The Lakes Regions 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.
To view Conservation Journals from previous summers' Squam Conservation Internship, click on the links below.
November 20, 2017
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
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 work 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
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
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
It’s been a wonderful first week here at Squam for me. On our first day of work 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 Maaggie's bio.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 vacations, but the season provides from 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.