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.
March 22, 2019
As of this journal posting, I will have only one week left in Holderness with the Squam Lakes Association; only one week left before I finish 900 service hours with the Lakes Region Conservation Corps; and only one week left before I move back to Cape Cod to take on a leadership role among outdoor educators.
I am currently sitting in the great room at the SLA headquarters, dancing flames from the fireplace in my periphery, and I find myself content. The sun is shining fiercely and signs of spring are on the horizon: swathes of dead grass are revealing themselves on our field accompanied by muddy tracks, pockets of puddles instead of miniature ice rinks, and small ripples of free water on our cove as the ice shrinks and the wind blows. A majority of the past 5 months that I have lived here have been blanketed by snow and layers, challenging service projects and camaraderie among my fellow service members.
This position has allowed me to simultaneously utilize my background in environmental education as well as learn new skills such as small-scale carpentry, snow plowing, and trail maintenance. I have enjoyed growing in the face of adversity (more specifically in not-ideal field work conditions like high wind chill and freezing temperatures), and I have come out the other side feeling proud of my service. Personally, this is my second term of service. I served on AmeriCorps Cape Cod for 11 months, or 1700 hours. Both terms provided ample opportunities for professional development and community building, items that I value immensely. Not only am I walking away with new and honed skills, long-lasting memories, and experience in the field of environmental conservation, but I am also receiving an educational award that I will put toward my student loans. With AmeriCorps, I have served cumulatively 2600 hours over a span of 16 months. It is an experience that I think everyone with a commitment to developing community and a passion should consider. AmeriCorps has helped small non-profits such as the SLA to flourish and remain relevant.
I am not the first nor the last of the AmeriCorps members to leave this beautiful space. Even at the cost of sounding cliché, I find myself at the end of my term feeling bittersweet. I am looking forward to the next chapter, but I am also sad to leave the frozen lake and the snow-capped peaks of the Squam Range behind. Is this how winter feels as spring approaches? Like winter though, I know I that I will return one day to the Squam Lakes region. And when I do, I know that I will be able to enjoy “the natural beauty, peaceful character and resources of the watershed” thanks to the Squam Lakes Association. To all the people of the SLA: AmeriCorps members, senior staff, and community volunteers alike, my heartfelt gratitude for allowing me the chance to grow in a time of year when life can seem so stagnant.
And so, a happy mud season to all, and to all a good spring!
Traits we admire in Amanda are her creativity, excellent follow-through, persistence, and proactive attitude. She will definitely be missed around the SLA. You can read more about Amanda here.
Join our LRCC members for weekly guided hikes, volunteer opportunities, and environmental programs. Learn more by clicking here.