Three high school students assisted the Philipstown Garden Club this past summer in an internship program co-sponsored by Manitoga, Stonecrop Gardens, the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary and Masonic Lodge No. 236.

Clara Thompson, a senior at Haldane High School, returned for her second summer after spending last year learning about sustainable farming production at Glynwood Farm. This year Thompson worked at Stonecrop Gardens near Cold Spring, where she learned about alpine plants and the identification of invasive weeds. Her responsibilities involved pruning, starting seedlings, transplanting, weeding, mulching and watering. She was also involved with harvesting apples and cherries and learned how to make apple butter. The highlight of her experience was the opportunity to lay out, plant and care for the “silver garden,” an area filled with silvery leafed plants against a backdrop of weathered gray fencing.

The club’s first intern from Putnam Valley High School, Marianna Silva, now a junior, spent her summer at Manitoga, undertaking projects such as re-establishing trampled ferns along the main trail. The project involved locating ferns in different parts of the woodland setting and transplanting them. An aspiring environmental engineer, Silva said the highlight of her internship was the day she and a partner were on the cliff face above the pond hanging on to small trees while pulling weeds. “Hardcore gardening can be a lot of fun,” she said.

Poholchuk, Thompson and Silva (photos provided)
Poholchuk, Thompson and Silva (photos provided)

Evan Poholchuk, who interned at Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary, is a senior at Haldane. Allong with two recent college graduates, he worked under the supervision of Director Eric Lind, Land Steward Dave Decker and Education Manager Rebecca Shultz. Along with the task of controlling invasive phragmites, Poholchuk assisted in the restoration of the creek bank. Rocks, trees and grasses were cleared to re-establish the natural flow. Poholchuk said being involved with the Audubon Bird Banding Program was a highlight of his summer.

The program is open to students entering their junior or senior years of high school or freshman year of college, and applications are typically due in May. Visit for more information.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

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