Apple Lieser


Apple Lieser

My name is Apple Lieser, I grew up on the Blue Hill Peninsula, and I go to Whitman College where I am an Environmental Studies and Politics major. I’ve been interested in the environment my whole life, and while I’m passionate about my classes that center the climate crisis, learning about all that is going wrong in the world without being able to do anything tangible about it is often disheartening. My summer as an intern at Blue Hill Heritage Trust was filled with hard work, asking questions, meeting new people, but most importantly and most of all, moments of joy. There was fun—so much fun– this summer, but the joy came from moments where it felt like, in the face of critical environmental news, this little organization on our little Peninsula was making change that I could see and feel.

In Stewardship, there was joy in building relationships on our walks through the woods with landowners who had newly put a conservation easement on their land—joy in looking into the spruce and fir woods around us and knowing that these trees would be able to grow taller and live longer than any I have ever known, because of both the relationships and land George so diligently stewards. There was joy in Development on the first day of my internship, when I walked into Chrissy’s office and saw the map hanging on her wall of the Trust’s target areas: lands that are wildlife corridors, lands that protect our watershed, lands that—once sea levels rise—will become even more vital for the ecological integrity of the peninsula. There was joy when the grants for Wallamatogus came in and finalized the purchase of one of my favorite childhood hikes, and every morning on my drive to work I could see this beautiful and ecologically vital piece of land that would be protected now and in perpetuity. There was joy in Outreach, when a group of children would be sitting in circle, eyes transfixed on Landere, as she told them stories about the plant planet around them—stories that lessen the divide between our human lives and the often-unnamed world that lives just outside of us. And we found so much joy in Surry Forest, which has spent the past nearly 200 years in a continuous cycle of near-clearcut. Surry Forest, which one day will turn to old growth, is now dense and difficult and looks like not much to write home about, and yet: in the heat of an early afternoon in August, while working through forest inventories with Sandy when we’d be pushing through brush and stepping over blowdowns, there would be sweat and blackflies and then, with a whoosh, a whip-poor-will would fly out from beneath us, and the one egg resting on the earth would be barely distinguishable from the mottled browns of the forest floor. Or, after an afternoon cutting back invasives, the other interns and I would be walking back to the truck, weighed down by our weedwhackers, until we turned the corner to find a high-bush blueberry stand, circled by the indent of moose prints in mud. There was joy in seeing this plot of land beginning to heal, and joy in being a part of that healing.

This job was sweat in a hardhat as we brush sawed Caterpillar Hill, this job was inside on sunny days learning to write grants. This job was sending emails to people who didn’t respond, and occasionally, this job was a chainsaw motor that would not start. This job was also a lot of ice cream and swimming, wild oysters and new trails and three interns who know how to laugh. But most of all, this job was the realization that in the face of all the bad news, there is quite a lot we can work at, and despite all the inaction, there are a few good people who know how to get a lot done. My summer as an intern at Blue Hill Heritage Trust was the most purposeful of all my happy Maine summers so far, and I am oh so very grateful to have been a part of it.

Watch Emily, Hayley, and Apple’s Intern Video

Apple Lieser was one of three 2022 James W. Dow Interns, along with Hayley and Emily. Originally from Castine ME, Apple is currently a student at Whitman College where she is an environmental studies and politics major. Apple was funded thanks to the Becton Family Foundation.