The Squam Conservation Internship gives future conservation leaders the skills and experience needed to effectively move onto the next professional level while at the same time helping the Squam Lakes Association with our conservation mission. This unpaid 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, help with the eradication of variable milfoil, perform water quality testing and monitoring, help with public education and outreach projects, perform conservation duties such as shoreline restoration and trail maintenance and construction, meet and greet lake users and educate them about the dangers of invasive species. Squam Conservation Interns also regularly write about their experiences in the Squam Watershed.
JUNE 16, 2014
Today marks our last day of training, and I could not be more excited to working and get into the swing of things. I didn't know quite what to expect when I first arrived here at Squam. The three weeks that have passed since then have been such a blur, but it already feels so familiar to all of us. I'm beginning to know my way around the lake (at least the parts we frequent), getting to know the landscape, navigational landmarks and cardinal directions. I am getting more comfortable with operating a powerboat, having passed our safe boater education exam and commercial boating license tests. I now know how to recognize variable milfoil, how to hand pull it effectively and also how to use our handy DASH (diver-assisted suction harvester) machine. I know the insides and outs of cleaning a composting toilet, I've learned the names of many tools and how to use them, and realized how much hard work is needed to keep a hiking trail well maintained. I've gotten to know my fellow interns and each of their own unique personalities, and I've fallen in love with a place that I had never heard of up until three months ago. I've been challenged so far, and I know I will face challenges in the future, but the practical experience I will have gained by the end of the summer and the friendships I've made will mean so much to me. I'm looking forward to calmer schedules, weekends out on the islands, hours underwater, and hiking the many trails around the lake on my days off. This place has so much to offer, and you can be sure all eight of the interns will be taking full advantage of it!