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 8, 2016
Lake hosting has been something I've been doing more frequently these past couple of weeks, and I've had so many positive experiences while doing it. I was a little unsure of what to expect at first. Since we're at the boat launch informing people about rules and regulations, it's understandable that they might not be super excited to talk to us. But largely it’s been all really positive experiences! I have encountered so many people who are well-informed on the issues with invasive species on Squam Lake, which makes my job so much easier. It's really encouraging to have pleasant experiences with people through having conversations about conservation issues. Even people who aren't as familiar with the work we do at the SLA are almost always interested and happy to listen. It’s hard to know how well information about conservation work is being received and taken to heart by people not directly involved in the work, so getting out there as a lake host has been a great way to see that people are actually listening and do care.
Also related to controlling invasive species in the lakes, I’ve discovered overall that diving is by far one of my favorite shifts to work. I procrastinated getting SCUBA certified for way too long, and I’m so happy I was able to get that and be able to dive for this internship. I dove in Bennett Cove this past week and it was so pretty and clear; it actually reminded me of being in the Caribbean. It was a great experience to reinforce why we’re working so hard to keep invasive species in check. It does get interesting when we start pulling up milfoil and the silt starts to flow and cloud the water; it gets to the point where I can’t even see my hand in front of my face. But we just keep pulling, and when it’s not murky I like to look at all of the cool fish and bugs underwater while we work. It’s awesome.
Erin will be a senior at the University of Texas in Austin this fall. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is majoring in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavioral Biology and is working to complete a certificate in Environment and Sustainability as well.