Conservation Journal: Kim

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.

Kim Appleby

April 5, 2019

The day is Wednesday, March 27th. The morning starts the same, coffee mug in hand, backpack filled: microspikes, gloves, an extra layer, rain pants, the banana that’s probably squished, laptop, headphones, etc. It’s a regular day as a winter term LRCC member. But the spring equinox was a week ago! The birds are chirping, the ground is frozen in some places, and muddy in others, our cove is sprinkled with geese and ducks, and the air is crisp and refreshing. Usually I rush across the field to get back inside to warmth as quickly as possible, but today I am watching the birds zoom from treetop to treetop and reflecting on both the obvious and subtle signs that reveal spring is here. When it hits me, it’s 8:29, and we have our weekly LRCC meeting at 8:30! The morning rush across the field returns.

The time is now 9:30. I look at my to-do list and I plan my day.

The time is now 12:30. After a morning of working on computer-based service projects, I begin the afternoon by setting up for tonight’s Squam Speaker Series. I sweep, rearrange the great room furniture, set up additional chairs, assemble the projector screen, get distracted by the flock of birds inhabiting the ice island in the cove, plug in the projector, and pour myself a cup of coffee. I go back to the computer to decide what to do next before Katri, our Facilities Manager, asks for a hand with changing the oil of our boat Calypso. I’m enjoying that the artillery of cold weather clothing is not needed as we walk down to the docks, tools in hand, and exclaim how gorgeous the day is. 

The time is now 4:30. As staff and LRCC members alike start trickling out of the office, I sit and prepare my introductions for this evening's speakers.

The time is now 6:30. Our speakers arrive, guests follow shortly after. Tonight's speakers present on “Designing with Nature: Green Infrastructure Techniques for Property Owners.” This is the first of our Spring into Action series focused on ways to help the environment. People ask questions, offer comments, and the discussion expands beyond the immediate topic. The excitement and talk of upcoming seasons makes me forget there’s still snow on the ground. The discussion wraps up, people begin to leave, and I quickly rearrange the great room back to its usual set up.

The time is now 9:00. I walk back to the LRCC cottage. It’s late, I’m tired, but I am inspired by the energy that spring reawakens.

As I reflect on the activities of that Wednesday, I appreciate the transition between the slower and calm winter season to a busier and vibrant spring. I’ve always loved spring. The increased energy, the ability to bask in the sun without sweating, and the way the season naturally inspires change and improvement. Over the past 10 months here at the SLA, I have seen the power of community: to share ideas, to partner together, and to encourage continuous growth towards common goals. Last Wednesday night, during the discussion ignited by a shared curiosity about how to create landscapes and gardens that support natural ecosystem functions, I was again inspired by the enthusiasm to make improvements that have positive impacts on the environment. As I prepare to pack my bags to adhere to 50 Ib. weight limits and head back to Florida, I find myself refocusing on how I can improve as an individual to make more environmentally conscious decisions.

Now, the snow and ice are melting, snowshoes are exchanged for paddles, and I look forward to the coming months of transitioning from a LRCC member to… well that is to be determined. But, what I do know is that I will take with me the many lessons learned while serving at the SLA that inspire me to continue to improve as an environmental steward, both professionally and as an individual. 

Kim is an empath.  She is dedicated to conservation, a strong leader within the program, a loyal friend and team member, and a joy to be around.  Kim has served two half term positions for a total of 10 months at the SLA, and has been a great asset to the program.  You can read more about Kim here. 

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