JULY 3, 2014
This past Friday, all of the interns, and some of the SLA staff attended the New Hampshire Lakes Congress. Here we learned a lot about the impacts that aquatic invasive species have on bodies of water all over New Hampshire. It was an eye-opening experience overall just to hear the horror stories of variable milfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, and other invasive nuisances. The conference started early in the morning and when we arrived we were greeted by Tom O’Brien, the president of the New Hampshire Lakes Association. He gave us a warm welcome, and then, once we all exchanged friendly handshakes we dove into the free breakfast. I think some of us forgot others were watching and our animal instincts took over as we stood over the pastry table. Mr. O’Brien came up to the podium as the keynote speaker. Towards the end of his talk he spoke about the Squam Lakes Association interns and began to compare us to his children; sleepy eyes, scruffy faces, and he commented on how we were going to town on the buffet this morning. Then he told the room to look over to our table full of our blue staff shirts, and to thank the next generation of environmental and conservation leaders. The entire room then began to applaud the work we were doing to eradicate the variable milfoil in the Squam Lakes. The round of applause was a heartwarming and motivational moment for me. We had recently just gotten into the swing of our dive days and other duties, and training was finally over. This moment let us know that the hard work has truly paid off and we have already made a difference even though there’s still two months left of work. The rest of the day was filled with conversations that were started by participants saying “Are you one of those Squam interns?” Business cards, handshakes, and laughs were exchanged the rest of the day, and we all walked away from the conference learning something new. Oh, and I forgot to mention, when it got to be lunch time again, our animal instincts kicked in again.