Clare Harkins


Clare Harkins

The James W. Dow internship has been by far the most well-rounded and in-depth job I’ve experienced in the realm of conservation. I had no ties to the Blue Hill Peninsula before applying to this job, in fact, I had never heard of it. Seeing the job posted online and being inspired by the Trust’s promise to provide housing, I applied. It was incredibly daunting to drive all the way across the country to a new place where I had never been and knew not a single soul; however, I had no idea how incredible of a summer I was in for and how at home I would come to feel in Blue Hill.

This summer was more than just a job. Sure, we came to work dressed in Carhartts and boots and spent hours working on the trails, but that was just one facet of our time here. Some days we spent inside on the computer, learning how to write grants and work on spreadsheets. Other days, we engaged with the community, through farmer’s markets, school programs, and events. Sometimes, a day of work involved bringing a swimsuit and a towel for an after-work swim with the staff. Other days, George would hijack any plans of hard work in favor of adventures such as summiting Blue Hill Mountain the long way or exploring all over Deer Isle. Through it all, we learned so much about land conservation, the ins and outs of nonprofit work, and how Blue Hill Heritage Trust brings people together and makes lasting change within this community.

As interns, we were fully embraced as part of the team. We spent time working in every department – development, stewardship, forestry, trails, outreach, and communications – and were invited into board meetings, donor parties, and committee gatherings. I was given tasks and projects that were not only fun, but also pushed me to learn and grow outside of my comfort zone. These responsibilities helped me walk away with new skills, whether that be the ability to use a chainsaw or submit a grant requesting thousands of dollars.

Perhaps the most fulfilling part of this experience for me was the ability to be a part of a small team of highly motivated individuals determined to fight for a better future. I was constantly inspired by the fire in my coworker’s hearts to make a difference in the world and how each person within the organization played a different but equally important role in furthering its mission. My co-interns made work something to really look forward to everyday; not a day went by without laughter and even the hardest and most grueling days of work felt lighter when we were all working together. Chloë and Calvin were a huge part of why this internship was such an amazing experience for me, and I am so grateful we were all paired together.

My summer in Maine is one that I will always remember and cherish. Blue Hill Heritage Trust provided me with not only an incredible job but also a home base to explore so many of the outdoor recreation opportunities in the surrounding area while I was here. Despite my initial fears about living over a thousand miles away from my friends and family, I was immediately welcomed with open arms here and found a true home through the staff and community of donors and volunteers BHHT has fostered. I was blown away by the hospitality and kindness continually shown to me throughout this internship. Within the first few weeks here, I knew I would have to return to Maine after the internship ended. However, I never could have guessed that instead of coming back to explore the rocky coastline, mountains, and islands, I would be drawn back primarily for a chance to visit the incredible group of people I worked with this summer.


Watch Clare, Calvin, and Chloë’s Intern Video

Clare Harkins was one of three 2023 James W. Dow Interns, along with Calvin and Chloë. Originally from Mississippi, Clare graduated from Sewanee in Tennessee with a degree in environment and sustainability. Clare was funded through BHHT’s Operations thanks to our donors.