2019 Conservation Land Stewards
2019 Conservation Corps Journals
77 days. This is how long I have been serving with Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT) as an AmeriCorps Member. Half of my service period is almost over and I have already learned so many new skills. From earning my New Hampshire Boaters License, learning how to assess a protected property, lead participates on a guided hike, and many more. And it’s only been 77 days.
One of my favorite duties while serving with LRCT is Island Hosting on Ragged Island. Ragged Island is a 13 acre island located on Lake Winnipesauke between Long Island and Cow Island. During the summer months the AmeriCorps members spend weekend on Ragged Island to make a LRCT presence on the property. This is one of the most fun duties we have; we are able talk to people about how LRCT protects amazing properties for future generations and how the public is allowed to visit these properties. However it is not as simple as you think it might be. I am going to give you a step by step of what goes on while Island Hosting.
8am: We arrive at Center Harbor Inn to unload our gear and coolers. We grab the dingy; row over to our pontoon boat, drive the boat to the dock, and load our gear on the boat.
8:30am: We take off to Ragged Island and arrive an hour later. We document, in a log, the weather, what time we left, and how the lake was in regards to choppiness and the amount of boats.
9:30am: We arrive at Ragged Island and unload our gear. We open the historical cabin and make sure no critters have made their way inside.
10am: After having a quick snack, we set up our merchandise table near the docks. Our table has hats, stickers, and information about Lakes Region Conservation Trust. We help boats dock and also use this time to talk to people (and their dogs) about LRCT and AmeriCorps Program, we discuss everything from Ragged Island to other properties and other projects we have going on during the summer. In addition, we conduct rounds on the nature trail on the island. This nature trail connects both beaches and allows us to check on the public during the day. Last but not least, we clean the bathrooms. We have public composting toilet that need to be cleaned daily and this is the most favorable thing about Ragged Island.
1pm: LUNCH TIME!
2pm: We continue to talk to the public, conduct rounds, and sell merchandise until dinner time.
6pm: Around this time people start to head home thus we pack up our table and conduct the last round for the day. After eating dinner, we set up where we are going to sleep. Some of us prefer to sleep in a hammock while others prefer the tent. I personally like the tent but I have slept in a hammock and it was great.
9pm: This is my usual bed time but other stay up a bit later.
7am: For the first time, I woke up to a very loud “BANG”. I came out of my tent to find my coworker on the ground because she fell out of her hammock. What a wonderful way to wake up! However, during the morning we hear so many sounds such as the crashing of the water on the rocks, loons calling from the lake, and mink playing in the bushes.
7:30am: We pack up our sleeping gear and start to have breakfast. Scrambled eggs and oatmeal are the main go to meals.
8:30am: We clean our dishes from breakfast and decided to clean the bathroom.
9am: We set up our merchandise table and settle in for the day in our lawn chairs, loaded with our books, snacks, and refreshments.
12pm: LUNCH TIME!
2:30pm: We pack up our table, load the boat with our packs and coolers, and conduct the last round on the island.
3pm: We depart from Ragged Island and arrive an hour later.
4pm: We arrive at Center Harbor Inn, we unload our gear into the car, and attach the pontoon boat to the mooring.
This now gives you a basic idea of how we spend our weekends on the island and how we still make an impact on people while still having a relaxing couple of days.
It’s a sunny day, bouncing around in the high 50s low 60s, the usual for the past few weeks, making it hard to believe that it’s already June and we’re approaching the summer solstice. Two weeks have passed since the new LRCC members have joined, myself included. Although it’s only been two weeks, the time has seemed to fly by yet still somehow seems like we’ve been here much longer. Coming into it, I was a little nervous about what to expect and how I was going to adjust. Fortunately adjusting to the new routine has taken no time at all, as the weeks have been jam-packed full of training sessions and earning certifications in preparation for the upcoming season.
As part of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, we’ve already earned our wilderness first aid, CPR, and boating certifications, not to mention all of the training sessions for interpretive guiding and trail hosting. Yesterday was ax training and today was invasive species removal training. The best part about it is that everyone has been so nice and encouraging!
Invasive species removal included getting familiar with the invasive species prone to this area and getting down and dirty to remove them. An invasive species is a species that has a tendency to spread to a degree causing damage to the environment that it is growing in. This species is able to invade native plants and overtake them, requiring them to be removed. The species we dealt with were japanese barberry, oriental bittersweet, burning bush, honeysuckle, and multiflora rose. The sad part is, some of these plants – especially oriental bittersweet – can be bought at stores and be planted on people’s personal properties, not knowing the negative impact they have on their surrounding environment.
The weather fortunately held up for us as we were able to improve 3.35 acres of the Sewall Woods Conservation Area. We even found a wood frog hopping by (my guess is he was rooting us on). During a few short breaks we could eat some food, rest our muscles, and look at critters in the stream, which helped the day fly by. Seeing all the progress we made throughout the day and feeling the aches in our bodies gave such an accomplished feeling.
As I look down at my blister-filled hand achieved today, and yesterday from using an ax for the first time, I think about where this experience will take us all. I was on the phone with a good friend earlier today and he asked me if I knew what I was going to do in 5 months when this opportunity comes to a close. Truth is, I haven’t thought much about it all. The days have been long, exhausting but enjoyable, and it’s hard to pretend like I know where my life will be. Even though 5 months isn’t that long of a time period, a lot can change. Already in the first 2 weeks that I’ve been here, I’ve formed connections and inside jokes with people I didn’t know prior to LRCC, as well as done things I never thought of doing or thought I was capable of doing, like learning how to chop through a tree with an ax or hold a Madagascar hissing cockroach.