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.

August 16, 2018


As an LRCC member, I love the rain. It means that after weeks of poor visibility due to low water level and the dam being closed, diving for milfoil isn’t a silty mess. It means you aren’t overheating on the trails and the woods look wonderfully misty when you’re out doing trail work all day. My favorite part of the rain has been seeing how much life pops up out of nowhere following the storms. Next time you’re out on a hike, keep your eyes towards the ground and give some time to appreciate the little things that call the watershed home.

I got the chance to do just this with two programs I did recently. The first program was in collaboration with the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, one of a number of Nearer to Nature hikes where our LRCC members gotten the opportunity to work with naturalists from the Science Center. The second program was with one of our JSLA camps, so instead of leading a small group of adults I was instead herding a rowdy bunch of kids. We spotted an assortment of amphibians, colorful mushrooms, Indian pipes, and other cool organisms. The results were surprisingly similar, with everyone getting engaged and excited about finding new things. The campers were definitely more into flipping rocks and logs looking for salamanders, so they got way dirtier than the group from the other program. I grew up going to camps where those kinds of explorations were my favorite parts of the week, so getting to make it happen for others was an awesome experience.

It’s great to see so much life and diversity out in our forests not just because frogs and fungi are cool to look at, but because it speaks to the quality of the ecosystems that we have in the watershed. Many of these little organisms, which play a surprisingly large role in the habitats they live in, are fairly sensitive to human disturbances. They rely on complex systems of microhabitats and interactions with other species as well. It’s always important to tread carefully and remember that even small impacts while we are out on the trails can have consequences. But it’s also testament to how conscious this community is of its foot print that we have such a vibrant ecosystem.

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.