see real results after a hard day of work. Even when it's cold and rainy it's great to know that I'm helping the SLA deliver on their promises to the community. Knowing we will do what we can to help conserve the natural beauty of the watershed while ensuring that this place continues to be protected and enjoyed by the public is the best part of the job.

I am so thankful to be a part of this community. It's always great to feel like you're doing work that is actually good not just for the environment but also for the people who live in this wonderful place. I often find myself speechless when looking at the lake, even more so when on Calypso doing water quality. It’s hard not to get distracted by the sheer beauty of Squam Lake. I am so lucky to be able to call this place home. Being around people who are passionate about conservation work and truly care about the environment has been a privilege and I am so excited to see what the next few months bring.

Maggie is from Swampscott, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. Click here to read Maggie's bio.

November 29, 2017

Erin

I was an SCI intern at the SLA last summer, 2016, and my main impression of the program was the satisfaction and confidence I got from our tasks. It was a summer of firsts for me- I learned how to scuba for milfoil, do trail work, clean composting toilets, and drive a boat. But now, not even a month into the LRCC program, here’s a summary of the first few weeks:

  • You know how to clean a composting toilet? Great, today we’re going to show you how to completely empty the Clivus of 12 months of human waste.
  • Yeah we’re going to drive the boats, here’s how to fix the motors too.
  • Milfoil removal can’t happen in the winter, so you guys will work on the years of data we have for milfoil removal and help us improve our management plan.
  • Trail work will now happen twice as often, and you’re going to get to build new trails and help relocate old ones, one giant rock and five gallon bucket of dirt at a time.

I’ve realized that the SCI program barely scratched the surface of what conservation work with the Squam Lakes Association really means. It was still of course an amazing program, there’s just only so much you can do and teach newcomers during the short but busy three month summer season. That’s why we’re all so excited to be a part of this new AmeriCorps program, there’s so much to do!

On a more personal note, I’m also THRILLED to be back in the New England region for a full 10 months, and experience my first real winter (remember, I’m a Texas gal). My favorite memory from the last week was probably when the other LRCC-ers realized I didn’t know what a snow plow looked like, as a described “weird truck with a giant shovel on the front driving down the road” that I had seen earlier. In my defense, there wasn’t even snow on the ground so I didn’t have any contextual hints, but it was still a highlight on my list of new experiences.  I also feel like I didn’t take full advantage of the opportunity when I was here last. I want to actually complete the Squam Ranger challenge for one thing... no more excuses this time around. I want to climb more of the 4,000 footers, go to the beaches of the East coast and add to my marine biology exploration list, and most importantly, see a moose!

Erin is from Dallas, Texas. She graduated from the University of Austin where she majored in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavioral Biology. Click here to read Erin's bio.

November 27, 2017

Meghan

chose to complete my AmeriCorps service at the SLA in the first place. Our very first night of work we attended a panel at Plymouth State entitled “Contaminants In and Around Squam” and my interest was immediately sparked.

I’m envisioning the reading and research will take place while the lake isn’t yet frozen enough to walk on, but too much ice for our trusty steed Calypso. For now, I’m enjoying taking Calypso, often having to break through ice in Piper Cove, out to our various sampling sites. Here at the SLA we have 14 sampling sites total, and thus far I’ve been to 8 of them. I have gotten to enter data from all 14 sites though (thank you volunteers!!!) and am looking forward to teaching myself more about statistics in order to work with said data! 

In other news, living at the cottage has been a wonderful experience, and I’m very grateful (‘tis the season after all) for the LRCC members and all the staff at Squam Lakes Association for quickly becoming some of my most cherished friends. These next couple months are going to be quite the adventure! 

Meghan is from Sleepy Hollow, California. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in environmental studies. Click here to read Meghan's bio.

November 20, 2017

Becca

Back in May I started at the SLA as a conservation intern. I fell in love almost instantly, not only with the area, but also with the work I was doing. Within days of being here I already knew that if I had the opportunity to stay through the fall I would absolutely take it. Little did I know that staying through the fall would then lead me to the opportunity to stay for another year. I am thrilled continue the work I started in the summer months. The duties are changing, the weather has certainly changed, but my love for all things Squam isn’t going anywhere.

This first journal entry was a lot harder to write than the ones I wrote this summer simply because there are just too many things I want to write about. The first month as an LRCC member has been filled with snowy trail days, multiple trips down to Concord to return 211 flood calls and amazing new coworkers (turned best friends). For some people an unpredictable and constantly changing schedule might not be very appealing, but for me it has kept me excited and motivated.

One of the things I am most excited for in the coming months is the planning and execution of our long-term projects. Each of us got to select the projects we found to be the most interesting and we now have the opportunity to get creative with how we accomplish them. The three projects I will be working on are milfoil data analysis, creating new kiosks at the trailheads, and making informational packages for new homeowners on Squam. Through these projects I will be able to further my connection to this beautiful area and continue to represent SLA’s mission.  

Becca is from Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University with a BA in Biological Sciences and a minor in Environmental Science. Click here to read Becca's bio.

November 17, 2017

Kyle

Over time Squam has become less of a place to me and more of a lifestyle. It’s been great to see the lake from a bunch of different angles. I’ve worked as a Squam Conservation Intern, camp counselor, fall intern, and camp director, and now I can add Lakes Region Conservation Corps member to the list. The LRCC members (or “Lurkers” as many have started using in a somewhat endearing, albeit strangely derived, name for LRCC members) have been on point so far.

With the return of Connor who is a former intern and a previous Intern manager, Erin and Becca – both former interns, and myself with too many titles to put on a page (just humor me if you can), the no-good invasives and trail-eroding elements will cower before the might of the SLA’s power. Did I mention on top of that we also have three new-to-squam conservation warriors? Ben, Maggie, and Meghan are all new to the frontlines of the Squam watershed, but don’t let that fool you. They’re a group of educationally hardened, passionately driven, and tenaciously… tenacious individuals that complete this AmeriCorps super team.

This may all come across as “hyperbolic” or “exaggerated,” yet dare I say, oh reader, that it is not! It may be a bit embellished, but that is a different word. These adjectives are true to the best of my knowledge. The first week of training I saw Maggie, without any boating experience, take the wheel of the SLA Flagship, Calypso, and steer it effortlessly through the shallows and hidden rocks of Piper Cove. I listened as Ben described (with more specificity than I can even begin to pretend to remember) a salamander species to everyone. I saw Meghan saw into a blowdown, well after she had exhausted, with the same determination I see firsthand every single day working with everyone else at the Squam Lakes Association.

I’m so excited to see what this LRCC group matures into. I have an irrational fear that one day there won’t be any more conservation work to do on Squam, but then I remember that conservation is something that doesn’t ever really end. It’s an ongoing stewardship that helps tend to the often combative (though usually not intentional) clashes that nature and our kind go through. Maybe conservation is a bit of a lifestyle too, and that’s why I love Squam and I love seeing new people work in support of Squam and the SLA. I’ll gladly be a lurker (at least until we find a better name) if I get to serve with these great people in support of something we all love.

Kyle is from Rochester, New York. He is working towards a degree in Chemistry from SUNY Oswego. Click here to read Kyle's bio.

November 14, 2017

Ben

I can’t believe it's already been two weeks since I arrived in Holderness for the LRCC AmeriCorps program. The time has gone by quickly, and  the past weeks have already been filled with tons of wonderful new experiences and people. One of the most interesting parts of the position is being a trail host at the Rattlesnake Mountain trail head. This primarily involves greeting people at the trailhead, offering them information about the area, and getting to hear about their experiences with Squam. Although it was a bitterly cold Sunday morning, we still had over 50 hikers pass through by midday (and more importantly, 10 dogs!). Through the day, I got to listen to stories from people who have been hiking around Squam for decades, one particularly interesting recollection involving a VW bug being driven up Rattlesnake 30 years ago, as well as the excitement of hikers who were exploring Rattlesnake for the very first time. Overall, it was a fantastic introduction to the community where I will be spending the next half-year. Before I finished my first day of trail hosting, I took the time to hike the trail and climb to one of the peaks of Rattlesnake. It was my first chance to hike the trail and in addition to crossing it off my Squam Rangers list, I got to share in the breathtaking view of the area (see above, though my phone doesn’t do it justice) and the community’s excitement for the lakes.

Another interesting, though unexpected, part of the position has been working disaster relief for the destructive storms that swept through the state a few weeks ago. Volunteer NH, the organization that administers the service programs in New Hampshire including AmeriCorps, is responsible for managing the 211 calls from NH residents about property damage caused by the flooding event. In assisting with the disaster relief, we have been returning calls of those who have been affected by the storms and helping Volunteer NH match up those in need with the appropriate aid from other local volunteer groups. Though none of us expected to be involved in such relief efforts and it has been very different from the usual conservation focused work we do through SLA, it has been an incredibly rewarding and hopefully helpful experience. Many of the residents we speak to were hit hard by the flooding and, due to various reasons, are not able to fully recover from the damage. Although it’s less personal than the face-to-face community interaction that we participate in for our SLA work, being able to hear about these people’s troubles and help those in need receive some aid was an amazing experience.

Though it has been such a short time here at Squam, I already feel like I am getting connected in a fantastic community. Whether it was talking to hikers on the trail here or calling people all across the state, I have had nothing but positive experiences. And so I’m looking forward to continuing to be involved, through my Adventure Ecology program I’ll be running soon, trail hosting, or more disaster relief, throughout the winter and spring.

Ben is from Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from the College of Wooster with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Ben's bio.

November 10, 2017

Connor

It’s been a surreal experience returning to Squam Lake after what seems like forever, even though it’s been a little less than a year since I was here last. One of the Squam activities I always enjoyed was trail work, mostly due to the satisfaction you get from seeing the effects of your hard work on a freshly maintained trail. I fondly remember working on the still-in-progress Fisher Ridge trail with Kyle and Katri in the autumn of 2016. Something that excited me about returning to the area was the opportunity to continue work on this trail, which I managed to do this week. Walking the trail again brought back memories of placing markers to designate a basic route, cutting trees to provide a corridor along the trail, raking for hours on end to help define the trail, and seeking out cool mossy areas to break for lunch.

This time, we were taking on a new task of trying to even out portions of the trail that were sloped and provided uneven footing. This was an entirely new kind of task for me, and I was a bit hesitant at first to try it out. It also didn’t help that within about fifteen minutes of hacking into the ground I had become exhausted and needed to take a break. I had obviously been gone from Squam for too long and whatever muscle mass I had built up from before was now tired and not prepared for the task. Again and again as I worked and exhausted myself, I would feel rejuvenated by looking back at the progress we were making and admiring the new aspects of the trail. The day pressed on and the breaks became more frequent and necessary, but we all kept each other going through humor and the desire to not be cold. Near the end of the work day, I had lost so much dexterity that tasks such as unzipping my jacket or turning the key in my car took far too much effort than was needed, but I thought that it was worth it.

Strangely enough, I’m looking forward to many more days like this one. It goes back to seeing your hard work and progress provide you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and it also helps in knowing that these efforts help protect and conserve the beauty of this region.

Connor is from Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Saint John’s University in Minnesota with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Connor's bio.

November 6, 2017

Maggie

It’s been a wonderful first week here at Squam for me. On our first day of the program we all had a great opportunity to go to the toxics panel about contaminants that have been showing up in Squam Lake. The panel detailed how they are affecting the loons and if there are any possibilities of human health impacts. When I was first told about the panel I expected a few people to show up, but I was very wrong in that assumption. To my surprise the auditorium was packed full of concerned citizens. At the SLA we are committed to protecting the watershed and, with that, ensuring that Squam will forever be a place for people to enjoy. So it’s so refreshing to see that through community outreach we helped to educate the public about conserving this beautiful place. For me it was a great way to see how much the community cares about this place and made me better understand just how important the work we are doing truly is.

 Later in the week we took on trail work in the rain. Although this sounds like it would have been a daunting experience, I actually had an amazing time. With loppers, mattocks, and fire rakes in hand we hiked up Doublehead trail and cut and sawed our way through downed trees, in addition to clearing water bars and redirecting some streams away from the trail. I loved every minute of it. Although the work was hard it was a great experience seeing first-hand how SLA maintains these beautiful trails so they can continue to be enjoyed by the public.

It’s been a week since all the LRCC members have arrived at Squam Lake, with all of us thrown into one house it’s been quick getting to know each other. It's a unique experience being put into a living situation with people you don’t know, but I have a feeling that these next six months will change us from strangers to very close friends.

Maggie is from Swampscott, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. Click here to read Maggie's bio.

2017 Winter/Spring LRCC Bios

Becca

My name is Becca and I am from Chicago, Illinois. I graduated from Illinois State University in 2015 with a BA in Biological Sciences and a minor in Environmental Science. My passion for the environment stemmed from a love I have had for turtles ever since I was a little girl. Some of my hobbies include going to concerts, tossing a frisbee, running and doing puzzles. This past summer interning at SLA was one of the best experiences of my life. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to continue protecting this beautiful lake!

 

 

Ben

My name is Ben. I am from Durham, North Carolina. I am a recent graduate of the College of Wooster where I got my degree in Biology and studied basilisks in Costa Rica for my senior thesis. I love playing ultimate frisbee, hiking, and learning how to cook new dishes to share.

 

 

 

Connor

My name is Connor and I’m from Sioux City, Iowa. I graduated from Saint John’s University in Minnesota with a degree in Biology and spent a lot of my time after undergrad on Squam Lake. I spent a brief New Hampshire hiatus working for an educational non-profit in Texas this past spring, teaching about the importance of conservation and habitat restoration projects. I plan on attending graduate school in the fall of 2018 with my focus geared towards wildlife behavior and ecology in relation to changes in the ecosystem. I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned and my passion for the environment while providing opportunities for the public to engage with nature. I’m also very excited to be back in the Squam Lakes region and can’t wait to explore the area more.

Erin

My name is Erin Shilling and this past May I graduated from the University of Texas in Austin. Originally from Dallas, Texas, I majored in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavioral Biology and I also completed two certificates- one in Environment and Sustainability and one in Marine Science. I am in the process of applying to graduate school for fall of 2018, and am thrilled to be able to call the Squam Lakes Association home for the time in between now and when that begins. I hope to have a career in research in the future, and want to learn more about how non-profits like the SLA work to implement research into their management practices in order to best conserve the environment. In addition to research, I love the outdoors, working with animals, reading, and learning.

 

Kyle

My name is Kyle Salmons and I have been working with the SLA in many different facets for the past three summers. I have an interest in all the sciences, especially those involving mathematics, and I am working towards a degree in Chemistry from SUNY Oswego in New York. Originally from Upstate New York, I have grown to love and appreciate all of New England and hope to do my part in preserving this beautiful part of the country. I try to portion my time equally between physically demanding hobbies such as hockey and hiking with my more "lazy" hobbies of playing lots of video games and reading. If there is something that I cannot do or is giving me difficulty, I will dedicate obscene amounts of time to perfect it as best I can. This has caused me to fall in love with seemingly tedious pursuits that thrive off of technique such as wood chopping or mastering knots. It's my hope that I will become a Jack-of-all-trades and prove the "master of none" portion of the idiom false. My joy of learning has led me to enjoying teaching as well. It is important to me to share the joy that I have learning new skills with others such that they may fall in love with it as well. Curiosity is paramount and I can't wait to bring my skills to this AmeriCorps program as an LRCC member!

 

Maggie

My name is Maggie Upham I grew up in Swampscott, Massachusetts, a small seaside community north of Boston. I am a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. I love hiking, camping, photography, baking, cooking, and identifying birds and other wildlife. I am very passionate about conservation and environmental education and outreach.

 

Meghan

Hi, my name is Meghan and I grew up in a small suburb north of San Francisco called Sleepy Hollow. My father was born and raised in Concord, NH and I just recently finished up my undergraduate degree in environmental studies at Dartmouth College in Hanover, so I feel a strong connection to the woods of New Hampshire. I hope to one day go to graduate school for hydrology and aquatic ecology, but in the meantime - I'm happiest when outside, and can often be found skiing, hiking, surfing, fishing, staring at the stars, backpacking, and watching both sunrises and sunsets. (still haven't decided which I like more!) I also love spending time with my siblings, listening to live music, and eating Ben & Jerrys. The natural beauty of the polar regions - especially Alaska - will always have my heart, but the White Mountains come a close second, and my fingers are crossed for lots of snow here soon! I'm very excited to learn and become a part of this community this winter!

Katri, AmeriCorps Program Manager

I'm beyond excited to lead the first AmeriCorps crew at the SLA. We have a fantastic group, consisting of past conservation interns and new faces. I know that those who are returning have a deep dedication to the region and I cannot wait for the new members to be exposed to a place we all love. Those who are new to the team all bring exciting passions that I can't wait to see manifested in the work they do here at SLA. The winter months are often overlooked by regional vacationers, but the season provides some of the most wonderful experiences. LRCC members can look forward to serene walks on the lake, intense nights of snow plowing, cozy days crafting reports by the fire in the great room, and more. 

Katri was the Manager of the Squam Conservation Internship over the summer of 2017. She is from Arlington, Virginia and graduated from Colby College in 2015 with a degree in the field of Government. In her free time she is found running, hiking, cooking, reading, and/or listening to NHPR.