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.

June 28, 2018

Maggie

When I started my service with the SLA back in November, I never expected how much I would love Squam Lake. After spending the winter here and seeing the fall landscape turn to an icy winter wonderland, I couldn't imagine this place getting any more beautiful. Oh boy was I wrong! Being a part of the transition from winter to summer was incredible, and it’s not just because of the spectacular views, but because of how much life at the SLA changed in such a short amount of time.

Now that the seasons have changed, we at the SLA began our yearly fight against the aquatic invasive plant, variable milfoil. Becoming SCUBA certified to remove milfoil is the coolest thing I have done here. Swimming has always been my favorite summer activity and now I get to experience it in an entirely new way.  I have always been one to stay in the water as long as I can, now with the proper equipment I can do just that! The first time I took a breath underwater it was surreal. It was even more surreal when I found myself being followed by hungry fish waiting for me to pull the next plant so they could search the sediment for their lunch. Despite it being hard work since we dive multiple times a week, removing milfoil has proven to be one of the best parts about serving at the SLA. Not only is it fun, but I know I’m actually making a difference in getting rid of milfoil from the watershed.

Between long dive days, weekend camping trips, trail work, and independent projects, saying we are busy would be an understatement. I’ve had the opportunity to help with not only aquatic invasive removal but also terrestrial invasive removal. It’s been an ongoing battle attempting to combat species such as oriental bittersweet, multiflora rose, as well as invasive honeysuckle. Together with our amazing volunteers, we have hosted multiple terrestrial invasive removal days at the SLA. So far they have primarily taken place on campus, where oriental bittersweet is well established. We hope that over time we can control this invasive problem and promote the growth of native plants around our campus.

The summer season is in full swing and all of us are working hard to help the SLA staff with their conservation initiatives.  I’m so happy that we have taken on four more AmeriCorps members that are all passionate and excited about the work being done at the SLA. With more people ready to work it’s going to be amazing to see all that we are able to get done this summer.

Maggie is from Swampscott, Massachusetts. She is serving her second service term with the Lakes Region Conservation Corps program at the SLA. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. Click here to read Maggie's bio.

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

 

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