Conservation Land Stewards
Conservation Land Stewards will serve for the Lakes Region Conservation Corps (LRCC) – AmeriCorps Program running from May 22nd through October 26th of 2019. LRCT is one of several partners and Host Sites for the LRCC program through which LRCC members are the driving force behind many of the conservation efforts of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.
Conservation Land Stewards gain hands-on conservation work experience and certifications over a broad range of areas which ensure that they are capable of independently approaching a variety of tasks in the environmental conservation field.
Conservation Land Stewards work on a variety of projects including:
- Trail maintenance of LRCT’s 95+ miles of trails,
- Serving as Island Stewards on Lake Winnipesaukee islands,
- Property hosting at many of LRCT’s premier hiking properties,
- Removal of terrestrial invasive plants on conservation lands,
- Assisting with guided excursions and other education and outreach events,
- Working on special property management projects such as updating property boundary markings and signage, conducting property research and record updating projects, and access improvement projects (repair/ building of kiosks and footbridges).
- And organizing and conducting volunteer work days.
I’m a Seattle native who just graduated from Antioch University New England with a Master’s in Environmental Studies. This degree was paired with two years in a Peace Corps international service program, where I spent time working as an agricultural volunteer in a subsistence-based village in Senegal. Living in this environment strengthened my passion for all things outdoors, an appreciation which was enhanced upon my return to the beautiful New England landscape. I’m thrilled to build upon my love of hiking, mountain biking, and everything in between with the LRCC team, and to apply my experiences towards the care of our valuable Lakes Region resources.
I am Jordin W. and I am from East Longmeadow MA. I have been studying Wildlife and Environmental Biology and Criminology at Framingham State University and will be earning my bachelors degree this year. My interests include any activities and adventures outdoors, animals and pets hold a big piece of my heart, and I love meeting new people and making friends.
I’m from Branchburg New Jersey and recently graduated from Plymouth State University with a major in Environmental Science and Policy, a minor in Adventure Education, and my certificate in Geographic Information Systems. I enjoy hiking, yoga, painting, paddle boarding, and simply relaxing in my hammock.
Hello all, my name is Nick. I am from Marysville Ohio, but I’ve recently graduated from Otterbein University in Westerville. While I was there I was a double major in biology and zoo & conservation science, so that I could fuel my passion for conservation and the great outdoors. At some point I fell in love with insects, and conducted some really cool research with darkling beetles (mealworms). When I’m not in the lab or removing invasive plants, I love going out on the trails and turning over rocks to see the critters underneath!
2019 SUMMER/ FALL CONSERVATION CORPS JOURNALS
June 20, 2019 – Alyssa
Two penguins are in the middle of a desert.
They’re sitting in a canoe, just paddling away, as hard as they can, and not going anywhere.
Sand is flying, and they just keep on paddling.
Eventually, one penguin looks to the other and says “where’s the paddle?”
The other replies, “sure does.”
It’s a riddle, and if you don’t get it, I’m not sure I can help you. I’ve been living in a cabin with nothing but joke books and my three coworkers; we’re all a little “off.”
But I can’t complain. Just take a look at how beautiful our property is! Can’t get more quintessential “New England” than that.
Our house is a former homestead nestled in the foothills of the White Mountain National Forest, and we’re the luckiest Americorps members in all the land. Can you step out your door and hike a mountain or walk to a waterfall? We sure can. It’s also the perfect haven to retreat to after a long day of trail work, invasive species removal, or trail hosting on one of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust’s popular properties.
Last week, we learned how to build and maintain trails, a skill that will come in handy over the course of our 5-month Americorps service. The Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT), our host organization, was founded in 1979 to conserve the natural heritage of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. They have conserved over 150 properties, totaling over 27,000 acres, all of which protect critical wildlife habitat and diverse ecosystems, while also providing abundant opportunities for people of all ages to connect with the natural world in a way that allows for future generations to enjoy. Our duty as Conservation Land Stewards is to help explain LRCT’s mission to the community and to keep our land and trails accessible and preserved.
We mostly uphold these goals by working behind-the-scenes to help maintain each LRCT property. Castle in the Clouds is the largest area owned by LRCT, and one of the most popular in the Lakes Region. We gathered there on a rainy morning last week with trail expert Lew (Snowhawk, LLC) to learn the technical aspects of erosion control and other of trail design. As we walked the wide, former carriage trails around the Oakridge Trail, we took note of structural grade and slope issues; New Hampshire is especially prone to erosion as foot traffic and water carry earth downslope. Outcropped granite is a result of centuries of human activity on the land; poorly conducted recreational activities only perpetuate the issue.
We stopped to address a particularly steep section of trail with obvious stream marks and exposed bedrock. Four hours of gathering boulders, digging trenches, and strategically layering them at an acute angle eventually led to the creation of an 18-ft waterbar. Also known as a “enforced grade dip,” these waterbars consist of shingled rocks (or perhaps a single straight log) that redirect water from its downward trajectory, instead forcing it off the edge of the path where it can’t erode the trail further. The key is to make the structure as unobtrusive as possible; by the time we were finished with construction, the waterbar looked like a glorified bump in the road. Perfect! It will still allow hikers and wheeled vehicles to safely pass through the middle of the trail, while still providing a strong water diversion.
Unfortunately, with our newly acquired “trail maintenance” lens, we’ll never be able to enjoy a hike without critical eyes. Luckily, the peaceful White Mountain trails behind our cabin provides an escape from responsibility; they are on National Forest land, not LRCT property. We can hike guilt-free, and just roll our eyes muttering “someone should really clear out that water bar…” as we clear our heads in the mountain air.
HA! Who am I kidding? We can never leave our work behind. We’re Conservation Land Stewards; penguins of the forest, happily here to wear down our paddles in the fight to preserve ALL land to the best of our ability.
June 5, 2019 – Micaelie
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.