Conservation Journal: Mike

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.

September 15, 2018

Mike

The summer is coming to a close, and so is the hustle and bustle of the summer duties of the AmeriCorps members. I am one of the six remaining AmeriCorps volunteers who started up their half-year terms near the end of May. Sadly, we had to see four members leave us at the end of August when they completed a full year of service! All of who were amazing members with varying backgrounds and an array of tremendous knowledge and insight.

So, the Squam Lakes Region is shifting into the fall now, cooler nights are settling in and the fall foliage is peaking its head out. Looking back to the summer, it is unbelievable the amount of diverse and multifaceted service the AmeriCorps members of SLA tackle. Our days are filled with hiking up the 50 plus miles of trails in the Squam Range, diving in beautiful coves surveying for aquatic invasive species such as variable milfoil, running educational programs with the JSLA campers and the public, having the honor to be caretakers at the islands we manage, and getting to see all of Squam Lake through taking water quality samples! Days can be long, but the reward I find after a day’s work on the trails or out on the water is worth it. It’s not every day that you can say after graduating college you spent your summer completely immersed in conservation, wildlife management, and water quality testing at Squam Lake. People have asked me, “Do you actually like it up here, actually?” and every time I basically give the same answer as described above. There have been countless moments up here where my connection, while being short, has grown so much stronger to Squam Lake and conserving its lands for future generations to enjoy.

I once found myself standing out on Sunset Ledge on Bowman while doing my rounds, checking in campers and cleaning bathrooms. I stood there thinking, exactly where I am standing, so many people before stood here for the same reason, ensuring that Bowman Island remains intact and as minimally disturbed for the integrity of the ecosystem to which resides on the island. And my connection to the service we do out here grew so much more as all my hair stood up on my skin. I knew it’s my turn to be that link between all wildlife, trees and plants alike. It is the fall now, with trail work ramping up and diving days slowing down, I cannot wait to get up on the trails to have a great finish out the last two months or service!

Mike is from Pennsville, New Jersey. He graduated from Stockton University with a B.S. in Environmental Science. Click here to read Mike's bio.

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

 

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