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 unpaid 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, engage both youth and adults in environmental education, and perform other conservation duties such as shoreline restoration and trail maintenance and construction. Learn more about the internship program here. Squam Conservation Interns also regularly write about their experiences in the Squam Watershed.
June 5, 2015
I’ve now been at Squam Lake for just over two weeks. So far the other interns and I have acquired our open water diver licenses, weed diver certification, and commercial boating licenses, along with a plethora of other information regarding our various jobs, such as cleaning the composting toilets on at the island campsites that SLA maintains. I keep waiting for this job to feel like work, yet all of our time spent on Squam has been enjoyable. The other interns and I have quickly evolved into great friends as we bond over our new experiences and there hasn’t been a day when we haven’t ended up all laughing together. I couldn’t imagine a better way to explore, and learn about the beautiful area of Squam Lake than by camping on the islands, hiking the surrounding mountains for a spectacular view of the landscape, or scuba diving along the bottom of the lake.
Scuba diving is something I’ve considered doing yet I couldn’t have imagined a better circumstance to get the opportunity to obtain my open water diver license. This past weekend the other interns and I completed our four certification dives in lake Winnipesaukee, and today we received training to effectively remove variable milfoil from the bottom of the lake. In the photo I’m making the “diver okay” signal. This is how divers let their “buddies” know they are all right while underwater. Not only am I getting lots of scuba diving experience but I also get to help protect the health of Squam Lake by removing this invasive species, which is extremely rewarding and fun.
I love being immersed in my life on Squam, and end each day falling asleep in our cozy intern cottage, worn out from the days tasks, listening to the chorus of frogs and loons, while thinking about the accomplishments of the day. I know by the end of the summer I will leave feeling proud of the work I did for SLA to help protect the surrounding ecosystem, along with many great memories and friends.
Sydney is from Plymouth, NH and attends St. Lawrence University where she is majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Geology and Economics.