The Lakes Region Conservation Corps (LRCC) is an AmeriCorps service program that 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. Click here to learn more about the LRCC program.
January 11, 2019
Chaos. Pandemonium. Anarchy. These words fail to truly capture the absolute madness that ensues when 18 antsy elementary schoolers are released upon a snow-covered playground after a long day of school. Today I’m the lucky person who’s been tasked with getting them to focus on an activity for the next hour.
As part of the education aspect of our AmeriCorps program, each week one of us must plan a nature-related activity for the Holderness Central School’s ACE program. For my most recent program, I decided to teach the kids how to identify animal tracks. Although the topic’s already exciting—because 1.) it’s about animals, and 2.) It means they get to run around and find tracks in the snow—I wanted to create an interesting action/adventure context to help the kids really get into it. So here’s how the story went: “The world-renowned Holderness Zoo called to say that all of their animals have mysteriously disappeared during the night. In light of this catastrophe, they’re turning to the Holderness Central School’s elite group of 8-year-old private detectives to help them track down the lost animals and save the zoo!”
Now that the scene was set, all of the little detectives, each equipped with their Official Holderness Zoo Tracking Guides, were off to find the clues that my fellow AmeriCorps member John and I had hidden throughout the playground. Some were searching for snowshoe hare tracks under the swings, others were scanning for black bear trails from atop the slide, and we even had a group looking for Captain America (aka human) prints around the jungle gym. While walking around to help the sleuths, I was surprised to discover that quite of few of them already had practice in identifying tracks, and if they didn’t, their sheer enthusiasm made up for any lack of experience. Needless to say, the zoo was in safe hands.
With some time remaining at the end of the tracking activity, we also played a quick game of animal-themed Simon Says. Let me just say that if you ever want to witness the apex of human concentration, tell a group of elementary school kids that they’ll get a prize for winning Simon Says. After my inevitable surrender (I think only four of them were ever actually eliminated), each of them got to take home their tracking guides as a prize. Although it may seem like a small thing, I hope that activities like the ones we did today will inspire them to retain their enthusiasm for the natural world throughout the rest of their lives.
Adel is originally from Seattle, Washington and graduated in 2017 with a B.S. in biology. You can read more about Adel here.
Join our LRCC members for weekly guided hikes, volunteer opportunities, and environmental programs. Learn more by clicking here.