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.
June 25, 2016
Well, we finally got around to diving and using the DASH system to clean up milfoil on Squam River. It was a bit shocking to see the amount of milfoil in all the coves. The hope is we can get it under control before the heavy boating traffic season hits. Many of the plants are very much in the way of boat propellers which could cause fragmentation. It isn’t the boaters’ fault that the plant chose to grow around the dock, and we can’t and don’t expect them to not use their boats.
When one of the dive teams got back and told me they got 200 gallons that day, I thought it was a joke, and felt skeptical. Then I realized they weren’t kidding. They really had gotten 200 gallons of milfoil out of the river area. It’s always interesting talking to neighbors in the area where we’re working. Most of the residents are very grateful and understand the purpose behind our mission. It’s pleasing to hear the compliments, but I suppose our goal is to never have to show up there again because ideally we’d get all the milfoil out and never return.
Aside from that, every day as an SLA intern is full of gratifying experiences. Two of us did trail work at Col Trail. Once we finished, I thought we had gone very far into the trail. We worked for about 5 hours clearing a path full of weeds, overgrown ferns and maple trees, and barbed wire (not kidding…). We connected our work with previous work that had been done on that trail a few days prior. Once we were finished and had to return to SLA it took us all of fifteen minutes to return to our car. At first, we felt very defeated, but considering the trail looked like a rabbit trail at the beginning and now it is clearly marked, we felt proud of our work. Now folks can enjoy a different hike up to the Rattlesnakes! It is so worthwhile to preserve this watershed. Views like the one pictured are my favorite, because they don’t require any touching up.
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.