JULY 31, 2014
As I reflect on my internship here at the SLA I look back on all the work we’ve done and I’ve realized that every little bit of it has an effect on the conservation of Squam and its watershed. Obviously the removal of variable milfoil is allowing the resurgence of native plants back into coves where once grand forests of milfoil shaded out any native plant trying to make a living. This summer we have surveyed and pulled only a couple of gallons of milfoil from Grapevine Cove, a place where hundreds of gallons were suctioned away by last year's interns. When I dive there now, it doesn’t even look like there was an invasive problem because of how well established the native plants appear to be. But enough about the conservation within the lakes, how does wood splitting and bundling wood relate to conservation work?
The interns and I have split, stacked, bundled, transported, and burned so many bundles of wood this summer, and it is so easy to forget that is a huge conservation effort. Splitting wood and stacking used to be a way for me to help my grandfather out back in Connecticut, but now I look at it as more than just heat for the winter time. By breaking these large chunk of wood down into smaller chunks, and then breaking these smaller chunks into even smaller pieces we are conserving the island forests and soils. If we didn’t supply wood for our campers daily then they would be more inclined to chop down trees on the islands. The removal of trees would remove habitat space of mammals, many birds, and increase forest fragmentation. Campers would also remove more branches and logs that otherwise would be naturally decomposing and adding essential nutrients back into the island soils. I could only imagine what Moon and Bowman Islands would look like if we weren’t supplying all these bundles on a regular basis.
I’ve been very appreciative of my time here and look forward to these last couple weeks. I’ve learn a lot about being a conservationist and what it takes. And so the next time I help my grandfather out with his wood pile, I’ll be thinking about all the bundles back in Squam.