Conservation Journal: Ben

The Lakes Regions 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 14, 2017

Ben

I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since I arrived in Holderness for the LRCC AmeriCorps program. The time has gone by quickly, and  the past weeks have already been filled with tons of wonderful new experiences and people. One of the most interesting parts of the position is being a trail host at the Rattlesnake Mountain trail head. This primarily involves greeting people at the trailhead, offering them information about the area, and getting to hear about their experiences with Squam. Although it was a bitterly cold Sunday morning, we still had over 50 hikers pass through by midday (and more importantly, 10 dogs!). Through the day, I got to listen to stories from people who have been hiking around Squam for decades, one particularly interesting recollection involving a VW bug being driven up Rattlesnake 30 years ago, as well as the excitement of hikers who were exploring Rattlesnake for the very first time. Overall, it was a fantastic introduction to the community where I will be spending the next half-year. Before I finished my first day of trail hosting, I took the time to hike the trail and climb to one of the peaks of Rattlesnake. It was my first chance to hike the trail and in addition to crossing it off my Squam Rangers list, I got to share in the breathtaking view of the area (see above, though my phone doesn’t do it justice) and the community’s excitement for the lakes.

Another interesting, though unexpected, part of the position has been working disaster relief for the destructive storms that swept through the state a few weeks ago. Volunteer NH, the organization that administers the service programs in New Hampshire including AmeriCorps, is responsible for managing the 211 calls from NH residents about property damage caused by the flooding event. In assisting with the disaster relief, we have been returning calls of those who have been affected by the storms and helping Volunteer NH match up those in need with the appropriate aid from other local volunteer groups. Though none of us expected to be involved in such relief efforts and it has been very different from the usual conservation focused work we do through SLA, it has been an incredibly rewarding and hopefully helpful experience. Many of the residents we speak to were hit hard by the flooding and, due to various reasons, are not able to fully recover from the damage. Although it’s less personal than the face-to-face community interaction that we participate in for our SLA work, being able to hear about these people’s troubles and help those in need receive some aid was an amazing experience.

Though it has been such a short time here at Squam, I already feel like I am getting connected in a fantastic community. Whether it was talking to hikers on the trail here or calling people all across the state, I have had nothing but positive experiences. And so I’m looking forward to continuing to be involved, through my Adventure Ecology program I’ll be running soon, trail hosting, or more disaster relief, throughout the winter and spring.

Ben is from Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from the College of Wooster with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Ben's bio.

 

READ MORE CONSERVATION JOURNALS HERE.