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 18, 2019
As I carefully slid across the ice-covered lot in front of our house and loaded the last bag into my car, I was ready to make the journey. After stopping to fill up the tank and to fill my mug with coffee, I was on my way. The hours passed and the odometer on my car continued to climb as the peaks and rolling hills of the Appalachians gave way to the glacial plains of the Great Lakes region. Sixteen hours and 800+ miles later I arrived at last: St. Clair Shores, Michigan. I felt a mix of excitement and exhaustion as I walked up the stairs.
I was home for Christmas break. It was a chance for me to spend time with some dearly missed friends and family and to fill them in on what I’ve been up to here at the Squam Lakes Association. But just as my physical body was far away from the SLA, so too was my mind from all of the projects and deadlines I had waiting for me when I returned.
Fast forward to my first day serving in the new year. As I sit in front of my laptop, a cup of Red Zinger tea warms my hand and the clatter of keyboards fill the air. I begin flipping through my calendar and am greeted with what seems to be an ever-growing list of due dates for program plans and projects that once seemed so far away. Needless to say, I’ve been spending a good amount of time in the office lately.
Since that first day back, it seems as though I haven’t moved from this position. A few days later I am, again, sitting in front of my laptop with a cup of tea in hand. A sound fills the air, but this time it is not the clatter of laptop keys, but rather the oohs and ahhs of my fellow AmeriCorps. I look up to see several of them and our program manager standing at the window looking outside. A soft reflection of their faces in the window reveals expressions of excitement. The sun is shining outside, and the brightness seems amplified by the snow that is blanketing the ground. Our program manager lowers a pair of binoculars that she’s been holding and asks if anyone would like to take a look. By this point I am standing at the window myself, gazing out at a brown and white object on the sheet of ice that has replaced the cove behind our headquarters. She hands the binoculars to me and as I raise them my eyes are met with a spectacular sight. Standing proudly out on the ice is a bald eagle. As I peer out at this majestic creature, everything around me stops. There are no sounds. No one else is in the room. It is just the eagle and I.
It’s moments like these that highlight a very important reason for conservation. The protection and careful use of natural resources provide us with powerful moments like this when the sensations of everyday life melt away, giving rise to stillness and fascination. It is a humbling experience to say the least.
As I write this conservation journal, at my laptop with a cup of tea in hand, I am feeling incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be here and to be part of a group that works to ensure these profound moments of stillness are possible.
Alex spends his time doing yoga, nurturing his grandmother's lavender plant, and spreading words of affirmation. 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.