Conservation Journal: Connor

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.

February 8, 2018

Connor

We certainly get to do a lot of different activities for work, which allows us to experience the area in a multitude of ways. I really enjoy hiking in New Hampshire; hiking is something I never really got a true taste of growing up in Iowa. The challenging hikes up to the rewarding views of the landscape are always a great to experience. So, when we were faced with tackling personal projects at the SLA, I was excited to work on a project involving the trails that the SLA maintains within and around the Squam watershed. The project includes updating our signs and blazing, determining alternate trail routes to prevent erosion, and profiling our trails to provide useful information to the people accessing them. It’s a great project, ambitious as it may be, since we need to collect the correct mileage for each of our trails while we’re also taking on other important tasks such as winter water quality and our educational programs for the public. That being said, if people are looking to get involved with the SLA, it’s a great project that could use their help. With the help of volunteers, we can map out our trails in a much shorter time span, while also spreading the SLA’s mission. I encourage anyone interested in helping with this project to contact myself or Brett Durham.

Onto a different New England experience I had recently, the SLA had a Ski Day generously provided by Waterville Valley this past Saturday. The day was an opportunity for SLA members to gather together for a fun day out on the slopes, I partook despite my lack of skills on the slopes. I had never skied before, and have only snowboarded on the bunny slopes in Colorado when I was about 12, so I was pretty nervous about how this day was going to turn out, but I was determined to have a good time. I decided to stick with snowboarding, but was quickly questioning my decision as I tried to move around with only one foot strapped in. I was the awkward person that caused a backup on the first lift because I couldn’t move efficiently towards the chair. When I did eventually get on the lift and exit at the top, I waited nervously as others went on ahead, looking for a gap in the crowds so my embarrassment wouldn’t be as severe. When I was ready, I descended (probably too quick) and tried to turn on my toes. It didn’t work. I fell about 3 times within the first hundred feet of the slope, and then realized I could go down nicely if I just braked with my heels most of the way. This method was repeated throughout the day on slopes of higher difficulty and I eventually got used to going down the slopes, but I was still very hesitant to try any turns on my toes. That will have to be a project for next time. All in all, I had a great time, and I’m extraordinarily grateful to Waterville Valley for providing the opportunity.

Connor is from Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Saint John’s University in Minnesota with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Connor's bio.

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