Conservation Journal: Erica

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.

August 23, 2018

Erica

June and July have come and gone in the blink of an eye, but as a six month AmeriCorps member, it’s a relief to know we still have two and a half months with the SLA!

This halfway point is a special time with the Lakes Region Conservation Corps. The end is not yet in sight, and I have really just recently begun to feel as though I am getting the hang of things around the SLA. Setting up my scuba gear has become second nature, running the wood splitter and building a fresh row of fire wood is another day at the boat launch, and trail work and camping are a comfortable routine, yet no day is really like another.  At this point, we can take a step back, slow down a little, and begin to understand how the SLA really works to protect the watershed.

Earlier this season, I heard EB talk about partnerships at the Volunteer New Hampshire conference. At the time I was just beginning to see all that makes a non-profit function, but since then I have observed so many examples of these partnerships with the SLA, organizations working together to mutually accomplish their missions. One I have most connected with is the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC). A little over a month ago, a few loon chicks hatched around the lake, and we were lucky enough to have one hatch close to where we are often camped. About a week after this chick was born, I was camped out for the weekend, and each day was tasked with watching the family for a few hours to make sure weekend boaters understood there was a baby loon, and didn’t get too close.  Over the past month this baby has gone from being a tiny fluff, often riding on its parent’s backs to a much larger fluff that dives with its parents and moves around independently on the water. It is never too far from an adult, but now it looks for its own food, dives, and flaps its wings just like its parents.

The LPC monitors the Squam Loons very closely, and every year they catch a few of them to weigh, measure, and check on their health and leg bands. We were able to go out one night with the LPC as they checked on the loon family on Little Squam. The SLA AmeriCorps members who went out took turns holding onto the adult and baby as the adult was measured, had its blood drawn, received some fresh leg bands, and pooped on us. I had never been so close to a loon, and it was amazing to see and hold a tiny loon chick. It was so fluffy and strong, standing up for itself by biting us, even after its mother was captured and calm. This was such a unique opportunity and we have the SLA, the LPC, and all their strong partnerships to thank for it.    

Erica is from Holderness, NH. She graduated from Colby College with a degree in Geology and Environmental studies. Click here to read Erica's bio.   

Join our LRCC members for weekly guided hikes, volunteer opportunities, and environmental programs. Learn more by clicking here.

 

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