Conservation Journal: Kyle

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.

April 27, 2018

Kyle

We’ve hit the half way point in the program and with it one member’s term has ended, and two others have a brief reprieve before they begin their second term with the LRCC at the SLA. The SLA cottage where we have been living is dead quiet. I love it. Don’t get me wrong, living with roommates is great but solitude is important too. There’s certain stressors that aren’t debilitating but contribute to some emotional weight when you share a room with someone else. The stressor could be something as benign as trying to stay quiet in the morning when your roommate has a day off. It’s not something I would think twice about doing when sharing a room, but the freedom to get out of bed with thirty different variants of stretch noises is true freedom. It’s not that I need to be obnoxious when I wake up, it’s that I can be without affecting anyone else. Though, I’m usually the last one awake in the house so I could groan all I want when I wake up… But it’s different now! Maybe… Either way it’s been a nice break from the hectic mornings in the kitchen. I do miss them, but most of them will be back.

We did have a nice potluck to commemorate the end of the first LRCC group to go through SLA’s new AmeriCorps partnership, but once all the left-over bean dip was eaten it was back to the ol’ grind. Winter is finally stepping back and giving the grass some much needed sunlight and we are getting everything ready for the summer term and our new members. I’m looking forward to some familiarity in the region. I do love winter; I think it’s absolutely gorgeous, but it’s a lot like eating Mac N’ Cheese. It’s delicious, but I don’t want it for every meal.

We’ve been able to work a lot more with school groups thanks in part to our fantastic new director of education, Leigh Ann. Being with the kids rekindles my joy of watching them learn and become inquisitive about nature. Just the other day Connor and I went to Holderness Central School to participate in the After-school Care and Enrichment (ACE) program and one of the kids there had never heard of a peregrine falcon. “WHAT! Peregrine falcons are SO COOL let me tell you EVERYTHING I can possibly remember about them.” This kind of knowledge sharing is my favorite. It’s all good and well to learn about peregrine falcons in school or by reading but catching those teachable moments when they are most relevant is so much better. It creates a memory seed. As you get older and learn more, these seeds grow into huge trees of knowledge and the idea that I may have helped cultivate the landscape of the mind is inspiring.

We all have our struggles and kids are no different. The scale of an issue may change, but the emotional impact it has is just as real. If you are ever feeling down just remember that someone somewhere is having a near mental breakdown because they can’t draw a photorealistic bald eagle at the age of 7. Which happened that same day. Twice. It’s important not to shrug something like that off and think “well they’ll get over it.” They will, but those types of emotions are tender and usually have some other underlying reason for appearing. In this case it was because the student felt as if they couldn’t participate in the activity because they were unable to draw perfectly. The remedy was for me to attempt to draw a bald eagle outline so that they could color it in. It worked beautifully, and I hope that minor victory added on to many others like it to create the foundation of “maybe this can be fixed” thinking. That’s the same thinking that goes into conservation and stewardship. Small victories add up and instill confidence in an idea, whether it’s drawing or protecting a watershed. I’ll happily wake up quietly in the mornings if it means I get to do that every day.

Kyle is from Rochester, New York. He is working towards a degree in Chemistry from SUNY Oswego. Click here to read Kyle's bio.

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