The Squam Conservation Internship provides skills and experience for future conservation professionals while working as the driving force behind the SLA’s conservation mission. This volunteer internship provides hands-on conservation work experience and certifications over a broad range of activities. Interns serve as campsite hosts and caretakers at our backcountry campsites, work toward the eradication of variable milfoil, help preserve loon populations on Squam, engage both youth and adults in environmental education, and perform other conservation duties such as shoreline restoration and trail maintenance and construction. Squam Conservation Interns also regularly write about their experiences in the Squam Watershed. Learn more about the internship program here.
JUNE 14, 2016
Interning with SLA is a change of pace for me. I spent the past year working in government relations and political analysis capacities within the confinement of cubicles down in Washington, D.C. With SLA every day is something new— ranging from scuba diving for the purpose of removing non-native milfoil to maintaining trails and campsites in order to preserve the surrounding forests. I love the hands on nature of the internship. I love that I’m not glued to a computer screen for eight hours every day.
That being said, my experiences down in D.C. allow me to truly appreciate the role that non-profits play in the political field. The first day of the internship we attended a lecture by Kittie Wilson, a volunteer with the Loon Preservation Committee. She discussed the enactment of new legislation banning the use and sale of sinkers and jigs weighing one ounce or less. LPC and other lakes region groups advocated for the legislation and educated communities and politicians about the toxic effects that lead tackle has when ingested by loons. Kittie’s lecture made me think about the battles that environmental groups, including SLA, face in the political arena. The process includes research, education, and mobilization, often demanding years of intense debate and committed members. I’m fascinated by the general administration of SLA as a non-profit. The organization provides an array of services both on a regional conservation level and on a statewide political level. I look forward to further immersing myself in the programs and initiatives spearheaded by SLA.
All non-profit talk aside, every day I’m tired and it’s beautiful. I revel in the fatigue I feel from the constant motion of the internship. Over the course of one day we might dive for milfoil, split wood, upkeep campsites, and, my favorite, move items from one place to another. Even on our days off I can’t remain still. The picture I provided shows me on top of Mount Lafayette, which I hiked with fellow interns Jordan and Maggie K. It took us five hours to complete the Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette loop. I loved every second.
Katri is from Arlington, Virginia and spent the summers of her childhood on Squam Lake. She graduated from Colby College in May 2015 with a BA in the field of government.