My Summer Internship in Norway, Maine
My name is Matthew Martin, and I am a Conservation Intern as a part of this year’s Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) Richard G. Rockefeller Conservation Internship program. This summer, the internship program has sent me to the forests, farms, foothills, and lakes of Norway, Maine—where I’ve been working as a full-time staff member for the Western Foothills Land Trust (WFLT).
Prior to this summer, I had never been to this region of western Maine. Even more than halfway through my internship, I am still amazed by all of the different places and experiences packed into this one area. Just last week, I helped volunteer at the Norway Triathlon, which welcomed over 100 competitors from all around Maine and beyond to compete in and around Norway’s Lake Pennesseewassee. This week, I attended a musical performance that was part of the Sebago Long Lake Chamber Music Festival at the historic Deertrees Theatre in Harrison, Maine.
Of course, the area has more going for it than just competitions and performances. Its abundant lakes and ponds offer plenty of opportunities for recreation, while the rivers and streams that flow between them provide plenty of opportunities for meaningful conservation. The vast forests, farms, and foothills combine aspects of culture, history, economics, and public access to give each piece of land its own unique conservation value. On a larger scale, WFLT has been working with other land trusts and stakeholders in collaborations like Sebago Clean Waters, which aims to protect the Sebago Lake watershed to ensure clean water for the large area and population that the lake provides for.
Getting to meet so many different conservation-minded people through connections like Sebago Clean Waters and MCHT has helped to broaden my understanding of and appreciation for land conservation. Before being a part of this internship program, trail-based recreation was one of the only ways I had learned to appreciate land conservation. Now, having talked with so many people from different backgrounds, I am starting to appreciate and better understand factors like public access, healthy living, watershed conservation, historical preservation, carbon sequestration, and environmental education as they relate to lands and the way we conserve them.
My main project at WFLT this summer has been to monitor our fee-owned preserves to ensure that their condition is in line with our management plans. I’ve also helped out with easement monitoring, mapping for grant proposals and trail maps, data management, documentation, trail workdays, and more.
I’m looking forward to hearing about the experiences that the rest of my fellow MCHT interns have had so far at their host land trusts this summer, and I’m hoping the rest of my internship brings even more opportunities and learning experiences in the field of land conservation.
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