Conservation Journal: Alex

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.

November 15, 2018

Alex Reiber

Considering how much we’ve done so far, it’s wild to think that we’ve only been here for two weeks. I feel as though I’ve been here for a month, and I mean that in the best way possible. As I’m starting to get a better feel for the way things work around here and who my housemates and the senior staff at SLA are, I’m more excited than ever. It’s just now starting to settle in that I’ll be calling this beautiful place home for the next ten months. 

This past weekend my fellow AmeriCorps members Cole, Adel, and I ventured out to the SOLO facility in Conway, NH for Wilderness First Aid training. We were also there with AmeriCorps members Haley and Victoria from Green Mountain Conservation Group. The facility was super cool and had a lot of character to it. I think I would live there if I could. There was tons of wooden architecture, a totem pole that reached up to the third floor, and sun faded pictures of previous students (many of which had mustaches). The instructors for the course were great too. They were knowledgeable and kept everyone laughing. For every bit of information that was thrown at us, there was a joke or a story to go along with it. We learned a lot of valuable skills to assess and address injuries in the backcountry, everything from making an impromptu leg splint out of trekking poles to caring for someone with a spinal injury. Although I will admit that some of the hands-on activities were a bit awkward at times (like checking for a pulse on a stranger’s bare feet or pulling on someone’s jaw to open up their airways), it was a really interesting course and I feel like I gained a lot from it.

Because our duties here at SLA are so diverse, we’ve had a slew of trainings in the past couple of weeks to get us oriented. Just to name a few, we’ve covered using the log splitter, water quality training, interpretive training at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, and trail maintenance. During our trail maintenance training we learned about different tools that are used, such as mattocks, McLeods, and fire rakes. There’s no better way to learn something than through hands on experience, so following Katri’s presentation we loaded up the truck and headed over to the Morgan trail. Although I have some experience maintaining trails at my family’s cabin in northern Michigan, using many of these tools was a first for me. It was a long day, but there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes from looking at a freshly cleared water bar or seeing a trail that’s pooled up with water being drained.  We had a few hikers come through while we were working and thank us too, which was also gratifying.

Earlier this week it seemed as though mother nature couldn't quite make up her mind, but it looks like we’ve finally made the transition into winter. We recently acquired a TV here at our AmeriCorps housing, and with the cold settling in we have an ever-growing list of movies to watch. I think we’re currently up to 31. At the rate we’ve been adding them compared to actually watching them, I’m not sure we’ll ever finish them all, but I’m definitely looking forward to taking a stab at it.  

(Alex is originally from St. Clair Shores, Michigan.  He recently graduated from Wayne State University and you can read more about Alex here)

Join our LRCC members for weekly guided hikes, volunteer opportunities, and environmental programs. Learn more by clicking here.

 

READ MORE CONSERVATION JOURNALS HERE.

 

Alex and Cole taking a water break on a trail work day