Intern Journal: Erin

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 12, 2016

Erin

A little over a week ago the SLA hosted its big annual meeting. It was really cool to get to see and meet many of the people who volunteer and donate to the SLA to make what we do possible. I think it's easy for us (the interns) to feel responsible and overwhelmed by all the conservation work we see needing to be done when, during the week, it's largely just ourselves and the ten or so constant staff members. But seeing everyone at the meeting reminded me and reinforced the fact that there's a large group of people out there willing to help in any way they can. It makes me feel a lot more comforted that the work we’ve done throughout the summer will continue to be done after we are gone.

I was surprised the other day when I realized how much progress I've made over the summer. I'm comfortable driving a boat by myself (a little nerve-wracking at first), I can carry two oxygen tanks without dropping them and crushing my toes, and most importantly, I feel like I've gained a new perspective of what it means to do conservation work. I recently wrote a reflection essay about this internship for part of the school program that's giving me course credit for this, and I realized I’ve gained a much deeper understanding of what it means to work to conserve the natural environment, and how to do so while still letting people enjoy and respect nature in a responsible way.

As a long term goal I hope to make a positive impact on the world by having a career in research, and using that research to support efforts to protect organisms and their environment. I am interested in learning how human activities impact the world’s ecosystems, and help to protect the organisms being negatively impacted by those human activities. I also want to continue learning new things once I complete my university education, and so I hope to have a job in which I am able to make new discoveries and increase our knowledge of the natural world throughout my entire career. This internship has definitely helped me understand more how to achieve these goals.

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.

Read more Intern Journal entries here.