August 17, 2012


By Miranda Furrer, Program Intern

As I sit here reflecting on my summer experience at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, two thoughts come to mind. One is ‘how is it already August?’ and the second is ‘do I really start school in a week?’ Neither seems quite appropriate for the journey that has taken place over the past 10 weeks. There have been new experiences for me, and others that I have had before, but in a completely different setting.

As a small town Midwestern girl, I have been used to the sights and sounds of country life. Cornfields and cows are an everyday sight. Now, I have gotten accustomed to seeing mountains and lakes. That is something that I have grown quite attached to. From day one, the atmosphere at the Science Center has been one of a welcoming nature. All of the staff has been very helpful at making sure the interns were comfortable in the ‘rustic’ intern cottage. Even some of the docents (our volunteers) have made their lakeshores available to us. I had no trouble transitioning to real ‘grown up’ life 1,200 miles away from my safe home state of Illinois. I am an only child, so being so far away from my parents and not seeing them for 10 weeks was hard for me, especially since cell phone service in Holderness is spotty, at best. Being away from home, though, can be a good thing. It gave me the opportunity to travel up and down New England and see some incredible things during my stay in New Hampshire.

I have enjoyed all of my internship. When asked what my favorite part was, I have to pause and think. Was it Guided Discoveries, where I got to watch young minds grow? Or maybe outreaches, where hours were spent in the Science Center vans and interesting facts were learned? Animal Care, where I got to be just inches away from a mountain lion? All of these were worthwhile experiences, but I would have to say that my favorite thing of the whole summer was being able to work with the birds of prey. They have always been of great interest to me and I enjoy being able to handle them every day. This experience has been beneficial to me in several ways. It gave me a clearer view of what it is like to be an educator full-time. It showed me how exhausting it can be to teach kids all day. It also showed me how much work goes into keeping the animals happy and healthy.

As for a career, well, I’m still not 100% sure. I love working with animals and I very much enjoy the education, but time will tell what I will actually end up doing. A lot of doors are open to me, and I am looking forward to exploring more of those options. Something that can tie my two majors (Animal Ecology & Agricultural Business) together would be perfect, but I haven’t figured out quite how to make that happen yet. I enjoy the education aspects of the job, and could definitely see myself being an educator in the future. I also like to work behind the scenes. The experiences I have had this summer will stay with me as I continue to figure out where my future will take me.

I am thankful for the opportunity to come to such an amazing science center and learn the ropes. I have loved my time here at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, and am sad to be leaving so soon. August 20th will be here before I know it and I will be starting my senior year at Iowa State University. Long gone are the afternoons at the lake and nighttime video game challenges with ‘the guys’. Now I must head into the next chapter in my adventure, senior year.

Thank you, Holderness, for putting up with me for the past 10 weeks and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Don’t worry, New England, I will be back one way or another.

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