BTW Students

Welcome!  Bridging the Watershed is an environmental education program created by naturalists, classroom teachers, and national park rangers working together to bring a unique experience to secondary students across the DC metro region. This program gives you the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom, the opportunity to visit a national park, and the opportunity to be a field scientist.

You’ll find all sorts of cool things on our web site – games, photos, student reflections – but mostly, we want you to use these pages to get ready for a field study. You will have much more fun if you come prepared!

HBF Kids’ Zone

This area of our Website is for YOU, the kids who visit Hard Bargain Farm or want to learn more about the watershed we live in.

Take some time and wander around the website. You can play games or learn about our animals and our farm. Or, you can meet the people who work on the farm or find out how to get ready for your trip.


Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center

Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center’s education program for elementary and middle school students is designed to promote understanding and stewardship of the natural resources in the Potomac River watershed and the legacy of farming in southern Maryland. Courses at Hard Bargain Farm immerse students in various field studies involving fun and innovative hands-on activities and field investigations designed to engage all learning styles.

Hard Bargain Farm also offers annual professional development opportunities for teachers and environmental education practitioners. During institutes and workshops, teachers become “students”, actively exploring our curriculum and field studies by participating in hands-on activities, models, and conducting in depth field study investigations amid diverse habitats on the farm and in nearby Piscataway National Park.

Bridging the Watershed (BTW)

BTW is an outreach program of the Alice Ferguson Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and area schools, designed to promote student academic achievement, personal connections with the natural world, lifelong civic engagement, and environmental stewardship through hands-on curriculum-based outdoor studies in national parks and public lands.

BTW Field Study at Rock Creek National Park
Field Studies provide secondary students from the capital region an authentic experience that allows them to take measurements and make field observations in national parks.

Schedule a Field Study

Bridging the Watershed Summer Institutes and Workshops
Institutes and Workshops conducted throughout the year prepare teachers and rangers for field studies. Graduate and professional development credits are available for institutes. Get Trained

Sign up for a Workshop or Institute

Bridging the Watershed Curriculum
Curriculum and Lessons prepare students for their field studies, guidance for data analysis after a field study, and background information on the subjects covered in the module. Visit Curriculum Overview for more information.


Cultural Heritage

The Alice Ferguson Foundation promotes the education and preservation of the history, culture, and arts related to Alice and Henry Ferguson by interpreting the art, cultural artifacts, archival and other related objects, landscapes, and structures of Hard Bargain Farm for the benefit of children, adults, regional residents, and visitors.

Lynn Hollyfield, Steve Wolf and Mac WalterPerforming Arts: Concerts and Theater productions by the Hard Bargain Players continue the love of music and acting enjoyed by Alice and her friends in the outdoor Amphitheater at HBF.

"Garden Party" by Alice FergusonThe Arts Henry and Alice loved are continued today in the collections of paintings and sculptures by Alice and fellow artists, and live plays and concerts in the Amphitheater.
Gallery of Alice’s Art

Garden view of farmhouseFergie’s Gardeners, a member of the National Garden Clubs, is devoted to the restoration and preservation of the Country Era garden created by Alice.

Fergie's Farm TruckThe History of Hard Bargain Farm is preserved in the house, gardens, outbuildings and collections owned by Henry and Alice.

Hank XanderThis short video is a tribute to Hank Xander, whose 40+ years as HBF farm manager was preceded by his father’s long tenure in that position for the Fergusons.

Farm Sign with Berkshire pigsThe Farm Alice managed is working today, much as it was in the 1930s and ‘40s.

What We Do

Who We Are

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From the Rolling Hills to the River Shoreline…

The Alice Ferguson Foundation shares the wonder and excitement of the farm, woodlands, wetlands, and waterways of the Potomac River watershed with thousands of students, teachers, and citizens every year.

Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center Field Study
Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center programs provide outdoor-based experiences for appreciation, awareness and lifelong stewardship of our natural environment for PreK – 8th grade students.

BTW Field Study at Rock Creek National Park

The Bridging the Watershed program provides personally meaningful, educational experiences that connect high school students to their place in the natural and cultural world.

Geese flying low over the Piscataway Creek

Through the Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative, AFF seeks to address the trash problem from a watershed-wide approach that will benefit the entire region.

Alice Ferguson
Cultural Heritage

The Alice Ferguson Foundation promotes the education and preservation of the history, culture, and arts related to Alice and Henry Ferguson by interpreting the art, cultural artifacts, archival and other related objects, landscapes, and structures of Hard Bargain Farm for the benefit of children, adults, regional residents, and visitors.


NSTA Convention

March 30th, 2010

Ryan Pleune (MAEOE Green Schools Coordinator), Dave Yarmchuk (AFF Naturalist) and Christa Haverly (AFF Outreach Coordinator) attended the NSTA Convention in Philadelphia to present about the Schoolyard Classroom Project. It was a successful presentation! Check out the video that Ryan created of our day in Philly.

Schoolyard Classrooms from Ryan Pleune on Vimeo.