Past Squam Conservation Intern Experiences

After a summer on Squam, interns have a lot to say about their experience with the SLA. Here are some of their reflections. Read more about the the SCI experience on the Intern Journal.

“This summer was truly the most amazing and rewarding experience of my life so far. I’ve gained invaluable experience and learned a great deal about myself.”

“Being an SLA intern was like being welcomed into a family. Everyone I met and worked with was patient, friendly, and generous, and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful workplace! We worked hard, but the lake lifestyle was more than enough reward. The conservation skills that I learned were practical, comprehensive and well-informed by the wealth of ecological and recreation know-how that Rebecca and Brett shared with us. I am grateful and proud to have had this experience and to have done my part to preserve a special and beautiful place.”

“The relationships I made with the other interns, the staff, and campers were my favorite parts about the internship. Also the hikes, Squam itself, the charming towns, days out on the boat, nights out on the island.”
“It’s a lot of hard work and super tight living quarters. It will be an experience that will change your life and you’ll never forget your time on Squam and the great friends you’ll make.”

“Expect a regression to freshman year of college as far as living situation, roommate manners, etc...if this doesn’t bother you then you will probably love it! you will work hard, but on Squam work often resembles play so it’s hard to complain : ) do NOT expect to know what your day will look like in advance! that was tough for me to overcome but you will learn to embrace it.”

“Many more priceless moments than paid moments.”

“I would tell [future interns] to expect mostly diving and camping days. We did the other activities listed on the schedule, but I felt that was what took up most of my time. I would tell them that this is a truly unique place with its own rhythm and that they should expect the unexpected in this job. I would also tell them how unpredictable the summer weather is.”

“Be prepared to be uncomfortable in the outdoors. Once you can embrace being out in the elements getting your clothes filthy and wet, you will be truly ready for the experience of a lifetime. When you are cold and worn doing your work, put a smile on and see it for the unique and wonderful experience that it still is, you will be that much happier that you did.”

“You’re going to be freezing on a 90 degree day and covered in questionable liquids and solids that make you want to swim on a 70 degree day. But you’ll look back at the end of the summer and realize you loved every minute of it. It’ll make you think ‘I wish I could get paid to do this.’”

“Just as everyone says, Squam is a rare and exquisite place. Try not to spend too many days off on laundry and errands. Explore every inch you can while you can. You will not have enough time. Share everything with your fellow interns - work, food, fun. You’re all in it together. ”

“At first, I felt like the opening slideshow/orientation was overwhelming and intimidating, but all of the skills were taught one by one and are then learned by experience after repeating them over and over. There is a lot of repetitiveness so it is up to you as an intern to keep things interesting, flavorful and creative.”

“Expect to be carrying things constantly and getting dirty. Oh and don’t be afraid of big spiders.”

“Expect the unexpected! Becoming close with your co-interns is unavoidable and will make working much more enjoyable. Be able to work independently and in a group. Make friends with will make both of your stays better!”

“I would tell future interns prepare to get dirty. That being the best part about the job. You get out in the field you get dirty you get sweaty you get to learn hands on practice things in the work place. Diving is the greatest thing ever. Being underwater two feet from a largemouth bass that scares the goggles off of you is so much fun. Except for those terribly cold days, but you can’t expect all sunshine and rainbows when you are working out in the field.”

“One thing I miss every day is the howling of the loons--imagine waking up on a forested island in the middle of the night, taking stock of the waves lapping, the loons crying, the breeze blowing and thinking: “Woah! This is what on-the-clock feels like?” This summer whipped me into shape. It felt good to be able to hike upwards of 6 miles while doing maintenance work on the entire length of the trail. By the end of the summer I had a 6-pack! Well definitely a 5-pack. The views at the tops of the mountains were to die for. It was so special lounging on the rocky top of Cotton Mountain with one of my fellow interns and two JSLA-ers after a long morning of trail work; and just looking out at the lake, and the boats which look like ants, and the broccoli-islands, and the giant clouds. Plus, there’s nothing to give you a God-complex like re-routing streams. I miss it so much. It’s a place and an experience that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I tell everyone back at school about it and they just laugh in disbelief at everything I tell them. Invariably, professors and students alike have said to me, ‘Well, that’s the best summer I’ve ever heard of anyone having.’”

“Expect to feel gratified that the interns of the SLA get to experience Squam in a way that no one else will get to. Expect to be tired a lot, to never get to sleep in, for the kitchen situation to be ever infuriating expect to get really close to fellow interns, to fall in love with lake diving (especially in bennett cove), and to unexpectedly find that one of the most fun days will be working as a team to clean out a clivus”

“The SLA interns get to experience Squam in an intimate way that no one else that visits gets to do. We spend multiple weekends on the islands, which are pretty much your backyard, and we get to experience life under the water, with the fish and turtles and the loons. We know our way around the lake, we know cardinal landmarks, we can differentiate between all the aquatic plants. It’s a summer filled with learning and beauty.”

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