Conservation Journal: Ben

The Lakes Region Conservation Corps (LRCC) is an AmeriCorps service program that develops skills and experiences for conservation professionals. LRCC members are the driving force behind the Squam Lakes Association’s conservation efforts. The program provides hands-on conservation work experience and numerous certifications over a broad range of areas, which ensures that LRCC members are capable of independently approaching a variety of tasks in the environmental conservation field. Members remove invasive species from the Squam watershed, manage and act as caretakers at our backcountry campsites, maintain the SLA’s 50+ miles of trails, educate the public on local and regional conservation initiatives, spearhead reports on conservation efforts, lead SLA volunteer crews and ensure the daily functioning of the Squam Lakes Association’s programs. Click here to learn more about the LRCC program.

December 13, 2017


Here it comes: winter. With snow on the ground and all! That might not seem like a big deal, but the little dusting we are getting this weekend will probably be as much snow as I’d see in a whole winter back home in NC. There are so many new experiences associated with “winterization” that are routine up here, but are completely novel to me. I’ve learned how to plow and use a snow blower, tasks that I will become all too familiar with before too long it seems. I spent a whole Saturday making firewood which, with the beautiful snowy vista of the lake before me the whole time, I’m pretty sure is some version of living the American dream. I don’t even own an ice scraper for my car (I should probably change that soon).

There are so many little experiences and new moments here at Squam that have really made the past month incredible. Not only because plowing and owning an ice scraper are generally valuable life tools, but in seeing how each of the little parts in our work contributes to the bigger picture for the SLA. I think the common perception of conservation work is more in terms of these overarching ideas, stuff like “save the loons”. That’s not a wrong way of thinking about it, those are our long-term goals too, but there are so many more pieces to even coming close to completing such a task. These pieces are made up of the skills of professionals with SLA, the efforts of my fellow LRCC members, and the passion and volunteering that comes from the community in the watershed. It’s then the goal of an organization like the SLA to bring together all of the pieces, small and large, and fit them into these long-term goals.

What I’m trying to say is that I know I came into this position with just a general interest in getting involved in conservation work, but not much of an idea of what that actually entails. From my experience here, I’ll take away lessons about turning little parts of a goal into tangible results and how to survive a winter in New England.

Ben is from Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from the College of Wooster with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Ben's bio.