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.
May 4, 2018
This is a two-part journal about why I love serving at the SLA followed by how much I have grown to love the state of New Hampshire.
Part 1: Why I love serving as an AmeriCorps member for the SLA
As winter finally winds down and spring slowly rolls in I have had lots of time to reflect on all of the amazing things I accomplished throughout the last 6 months. Learning how to operate a snowplow, skiing for the first time in 10 years, walking out on a frozen lake to do water quality, compiling and analyzing all of our 2017 milfoil data, and doing trail work with multiple feet of snow on the ground is the short version of the story. There is something else that I was able to do this winter though that I did not expect to enjoy nearly as much as I did and that was having the opportunity to attend a number of different conferences and workshops. My last journal touched on this topic as well, but since then… you guessed it, I attended yet another conference and I think this one was my favorite of them all!
A few weeks ago I attended Saving Special Places, a land conservation conference in Alton, New Hampshire. I chose 2 different workshops to attend, one on creating story maps and the other about tips for recruiting and working with volunteers. Both of these had the wheels in my head turning about ways I could better serve the SLA. The keynote speaker was inspirational and extremely enthusiastic about conservation and how important it is for communities to connect with the land surrounding them. I spoke with a number of people after the workshops, during lunch, and even on my way out when I overheard two people talking about a concert I was interested in going to. Conferences are not only a place for me to learn new skills and ideas to bring back to the SLA, but also a place to connect to the dedicated and passionate conservation community. I am looking forward to attending even more conferences this summer!
Part 2: Why I love New Hampshire
If you have consistently read all of our journals you probably know by now that I’m from Chicago. My life back home was vastly different from the life I lead in New Hampshire. Out here there are no music venues half a mile from me or restaurants and shops on every street corner. On the flip side, back home there are no mountains for me to hike, climb, or ski down and certainly no entirely frozen over Lake Michigans for me to walk out onto. I traded in the concrete jungle for something that more closely resembles a real jungle and I couldn’t have made a better decision in doing so.
Last weekend I finally checked something off the list I made early last summer, titled “things to do in New England” when I went rock climbing at Rumney Rocks! For years I had wanted to learn how to climb, but never really found the time or opportunity to do so. Shout out to Melissa, SLA’s Community Engagement Coordinator, for finally taking me there and showing me the ropes (pun most definitely intended).
So what I’m getting at here is that New Hampshire has slowly become a second home to me. Living here as opened up my eyes to many new experiences and opportunities I did not have back home. If it weren’t for finding the SCI program back in April of 2017 I would have never realized just how incredible this place is. I may not be living here for much longer, but I definitely know the skills I learned and the experiences I gained will be with me for the rest of my life. Oh and I’ll always have a beautiful lake to come visit!
Becca is from Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University with a BA in Biological Sciences and a minor in Environmental Science. Click here to read Becca's bio.
Join our LRCC members for weekly guided hikes, volunteer opportunities, and environmental programs. Learn more by clicking here.