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 ensure 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 past Conservation Journals, click on the links below.
2019 Summer/ Fall Conservation Corps Journals
June 19, 2019 Heather (SLA)
I was born and raised in Texas and have never experienced a place quite like New Hampshire. Most of my camping and hiking experience is limited to the desert landscapes of the Southwest. Thus, the thought of packing up and moving to New England was intimidating to say the least. However, I knew my fear of leaving Texas was a sign that this would be an opportunity for me to grow by exploring another region. Thankfully, I haven’t been disappointed!
Let me begin by saying that Texas will always have a spot in my heart with its rolling, bluebonnet-filled hills and flat landscapes that allow you to see for miles with picturesque sunsets engulfing the sky. However, New Hampshire is a gem of its own with gargantuan mountains piercing through the clouds and forests densely packed with brilliant, green foliage.
One of the first characteristics that caught my attention was the clarity of the lakes. You can actually see straight to the bottom! This is something I rarely see in Texas. I love watching the submerged plants sway with the current as fish swim along, searching for insects off of SLA’s docks. I have even spotted a couple schools of fry wandering along the shoreline now that warmer weather has initiated the spawning season. It is no wonder why New Hampshirites take great pride in their lakes and work ferociously to protect the watersheds.
Within my first two weeks of serving for SLA, I attended the Lakes Congress, an event hosted by NH Lakes, with my fellow LRCC members. Weeks before we began serving as LRCC members, we were asked to select from a list of speakers and topics to attend during the event. With little knowledge of what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised to hear speakers from different industries covering a variety of topics ranging from research on cyanobacteria to working with local governments. My past experiences with similar events have always been research-focused conferences. It’s refreshing and comforting to see so many passionate individuals with different backgrounds come together to exchange their wisdom and promote a common mission—conserving the natural beauty of the lakes.
So far the majority of my days have consisted of earning numerous certifications and completing a jam-packed training schedule. As the summer begins to kick into gear, I’m excited to use what I’ve learned and begin interacting with this conservation-minded community.
Just in case y’all were wondering, I have been told that I do in fact have a slight Texas twang.
Heather is a graduate of the University of Texas with a major in Biology. You can read more about Heather here.
Where to even begin?
Joining the Squam Lakes Association has been one of the biggest turns in my life, but I can’t help but feel like it’s going to be, quite possibly, the best decision I’ll ever make. Even in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve already had so many “firsts”. So, in an attempt to put my own chaotic brain in order, and to paint a picture to you about what the past month has been like, I’ll share a few of these!
Upon moving in to the little cottage that I now call home, I met a whole spectrum of new people. I only had a 15 minute drive from my previous apartment in Plymouth NH, so I imagined that most of my new roommates would be fairly local as well; but my goodness was I wrong. I have roommates from Ohio, Florida, Texas, and New York, just to name a few. This is the most people I’ve ever lived with though; It’s a total of 9 of us! The kitchen is cramped, the bedrooms have limited storage space, and someone is always doing laundry. But I’m already starting to love these people, and I look forward to spending the next 5 months with them.
Of everyone here, I feel like a bit of a ‘Fish-out-of-Water’ in the most exciting way. Orientation day came and went, and with that, I went on my first ever hike up West Rattlesnake. The view from the top was incredible though. Looking down at the lake that I’d be calling home was breathtaking; It was so beautiful. Only a few days later, we went out to the campsites on Moon and Bowman Island and after a day of trail work, all the AmeriCorps members camped out; another first for me!
I knew this program would come with a lot of training, but I was still taken by surprise at how fast they brought us through it all. In this short time, we have received CPR certifications, Wilderness First Aid certifications, Open Water Diver certifications, Weed Control Diver Certifications, and Commercial Boating Licenses. I love looking at them all. All this training is certainly paying off; I now feel much more confident in my abilities to serve here at Squam Lake. The folks here are setting all of us up to be the best Lake Hosts that we can be.
There are a lot more “firsts” that I’m looking forward to in my future. I’ve gone from just dipping my toe in the water, to diving right in (pun intended). This first month has already gone by so quickly, and I’m sure by the end of my stay here, I’ll wonder where all the time went. But for now, I’ve got my sights set on all the tomorrows I have!
Dawe is a recent graduate of Plymouth State University majoring in Environmental Biology. You can read more about Dawe here!
Wow. What a crazy couple of weeks it’s been. Since getting here on the 22nd, it has been day after day full of trainings and orientations—Wilderness First Aid, CPR, SCUBA (Brrr!), NH Safe Boaters, the list goes on. It already feels like I’ve spent a lifetime here, after taking in the whirlwind of faces, places, knowledge, and just things, that have made up these past couple of weeks. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. After graduating in May, like most of my peers, all I really wanted was to find a position, any position, to get my foot in the door in the ‘real world’. I wasn’t picky, willing to go anywhere and do pretty much anything, so long as they’d take me. When I was offered the opportunity to serve through the Lakes Region Conservation Corps here at the Squam Lakes Association, I was ecstatic to have been accepted somewhere. But, little did I know exactly what opportunities this position would entail. The certifications and experience that it offered are admittedly what drew me in, but there’s so much to love here at Squam that I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around it all.
First of all, the landscape here is indescribable. New Hampshire does not disappoint here in the Lakes Region. Expansive lakes of blue reflecting the suns rays found nestled between rolling hills of lush greenery. As I write this, I’m sitting atop one of those hills, East Rattlesnake, which hosts a view over miles and miles of the Lakes Region. It’s a beautiful day, with a sky full of rolling clouds, which are casting great swaths of the landscape in their shadow, dappling the land with patches of light and dark. From here, I can see the Red Hill fire tower standing watch to the east, and the SLA headquarters nestled back in Piper Cove. To the Southeast is just a small sliver of the grand Lake Winnipesaukee, so big it dwarfs Squam several times over. These are views that I don’t think I will ever tire of getting the opportunity to behold, views that are worth writing home about.
And, the SLA itself is an organization that I am grateful for the opportunity to serve under. Their mission can be simply broken down into three words, words you’ll see on banners in the Great Room at SLA Headquarters: conservation, education, access. But all that they do is far from a simple task. They strive to conserve this area to keep its beauty intact for years to come, and to protect the resources the Squam watershed houses. They also seek to educate people about the watershed’s ecological importance, and to provide access to an area that is predominantly privately owned. By doing so, the SLA is fostering a connection between people and the environment, simultaneously raising conservation and stewardship awareness in the public. The very reason I’m up here, to scout out the location for my own Adventure Ecology program that will be hosted through the SLA later this summer, nods to their desire to increase access and education for everyone. The program covers a wide variety of topics surrounding nature and conservation, offering something of interest for everyone, and it’s another way to get people outside and involved. I’m looking forward to gaining experience in ways to help bridge the divide that is all too common between people and the environment, as the SLA does through access and education.
The magnificent views here, like the one before me now, deserve to be seen and appreciated by all. We’ve disconnected from our roots as we’ve become more modernized over the last few decades, and taking the time to get back to nature, see these expansive views, and just let yourself feel small, is something I think we should all be prescribed to do every now and again. I’m looking forward to a summer full of doing just that, be it out on the water, on top of a peak, or anywhere else in between.
Danielle is a recent graduate of the University of Maine, majoring in Ecology and Environmental Science. You can read more about this Oregon native here!
It’s a sunny day, bouncing around in the high 50s low 60s, the usual for the past few weeks, making it hard to believe that it’s already June and we’re approaching the summer solstice. Two weeks have passed since the new LRCC members have joined, myself included. Although it’s only been two weeks, the time has seemed to fly by yet still somehow seems like we’ve been here much longer. Coming into it, I was a little nervous about what to expect and how I was going to adjust. Fortunately adjusting to the new routine has taken no time at all, as the weeks have been jam-packed full of training sessions and earning certifications in preparation for the upcoming season.
As part of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, we’ve already earned our wilderness first aid, CPR, and boating certifications, not to mention all of the training sessions for interpretive guiding and trail hosting. Yesterday was ax training and today was invasive species removal training. The best part about it is that everyone has been so nice and encouraging!
Invasive species removal included getting familiar with the invasive species prone to this area and getting down and dirty to remove them. An invasive species is a species that has a tendency to spread to a degree causing damage to the environment that it is growing in. This species is able to invade native plants and overtake them, requiring them to be removed. The species we dealt with were japanese barberry, oriental bittersweet, burning bush, honeysuckle, and multiflora rose. The sad part is, some of these plants - especially oriental bittersweet - can be bought at stores and be planted on people’s personal properties, not knowing the negative impact they have on their surrounding environment.
The weather fortunately held up for us as we were able to improve 3.35 acres of the Sewall Woods Conservation Area. We even found a wood frog hopping by (my guess is he was rooting us on). During a few short breaks we could eat some food, rest our muscles, and look at critters in the stream, which helped the day fly by. Seeing all the progress we made throughout the day and feeling the aches in our bodies gave such an accomplished feeling.
As I look down at my blister-filled hand achieved today, and yesterday from using an ax for the first time, I think about where this experience will take us all. I was on the phone with a good friend earlier today and he asked me if I knew what I was going to do in 5 months when this opportunity comes to a close. Truth is, I haven’t thought much about it all. The days have been long, exhausting but enjoyable, and it’s hard to pretend like I know where my life will be. Even though 5 months isn’t that long of a time period, a lot can change. Already in the first 2 weeks that I’ve been here, I’ve formed connections and inside jokes with people I didn’t know prior to LRCC, as well as done things I never thought of doing or thought I was capable of doing, like learning how to chop through a tree with an ax or hold a Madagascar hissing cockroach.
Micaelie is a recent graduate of Plymouth State University with a major in Environmental Science and policy. You can read more about Micaelie here!
The weather had started looking up. Waking up this Sunday morning knowing Adel, John and I were scheduled for trail work, usually meant layering up and getting ready to go hike in conditions that I’m not the biggest fan of. But now that it’s late May and the weather is moving in a direction I have been looking forward to since I moved here, I was stoked to get out on the trail and enjoy the warm weather and sunshine today.
We had just re-opened the trails after muddy season and Old Bridle needed some work. Old Bridle is arguably our most popular trail, it goes up West Rattlesnake to an amazing view of Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesauke in the distance. This trail sees a lot of traffic, so keeping it cleared and dry keeps hikers on path and prevents erosion, widening of trail, and exposing roots and loose rocks. Trail work is a very important part of conserving the Squam Lakes Watershed. The three of us made our way to the trail and started heading up. We were clearing water bars of leaves and debris that was preventing water from making its way off the trail and down the side of the hill. The water bars on Old Bridle are spaced out very well, but there is one section of trail around half way up that hits a relatively step incline and gets narrow. This section relies on one water bar to keep the trail dry. As we started clearing the leaves we could see the water rushing off the trail. While moving leaves I saw a bright flash of orange and a little creature scurry back to being under a leaf. Upon looking closer I discovered a Red-spotted Newt. I had seen one in the fall doing trail work on Mount. Morgan, similar scenario clearing a water bars, but this one was so much brighter and vibrant, its coloring was very striking and it was such a cool sight.
Watching the water rush out of the ground, then into the troughs we had dug and cleared was oddly therapeutic for me. It was like a giant Zen garden and I could not help be stare and be mesmerized by the little streams we had created, it was so soothing. While watching the water cascade off the trail, I was not thinking about anything else, I could have stood there for hours. It was kind of odd that something so simple could calm me so easily, since majority of the time I’m bombing around like a chicken with its head cut off, Adel, John and Alex will attest to that, but it didn’t last forever. I was snapped out of it and it was time to continue up the trail and clear more.
As we headed back down the trail we could see the work we had done already starting to have an impact. It is a good feeling, seeing what you have done and knowing that it’s doing what it is supposed to. As we got back down to the lot Alex was trail hosting. We talked and joked around for a little bit before the three of us jumped back in the truck and started heading back to the SLA. Adel was behind the wheel and John was scrolling through the radio. He came to a stop at a station after a long period of static, and right on queue after a couple of power chords from an electric guitar, the three of us all started signing as loud as we could, “here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known”. We finished the song and just started laughing. Moments like these feel like we have been life-long friends, even though we all met about five and half short months ago when we were moving into the Cottage from all over the country. It’s crazy to think about that in a few more months we will all head off in different directions, but knowing that the relationships I have made here are meaningful, is huge to me and something I will not soon forget.
Cole thinks sharks are cool, enjoys learning about cyanobacteria, and loves driving the honda civic. You can read more about Cole here.
2019 Summer LRCC Bios
Hi! My name is Adel Barnes and I’m originally from Seattle, Washington. In 2017, I graduated from the University of Portland (Portland, Oregon, not Maine—but I’m excited to visit this other Portland I keep hearing about) where I received a B.S. in biology with a focus on microbiology, as well as minors in English and philosophy. This summer I completed my first year of AmeriCorps service with the college-access nonprofit, College Possible, and I’m ecstatic to be joining the LRCC-SLA team for my second year. I anticipate that this will be a year full of adventures and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to give back to our environment. In my free time, you’ll probably catch me reading science fiction, heading to the coast for some tide pooling, trying to find someone to play volleyball with, and/or listening to Queen.
Hello! My name is Alex Reiber and I'm from St. Clair Shores, Michigan. I am a recent graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit where I studied Environmental Science and minored in Geology. I am a huge fan of the outdoors and in my free time enjoy hiking, camping, mountain biking, and kayaking. As a child, I spent a lot of time in northern Michigan which helped me to develop a strong connection with the natural world. This connection and the sense of peace I find from being outside are what drive me to pursue a career in conservation. I am super excited about serving with the LRCC program, gaining hands-on experience with conservation and outreach, and exploring the Squam Lakes region for the first time!
Hi my name is Alison and I am from Bethel, Connecticut. I recently graduated from Lafayette College in Easton, PA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. I developed an interest in Conservation biology and completed a thesis on vernal pool success this past year. I am very excited to constantly learn and grow with the LRCC program. I love spending my time outdoors and am eager to explore the New Hampshire area in the upcoming months. In my free time, I enjoy listening to podcasts, jamming out to musical theater songs, going on hikes, and petting dogs.
I’m a Seattle native who just graduated from Antioch University New England with a Master’s in Environmental Studies. This degree was paired with two years in a Peace Corps international service program, where I spent time working as an agricultural volunteer in a subsistence-based village in Senegal. Living in this environment strengthened my passion for all things outdoors, an appreciation which was enhanced upon my return to the beautiful New England landscape. I’m thrilled to build upon my love of hiking, mountain biking, and everything in between with the LRCC team, and to apply my experiences towards the care of our valuable Lakes Region resources.
Hello! My name is Alyssa but my friends and family call me Aly. I grew up in Goffstown NH and recently graduated with an Associates in Biology from NHTI-Concord's Community College. I am continuing my education at UNH-Manchester to earn a Bachelor's in Biological Sciences. My whole life I have loved animals and being outdoors and I think it is a wonderful thing when children can build a bond with the beautiful environment that surrounds them. For this reason I am very interested in Wildlife and Environmental conservation efforts. I have previously worked as a counselor at a horse camp and was most recently employed as a Veterinary Assistant. Some things I have always enjoyed are sports (particularly softball), hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and spending time with my cat. I also take part in obstacle courses like Spartan Races. I am excited to begin this opportunity with LRCC to better my skills and learn as much as I can about the Lakes region!
My name is Cole Beale and I am from Buffalo, New York. I graduated from Daemen College in Amherst, New York where I studied business and environmental science. I have a strong passion for conservation work and aquatic ecology, and these interests are what led me to the Lakes Region Conservation Corps and the Squam Lakes Association. Before this position I was a research assistant for the New York State’s DEC Lake Erie Fisheries Research Group. Growing up I played soccer and hockey and am lucky enough to still be able to play. When I am not serving, I love spending my time fishing, golfing, snowboarding/skiing, playing guitar, and doing anything that is around any body of water.
Hello! My name is Dane Doormann, and I live in the beautiful White Mountain region of Franconia, New Hampshire. I studied Environmental Studies with a minor in Sustainability at Keene State College. Ever since I was a young girl, I have always been fascinated by the wonders of our environment. Through my travels and adventures to various countries, I have grown an immense desire to protect the beauty of our natural environment. I believe it is our duty, as inhabitants of this planet, to ensure this beauty is protected and sustained for future generations to enjoy. Aside from my passion to conserve our natural resources, I am also interested in art. I enjoy spending my free time painting, drawing, or photographing whatever it is that catches my eye. I also enjoy hiking, skiing, reading, attending concerts and music festivals, and much more. I am beyond thrilled to serve the Squam Lakes Conservation Society and to embark on this new journey!
Hi, my name is Danielle Plumlee! I'm originally from Oregon, before I came over to Maine for school, in search of snow. I studied Ecology and Environmental Science at the University of Maine, minoring in Professional Writing. My personal interest in my field is in human impacts on the environment, and working towards bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and public awareness. I'm looking forward to the chance to gain some practical knowledge on conservation and education through the LRCC! In my spare time I enjoy reading, hiking, and finding beautiful views.
My name is Dawe! Originally from Plympton Massachusetts, I graduated from Plymouth State University with a BS in Environmental Biology in May of 2019. My particular fields of interest included Plants, Insects, and Sustainability. I've always enjoyed being outdoors and meeting new people; but when i'm not, I can usually be found singing, playing guitar, or playing games with my friends.
Hello! My name is Gloria Norcross and I am from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I will graduate from Gettysburg College in May 2019 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology.I have had two experiences abroad, in Copenhagen, Denmark and Namibia, which really strengthened my connection with the natural world and helped me to realize I wanted to pursue conservation as a career. l love wildlife photography, being in the outdoors, and playing with dogs. My family has ties to the Lake Winnipesaukee area, and I am so excited to be returning to the lake for my first year as an AmeriCorps member!
Hello! My name is Heather Genuise and I am from Little Elm, Texas (North of Dallas). I was lucky enough to have grown up on a lake and have enjoyed being around nature for as long as I can remember. I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2018 with a B.S. in Biology and focus in marine and freshwater science. During my undergraduate years, I was a teaching assistant for a "Humans and a Changing Ocean" course that sparked my interest in teaching people about human impact on the environment. I am interested in studying aquatic ecology as well as working to bridge the communication gap between scientists and the general public in order to promote conservation. Some of my favorite activities include hiking, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and walking my dog.
Hollyn- NH LAKES
Hollyn Walters is a New Hampshire resident and recent graduate from the George Washington University where she received her BA in International Affairs/Sustainability. She has lived in South Africa, Switzerland, and Australia where she rediscovered her love of the Earth after living in the big city. While working with the Americorps, she plans on learning more about conservation projects on the ground that she can then use as a basis for international field work. When Hollyn isn't out getting her hands dirty she likes to go exploring and enjoys getting lost in the New Hampshire wilderness.
My names Isabelle Mayo, but everyone calls me Izzy for short!
I’m currently a junior at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. My first year at school I explored my options in majors until I found my passion in Environmental Science and Policy, as well as a minor in sustainability ! The main environmental issues Im most passionate about addressing are food production/sustainable agriculture, biodiversity, and resource conservation. In my free time I love to skateboard, go hiking, go to concerts, play video games, make art, and just hang out with friends and family!
I grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2013 with a business degree. For a few years I stayed in my area of study, working as a technology project manager for a large insurance company. After not much time in this setting I knew I needed to seek out a more exciting and personal experience, so I left my cubicle to head back to my roots and head out to the woods. In 2015, I hiked Vermont's Long Trail and in 2017 I hiked the Appalachian Trail. Through these experiences I realized from then on I wanted to work for the land. Last year I worked as a solo backcountry caretaker for the Green Mountain Club. I love hiking, backpacking, skiing and drawing.
Jordin Whyland- LRCT
I am Jordin W. and I am from East Longmeadow MA. I have been studying Wildlife and Environmental Biology and Criminology at Framingham State University and will be earning my bachelors degree this year. My interests include any activities and adventures outdoors, animals and pets hold a big piece of my heart, and I love meeting new people and making friends.
Julia- NH LAKES
Hello! My name is Julia Cline. I’m originally from Virginia, but I recently graduated from the University of Vermont with a major in biology and a minor in art. I spent the summer working in CA and I couldn’t be happier to return to the northeast. I’m super excited to explore NH and to work with the LRCC. I can’t wait to learn and teach about conservation, and share my love for the outdoors.
Hello! My name is Jules and I'm from Hershey, Pennsylvania. I've just graduated with an undergraduate degree in organismal biology and ecology from Colorado College. You can usually find me outside hiking or camping. I'm excited to work with the SLCS and to spend time in New Hampshire!
I am a recent graduate of Duke University. I studied Environmental Science and Policy and focused on renewable energy and transportation. I am from a small town called Mount Vernon in Ohio. I am interested in backpacking, renewable energy, and aviation.
Mac is a recent graduate of Plymouth State University with a Degree in Environmental Science and Policy, with a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems. She enjoys road biking, running, and snowboarding. Grew up spending summers in New York on a lake and appreciates the community and ecosystems. She is actively trying to be the best steward she can for the environment, while working with multiple stakeholders.
I'm from Branchburg New Jersey and recently graduated from Plymouth State University with a major in Environmental Science and Policy, a minor in Adventure Education, and my certificate in Geographic Information Systems. I enjoy hiking, yoga, painting, paddle boarding, and simply relaxing in my hammock.
Hello all, my name is Nick. I am from Marysville Ohio, but I've recently graduated from Otterbein University in Westerville. While I was there I was a double major in biology and zoo & conservation science, so that I could fuel my passion for conservation and the great outdoors. At some point I fell in love with insects, and conducted some really cool research with darkling beetles (mealworms). When I'm not in the lab or removing invasive plants, I love going out on the trails and turning over rocks to see the critters underneath!
Hi, my name is Qiyamah Williams. I'm originally from Helsinki, Finland and grew up in Sarasota, Florida. I graduated in 2018 from the University of Hawai'i at Hilo with a bachelor's in Marine Science. I've always lived by the water and had a strong connection to the outdoors which has fueled my passion for science and conservation. I believe it's very important to develop strong relationships between communities and our local environments so that we can all help to conserve these beautiful places. I'm excited to explore the beauty of the Squam Lakes area and contribute to its conservation program. In my free time I enjoy snorkeling, reading, napping in my hammock, baking desserts, and traveling to new places.
I'm a recent graduate of Hope College with a B.S. in Biology. I'm originally from Commerce, a small suburban township in southeastern Michigan. I've always been fascinated by biology, and developed a keen interest in environmental science and issues during my studies. I also enjoy helping others understand science through writing and media, also key interests. Outside of biology, my interests are collecting records, making music, and radio work. I married these concepts in my last semester at Hope, when I ran a hybrid science/music show entitled "No Chemistry."