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.
October 31, 2018
From hiking up mountains, to exploring the depths of Squam Lake, and on to watching the most beautiful sunsets on sunset ledge, the past 5 months or so have been some of the most memorable life-lasting memories. I will hold them dear to my heart. My name is Michael Hoffman and this is my third and final conservation journal as an AmeriCorps member for the Squam Lakes Association. Saying goodbyes along with pivotal changes in life are always hard but it’s when the tears are flooded with joy and fulfillment that the goodbyes are only a “see you later.” My last two conservation journals held the concept of reflection on my time spent here and this final journal will follow that pattern.
Gosh, the words I could use to describe my time hear at SLA and serving and exploring the Lakes Region fills a list to which has no end. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the full extent of where I would live, the service I would carry out, and the dreams I would achieve. Yes, I knew I would be doing some form of trail work, scuba diving (for a fruitful aquatic invasive species called variable milfoil), and camping out overnight to some degree. What I didn’t know was lunches on a trail work day 2200 feet up on the summit of Morgan or Percival overlooking all of the Lakes Region and the beauty it holds; or, spending two to three hours breathing underwater while swimming past aquatic life bursting with color; or camping up to three nights at time on an island.
A week ago we held our AmeriCorps graduation with words from staff from all three host sites with the Lakes Region Conservation Corps. While it was sad to hear words of good-byes and advice for the future, I am hopeful and beyond happy to start the next chapter in life because I know I’m going into my next chapter, not alone, but with a whole new family. Getting to know everyone at SLA, the rest of the LRCC AmeriCorps members, and the community as a whole has been amazing. Knowing there is a group of like-minded souls wanting the best for our lands in all types of conservation efforts is heart-warming. So, I thank everyone I came across during my time up here for everything you have done. Next Stop: Back to home in New Jersey, then after is unknown. The next adventure awaits!
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.