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.
August 2, 2017
Wait…you mean it’s August? Seriously? I thought we just finished training like…2 or 3 weeks ago, I’m only just getting settled in! Gosh, where has the time gone? Knowing our luck, it’s probably sitting on the bottom of the lake right now. All joking aside, this has been one heck of a summer. I sit here realizing that this has been my 4th internship. I’ve spent a summer working in a surgery room at an animal hospital, a summer in Texas working with baby deer and goats, and a summer as a federal inspector and water quality monitor. Now I can say I’ve spent a summer in New Hampshire as a conservationist, and I cannot be more honest when I say this has been the best summer I have ever had. As cliché as that is, again, I love clichés, it could not be any more heartfelt. I came into this land a stranger, and I feel as now I have become family.
This summer has put into perspective the kind of work needed to maintain a thriving natural area. From trail maintenance for the public to milfoil removal for the fishes I feel as though I have done it all. I feel as though I am a part of something much bigger than myself. I am a part of this whole community, both natural and anthropogenic. The Squam Lakes Association is a nonprofit, we are here for the Squam Lakes and nothing more. We are not here to make a quick buck and to live in big fancy houses. We are here to promote the conservation of this whole region and to educate our fellow man. Being able to help advance this mission is more than any monetary reward I could ever ask for.
I would be selfish if I did not mention my fellow co-workers. We have been stuck together in a single cottage for the whole summer and I am happy to report that no one has killed me yet! Granted, we still have a bit more time left. I’m trying to describe my fellow interns, along with those I work with at our headquarters but words fail me, so I’ll at least give it a shot. They are amazing, they are fantastic, they are loving, they are funny, they are kind, they are sweet, they are real, they are comfortable, they are optimistic and dang do they all look good! They are this and that and everything in between! Heaven knows I could go on and on, but I fear that I would use up a book’s worth of space.
So now I must make the decision as to whether I will be here in the fall. Do I stay with the land I have come to love and cherish, or do I move onto other opportunities? The clock is ticking, so I better act soon…before I drop it in the lake.
Nathan is from Indiana. He graduated in May of 2017 from Ball State University with a degree in biology. Click here to read his bio.