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.
August 7, 2017
For fear of stating the obvious, there is a strong sense of comradery at the SLA. Turns out when a bunch of people live (predominately) in the woods together, they end up being pretty close. Past interns often come back to haunt the SLA in some capacity, campers still trek out to Bowman to peer in the cabin windows and relive summers past, peaks continue to be summited, blueberries are picked on the way to the boatshed, and traditions upheld all over the lake. But this summer, I felt an immense sense of place at the Annual Meeting just a few days ago. We spent the entire day prepping for an event while wondering whether the cold pouring rain would even allow us to have a quorum. And as 3:30pm arrived, so did the cars and the members. I then sat in a full Fisher Barn, hearing the series of presentations from Eve Porter-Zuckerman (our most recent President), our Treasurer Scott Littlejohn, the famous EB, Charlotte Kingham, and SLA’s new President Bob Lucic, surrounded by the interns and Brett (who was uncomfortably wedged into a corner). I shared an annual report with Eric and we reviewed the financial summary and whispered about the index fund returns (sometimes we Econ majors just can’t help ourselves), caught up with people, and snagged one too many berry crisp bites from the reception table. It’s not often in an intern’s life that we get to sit back and admire our work, or the SLA’s as a whole. But hearing EB praise our work and our headway on every front, knowing JSLA is having a record year, CYSP instilling the love of water and low-impact recreation every day, and hearing about overflowing Adventure Ecology programs makes me proud to put my staff shirt on every day. Even just standing up for the applause given by those that make SLA’s finances and legality possible, and all likeminded environmental stewards, made the 14 hour days, the tired eyes and sore legs, every water bar, every milfoil root ball pulled worth it. Sometimes it’s the little things, and finding community and sense of place amongst the ranks of SLA’s movers and shakers makes me realize that it’s a big mission, but I am a big part of that mission. We don’t work for today, we work for tomorrow and the tomorrows after that. That may be the most important thing I learned this summer.
I’m not sure if this is my last intern journal or if I have one more and I am (as usual) without wifi to access the Google folder with that information as I write this, so I’ll take my chance and bid you all farewell. In just a few short weeks I will be back in horribly-landlocked but delightful Virginia and will be spending much more time indoors as I trade the White Mountains for the Blue Ridge. Squam will be very far away, and so will the friends I’ve made this summer, but the personal growth, conservation efforts, and many laughs will carry me far into the winter months. I’d like to think I’ve also made a lasting impact on this region so that it will feel my dedication and my work – along with the other nine troopers – will inspire others to pick up the torch. Until next time.
Elizabeth is from Connecticut. She currently attends Washington-Lee University and is a double major in Economics and English. Click here to read Elizabeth's bio.