In This Issue
NO CHILD LEFT INSIDE: Environmental Education at AFF
TRASH FREE BY 2013!
Trash Free Potomac River Watershed Initiative
HARD BARGAIN FARM
THE ARTS AT HARD BARGAIN FARM
MEET NEW BOARD MEMBERS AND STAFF
The Alice Ferguson Foundation was established in 1954 as a non:profit organization chartered in the state of Maryland. AFF's mission is "to provide experiences that encourage connections between people, the natural environment, farming, and the cultural heritage of the Potomac River Watershed, leading to personal environmental responsibility."
Please support environmental education in our beautiful region by becoming a member of the Alice Ferguson Foundation, and enjoy the many special events and benefits year 'round. Details
Calendar of Events
Board of Directors
- Bryan Logan, President
- Michael Herman, Vice President
- Nan Kargahi, Secretary
- Harold Phelps, Treasurer
- Judy Allen:Leventhal, Director
- David Bookbinder, Director
- Peggy DeStefanis, Director
- Nancy Gasparovic, Director
- Steve Kim, Director
- Marion Mulholland, Director
- Shirley Nicolai, Director
- Betsy Reid, Director
- Nancy Weiman, Director
- Chelsea Borchini, Naturalist
- Libby Campbell, Deputy Director
- Sara Campbell, Naturalist
- Lane Elson, Farm Associate
- Katrina Fauss, Bridging the Watershed Educator
- Becca Fordham, Bridging the Watershed Educator
- Laura A. Gillespie, Bridging the Watershed Admin. Assistant & Webmaster
- Ginny Harris, Trash Coordinator
- Benita Jenkins, Director of Development
- Deanna Lutz, Office Manager
- Sam Lyon, Farm Hand
- Shannon Macken, Communication Intern
- Tawna Mertz, Consultant, TKM Marketing, Inc.
- Karen Jensen Miles, Program Director
- Alison Mize, Director of Policy
- Helen Nelson, Accountant
- Chris Ordiway, Naturalist
- Carol Park, Database Specialist
- Ryan Pleune, HBF Outreach Coordinator
- Sharon Rabie, Naturalist
- Rhonda Scott, Naturalist/Bridging the Watershed Program Assistant
- Doris Sharp, Publications Specialist, Arts Coordinator, Naturalist
- Will Sheppard, Naturalist
- Tammy Shupard, Naturalist
- Jodie Abbott Standish, Web Designer
- Anne Stine, Naturalist
- Bill Townsend, Naturalist
- Jeanne Troy, Bridging the Watershed Program Director
- Anna Wadhams, Bridging the Watershed Educator
- Eileen Watts, Farm Manager; Program Director of Agricultural Education and Animal Husbandry; Naturalist
- Penny Weaver, Development Associate
- Becky Williams, Naturalist
- Brenda Wright, Naturalist
An Easy Way to Make Donations!
The Alice Ferguson Foundation has been approved once again for participation in the United Way of the National Capital Area (UWNCA) and the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Our United Way code is #8083 and our CFC code is #62564.
Please consider us!
Welcome to our September e:newsletter!|
Another fall has begun at Hard Bargain Farm, our 54th as an organization. Many new programs are thriving, undreamt of by Bernie Wareham, Roy Jensen, and the other original staff members of the Alice Ferguson Foundation. But in many respects there has been no change at all. Teaching children to love and respect the out:of:doors, protecting this beautiful place, and cherishing farming traditions and connections to our food sources were in the hearts and minds of staff then and are now, even for our newest naturalist or "trash babe." We have been very fortunate to find new staff as committed to environmental stewardship as those who have been here for many years. So as you look through this newsletter and learn about all of the exciting happenings at AFF, you will be able to read between the lines and see that what's new is old, and what is old is cherished.
Come One, Come All! October 11, 1—6 p.m.
"Alt Washingtonia Schuhplattlers" Musician
Apples for the home baked strudel
By Doris Sharp
This is the biggest fundraiser of the year to support the environmental programs at Hard Bargain Farm. It promises fun and great entertainment, featuring the original Bavarian dance group "Alt Washingtonia Schuhplattlers". We have welcomed these outstanding dancers and musicians for over twenty:seven years. They bring to us the old world traditions of authentic Bavarian folklore, costumes, and song and dance. Instruments like the impressive alphorns, accordion (otherwise called the button box), hammered and lap dulcimer, zither, guitar, tuba, bells, and yes, even a saw, are featured.
Enjoy great German cuisine along with imported Spaten beer; home baked strudel; fresh apple cider; purchase all kinds of homemade goodies from the "Country Store"; take hayrides down to the Potomac River; bid on terrific items at the silent and live auctions; and sing and dance with the Schuhplattlers and just have a good time!
Did you ever wonder how Oktoberfest came into being? Read on and find out!
A Little History of Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest originated in October of 1810 in Munich, Germany, when Crown Prince Ludwig (to become King Ludwig I) was married to Princess Therese of Saxony:Hildenburghausen. All citizens of Munich were invited to attend the celebration, which was held on the meadows in front of the city gates. Horse races marked the closing of this event.
The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the traditions of Oktoberfest. The horse races became an annual event and were combined with the state agricultural fair. It wasn't until 1818 that booths, serving food and drink, were set up. In the late 1800s the booths evolved into large beer tents, which are still set up each year on the Theresienwiese (meaning "Theresa's meadows" in honor of Ludwig's bride). The remainder of the festival site was taken up by carnival rides. Now, the Oktoberfest extends for two weeks and ends on the first Sunday of October. It's the largest festival in the world and features an international flavor—some six million visitors from all around the world converge on the Oktoberfest each year!
"Alt Washingtonia Schuhplattlers" Dancers
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NO CHILD LEFT INSIDE: Environmental Education at the Alice Ferguson Foundation
Summer Science Teacher Institutes : A Good Time Was Had By All
By Karen Jensen Miles
I recently received unsolicited emails from several participants. Here are a couple of excerpts from them.
"I wanted to thank you again for such an amazing week! I can't tell you how much it changed just simple ways that I now think about things."
– Teacher, Capital City Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.
"I wanted to thank you and your staff once again for a wonderful experience on the farm. Before coming to Hard Bargain, nature and I was not the best of friends...however, upon leaving I have not missed one day enjoying her beauty (I've even been canoeing several times). So again, many thanks and hats off to your fantastic staff...I am so looking forward to next year!!"
– Teacher, Rosaryville Elementary School, Prince George's County, MD
We have found that by giving teachers insights into our environment and the natural world and the necessary tools to teach that we are influencing hundreds, or even thousands, of young people. So, each summer we gear up to bring dozens of educators to Hard Bargain Farm for our environmental science teacher institutes. For two whirlwind weeks in June and July, thirty:nine participants worked with our staff and with each other. They have been introduced to subjects that have been completely new to many. With their newly gained knowledge and experiences, combined with our curriculum for investigating environmental issues, the teachers are prepared to apply that in the classroom and into their own lives..
We are already planning for the summer of 2009. In response to numerous requests for more advanced classes, we will conduct a one:week institute for persons who have successfully completed the original one:week trainings. In addition, we are going to conduct a two:week institute for those educators who really want to get their hands and feet wet here at the Farm!
Institute participants seine at Mockley Point
BRIDGING THE WATERSHED
Bridging the Watershed is growing!
By Jeanne Troy
The Bridging the Watershed (BTW) program is the recent recipient of a National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Challenge grant:a prestigious national award that aims to provide high:quality programming and capital improvements to prepare NPS for its 100th anniversary in 2016. This grant, plus matching funds from the Toyota USA Foundation, allows BTW to expand the scope of its offerings.
We will be working to implement several partnerships with school systems, modeled on our systemic integration into the Prince George's County Public Schools. As we grow and increase the number of field studies and trainings offered, the first step has been to expand the BTW team. We welcome Katrina Fauss and Rebecca Fordham to our staff.
Becca will be working at the Farm, conducting BTW field studies and developing a plan to get students back into the parks and involved in service projects after the field studies. Katrina is our first ever Upper Potomac Educator. To help reach the western end of the Potomac River watershed, Katrina will have office space at the headquarters of the C&O Canal National Historic Park in Hagerstown. This will help expand AFF's reach all the way upstream!
Read on to learn a little more about these two talented educators: Meet New Board Members and Staff
HARD BARGAIN FARM ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER
Environmental Education at Hard Bargain Farm
by Brenda Wright
The education program continued well into the summer. Teenagers of the DC Clean Sweep Youth program visited Hard Bargain Farm on five consecutive Tuesdays in July and August. DC Clean Sweep Youth is a summer youth program in Washington, DC, which hires teens to help clean up the trash from the streets of DC. It was an eye opener for these kids (and for the chaperones as well) when they had a wagon ride to the Potomac River and saw first hand where the trash from DC streets can end up if it does not get cleaned up. All groups left with a new appreciation for their job to help keep the trash from ending up in the river. The barnyard was also part of their visit and they were able to a make a connection where their food comes from. For some of these kids it was the first time to see and touch farm animals.
We welcome new staff members for our Hard Bargain Farm Education Program. Ryan Pluene was hired as our Outreach/School Partnership Coordinator; Dave Yarmchuk, Anne Stine and Chelsea Borchini are joining the naturalists. A week:long training was held and gave the new employees an opportunity to work with HBF staff and familiarize themselves with our programs before the students arrive. It was a very productive week and we are all excited and ready for the 2008/2009 school year.
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TRASH FREE BY 2013!
Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative
Growing Political Will
by Ginny Harris
In 2005, the Alice Ferguson Foundation made the decision to continue with the annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup but to also focus on to the source of trash year ‘round. That inspired the Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative (TFPWI). In its humble beginnings, the Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative's leaders knew they needed political support to be able to leverage their goal of a Trash Free Potomac by 2013! (the date of the 25th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup). So they came up with the Potomac River Watershed Trash Treaty.
The Potomac River Watershed Trash Treaty is an awareness agreement that commits signers to support and implement regional strategies aimed at reducing trash and increasing recycling; increase education and awareness of the trash issue throughout the Potomac River Watershed; and to reconvene annually to discuss and evaluate measures and actions addressing trash reduction.
In 2005, the founding signers of the Trash Treaty are Anthony Williams, Mayor of the District of Columbia; Wayne Cooper, Charles County Board of County Commissioners, MD; Gerald E. Connolly Chairman of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, VA; Doug Duncan, County Executive of Montgomery County, MD; Jack Johnson, County Executive of Prince George's County, MD; and Thomas F. McKay, President, Board of County Commissioners of St. Mary's County, MD.
Today, the Alice Ferguson Foundation is proud to have over one hundred signatories including all four Governors: Joe Manchin III of West Virginia; Tim Kaine of Virginia; Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania; and Martin O'Malley of Maryland; as well as Mayor Adrian Fenty of the District of Columbia. This is a historic effort of regional collaboration between governors and mayors of the Potomac River Watershed.
Joining are jurisdictions farther out in the watershed such as the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. To date Morgan County and Berkeley County have signed on and are interested in a strong partnership. Jefferson County, WV, should be soon to follow.
With its continued growth the Trash Treaty is a cornerstone to the Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative and is expanding the network for a Trash Free Potomac in 2013!
Find out if your elected officials have signed the Trash Treaty. CLICK THIS LINK.
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Mint : A Pollinator Paradise
By Sam Lyon
Declining honeybee and other
pollinator populations benefit from mints.
Children are back to school; the late summer drought is evident by piles of leaves under poplar trees; and the black gum leaves are fast turning red. Fall is around the corner with its cool mornings and temperatures in the shade that are so comfortable. Summer is definitely dwindling. However, there is still the hint of vitality. Taking a stroll through Fergie's garden behind the Farmhouse you will find a patch of apple mint and spearmint. All kinds of bees, flies, and butterflies by the hundreds are attracted to these mints. What a visual treat for budding entomologists!
Our recent amateur survey revealed at least six species of flies, fifteen species of butterflies and moths and species galore of wasps, bees and hornets. Many of the bees and flies are so tiny that they require a microscope for identification. The survey site was only about 6 feet by 12 feet. When the summer doldrums hit and the only insect you hear are the dog:day cicadas, do not forget to check out the flowering mints. Once the sun is up, life is buzzing around them. Better yet, plant some in your yard and wait for the insect action to begin!
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Geese in Sync
By Eileen Watts
The early half of our growing year was plant:perfect! Hay is still our number one crop so it is of that I speak. The first cutting was a comfortable 2500 bales. That is a nice supply for our own use as well as some to sell. There will be a second cutting beginning very soon. Four acres worth of oat hay was especially nice. Marmalade, the dairy cow, is our chief hay tester. If she likes it, it is good! She lapped up every blade. The nearly pure orchard grass hay across the road from the oats field was also beautiful. We have some prize:winning hay from those two spots!
Two more beef calves have joined the herd, bringing the calf total to five. I learned a new word recently :: beeves. It is the plural of beef animals. We now have a total of eighteen beeves.
Broiler chickens feeding
Both our goose and turkey females went through the motions of setting on a nest of eggs but to no avail. When the turkey hen laid more eggs after her first failure, a broody (chicken) hen and an incubator were called into play. Two cute Bourbon Red poults hatched on July 25th. They will reside with young broilers in the chicken tractor.
Twenty:three broiler chickens have been processed and frozen. Some are still available for sale at $3.50/pound. More broilers will be ready in September. Please call the office if you are interested. Meat from our chickens and pigs is also used for board meetings and special events such as the pig roast which occurred on July 25th.
Lane Elson and I were privileged to attend a farm field day at Polyface Farm in Staunton, VA, on July 12th. Polyface is owned and operated by Joel Salatin and his family. Joel is a well known and respected innovative organic farmer who produces pastured chickens, turkeys, rabbits, pigs, and beef. His farming techniques and philosophies are well documented in a current best selling book Omnivore's Dilemma. We are already using some of his ideas (though others have inspired us too), such as developing rotational grazing, use of chicken tractors for broiler production, raising turkeys and chickens together, worming cattle with his non:toxic formula, and thinking seriously about building an "egg mobile", a chicken house on wheels that allows for truly pasture raised meat and eggs.
Brenda Wright, Carolyn Sanford and I attended a Children and Youth Gardening Symposium at the University of Delaware from July 23:26th. It was hosted by the American Horticultural Society. We have a nice garden now that was created by children as much as possible, but it is accessible by hay wagon only. A new garden may be in our future which will be located close to the proposed new education building/bunk house. We are thinking of permanent displays and/or vegetable production spanning the entire year. We have collected many new welcome ideas!
Eileen Watts and Carolyn Sanford hatching out of Dinosaur Eggs
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HARD BARGAIN FARM
Living Buildings — Incorporating Animate and Inanimate Objects from the Farm
By Karen Jensen Miles
One of the hallmarks of a "living building" is the use of native materials in its construction. That might mean specifying local clay, rock, lumber from trees found on:site, or even historic items once used for farming.
Over the years on a farm, many of the farm implements and machines are retired and left to rust in storage piles. Historically, there weren't other options besides parking them somewhere. Two winters ago, our staff went through a large cache of these "farm ghosts", recycled what we could and saved some wonderful artifacts for use in our planned new buildings. These include parts from seed planters, hay rakes, old trucks, plows and many other pieces of iron with artistic shapes. The architects are excited about incorporating some of these into their designs. Used correctly, these items will also help us to relay to visitors our agricultural past and whet their appetite to find out what we do here at Hard Bargain Farm in the present.
In the past two years, Hard Bargain Farm has experienced several severe weather events that resulted in dead or downed trees, many of them quite large. Black walnut, white oak, willow oak, red oak, beech and tulip poplar trees that had lumber potential were identified, sawn into 10'lengths and hauled to a mill in Southern Maryland to be transformed into 5,000 board feet of lumber. All of the logs have been marked so that we will be able to identify the species of each tree and where they were located on the Farm. (This will help us tell the story to all who will visit the new buildings.) The milled lumber will be stored until construction begins. To give you an idea of what 5,000 board feet looks like, imagine a solid box that is 4'high x 5'wide x 40‘ long. That's a lot of lumber!
For much more information about green buildings and the philosophy of creating a living building here at Hard Bargain Farm, please look at this article written by our Owner's Representative in the project, Sandy Wiggins, the past president of the U. S. Green Building Council.
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Community Service Volunteers
By Brenda Wright
As volunteer coordinator, Brenda Wright receives quite a few phone calls from students needing community service. This summer we had the pleasure of one young man named Antonio. He came to the farm with no appreciation for the kind of work farmers do. His first experience was helping to pluck chickens. At the end of the day he had one question, how do farmers get a pay check? On another day he was helping to clean out the milking parlor and there the mud dauber wasps were very active. He was not happy about this at all and he said "Man, I have better appreciation for farmers now, I thought they just sat on the porch spitting in a can."
DC Clean Sweep Volunteers
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THE ARTS AT HARD BARGAIN FARM
"Theater in the Woods" : Hard Bargain Players
By Suzanne Donohue
Kids Theater: Dylan Meushaw,
Jade Bartlett, David Plesniak
In July the Hard Bargain Players and Alice Ferguson Foundation sponsored the annual HBP Kids' Theater Workshop. It is designed to introduce newcomers to the world of theater and challenge young veterans to manage advanced theatrical concepts and production techniques. The workshop culminates in a final production and engages and entertains participants, as they work in the areas of stage management, acting, costuming, lighting, set design and construction. This year, in addition to monologue and scene work the Hard Bargain Kids created their own productions. Through the art of improvisation and various theatrical techniques the seven students became writers, directors, and actors. They created three very distinct productions and each worked diligently on a monologue from an accredited playwright. The final performances were successful and enjoyed by both the kids on stage and the families and friends in attendance.
The final show of the HBP 2008 season will be Night of the Living Dead by Lori Allen Ohm based on George Romero and John Russo's original film and directed by Mike Margelos. This cult classic will be performed October 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 &18 at 8:00 p.m. Night of the Living Dead is an ideal show to lead into Halloween.
Kids Theater: David Plesniak,
Amina Dunn, Grace Kim
The Hard Bargain Players are always looking for volunteers to perform on stage, work behind the scenes and direct plays! For more information visit us at www.hbplayers.org.
"Concert in the Woods"
by Doris Sharp
Grace Griffith and Lynn Hollyfield
Tom Wisner plays the turtle shell.
Dirty River is Evan Sands, banjo;
Billy Park, guitar; Gary Cole, bass;
Michael Barton, dobro
We had a wonderful concert season this summer so far. In June, singer Grace Griffith (multi Wammie Award winner) and singer/songwriter Lynn Hollyfield shared the stage for an evening of beautiful music with polished harmonies, rhythms and lots of fun. They were joined by percussionist Norm Thorne. Unfortunately, the concert had to be moved indoors because of thunderstorms. We extend our thanks to the Moyoaone Association for letting us use their community building.
Tom Wisner and Mac Walter had a great show in July. Tom, a native of the Chesapeake watershed and the "guru" of Chesapeake Bay folk music, is a singer, songwriter, and storyteller devoted to raising awareness of the spirit and beauty of place. He sang of wildlife, wind, water, and the men and women who navigate the waterways. His stories conveyed glimpses of the way of life of these watermen. Three:time WAMMIE Award winner guitarist Mac Walter supported Tom masterfully.
In late July, Steve Wolf (bass), "Big Joe" Maher (drums), and Rick Whitehead (guitar) presented an evening under the stars with a mix of swing, jazz and good old American blues. All three musicians are bandleaders in their own right and did they put on a great show. They had everybody tapping their feet and wanting more!
In August, "Dirty River" (featuring Evan Sands on banjo, Gary Cole on bass, Billy Park on guitar and Michael Barton on dobro) came back with their eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary bluegrass, folk and country rock. On that day it stormed throughout the day and we decided again to have the concert indoors (and they just love to play at our amphitheater). Despite of that they kept up their good cheer and their performance was wonderfully energetic.
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MEET NEW BOARD MEMBERS AND STAFF
AFF's New Board Members
Betsy Reid, Nancy Gasparovic, Harold Phelps
Nancy Gasparovic is president of Title Professionals, Ltd., a title insurance agency in La Plata, Maryland. For over thirty years she has been a settlement/escrow officer and title insurance agent, formerly with Gasparovic & Hungerford Law Office and since 1989 as owner of her own title company.
Her willingness to serve on the Alice Ferguson Foundation Board is to pay tribute to "her mom", Thelma Gasparovic, who was secretary of the Foundation in its early years and instrumental in setting up the environmental education programs with the public schools. Nancy also has fond memories of coming for overnight trips with her children and students, playing the guitar and singing around the campfire at Hard Bargain Farm.
A native of Beech Creek, Kentucky (of "Sixteen Tons" fame) and a graduate of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, Nancy received her B.S. in Music and Education. She has done graduate work at the University of Maryland and completed many courses and seminars in financing, legal and title issues. She has served on many boards including the American Cancer Society; American Red Cross; Randolph:Macon College Parent Advisory Council; Melwood Training Center; Civista Health Foundation; Austin Peay University Alumni Association; Charles County Chamber of Commerce; and the National Energetics Technology Alliance for Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head. She currently serves on the boards of The Maples Foundation for Senior Housing, Charles County Senior Services; LaPlata United Methodist Church (former Trustee); and College of Southern Maryland Paralegal Advisory Board. She is a bank director on the board of Old Line Bank where she has served for many years.
Nancy formerly taught music in schools in Prince George's and Charles Counties as well as private piano lessons. She has been active as choir director, pianist, and youth leader in local churches. She is a patron of the arts and has been active with the Port Tobacco Players, Black Box Theatre, and Arts Alliance. Her professional affiliations include the following: Maryland Land Title Association, American Land Title Association, Sigma Alpha Iota, Southern Maryland Board of Realtors, and founding member of SO MD Land Title Association. As a founding member of the Western Charles County American Society, she initiated many support groups for cancer patients including I Can Cope, CanSurMount, and The Road to Recovery. She is a past recipient of the Maryland American Cancer Society Volunteer of the Year award. Nancy is a perennial volunteer for many charity events such as Hospice Festival of Trees, Heinze Memorial Golf Tournament, Autumn Wine Tasting and Mardi Gras Ball to benefit Civista Health Foundation, and the capital campaign for College of Southern Maryland. Her home, Idyllic, has been featured on the Maryland House and Garden Tour and is frequently the site of events/fund raisers for various groups and charities.
Harold Phelps, a native of Maryland, grew up in Gaithersburg. He lived in that area until he and his wife moved to the Moyaone Reserve in Accokeek in April 2000. He worked many years in retail sales and management of retail businesses. In1981, he bought his own business—a retail coffee and tea shop in Alexandria, VA. He expanded his business to four specialty shops in the D.C. area offering coffee, tea, gourmet foods and deli. In 1995, he began selling the individual shops and then retired in '96. During retirement he imported tea products from England.
Besides being the treasurer of the Foundation, he also is currently the Treasurer for the Bonds Retreat Water Co., The Friends of the Accokeek Library, and The Moyaone Association. In his spare time he likes jogging, boating, fishing, and visiting museums.
Betsy Reid lives in the Moyaone Reserve with her husband and artist, Bill Suworoff. She is an avid gardener on her plot at the Moyaone community garden and in her garden at home. Active in the Moyaone Association, she is helping to improve the grounds and buildings at the Wagner Community Center and Pool.
Betsy has a residential landscape design practice that emphasizes sustainable approaches to landscaping, such as use of native plants. Recently she worked with Fergie's Gardeners and Foundation staff to design and install a new landscape for the balustrade at the Ferguson House. She sought to reference the historical formality of the rear entrance with the need to install deer proof plants. So far the deer have not dined on the plants!
Prior professional experience stems from her education and interest in politics. It includes published research on nonprofit advocacy and U.S. tax:exempt international organizations as well as practical experience in teaching, government affairs, and labor and community organizations.
Betsy is excited about her tenure on the Alice Ferguson Foundation Board. She hopes to contribute to the development of the gardens, strengthen community involvement in the Foundation, and promote the environmental education and farm operations.
Meet AFF's New Staff
Katrina Fauss is from Myersville, MD, and will be working in Hagerstown for the BTW program. She is a 2001 graduate of Hood College with a B.A. in Sociology. Her love of the environment began as a young girl while camping with her grandparents and parents and going to summer camp. Most recently, she was the Program Director in charge of Environmental and Older Girl Programs at the Girl Scouts of Shawnee Council in Martinsburg, WV. In this capacity she managed a Future Leaders of Watersheds grant that spurred her on to move into environmental education full time. In her spare time she likes to kayak and play softball.
As a child growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Rebecca Fordham has always had a fascination with the natural world. In 2001, she left for college at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, to complete a B.A. in Environmental Science and Biology. While a student at Southwestern, she worked as a teen volunteer coordinator intern and teacher at Armand Bayou Nature Center in Houston. While working in the Bayou, she became aware of a newly introduced invasive apple snail originally from South America. Along with her undergraduate advisor, she began an apple snail research program at Southwestern. After graduation in 2005, Becca worked as a summer fisheries technician for Texas Parks and Wildlife Coastal Fisheries in Houston. This experience increased her awareness of the impacts of water pollution on marine life in Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Becca completed her M.S. in Aquatic Biology at Texas State University : San Marcos in December 2007. Her research focused on macroinvertebrate diversity of the Rio Grande and water quality impacts on hellgrammite prey selection and reproduction. Becca moved to the DC area in January 2008 to begin her career as an environmental educator and marry her long:time boyfriend, Andrew. Becca enjoys hiking with her two dogs, fishing, gardening, kayaking, and dancing the Texas Two:Step.
Will Sheppard, educator, is also a recent addition to the BTW staff.
Will grew up in New York City, where frequent childhood trips to the Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo set him on an early path to environmental stewardship. It is something that has stuck with him since. He graduated from Oberlin College in 2005 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. During college he spent time in Namibia, Southern Africa conducting conservation research for Save the Rhino Trust about the effects of Human Induced Disturbance on local wildlife. Since his graduation, he has plied his trade across the country, working for the YMCA of Greenville, SC, the Oakland (California) Zoo, and the Hayward (California) Shoreline Interpretive Center, as a naturalist. He recently joined the AFF team after moving to DC from the West Coast. In addition to his work with AFF, Will is a keeper's aide at the National Zoo's Elephant House. He is excited to bring his diverse experiences to BTW.
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