Summer Interns and Land Stewards Report

Campbell Lake

For the past 18 years of my life, I have been fortunate enough to experience the magic of the Thousand Islands region, making lifelong friends and memories. This summer, however, I became something more. My summer internship with TILT has transformed me from a lover and enjoyer of the Thousand Islands into one of its passionate protectors.

Through my position as TILT’s Education & Outreach Intern, my appreciation for TILT’s mission, the Thousand Islands region, and environmental conservation and education has grown tenfold. I find myself inspired by my co-workers’ altruistic dedication to the TILT cause, and this summer opportunity has instilled in me the same desire to preserve the place I love most.

I greatly benefitted from my internship experience, under the expert guidance of Alaina Young and with the encouraging support of the entire staff. From day one, I felt welcomed and wanted – my position seemed integral to the team’s success, and it was a great feeling to know my help was needed.

My duties – in managing social media outlets, drafting press releases, creating email-blasts, assisting in trek and event planning, and overall spreading the good word of TILT – were the most significant takeaways of this incredible internship. These responsibilities ingrained in me a heightened sense of accountability, expectation, commitment, and the priceless, intangible rewards that come from seeing one’s hard work and accomplishments come to life. I know that the education I received will be absolutely essential to furthering myself in the world of marketing, outreach and communications.

I owe all my thanks to the TILT family for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The fact that I was afforded this summer opportunity to live and work in the Thousand Islands is a memory I’ll keep with me forever – and one that has imparted my personal commitment to conserving this area. I am thankful beyond words for the impact that this internship has had on me. As I head into my final year at The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and soon after into the ‘real’ world, I am so grateful and excited to see where my involvement with the Land Trust will take me.


William Wyland

When I was hired as a land steward for TILT last spring, I was a bit apprehensive and uncertain as to what being a land steward really entailed. I soon discovered that with all of my scouting experience, I was up to the task offered to me at TILT.

I became adept at using tools to keep TILT’s trails open and accessible for all who choose to enjoy them.  I learned to manage my time for multiple jobs in a day.

Probably my favorite part of working with TILT was the people with whom I interacted on a daily basis, and those I met at treks and events. Whether I was parking cars, helping to set up and clean up, or chatting with members, it was a pleasure to be a part of it all.

To be amongst supporters of the River and the lands surrounding her banks has made me realize that the role of TILT in the community is an all-encompassing one, so worthy of the time and effort that is put into this incredible organization. I appreciated having had the opportunity to be a part of TILT this summer, and I thank all those who helped to guide me through this experience.


Ryan Aubertine

Working for TILT was an unmatched experience and the TILT staff was great, treating me like family and helping me create lasting friendships with the other interns.

I especially enjoyed working at TILT’s events, where I could meet and talk with TILT members and donors. I also enjoyed helping with TILTreks, learning alongside the participants. One of the most interesting treks was “Ichthyologist for a Day.” It was fascinating to see how musky are raised, as well as  going down to the micro level to see microscopic invertebrates in the water column. And who wouldn’t enjoy helping kids catch their first fish!

I came to appreciate the impact of TILT’s conserved lands and the impact stewardship of these lands makes on the region. One of our regular responsibilities was trail maintenance, and I learned how to operate many different tools on the trails.  

I was also TILT’s representative at the Clean the River event hosted by Save The River. As we collected trash on Wellesley Island, I was surprised at how much debris was in our waterways: bottles, cans, tons of plastic, even a fishing rod, to the most surprising, a chair.

Of all the conservation work that TILT does, I think the most important is environmental education for children. The KidsCamp at Zenda Farms and “Ichthyologist for a Day” help kids learn about important environmental issues in a fun and rewarding way.

This has been a summer to remember!


Sean Deedy

This was my third year as a Summer Land Steward and I was still excited each day to head off to work.  The diversity of jobs such as trail maintenance, painting, and being a Mule Drover for several Land Trust functions on Grindstone, kept the job fun and interesting.  

It always impresses me the great appreciation shown for the work we do by the people I meet while doing trail maintenance.  I am equally impressed by the way the Land Trust brings together people of all ages and different walks of life for a common cause, the preservation of the Thousand Islands.  It may take a village to raise a child, but I have learned as a Land Steward, that it takes the entire River community to protect and preserve this place we all love.

It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of the Land Trust that my uncle, Ken Deedy, played such an integral role in nurturing and developing. The River is an important place for my entire family.   I hope in doing my part, I honor Ken’s legacy.  I am lucky to be able to summer in the Thousand Islands and help preserve the natural beauty of this wonderful place.

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