Adirondack Internship Round-up | St. Lawrence University Adirondack Semester

Adirondack Internship Round-up

by: Nicole Panek

Although we Arcadians have left Massawepie and ventured back into the world of technology and running water, our Adirondack experience is far from over. For the last two weeks, we have been participating in our capstone internships for our Knowing Nature Class. Meant to bridge our experiences on the semester with our more typical lives, the internships give us an opportunity to combine the knowledge we’ve gained throughout the semester and apply it to experiences beyond Arcadia.

So what have we been up to?

Emily has been living her dream job interning at the North Country School in Lake Placid. She has been involved with the 7th and 8th grade English classes, and took them outside to write about the environment around them—an exercise inspired by our own Sit Spot assignments for our Knowing Nature class! The outdoor activity extends to helping out with barn chores on the school farm and skiing at the school’s very own ski hill—every part of her day is packed with bonding with both kids and faculty!

Raina also chose to work with kids on her internship; she has been working with five and six year-olds at the Northern Light School in Saranac Lake. She has been playing, doing crafts, and learning how to be authoritative while still cultivating a fun and educational environment. Raina feels like most of her internship is shadowing Cassie DiMarino, her internship and homestay partner. Besides working in Cassie’s classroom at the Northern Light School, Cassie is teaching Raina how to make wooden spoons and soaps and they cook together often.  

Meanwhile Jordan is in her element working at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry. She has been doing all kinds of impressive data collection for ESF: atmospheric monitoring outside, looking at water levels, and mercury, phosphate, and other air pollutants; monitoring for the USGS, taking water level and temperatures from various brooks in the area, and other air pollutants; collecting various data such as bird calls and activities; sorting tree seeds from the spring in order to find correlations in mammal reproductive rates and food availability. (Yeah she is pretty cool). SUNY ESF is at least a fifteen minute drive from any place to eat or gas up and “No Service” is the only service she can get—sound a little like Arcadia?

Jordan also met Ned over the internship and together the power-team hiked Mt. Marcy! Fifteen miles up the highest mountain in New York, the view was spectacular, and they broke trail for the last 1.5 miles!  Ned also hiked Sawyer Mountain for a feature he is doing on his internship with the Adirondack Explorer. Ned has written several different articles for the magazine, calling many people for interviews and references to pull together each story.

Natalie’s time spent at North Country Creamery’s dairy farm has been fun, busy and informative, “almost like a crash course in running and maintaining a farm!” She wakes up long before the suns rises to tend to the cows and muck out their barn, but the highlight of her day is feeding the calves warm milk. Natalie works at the creamery as well, making yogurt and cheese, packing wholesale orders, making gift boxes, or helping out with heavy lifting and organization. By the time she is done for the day the sky has begun to dim and Natalie is ready for bed! One of her favorite parts of the internships has been eating meals with North Country Creamery’s owners and her homestay hosts Ashlee and Steven; she loves eating delicious, local food and having the pleasure of meeting numerous neighbors, fellow farmers, and friends who drop in for dinner.

Eliza and Meredith are interning together with Jean Williams-Bergen at her off-grid homestead outside of Canton. They have a well, solar panels, wood stove heating, a composting toilet, a green house, and a barn full of animals! Each day Eliza and Mer feed the animals: Melvin the pig, Star and Queenie the horses, all the chickens, and Rosie, Jelly, and Sneezy the goats. Jean also has two “HUGE” dogs, Mr. Jones and Tula, that they walk around the property. Eliza and Meredith are also making soap and cheese with Jean and are looking forward to learning how to Nordic Ski on the Bergen’s trail network.

Nicole has been living on a homestead as well, but her internship focuses on meditation and Zen Buddhism with Ginger and Doug Storey-Welsh. Besides meditating daily and learning about Zen practices, Nicole has been helping Ginger with a mindfulness workshop at the Canton Library. She also has attended a North Country 350 Alliance meeting and a Canton Sustainability Committee meeting with Ginger. Both Doug and Ginger are active advocates for sustainable practices in the North Country—through them Nicole has had the opportunity to meet other members of the homesteading community and learn what goes into environmental activism as well as maintaining net-zero homes. Her favorite parts of the internship experiences so far have been the long conversations with her homestay family and learning to “mindfully ski” at Higley Flow!

Michael is having a lot of fun working at North Country Public Radio. He is busy working on the North Country At Work project, which does stories on and maintains a photo series of people working in the North Country both past and present. He spends most days editing stories that were told at recent Story Slam events, and uploading photos to the archive. He is looking forward to learning how the actual recording of stories works and how the announcers work the broadcast switchboards later in the week!

While on the subject of the Story Slams, Marly has been busy helping the Adirondack Center for Writing with their part of the events! She is posting for their social media, calling to thank donors, and interviewing storytellers at the Grand Story Slam. Later in the internship she is helping with the ACW’s monthly Beat & Verse open mic event too. Marly is learning a lot about how nonprofits work and is inspired by the community feel of the Center.

Anna is staying in Voyager Lodge on the Massawepie property, and has been taken in as Ben Geiger’s intern! She loves getting to know the Massawepie Ranger and property manager. In just the first week he has taught her to drive tractors, a backhoe, a bobcat, run a chainsaw and weld! She has loved the challenge of completing projects big and small and describes the internship so far as “absolutely fantastic”. Anna has also been excited to meet more Adirondack locals through Ben – like game nights with Dan King!

Dan King is a Tupper Lake Blacksmith who produces both art and commercial products, and is also Ryan’s internship partner. So far Ryan has worked on multiple projects with Dan, including going to Lake Placid to install a set of fireplace doors in a house that is being remodeled, and building a fire poker set for Raquette River Brewing. Now he knows the basics of blacksmith technical skill—how to use a forge and anvil, and some welding—but Ryan’s favorite part of his internship is becoming further integrated into the Tupper Lake community.

Speaking of Ryan and Dan King, both told stories at the Final Grand Slam hosted by NCPR and the Adirondack Center for Writing! While Ryan shared the stage with his internship partner, all the other internships came together too. Michael was interviewing audience members for NCPR and Marley helped the Adirondack Center for Writing run the whole event. Many Arcadians and their internship partners came, and again we shared a night of laughter and community. Afterward, in true Arcadian fashion, interns and partners alike piled in cars and drove to Stewart’s Gas Station, where everyone piled in a booth to eat ice cream and continue the night’s laughter and tales. It was a little different than when the semester began, sitting together in the community yurt laughing as Bill Smith told his stories of “Rindercella” and of galvanized wash-tubs. The line of hammocks along Lake Massawepie have been taken down, and the kitchen doors are locked tight. But wherever we go, our community remains, and is just as vibrant in the world beyond Arcadia.