Conservation Journal: Maggie

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 2, 2018

Maggie

It’s been a while since I last wrote a journal. So much has happened! From chainsaw training, winter water quality, the ice harvest, getting my car stuck in the driveway (again), to taking part in a Wilderness First Aid training course. I can say that every time it comes to writing a new journal I struggle to figure out how to sum it all up. Luckily my fellow LRCC members have talked about winter water quality and chainsaw training so I can go right into my experience with Wilderness First Aid.

Wilderness First Aid (WFA) training was both informative and incredibly fun. This past weekend, Ben and I took part in a WFA course at the Holderness School. I must say that it was not what I was expecting. I was prepared to sit in a lecture all day. To my surprise we spent a marginal amount of time being lectured by our instructor but the rest was all acting out scenarios, which was really fun!

With fake blood and costume makeup in hand our instructor picked out people who would be the patients. I had the opportunity to be a patient several times. It may seem kind of silly to act out specific scenarios, but it was a great way to learn. I went from being unconscious and unresponsive in cold water, to being attacked by a bear and going into shock, to choking on bread, to having a radius and ulna fracture. In each of these scenarios I had different levels of consciousness and my course mates had to figure out what happened to me. Using whatever materials they had on hand, they worked together to assess the situation and care for my injuries.

The first scenario in which I acted in I “fell” off high rocks into a stream. My head was above the imaginary water but the rest of my body was submerged. I was supposed to be unconscious and unresponsive with a head wound. The group had to lift me out of the “water.” It’s kinda scary and slightly uncomfortable to be lifted by a group of strangers. I was worried they would drop me. Luckily I was not, and they proceeded with a patient assessment. For the bear attack scenario, I had possible internal bleeding on my lower abdomen with an injured arm and a head wound. All of this trauma caused me to go into shock. It was interesting pretending that my vitals were high, then higher, and then dropped causing me to become unconscious. I learned that’s the tell-tale sign of someone going into shock. When it came to the scenario in which my arm was fractured, my teammates had to properly put my arm in a splint. They used a rigid support item, excess clothing as padding, and a large jacket for a sling to successfully stabilize my arm.

All of these experiences as a patient made it easy to transition into being someone doing the care. When it came to assessing injuries, figuring out how to correctly splint a leg, to lifting a victim and moving them to a safe location, I found myself very calm and confident in my ability to successfully complete each scenario our instructor put us into. In just two days I learned a lot of new and very useful information. Thankfully I now know the steps, I know what to look for, and I know that as long as I remain calm and collected I can help when it is needed.

Maggie is from Swampscott, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. Click here to read Maggie's bio.

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