Intern Journal-Gabie

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.

As I sit in the cabin on this Fourth of July, I read through my personal journal and relive the last two weeks. I do this as a calm and steady rain hit the pine needles and birch trees, droplets trickling down onto the roof of the caretaker’s cabin.

The beginning of the first week was hectic, I recall as I flipped through the pages of my journal. My memories are scattered with feelings of anxiety, stress, and most importantly of triumph. I smile as I listen to the swimmers jumping into the lake and squirrels skittering in the leaves.
I read through the journal and remember driving Allie (the JSLA camp director) to Great Island with Brett. We were on a “rescue mission,” some of the JSLA kids were stuck and unsure of kayaking back to the SLA on a windy day. Brett had me drive us and anchor on the beach, I was extremely wary of this, as I had never had to drop anchor (heck, I hadn’t even passed my boat test at this point!) In the end, the kayakers made it, as we watched from a distance as guardians of the lake. The rest of the day passed semi-smoothly and left me with light emotional scarring.
As I scrape out last night’s dinner remnants (now reduced to charred chunks and savory bits of ash) out of the pan with an old campers list, I think about the last time I stayed on Moon Island and in the cabin: Sydney and I ran inside having just “escaped the storm.”
All day we were wet, from the moment we left our (dry) intern cottage we dealt with moisture several times. We loaded wood, freshly cut by Brett, onto the truck as the thunderstorm announced its booming approach. We unloaded and split wood in the ‘monsoon’, all morning and most of the afternoon we were delightfully miserable; especially when the dive crew came back five hours early and were sent inside to do homework. We shared our drenched distaste for the downpour and trudged through the sodden ground. The skies cleared around lunch, and we were finally sent to do homework as the sun peeked its bright little nose out from the gray cumulonimbi. Since we were on camping duty, guardians of the islands, we packed our packs and took the lil’ whaler out on the lake.
As we arrived at Heron Cove, we were told by an alarmed pair of campers to get out of there, as the storm was approaching (again). No sooner did we turn around and turn on our phones, did we receive messages to get on land and stay on land. We docked at Wister 1, just as thunder boomed and the sky was illuminated. We spend the better part of an hour huddled in the toilet, grateful that it was the CLIVUS on Wister rather than the toilet on Bowman.
My reminiscing is gratefully disturbed by Ryan Mahar’s voice, letting me know that he has delivered wood bundles to the island. I smile now at the currently shining sun, and the feeling of ‘dry’ as I prepare my dinner of scrambled eggs and veggies, and prepare to spend the rest of this Independence Day on Moon Island.

Read more Intern Journal entries here.