I have had the privilege of spending every summer of my life in the Belgrades. Since the early 80s, my family has owned property in the region and been invested in the conservation of the watershed. As such, I grew up knowing about the threat of invasives to the lakes and the importance of conserving the environment. Maine has always been a constant and special part of my life, but since my grandfather passed in 2016, it has only become more important. Maine meant everything to him, and I always feel close to him when I am here. As I am currently in between undergrad and graduate school, this summer emerged as the final one, at least in the near future, that I could spend in Maine. It thus became my mission to find a position that would allow me to enjoy my final summer in a place near and dear to my heart.
It was at this time that I found the summer positions at 7 Lakes Alliance. Taking the job as Outreach Coordinator/Gallery Manager, I not only found a position that allowed me to stay in Maine and related to my studies but allowed me to give back to the community that I had summered in for years. Through 7 Lakes Alliance, I have helped raise awareness regarding our works and threats to the environment by communicating with visitors and promoting our events. In the gallery, I have gained the ability to help educate younger generations only just starting to learn about the environment through different activities I have developed and curated an exhibit on variable leaf milfoil. Through the design of this exhibit, I hope to bring the impact of the infestation to the forefront of people’s minds. By covering the case in pictures of the invasive plant, it appears as if it is taking over the exhibit just as it does to the lake. Working here this summer has been a privilege, and I am thrilled that I have been able to play a part in conserving this watershed for future generations and in memory of past ones.
Written by Emma Schlauder, 7 Lakes Alliance Intern, 2019