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.
Dear Squam Lake:
This summer has probably been the most important summer of our lives. For the past three months, we have shared a home, a workplace, and have become a family. We have inside jokes which we will carry around and refer to back home, but no one will understand, we’ll end our stories with “you just have to have been there to understand”.
Sydney left us first, off to live in the wild, and since her last day we have been thinking of each experience as “our last time doing ___.” As the days approached our last, we started making plans for the future. Julian left us next, waiting for the workers to return from the “last dive, ever”. Luckily for me, there was thunder (I was supposed to go camping) and I was able to stay and say goodbye. The next day, my last work day, went on as normal: Brett work. The day was spent, with Dougie, moving heavy objects and taking them places. Cleaning toilets will be a nostalgic experience from now on.
Ryan left earlier today, after we received our “what I like about you’s,” which no one has touched, for fear of crying in front of the remaining interns. Because: “if you cry, I’ll cry”.
And now, as I write this letter I am having flashbacks from this summer:
Our first night together: Awkwardly talking about school and music while playing Balderdash, eventually just reading words aloud.
Our first hike together: West Rattlesnake, seeing that amazing view, and realizing that for the next three months, this would be our home.
Our first camping night together: Knowing that moments like this would be few and far between and devouring Rebecca’s mom’s brown sugar nut bits.
Our first dive together: In the swimming pool at the Laconia athletic club with BRAD SWAIN.
Our first toilet experience together: aww...crap!
Our first boat drive: Not wanting to go full speed, even though full speed is barely faster than a kayaker (that one when we bow stuffed, a kayaker actually beat us to the island and back to the cove).
Our first time pulling milfoil: watching Kyle pull every plant except milfoil, and then realizing that we would be battling the insidious weed.
There are so many things we did for the first time this summer, but not for the last.
We will not say goodbye to this beautiful place. We will not say farewell to the lake we spent our summer on. And we will not say adios to the people we spent the last 93 days with, because this will not be the last you see of us.
Don’t you forget about us Squam, we won’t forget about you.