We asked FSM’s 2021 Swan Intern, Anna Fitch, to tell us a little bit about herself and her first few weeks as an intern with FSM. Here’s what Anna had to say:
Growing up in Maine and having an innate sense of wonder for the natural world from a young age set me up for a career in conservation. My earliest memories are of camping and exploring throughout Maine with my family. As soon as I could walk I powered up countless mountains on my little legs and fell in love with adventuring. I remember even at age three crouching down in awe of frogs the size of my fingernail or pondering the delicate way snow balanced on the needles of evergreens. To say I have always loved wildlife, nature, exploring, and learning is a profound understatement so ending up in the Wildlife Ecology program at the University of Maine Orono (UMO) just made sense.
I found out about the Forest Society of Maine (FSM) during my first semester at UMO. I had transferred from the Wildlife Conservation program at the University of Delaware and had a couple years of school left. Kristen Hoffmann, FSM Forestland Steward, came to my silviculture class for a presentation on conserving land in perpetuity and to introduce us to the Swan Internship. Knowing I wanted a career in conservation and previously having been an intern with the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, I loved the idea of working for a statewide land trust that valued conserving our state’s forests, mountains, shorelines, and wildlife habitats—the same ones with which I grew up falling in love.
I spent my first few weeks with FSM up north in Van Buren, a part of the state I had never seen before. I met Craig and Nancy Troeger, forestland owners of Tearmunn Hardwoods (conserved in 2007 and 2009), and surveyed their land for vernal pools. Vernal pools are intermittent pools that form in the spring from snowmelt, creating breeding habitat for at least one of four species: wood frogs, spotted salamanders, blue spotted salamanders, or fairy shrimp. I spent hours traipsing through breathtaking forests, counting salamander and wood frog egg masses and cheering the little fellas on through what little rain we’ve gotten, and learning how to tackle big projects independently in the field. I was even fortunate enough to become close friends with the Troegers. It has been a blessing to already have met some kindred spirits through my work with FSM.
As I move forward in my time with FSM and my conservation career, I hope to make a difference while doing what I love. Maine has planted deep roots in my heart and I plan to give back to this beautiful state by working in conservation here for many years. I also love traveling and would love to make it out West at some point, but we’ll see what life has in store for me. I’ve always thought I could be quite happy anywhere, as long as I’ve got nature.
In 2019 the FSM Swan Internship Program was created thanks to a generous bequest from long-time donors and Attean Circle members Hank and Freda Swan. The goal of the program is to introduce students to FSM’s land trust work through a range of professional experiences in conservation practices and field work. Read more.