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 2, 2016
We’re now two weeks out of training and the everyday flow is getting smoother and smoother. Just last weekend, I was alone in charge of our Moon sites on Squam Lake. It was a beautiful weekend and I had some really nice campers that made my stay more enjoyable. Both Saturday and Sunday I also went out onto the lake with a fellow intern and did what we here call Squam Keeping. This involves going out onto one of 12 areas on Squam and boating around, observing wildlife, shoreline development, boater activity, and water quality. We were just slowly cruising along and we managed to see multiple loons feeding, an eagle and a great blue heron flying overhead, and some wonderful mountain laurel in bloom along Hodges Cove.
We might not have gone too far from Moon Island this weekend while Squam Keeping, but the areas extend all the way from the southwest corner of Little Squam up to the northeast corner of the lake in Sandwich Bay. The main message of Squam Keeping is making our presence known across the whole lake, and to spread our message of conservation to the public. This expanse also gives us the opportunity to monitor the health of the lake through our water quality monitoring project as well. Monday’s interns will go out and monitor sites, along with other volunteers periodically throughout the week on top of the weekend Squam Keeping. All the data collected, from where the thermocline is, to levels of dissolved oxygen, hint at the health of the lake.
Squam Lake is a rather healthy lake, but due to a large watershed, this could change if people start to forget about it. Issues such as salt or fertilizer run off can drastically alter the chemical composition of the lake, and from there other things can be affected such as plant growth and water clarity. On top of being bad for the lake, this then affects recreation and peoples’ enjoyment levels while on the lake. Doing our part to keep the lake healthy therefore benefits everyone.
Maggie G. was born and raised in Rumney, NH and is now a Senior attending the State University of New York at Oswego, NY.