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.

May 31, 2018


It’s officially the second term of the Lakes Region Conservation Corps, and I am so happy to be back. In between the winter/spring AmeriCorps service term and this one I took a road trip to see what other interesting places there are in the U.S. After spending half a year in New Hampshire, the mountains canyons, dunes, and red rocks out west were a sharp contrast to the landscape I was used to. My time with the LRCC had definitely given me a bit different perspective on some of the national parks I went to, and a greater appreciation for the trail systems that they have to maintain. On a side note, if you ever happen to be in southern Colorado make a point to visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park, they are stupidly cool in person. But despite all of the wonderful parks, views, and trails (actually built with a decent grade), I was always thinking about how excited I was to end up back here.

Although surviving my first New England winter was interesting and beautiful in its own right, the new life that spring brings to the lake really transforms the whole experience of being here. Plus, I really love reptiles and amphibians, so I can’t tell you how good it is to be seeing turtles out in the water and hearing frogs calling every night. There are also many new challenges and opportunities coming up for everybody in the watershed this summer. For example, we’ll be working hard to fight aquatic and terrestrial invasive plants, including a number of volunteer workdays to help clean up some of the spots we all love to visit. I basically need to relearn my plant ID’s though, because they look so different now that they actually have leaves. The picture below is from ax training with the Forest Service, which radically changed my opinion on how much you should care for your ax. Summer is also bringing so many new faces to the area. So whether we’re out on the trails, at the boat launches, or the campsites, one of the things I’m looking forward to the most is hearing about the lake from so many different perspectives.

Ben is from Durham, North Carolina. He is serving his second service term with the Lakes Region Conservation Corps program at the SLA. He graduated from the College of Wooster with a degree in Biology. Click here to read Ben's bio.

Join our LRCC members for weekly guided hikes, volunteer opportunities, and environmental programs. Learn more by clicking here.