Lynn Hollyfield & Friends

8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Lynn Hollyfield & Friends
Hard Bargain Amphitheater, Accokeek MD

Blues Night

8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Blues Night
Hard Bargain Amphitheater, Accokeek MD

Rick Whitehead Jazz Trio

8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Rick Whitehead Jazz Trio
Hard Bargain Amphitheater, Accokeek MD

Annual Holiday Open House

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm Annual Holiday Open House
Alice Ferguson Foundation, Accokeek MD

Alice Ferguson Foundation Hosts Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for New Environmental Education Building

October 29th, 2015

By JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES [email protected]
October 29, 2015


Imagine a futuristic building that can work in harmony like species in an ecosystem and mimic the beauty, resourcefulness and efficiency of nature’s surroundings.
It incorporates net zero energy, net zero water, carbon neutral and nontoxic materials into its construction. The building is so innovative in environmental design that it can generate hot water with its solar thermal panels, reduce the need for artificial lighting, heating and cooling, eliminate the need for toilet flushing and can even divert solid waste from the landfill to recycle and reuse streams. It also is one of only seven buildings in the world designed to meet the the most stringent set of green-building standards ever created in modern-day history.

Now click your heels three times and say “there’s no place like AFF.”

Since its founding more than 60 years ago, the Alice Ferguson Foundation has been dedicated to educating visitors of all ages about the natural world, inspiring them to recognize their role in protecting it and seeking innovative ways to solve environmental challenges, according to an information booklet.
“The Alice Ferguson Foundation has been a premier provider of transformative, experiential, environmental education programs for students in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area,” Lori Arguelles, the foundation’s executive director, said. “Over the past six decades, we’ve served nearly half a million students. …Our mission is to connect people to nature, sustainable agricultural practices and the cultural heritage of their local watershed and we do that through education, advocacy and stewardship.”
When the time came to renovate and refresh its educational campus, the Foundation honored its mission by regenerating, not depleting, the environment through state-of-the-art green design and construction.

The foundation’s Hard Bargain Farm broke new ground Oct. 23 in Accokeek with the unveiling of its new Environmental Education Building, a living structure that not only demonstrates a strong bridge between the natural and built environments, but also the sustainable use of natural resources and the science, technology, engineering and math concepts embodied therein.

“Our guiding principles have been education, inspiration and innovation, all three of which are exemplified in the building we are here to unveil today,” Arguelles said. “A building [that] embraces the Living Building Challenge which is the most rigorous set of energy efficiency green-building standards in the world today.”

Now that construction of the education building has finished, the foundation has to meet the Living Building Challenge’s criteria for net zero energy and water goals for one year.

Once the foundation is given the green light for certification, it will become the eighth leader in the world in providing advanced education programs, specifically in the area of long-term environmental sustainability.

“As you’ll soon learn, it’s more than just a building; it is our newest teaching tool,” said Dan Jackson, president of the board of directors at the foundation. “As an environmental engineer by training, I’m excited about how the workforce of the future will benefit from the STEM based education opportunities so abundant in this building.
… I know that the innovation we exemplify is going to change the face of construction forever.”

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said he couldn’t be happier about the positivity the education building will bring for thousands of Marylanders, especially the residents of Prince George’s County.

“The Alice Ferguson Foundation has made such a positive difference in our environment and the legacies that we’re leaving to our children and grandchildren,” Cardin said. “For 60 years [and] 500,000 children, this is an incredible record. … This is team Maryland and we’re proud of what we do every day. … What we’re doing here at the [Foundation] is a model for what we do in Maryland and around the nation.”

For Cardin, the building is not just a national model, but a living example of the relationship between the built environment and the natural world.
“This is a building that will be positive on carbon emissions which means it actually subtracts carbon from our environment,” said Cardin. “It’s going to be totally friendly on the use of water [and] is a living example for the students that come through here. This center has been here for 60 years. It is an incredibly valuable part of our educational system.”

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said the project is a dream come true for the county.
“Here you have these very bright kids going around this nature, going around this farm, understanding how science, math and art all come together in the beauty of this facility,” said Baker (D). “We really are blessed in this county. … We’re making great progress in this county. We’re going in the right direction. … But the thing that we want to make sure [of] is the quality of [our children’s] education; that is what this stands for. … It’s to bring our young people here and get them to understand that history is alive, that science is alive, that art is alive and it’s right here in this facility.”

For other county leaders like Prince George’s County Council Chairman Mel Franklin, he is grateful for the project’s vision toward a green and sustainable future.
“Today’s really a celebration of innovation,” said Franklin (D). “This is one of seven living buildings in the entire world. … So we should celebrate this achievement for what it means not just for the county, not just for the region, but for the world. We have the obligation to be the stewards of God’s earth [and] what God has blessed us with. To imagine that we can do so in a way that helps foster development is truly incredible. … This really is about opening minds so that we have students coming from Tokyo, South Korea [and] England coming right here to the Hard Bargain Farm because they know that we’re bringing the world to Prince George’s County and we’re bringing innovation for the rest of the world in terms of the environment. … With innovation like this, the best is yet to come.”
Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s) said innovative projects like the Environmental Education Building promotes the importance of protecting the environment, a lesson that will carry on to students and future generations of environmental stewards.

“The net zero water and energy goals embodied in this living building help us all to reflect back on a time when we lived closer to the land and better understood the rhythms of nature,” Muse said. “We humans are but one species in a complex ecosystem interdependent on others and yet often we can be thoughtless and careless about our actions and their consequences. The thought-provoking lessons that the students learn here will now be taken to an entirely new level as they examine water, waste and energy through the lens of the foundation’s newest teaching tool.”

Online article

Bringing Solar Power to One of the Most Environmentally-Friendly Buildings in the World

October 14th, 2015

Read the article: Bringing Solar Power to One of the Most Environmentally-Friendly Buildings in the World


Lynn Hollyfield & Friends – Concert in the Woods

8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Lynn Hollyfield & Friends - Concert in the Woods
Hard Bargain Amphitheater, Accokeek MD

Blues Night – Concert in the Woods

8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Blues Night - Concert in the Woods
Hard Bargain Amphitheater, Accokeek MD

AFF in the News

January 9th, 2015

11.10.2015 – Prince George’s Suite Magazine
All That is Green is New Again

10.2015  Facility Executive Magazine

Students Benefit from One of World’s Only Living Buildings

10.2015  Southern Maryland News
Alice Ferguson Foundation Hosts Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for New Environmental Education Building

5.2015  Biohabitats
Potomac Watershed Study Center at Hard Bargain Farm

2.2015 – Environmental Building News
Take Control of Your Materials: Four Empowering Lessons Teams That Beat the Red List

01.09.2015 – Grid Magazine
The Living Building Challenge demands that teams exceed LEED requirements to create buildings that restore nature

07.06.2014 – Bay Journal
Three New Reports Talk Trash

06.14.2014 – Chesapeake Bay News
Non-profit combats litter in the Potomac River watershed

04.22.2014 – WTOP
April is Litter Enforcement Month

04.09.2014 – Washington Post
From Bottles to Roofing Materials, Creek Crew Cleans Up

04.07.2014 – WTOP
25 Years Later, Potomac River Cleanup Still Going Strong

04.05.2014 – Washington Post
In Fairfax, Volunteers Fight a Flood of Trash in Little Hunting Creek

04.04.2014 – Betheda Now
April Is Litter Enforcement Month

04.02.2014 – Fredrick News-Post
Volunteers Organize Potomac Watershed Cleanup

04.02.2014 – Prince of Petworth
MPD: “April is Litter Enforcement Month” Tickets Range from $50 to $500

03.30.2014 – Washington Post Express
The Potomac Gets a Pick-Me-Up With a Massive Spring Trash Cleaning

02.01.2014 – WAMU’s “The Animal House”
Future Farming

01.18.2014 – East of the River Magazine
Shepherd Park Clean-up Enters Third Year

01.08.2014 – East of the River Magazine
Results from DC’s Bag Tax, Four Years Out

01.07.2014 – DCist
Survey: Majority Of D.C. Residents Support Plastic Bag Fee

12.17.2013 – Washington Post TV
School Kids Visit Farm, Milk Chance to Learn About Food

12.17.2013 – Washington Post
A lesson on Climate Change at the Hard Bargain Farm in Prince George’s County

12.15.2013 – Washington Post
Prince George’s Children Learn Where Their Food Comes From at Hard Bargain Farm

10.31.2013 – Bay Journal
It’s Time to Give Plastic Bags the Sack in Urban Streams

10.27.2013 – Alexandria News
Alexandria Wins Regional Trash Award

10.09.2013 – The Sentinel
Prince George’s County students visit historic Hard Bargain Farm

10.07.2013 – Washington Post
Shutdown Forces Cancellation of Student Environmental Ed Trips

08.29.2013 – The Sentinel
Hard Bargain Farm Educates, Enlightens Students About Environment

07.25.2013 – The Gazette
Middle school “Green Team” wins video contest

07.21.2013 – The EmeraldPlanet
Creating Living Legacies of Vibrant Soil, Safe Water, and Clean Air

07.11.2013 – Comcast Newsmakers
Conversation with Lori Arguelles- Alice Ferguson Foundation

07.10.2013 – The Sentinel
Middle School Could Win Litter-Prevention Ad Contest

06.09.2013 – Fredrick News-Post
Teaching ‘Green’ at all Levels of Education

05.11.2013 – Comcast Newsmakers
Conversation with Lori Arguelles- Alice Ferguson Foundation

05.06.2013 – Gazette
Accokeek Environmental Center Set to Come ‘Alive’

05.02.2013 – Bay Weekly
Giving a Building Life

05.01.2013 – The Sentinel
Accokeek-Based Environmental Organization Breaks Ground on ‘Living’ Watershed Educational Facility

04.30.2013 – Bay Journal
Potomac Cleanup Collects 286,500 Pounds of Litter

04.26.2013 – ABC 7
Prince George’s County Breaks Ground on a ‘Living Building’

04.21.2013 – WHBC
Don’t Drop That

04.17.2013 – Patch
Alexandria to Participate in Litter Enforcement Month

04.15.2013 – My Green Montgomery
Litter Prevention Video Contest

04.11.2013 – The Sentinel
Volunteers Gather to Clean Up the Potomac River

04.10.2013 – Potomac Almanac
Cleaning up the River

03.11.2013 – Washington Post
County Police to Increase Enforcing Litter Laws in April

03.02.2013 – Washington Parent
Riverkeepers: Watershed Projects for Families

02.02.2013 – Capital Gazette
Montgomery Waterways Show Results From Bag Tax

01.02.2013 – Bay Journal
Tired of Getting Dumped On, Initiative Gets Tough on Trash

10.12.2012 – East of the River Magazine
No More Traveling Trash in Deanwood

10.09.2012 – The Gazette
Students Visit C&O Canal Through Grant Program

08.02.2012 – The Washington Post
D.C. Expands its Anti-Littering Program

08.02.2012 – Bay Journal
Partnership Taking on Trash in the Anacostia

07.06.2012 – The Gazette
Accokeek Nonprofit Touts Planned ‘Living Building’

05.17.2012 – The Gazette
Hard Bargain Farm Seeking Participants to Celebrate National Get Outdoors Day

05.11.2012 – The Prince George’s Sentinel
City Folk Experience Country Life at Annual Spring Farm Festival

05.02.2012 – The Washington Post
The Potomac River, in Good Health and Bad

05.02.2012 – The Washington Post
Potomac River’s and Anacostia River’s Cleanup Makes Progress, but Much Work Remains

05.02.2012 – The Washington Post
The History of the Anacostia River

04.19.2012 – The Gazette County Police Partner with Accokeek Environmental-Preservation Organization to Enforce Litter Laws

04.19.2012 – Prince George’s Sentinel
More Than 70 Volunteers Clean Trash From Potomac River Watershed in Accokeek

04.13.2012 – WAMU
Region Enforces Cleanup, Cracks Down On Litter Laws

04.11.2012 – Southern Maryland Newspaper
County, Foundation Want Volunteers for Potomac River Cleanup April 14

04.05.2012 – The Connection
Thousands To Untrash The River

02.29.2012 – The Washington Post
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch to get hit with debris from Japanese tsunami

10.17.2011 – Prince George’s Sentinel
Trash Summit Sets Goal for Potomac to be Trash Free by 2013

10.09.2011 – The Gazette
Oktoberfest at Accokeek Farm Helps Support Environmental Programs

Celebrating 60 Years of Service to Our Community

October 24th, 2014

By Lori Arguelles, AFF Executive Director

It was 60 years ago today that the pioneers of the Alice Ferguson Foundation (AFF) realized the first fruits of their labors. On October 24, 1954 the Articles of Incorporation for the Foundation were approved and AFF was “born.” This momentous act has had lasting impact during the last six decades including:

– Serving more than 300,000 students through our environmental education programs at our Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center and in national and state parks through our Bridging the Watershed Program.

alice henry – Engaging more than 130,000 volunteers in the annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup by removing more than 7 million pounds of debris over the past 26 years.

– Leading the way in energy efficient and green building design by embracing the Living Building Challenge © as we construct and renovate buildings on our educational campus. The net-zero energy, net-zero water, and zero-waste criteria, combined with carbon-neutral and non-toxic, non-polluting component requirements make this a ground-breaking and landscape-altering undertaking.

Throughout the decades, the Foundation has stayed true to its guiding principles of education, inspiration, and innovation. And the impact is both deep-rooted and widespread as evidenced by the experience of one 10-year old student from Heather Hills Elementary School:

“I couldn’t wait until my overnight trip to Hard Bargain Farm. My first activity was a hike through the woods. We learned about pollution and how it harms living organisms. That one hike changed my whole point of view about the environment. In the future I see myself stopping someone from littering to protect the animals and nature.”

Surely our namesake, Alice Ferguson, would appreciate how her vision of a special place in nature has been embraced by student and adult learners alike. And we are proud that Alice’s vision for Hard Bargain Farm has been recognized as nationally significant. Just in time for our Diamond Jubilee celebration the Farm was selected for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. This prestigious roster is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. As anniversary gifts go, this is definitely a gem!IMG_0486
But the greatest gift of all is the privilege of sharing the wonder and beauty of nature with a child for the first time. Nothing can match the eye-opening and often life-changing experiences that come from this connection. We couldn’t do any of this without the generous support of friends like you. Thank you for helping us to make a difference!
If you’d like to make a special gift in honor of our anniversary, please visit our donation page. Thank you for your support, and Happy Anniversary!