Calvin Nelson


Calvin Nelson

My first experience with Blue Hill Heritage Trust began when I was seventeen years old, in high school, and looking to complete mandatory community service hours. I had reached out to the trust who offered to let me volunteer under the summer interns doing trail maintenance. As soon as I had completed my first day of volunteering under the 2020 interns Andrew Czwakiel and Miranda Flora, I knew that I wanted to be a summer intern as soon as I became of age. I had already accumulated experience doing trail work through Friends of Acadia and Frenchman Bay Conservancy, however, Blue Hill Heritage offered something more than these other experiences. In addition to trail building and maintenance, interns were able to learn about all of the realms of Land Trust Operations.

Three years later, I was taken on as one of the three 2023 James W. Dow interns (one of the three C’s if you will). From the friendly and welcoming atmosphere from the office I immediately realized that this internship was much more than a typical summer job. Our first week of work had us becoming familiar with tools we would use to perform trail maintenance, and the location of the properties we would be maintaining. In addition to this, we were shown how to do public relations tasks such as writing advertisements to local newspapers and radio stations about our outreach events.

Days turned into weeks and this summer began to pass faster than Andrew (now our Land Steward) reversing down a steep trail on a four wheeler. Our workdays were varied and occasionally spontaneous. We could be out walking property lines with George, writing Grants with Chrissy, hosting children’s educational programs with Landere and Megan, or (our collective personal favorite) be tromping around a wetland or dense forested thicket with Sandy (the Trusts Conservation Forester). When it rained (as it had done many times this summer) we could be found holed up in the cozy basement, making trail passports for Beth, or painting trail signs for Andrew.

Some of my favorite moments this summer involved getting to know the staff and other interns at the Trust. I do not think I have met kinder, harder working, funnier, and more dedicated people in a work atmosphere ever. The other interns: Clare Harkins and Chloё Sheahan are not only the best coworkers I have ever had, but have become really good friends of mine. I had the privilege of spending time with them as we hiked on all of the Blue Hill Heritage Trust properties in one day (no mean feat) and when we road tripped down to John’s Ice Cream in Liberty, Maine, in order to solve a heated dispute over our favorite ice cream parlors.

Highlights of my intern experience included doing the forest plots with Sandy, educational programs at local schools with Landere, and the spontaneous post workday swims with everyone at the office. Forest plots offered fun and adventure with every outing. Clare, Chloё, and I would follow Sandy into the woods of Meadowbrook Forest in Surry to locate a random coordinate point. These coordinates could lead us to swamps, more recently logged sections of the protected forests, or beautiful open clearings. After reaching these locations we would create a circle with a 50 foot radius and catalog all of the trees within it, taking into account dimensions of trunk diameter, tree species, and (if applicable) potential commercial usage. Some of my fondest memories from my summer internship come from dragging a tape measure through dense young trees and crawling under bushes to construct our circle for measurements.

Blue Hill Heritage Trust has provided an incredibly comprehensive experience into all aspects of work at a Land Trust. I count myself lucky and privileged to have been able to work with all of the staff and my fellow interns this summer. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone interested in environmental conservation, policy, or stewardship as you will be able to experience all of these and more during your time at the Trust. This has been one of the best summers of my life and I am grateful to our donors for providing me the means to be able to have such an experience.


Watch Clare, Calvin, and Chloë’s Intern Video

Calvin Nelson was one of three 2023 James W. Dow Interns, along with Clare and Chloë. Originally from Blue Hill, Calvin attends the University of Minnesota Morris studying Geology and Biology. Calvin was funded thanks to the Becton Family Foundation.