The Squam Conservation Internship provides skills and experience for future conservation professionals while working as the driving force behind the SLA’s conservation mission. This volunteer internship provides hands-on conservation work experience and certifications over a broad range of activities. Interns serve as campsite hosts and caretakers at our backcountry campsites, work toward the eradication of variable milfoil, help preserve loon populations on Squam, engage both youth and adults in environmental education, and perform other conservation duties such as shoreline restoration and trail maintenance and construction. Squam Conservation Interns also regularly write about their experiences in the Squam Watershed. Learn more about the internship program here.
July 10, 2017
A tear nearly streams down my face as I sit on the caretaker dock at Chamberlain Reynolds, or as we like to call it in the intern house, chamberlain rentals. I am looking across the lake to a beautiful fully set sun with nothing left but rainbow hues; the moon is shining brightly down right above my head and fireworks are going off in the distance. In this special moment, I realized just how important all the work we do is and how lucky I am to be spending a summer in such an amazing place.
My first experience camping alone for the weekend started off not so great. The rain was persistent both Friday and Saturday night. Being stuck in my tent for hours at a time was not exactly how I pictured my weekend going, but I knew Sunday would bring sunshine, so I did what I could to get through the first two days while looking very forward to Sunday.
Sunday arrived and I had a jammed packed day. The day started with putting in swim lines. This proved to be a little more time consuming than we had originally anticipated due to the excessive amount of knots that needed to be untied. Lucky for me, I had the help of Alice, Stephen, and Katri. The next task, the one I was a little too excited for was raking the lake. The leaves were piled nearly a foot high on the beach. Before even being told that this was something I needed to do, I already knew I wanted to tackle the job. We raked, poked, picked, shoveled, grabbed, pretty much tried every technique out there to dig the leaves out of their tightly compacted area and then move them out of the way. The results after a few short hours were incredible. This was one of the most satisfying things I have done out here, like I said I may have been a little too excited about this task. The rest of my afternoon was spent cleaning bathrooms and checking in campers. It was an exhausting day, but it was filled with tasks that I know are appreciated by everyone who visits the campsites.
When my “work” day ended, none of it felt like work. I sat on that dock and thought about how all of this work is not just so the visitors can enjoy this beautiful land, but I too am able to enjoy it.
Becca is from Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2015 with a BA in Biological Sciences and a minor in Environmental Science. Click here to read her bio.