The Friends of Weir Farm National Historic Site awarded the first Young Stewards Awards to three seasonal interns who are participating in the Site’s Youth Internship Program and have been working at the park during the 2017 season.

The three interns who received the recognition are natural resources intern Tanner Burgdorf of Bridgeport; youth ambassador intern Josh Pfohl of Ridgefield; and youth ambassador intern Claire Tensa of Danbury.

Through this internship program, participants are exposed to a variety of National Park Service careers and hands-on experience by completing projects and working with park staff, partners, and volunteers. Awards were presented to these interns in recognition of their accomplishments at a ceremony at the park on Sept. 22, 2017.

“This award was established to provide recognition to interns at Weir Farm National Historic Site who have served so many roles during the 2017 season to help park visitors feel welcome and assist the park staff and volunteers in many meaningful ways” says Judy Wander, president of the Friends of Weir Farm NHS Board of Directors. “This new award was established to honor exceptional performance and we are pleased to have three outstanding interns to recognize this year.”

Tanner Burgdorf was selected as the natural resources intern through a long-standing youth engagement partnership with Groundwork Bridgeport. He has played a key role in recruiting youth from Bridgeport to participate in service-learning projects at the park, including work projects on National Trails Day and National Public Lands Day. Additionally, Burgdorf has taken on a special project to inventory, photograph and map all the dry stone walls in the park and has been a valuable asset to the natural resources team at the park.

With a new park partner, Conservation Legacy’s Environmental Stewards, Weir Farm National Historic Site selected two Youth Ambassador Interns to increase outreach and engagement for the park. Both interns have risen through the ranks of the park’s youth engagement ladder, having both previously served as park volunteers.

Joshua Pfohl conducted assessment of the park’s digital history offerings and developed a thorough report, including recommendations for virtual engagement. His Strategic Plan for Digital Resources is outstanding and will be used to guide park programs and identify projects for future interns. Pfohl’s education in and passion for national parks and public history, coupled with his personable attitude and energy, have enhanced visitor services at the park.

Claire Tensa has been a lifelong visitor and supporter of Weir Farm National Historic Site, and has continued to excel as a park ambassador through her role as an intern. Tensa created a database for community outreach events and made recommendations about future outreach in new communities. She has built community support for the park through off-site events, social media, and on-site visitor services. Her great attitude, expert knowledge, and dedication to Weir Farm National Historic Site have helped thousands of visitors and virtual visitors connect with and enjoy the park.

Friends of Weir Farm National Historic Site is an official not-for-profit partner for the park that works cooperatively with the National Park Service to promote and enhance Weir Farm National Historic Site. Friends of Weir Farm was honored to be the recipient in April 2017 of the National Park Service George and Helen Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service for the Northeast Region in Group Service. Friends of Weir Farm NHS is a registered 501(c)(3) under the I.R.S. Tax Code and donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.