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 unpaid 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, engage both youth and adults in environmental education, and perform other conservation duties such as shoreline restoration and trail maintenance and construction. Learn more about the internship program here. Squam Conservation Interns also regularly write about their experiences in the Squam Watershed.
Time is strange on Squam. It speeds up and slows down simultaneously.
I find it hard to believe that we have been here for a month. One third of the internship is over. I feel as if I just arrived, yet as if I have known my fellow interns for much longer. This work doesn’t seem like work, it seems like a vacation where we occasionally have to do “stuff”. Stuff like hike, go out to the islands and check on campers, and most importantly, battling milfoil. I think the hardest part of this “job” is trying to close the dive shed and keeping plenty of bagels and avocados in the intern house. Over the past month, we have probably eaten more bagels than the rest of Holderness combined, and we avocadon’t feel crummy about it at all. Everything we learn, everything we do is worthwhile, and even the crappy jobs are kind of fun (and very important).
Adaptability runs this internship, whether it’s conceiving tales of Italian sea captains, assuming awkward bodily contortions in order to keep the DASH (Diver Assisted Suction Harvester) hose in check, using disposable cups as makeshift funnels, or “whooping” across the property to communicate with the rest of the SLA.
There have been many firsts for us, the interns, here on Squam: first time driving a boat, first time scuba-diving, first time keeping track of a catfish and her eggs, and first time looking up at a forest of milfoil. I have learned so much and will continue to learn from our mentors Rebecca, Brett, and Caroline.
We have two months left here, but I know that we will never truly leave Squam. A part of us will always remember Piper Cove and the islands. I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer, but I am dreading the day I have to say “good-bye”.