Each year, Downeast Lakes Land Trust has internship opportunities for local high school and college-aged students who are interested in careers in conservation, wildlife biology, public recreation, or other outdoor pursuits. We are highlighting past DLLT interns, learning how their experiences in Grand Lake Stream shaped their career path, and where they are today.
Next up is Anna Fitch. Originally hailing from Cumberland Center, Maine, Anna was a DLLT summer intern in 2018. Read below to hear how her experiences in Grand Lake Stream and in the Downeast Lakes Community Forest helped springboard her into a career with a leading conservation organization and DLLT partner, Forest Society of Maine.
I had never heard of a land trust when I started as an intern at Downeast Lakes Land Trust (DLLT) in Grand Lake Stream (GLS) in the summer of 2018. The ensuing three months taught me firsthand about the importance of forestland conservation, landscape and wildlife habitat restoration, conservation partnerships, and the outreach and education that go into creating communities that care.
I spent that summer in the beautiful forests of GLS working on projects to restore and construct habitat for avian, terrestrial, and aquatic species, clearing recreational trails for public use, participating in educational outreach activities, and learning what it takes to conserve largescale landscapes. I learned how to use different technologies and monitor wildlife species and habitats.
I spent my off hours getting to know the tight-knit community of GLS, and gaining an understanding of why it is so important to protect not only the forestlands we love, but the communities that live and work in them. I even spent some of my free time learning from DLLT’s Managing Forester about sustainable harvest operations and the decision-making processes that go into creating management plans.
My summer with DLLT not only taught me about the landscapes I was helping to conserve, but it also taught me a lot about myself. The skills I gained through my internship with DLLT are skills that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I gained incredible confidence from hours spent on remote forestlands, with only a handheld GPS to tell me where I was and how to return to civilization. I learned that I am capable of being a great leader and of quickly becoming part of a small community that I previously knew nothing of.
Three years later, in 2021, I started an internship at a land trust based in Bangor, the Forest Society of Maine (FSM) – a partner of DLLT. This internship blossomed into a full-time position with FSM, working as their new Development Associate. My time with DLLT marked the beginning of my love for land trusts and forestland conservation. Now, I am part of another land trust that shares DLLT’s passion for conserving Maine’s forests and landscapes, while upholding the ecological, cultural, and economic values therein.