This summer I had the opportunity to serve as a Lakes Region Conservation Corps AmeriCorps Member at the Squam Lakes Conservation Society. The Squam Lakes Conservation Society is an accredited land trust in beautiful Holderness New Hampshire and holds conservation easements on 170+ properties throughout the Squam Lake watershed. My role as an AmeriCorps member varied from day to day, but I spent the majority of the term monitoring property boundaries. This task is critical and ensures that the terms in the easement deed are not being violated year to year. Although this process oftentimes included hiking up steep ledges on humid summer days, trudging through flooded wetlands, and walking through tick and poison ivy infested fields, I enjoyed the process as well as the diversity of properties that I visited throughout the summer.
In addition to monitoring easements, I also participated in the land protection and acquisition process. This provided me with the opportunity to gain experience creating Baseline Documentation Reports, Management Plans, and various maps using ArcGIS while also engaging with board and community members. Entering the summer, I had very minimal experience with any of these tasks, but thanks to the guidance of all the staff at the Conservation Society, I quickly felt equipped to confidentially complete each task.
To round out my service hours, I hosted a guided paddle on White Oak Pond in Holderness. It gave me immense pleasure to be able to combine my passion for outdoor recreation with the knowledge that I had gained throughout the summer about local conservation efforts with community members. While I felt very lost and confused about where I wanted to go with my career following St. Lawrence, experiences such as this paddle were incredibly transformative, and I now have a better idea of my career goals upon graduation.