The Squam Conservation Internship gives future conservation leaders the skills and experience needed to effectively move onto the next professional level while at the same time helping the Squam Lakes Association with our conservation mission. This unpaid 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, help with the eradication of variable milfoil, perform water quality testing and monitoring, help with public education and outreach projects, perform conservation duties such as shoreline restoration and trail maintenance and construction, meet and greet lake users and educate them about the dangers of invasive species. Squam Conservation Interns also regularly write about their experiences in the Squam Watershed.
JUNE 20, 2014
Today I went on my first milfoil removal dive. Thinking of the situation that we face with milfoil on Squam reminds of a story that I heard during my time in Panama. Loosely translated, the story goes something like this: There once was a big and beautiful forest that was home to many animals. One day, a fire started in the forest. Though small when it began, the fire grew very quickly and soon was uncontrollable. A bird saw the fire and realized that it needed to be stopped. He began to fly to the water, wet his wings, and come back to sprinkle droplets onto the flames. A monkey saw the bird and asked him why he was bothering with his task when it was clear that his tiny amount of water brought by his wings could not put the fire out. The bird replied that his home was worth fighting for and that as long as he did not give up, he could make a difference. He continued with his task. Finally, a giant rainstorm came by and the fire was extinguished. The bird celebrated, saying that with faith and hard work, anything is possible. After the fire was put out, the forest grew back and became even more beautiful than before.
When thinking of milfoil, it’s easy to take the point of view of the monkey: we are only a team of 8 interns battling a plant that proliferates so quickly. How could our efforts possibly make a difference? However, like the bird in the story, we also have “storms” helping us out: our Diver Assisted Suction Harvester and the support of many SLA members. Results of the work done over the past few years is already apparent: today when we dove in Bennett Cove, although there were some large milfoil plants, they were scattered, and there were nowhere near as many as I was expecting. Asquam Marina, while still occupied by milfoil, shows remarkable improvement from photos from past years. I know that we’re making a difference on Squam, and I’m so excited to continue to play a role in the eradication of milfoil on this beautiful lake.