Conservation Journal: Dani

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.

October 25, 2019

Autumn is my favorite season by far—the changing leaves draping the land in a festive blanket of colors, the crisp bite to the air on sunny days with a crystal clear sky, pumpkin-flavored-everything showing up everywhere. The season is always a little bittersweet, as you reminisce over the summer’s activities, and wonder whether or not you took full advantage of the warmth and sunshine. This time the seasons changing is a little extra hard hitting, as the current AmeriCorps term comes to an end.

As always seems to be the case, this summer flew by. Days were long and physically taxing at times, but were always tempered by the people they were shared with. After living in close quarters and working day in and day out with the same core group of people, the bonds we’ve formed feel closer than the average friendships. As the end of a term full of firsts draws closer and closer, each day now brings new lasts.

I’m staying for another term here at the SLA, so this isn’t really goodbye for me quite yet, but it means saying goodbye to the people I consider my New Hampshire family as they all set off in new directions. It also means meeting seven new people who will become my housemates and co-servers. While the seasonality of jobs in this field probably means many more bittersweet goodbyes to come in my future, it also means forming a growing network of friends within the field all over the country. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told that networking is the most valuable thing you can do for your career, I’d probably actually be able to retire someday. 

Jokes aside, having a large network of people to work and collaborate with is something that is really valuable in the field of conservation. Even here at the SLA, the network of people and organizations that all work together towards a common goal is evident. Be it a partnership to hold an easement and maintain trails on a piece of land, or connecting organizations via individuals taking on new roles at a different location, the SLA’s network is continuously growing, as is its capacity for conservation. The work done at the SLA isn’t something one person or even one organization could do alone, and as further connections are fostered between people and places, so too are opportunities to further conserve the Lakes Region.

Interpersonal connections make us stronger and help us reach farther than possible alone. So while I’m nervous to start a new term and saddened by the thought of saying goodbye to the summer crew, I’m grateful for the many opportunities we’ve shared together. I know that this isn’t really goodbye, and that my network is growing.

Dani is wrapping up her first term of service with the SLA.  We appreciate her up-for-anything attitude, her quality writing skills, and her sense of humor and wit.  You can read more about Dani here. 

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