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.
July 22, 2016
Working on Squam continues to be a constant surprise and persistent pleasure. As we have long since settled into our rotating schedule, I would have assumed that by now, things would be slowing down: the days by now should be predictable, they should drag on. However, the opposite is occurring. I find myself with less and less free time. The roommates with whom I became accustomed to fighting over a stove-top burner rarely congregate in the same place. That being said, I find myself appreciating the smaller groups of people and the time we share.
As of recent, I had the pleasure to work as the Person-In-Charge (PIC) on the dive crew. Being in charge really changed the dynamic of the whole dive for me. Whereas before I found it easy to show up tired on a dive day, ready to mindlessly churn out the process of squeezing into a cold wetsuit, strapping a tank of compressed air on my back, and travelling a few feet under the surface to harvest some milfoil. Now, I felt like I was on the other side of this process. As PIC, I found myself coordinating the activities of my fellow divers, searching for the most efficient way to operate and trying to figure out a management technique that wouldn’t alienate my peers.
As if being temporarily in charge of the Squam Lakes Association Milfoil Removal Dive Team wasn’t enough for one young conservationist’s wild week, I happened to find myself on a boat in Heron Cove, in the middle of the night, holding a newly banded loon. It was a stunning night. Thanks to the Loon Preservation Committee, my co-interns and I were invited to come see and participate in the banding of the loons. That which was quite a startling display of the human ability to capture a smaller animal was satisfying in an odd way. While this experience is strange and temporarily traumatizing for the loon, it offers us a huge breadth of information. It allows us to keep track of the loon’s behavior; whether it leaves this lake, if its diet changes, and even if the water quality changes. Our ability to read this loon is a reflection of our ability to judge the lake’s ebbs and flows. The same way we monitor this creature, we monitor our watershed.
Kyle is from Concord, NH, and studies chemistry at Bates College in Maine.