As I stock the wood stove at Mead Base Conservation Center on this chilly evening in June, I can’t help but feel a warmth beyond the crackling fire before me – an inner warmth of fulfillment that I’ve felt since joining the LRCC AmeriCorps program in May. As a New Hampshire native with family in the lakes region, I grew up hiking on trails in the area, some of which were and still are owned and managed by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT), the host site I now serve with. Since starting this position, my perspective has shifted in a number of ways. With my growing knowledge of conservation easements, in addition to admiring the expansive views from summits, I now also consider how different the views might look like if they were not protected through conservation efforts. From the front porch at Mead Base, there is a spectacular view of Red Hill, an area conserved by LRCT. Through a row of trees and across cow pastures, the view of Red Hill at sunset is unmatched. Without the permanent conservation of the area, the view of Red Hill would not be the same for those of us today and in future generations. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be a steward of these areas to ensure that others can enjoy and appreciate them like I do.
Since joining the program in May, I have had many opportunities to meet and work with volunteers. Their selflessness and commitment to supporting conservation initiatives amaze me. I have learned so much from the volunteers I have connected with so far, from history lessons about the conserved lands surrounding Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, to pro tips on how to swing an axe, to their past experiences and interests that have led them to their passion for conservation and community service. Beyond learning from others, I have also been having a wide variety of new experiences, like regular black bear sightings along the road to Mead Base and living just steps away from a waterfall – and close enough to a farm to hear cows mooing at all times of the day (and night). I look forward to continuing to learn from and be inspired by others throughout the program, as well as welcome new experiences like these!