Intern Journal: Riley

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 10, 2017

Riley

I’m really going to miss the long rides home on Millie. They’re typically anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour long, depending on where we pull in the lake that day, and they’re one of my favorite things about this internship. Whether I’m the one driving home or not, that brief period of time is the perfect way to relax and think after a long day of harvesting milfoil.

Most of the time I utilize the ride home to think about the lake. I have come to understand that Squam will always exist in my mind in a way that few other places do: with the utmost admiration and respect of place. The green, bushy mountains float by in the distance as the shimmering lake parts for Millie, running along at her top speed of about 2 miles per hour. We pass boats who thank us for protecting the integrity of the lake, and we pass boats who have no idea what we do. Regardless, people wave and smile when they see our odd looking boat, a tribute to the sense of community created by the lake, the likes of which I really have never experienced in a region so large.

In the end, what I find most touching about our long rides home are the families that I see. Seemingly everywhere I look there are mothers and fathers teaching their children how to fish, how to drive boats, and how to apply enough sunscreen so that they don’t become a crisper under the sun and develop skin cancer on the spot. I imagine that these children will one-day view Squam in the same light as I do. They will view Squam as a place where they learned new things, and took vast strides of growth. They will view these bushy green mountains and this shimmering lake with admiration and respect, and as a place that can be considered home.

Riley is from New Jersey. He is a rising sophomore at Bowdoin College in Maine and plans to major in environmental studies and political science. Click here to read Riley's bio.

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