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.
May 31, 2016
Two weeks in. During one of my first mornings here, I had enough time to kayak out onto the lake and see the sun shining over the Sandwich ridge, but soon after, we were hit with training and more training, so time was at a premium. After receiving our commercial boating licenses, we all took turns driving Millie the Milfoil boat so we would get used to her quirks. Additionally, we all received our open water scuba diving certificate (thanks Brad Swain!) so now were just one short step away from declaring war on variable milfoil! We just need to get our weed control certificate next week. We’re comin’ for ya, milfoil!
A highlight of this internship, and Squam Lake in general, is the first time you camp on an island. All of us interns did an overnight camp on Bowman Island with Connor, Rebecca, and Brett. After learning some stove skills , we learned how to clean dishes in the backwoods without getting everyone sick (yay!). One thing I will never forget will be the first time I heard the loon calls up close.
Once we all went into our respective tents or hammocks and quieted down, the show began. Loons, owls, and other critters of the night came to life and shared their harmonies with us. You can hear them from the SLA headquarters, but they are fairly quiet because they are across the lake on an island or a secluded cove somewhere. It is much different when they are up close and personal. I have camped in remote regions of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois before coming to Squam, but the sounds of the surrounding wildlife here are much louder and more present than anywhere else I have ever been. I think it says a lot about our conservation efforts. Squam makes a good home for all living creatures, not just humans, and that’s a beautiful thing. We are all in this big blue and green ball together, let’s never forget it. Onwards.
Gio is originally from Montevideo, Uruguay and currently resides in Chicago. He is an environmental studies student at Northeaster Illinois University, where he helped lead a conservation club on campus.