December 2007        

In This Issue

Trash Free Potomac River Watershed Initiative


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




Events at HBF TFPWI Events


Board of Directors
  • Peggy DeStefanis, President
  • Bryan Logan, Vice President
  • Ann Chab, Secretary
  • Keith Roberts, Treasurer
  • Gilda Allen
  • Judith Allen Leventhal
  • David Bookbinder
  • Daniela Bostic:Clark
  • Michael D. Herman
  • Kent Hibben
  • Nancy Kargahi
  • Marion Mulholland, Ph.D.
  • Shirley Nicolai
  • Edith Patterson
  • Nancy Weiman
Executive Director
  • Tracy Bowen
  • Libby Campbell, Deputy Director
  • Lane Elson, Farm Associate
  • Maureen Fine, Bridging the Watershed Educator
  • Laura A. Gillespie, Bridging the Watershed Admin. Assistant & Webmaster
  • Ginny Harris, Trash Summit Coordinator
  • Rowan Harris, Naturalist
  • Shelby Laubhan, Naturalist/Bridging the Watershed Educator
  • Deanna Lutz, Office Manager
  • Sam Lyon, Farm Hand
  • Richard Marks, Director of Communications
  • Tawna Mertz, Consultant, TKM Marketing, Inc.
  • Karen Jensen Miles, Program Director
  • Alison Mize, Director of Policy
  • Chris Ordiway, Naturalist
  • Carol Park, Database Specialist
  • Sharon Rabie, Naturalist
  • Rebecca Scott, Bridging the Watershed Educator
  • Rhonda Scott, Naturalist/Bridging the Watershed Program Assistant
  • Doris Sharp, Publications Specialist, Arts Coordinator, Naturalist
  • Regina Slape, Naturalist
  • Tammy Shupard, Naturalist
  • Jodie Abbott Standish, Web Designer
  • 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
  • Rebecca Williams, Naturalist
  • Brenda Wright, Naturalist





      GREETINGS from Executive Director Tracy Bowen
Snowy AFF sign
There has been a whirlwind of activity at Alice Ferguson Foundation since September. We have loads of students coming to both field studies at Hard Bargain Farm and in National Parks through the Bridging the Watershed program. We have trash coming out of our ears at the Dupont Circle office (many great things are happening with trash as you will see in Alison Mize's update). When I return after being away from Hard Bargain Farm, I am reminded how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to work at such a special place with amazing people who are hard working, thoughtful, smart and who are really making a difference in the world.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation (AFF) is a unique educational nonprofit organization that operates the Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center:a beautiful 330:acre working farm and woodlands on the Potomac River across from Mt. Vernon and in sight of the National Mall in Washington, DC.

For over fifty years the Alice Ferguson Foundation has educated children about the wonders of the Potomac River Watershed habitats and farmland, delivering high:quality, experience:based education programs. At Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center, thousands of school children come annually from the Washington, DC metropolitan region to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, and 1940's era working farm. The students are guided to think in terms of watersheds instead of political boundaries, discover intricate food webs as they learn the unique adaptations of local flora and fauna, and trace energy cycles as they participate in engaging "hands:on, feet:wet" activities. These multi:sensory and multi:disciplinary experiences form life:long fond memories of the outdoors. This first visit sets the stage for creating future environmentally conscious citizens who as children find reasons here to care about their local habitats and develop the desire to protect and preserve them.


They like us, they really like us! AFF proudly received many wonderful awards this year:
  • Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments awarded AFF the "Partner of the Year" for our trash:free efforts at COG's 50th Anniversary Gala dinner in November 2007.
  • Leadership Fairfax awarded AFF the 2007 Northern Virginia Leadership Award for Community Partnerships. More Information
  • US Green Building Council awarded AFF the Living Building Challenge Leadership Award at Green Build in Chicago, November 2007. More Information
  • The Catalogue of Philanthropy selected AFF as one on the "best nonprofits in the metro area" and featured us in the 2007/2008 Catalogue. More Information
  • "Centennial Challenge" Award:National Park Service More Information
OKTOBERFEST Aplhorns performance at Oktoberfest, photo by Doris Sharp
By Deanna Lutz
What a splendid day we had for our 27th annual Oktoberfest celebrating the harvest season at Hard Bargain Farm! With a record number of admissions, we certainly had a full house. It was standing room only as one and all were thoroughly entertained by the Alt:Washingtonia Schuhplattlers who kept us tapping and laughing all afternoon. Ever since Master of Ceremonies Joe Consolo picked up the baton from David Rosenberg, he has done a fabulous job! (And AFF Board Director, Kent Hibben stomped his Schuhplattler!) About forty hard working volunteers helped make this year a resounding success. We couldn't do it without them!

Oktoberfestmeister Stafford Allison and his crew (Jesse Graybill, John Hollyfield, Herb Savage, and John Schlosser) cooked up great food and lots of fun in the kitchen while Bud Wareham, Mike Campbell and the crew at the beer sales kept the good cheer flowing all afternoon.

In this year's colors of maroon and white, the volunteer t:shirts sport a clever design put together by staff member Sharon Rabie, which depicted a bit of each of our programs on the farm.

We have received many wonderful donations for our silent auction and donations for the Country Store were very sought after and disappeared quickly! The Oktoberfest is our major annual fundraiser and we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all and everyone who supported this very successful event.

At the last annual meeting new members to the Board were elected. The roster reads as follows:

New Board Members: (l:r) Nan Kargahi, Nancy Weiman, Gilda Allen, Keith Roberts, Michael Herman.  Photo by Doris Sharp
New Board Members (l:r): Nan Kargahi, Nancy Weiman,
Gilda Allen, Keith Roberts, Michael Herman
  • Peggy DeStefanis, President; Bryan Logan, Vice President; Ann Chab, Secretary; Keith Roberts, Treasurer; Members:at Large: Gilda Allan; Judith Allen:Leventhal; David Bookbinder; Daniela Bostic:Clark; Michael Herman; Kent Hibben; Nan Kargahi; Marion Mulholland; Shirley Nicolai; Edith Patterson; Nancy Weiman.
Meet our new Board members:
Gilda Allen initiated and managed over the past eleven years an environmental education program for the District Department of the Environment targeting District of Columbia Students. She also initiated and organized the Annual Anacostia River Environmental Education Fair now in its 11th year. Gilda is responsible that all students have a "meaningful watershed education experience" before completing high school in the District. That has been accomplished by securing NOAA competitive grants; awarding small grants to non:profits; and sending District students to Hard Bargain Farm for a watershed and farm program. She holds a B.A. from Howard University in Sociology. Her other interests include building an orphanage village in Tanzania, Africa, and fundraising for the orphanage. She loves gardening, scuba diving, traveling and knitting.

Manijeh "Nan" Kargahi works currently as a partner for PilieroMazza, a corporate and business law group. She received her Juris Doctor with honors from Chicago:Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology. Nan studied French and Farsi and has traveled to Africa; the Middle East; Far East; Latin America; and Europe. Her hobbies are dancing; rock climbing (she climbed to the top of the Grand Teton last year); water and snow skiing; biking; football; and tennis.

Michael D. Herman was born in New York City and has been a resident of Prince George's County for almost twenty years. Michael graduated from the University of Michigan in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. He also graduated Cum Laude from the Washington College of Law, American University with a Juris Doctor in 1992.

While living in the community of the Town of Riverdale Park, Michael served as Town Council Member from 1993 to 2001 and as Mayor from 2001 to June of 2003. While serving in this elected position, Michael founded the Riverdale Boys & Girls Club, and is a member of the Preservation Association of Riverdale Park and the Riverdale Lions Club. He is also a member of the Maryland State Bar, Maryland State's Attorney's Association, Maryland Municipal League (Member of legislative Committee), Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, Wilderness Society, and sits on the Board of Directors with Dimensions Healthcare System.

During business hours, Michael served as Assistant State's Attorney in Upper Marlboro from 1995 to 2002. He was assigned to the Major Crimes Unit where he prosecuted armed robberies, car:jackings, felony assaults and murders. Upon the election of Jack B. Johnson as Prince George's County Executive, Michael was appointed as the Chief of Staff for the Office of the County Executive where he oversees political and legislative affairs and public relations activities.

Keith Roberts has served on AFF's Finance Committee for the last four years where he provided excellent opinion and research in support of the committee's tasks. Keith is a Senior Technology Executive and has a rich background in technology. Currently he works as an Independent Consultant for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and serves on the board and holds offices in several non:profits involved in community and environmental affairs, finance, and endowment management. He was Vice President, Technology and Founder (with two partners) of Versatility, Inc., a leading customer relationship management software vendor. Keith holds a B.A. in General Studies, cum laude, from Harvard University. He grew up on a farm in New Mexico and always feels somehow at home when he comes to Hard Bargain Farm.

Farm Manager Eileen Watts gives tractor lessons to Rhonda and Shelby
Farm Manager Eileen Watts gives
tractor lessons to Rhonda and Shelby

Our newest naturalist at HBF is Rhonda Scott. Rhonda joined the AFF staff in May as the program assistant for our Bridging the Watershed program and expanded her scope of work by joining the HBF program as a naturalist. Being part of the educational team at HBF fulfills one of Rhonda's lifetime dreams of working in the education field.

Originally from Georgia, Rhonda moved to Accokeek in 2004 after spending seven years in the Air Force as a meteorologist. With a desire to leave behind the fast:paced world of commuting and honking horns, she decided not to continue her meteorological endeavors and opted for a life of fitness and flexibility. Rhonda joined the Alice Ferguson Foundation's Bridging the Watershed program, eager to learn more about the environmental education programs. Rhonda has a Bachelor's degree in Oceanography from the United States Naval Academy and a Master's degree in Meteorology from the Air Force Institute of Technology. Additionally, Rhonda is a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor. In her spare time, she enjoys jogging, riding her bike, and spending time with her husband and two children. Rhonda's new life motto: Don't sweat the small stuff and never forget it's all small stuff!

Shelby Laubhan has joined our staff this season as a HBF Naturalist and BTW Educator. She also will participate in the DC Outreach programming.

Shelby holds a B.A. in an interdisciplinary degree entitled Environmental Communications, and interned with an array of groups including the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Environmental Law & Policy Center of the Midwest, Wild Women Expeditions in northern Ontario, and a Wisconsin Organic CSA Farm. She also worked as an Education Specialist for the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office in Annapolis, and was initially introduced to AFF when she conducted a NOAA B:WET grant site visit here. It was during this site visit that she unknowingly foreshadowed her future and remarked, "What a most splendid place to work!" Indeed, making the transition from a carpeted cubicle and conference rooms to classrooms, fields and forests, is a vision come true for her.

Deanna Lutz
Office Manager Deanna Lutz
with a new baby goat

Deanna Lutz — Office Manager
Hailing from the west coast of Lake Michigan, (yes, another Michigander!) my husband and I moved to the DC area thirteen years ago, docking our convoy of Jeeps in West Accokeek.

I proudly served in the U.S. Air Force, studying electronics and telecommunications, specializing in cryptographic equipment, worked as a radio broadcaster in Anchorage, Alaska, and just before coming on board at Hard Bargain Farm, as a government contractor involved in executive level administrative support before applying my talents towards graphic design, print and web publishing.

Nowadays, I enjoy being a ham radio operator and volunteering my graphic design skills to a range of non:profit's fundraising efforts. Off:line, you'll likely find me weaving, scrapbooking, quilting, gardening, and digging up (with the help of my recycled greyhounds) histories and mysteries of such times past as the French and Indian War.

I am so very tickled to be a part of the Foundation and truly enjoy the daily stories and interesting surprises that accompany managing the office. It is neat to have not only interesting people, but so many intriguing animals as colleagues!

From the buildings to the garden to the barnyard and farm fields, the lives and legacy of Alice and Henry Ferguson have influenced me in more ways than I could ever imagine already from my first hours here. I've been reminded that life is more than what can be accomplished on a computer in a workday — that it is far lovelier to slow your pace to enjoy the morning sun on the farmhouse, than to charge, unseeing, from car seat to office chair.

And if there are fresh signs of cattle in the yard, do not scold, but simply smile and close the gate. It is a treat to be repeatedly made to grin by what crosses my path here from dawn to dusk.

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NO CHILD LEFT INSIDE: Environmental Education at the Alice Ferguson Foundation

Teachers practice plant identification during the BTW Summer Institute, photo by Becca Scott VIDEOS AND PHOTOGRAPHS                         

Bridging the Watershed (BTW) is an outreach program of the Alice Ferguson Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service and area high schools, whose purpose is to provide personally meaningful, educational experiences that connect students to their place in the natural and cultural world.

Teacher reflection:
"Overall, I was very impressed with this program. My students loved completing the lab and learned a lot more from this [field study] than something they could have done in the classroom. I had my principal come and observe ... and she was equally impressed. One thing that struck me when I was watching my students is that each and every one of them was involved and working together. They were actually 'doing science'. It was such a wonderful thing to be able to see. It is the goal of every science teacher to be able to have their students involved and enjoying science."
: AP Environmental Science teacher from Fairfax County

In the BTW program, teachers, rangers and volunteers are provided with training to enhance content knowledge, skills and their applications by using real:world resource issues, interdisciplinary curricula and student:centered teaching strategies. With this training, they can better assist high school students collecting authentic data in the field.

Using national parks as living laboratories to support national, state and local science and math education standards, students increase awareness and understanding of the Potomac watershed. This education and heightened awareness will hopefully lead them to become future stewards of national parks and the environment. 

Bridging the Watershed had a productive fall season of field studies: fifty:one field studies at twelve different park sites. Rebecca Scott and Anna Wadhams did a fantastic job of taking an extra lead during Jeanne Troy's maternity leave. Shelby Laubhan was brought on part:time as a seasonal staff member to provide additional coverage during the busy season. Funding for Shelby's position was made possible through year:end donations by several of the national parks with which the BTW program partners.

Two workshops were conducted for the Prince Georges County Public Schools'Environmental Science teachers during September and October. Each of these workshops covered a core curriculum module, with additional ecological information to make the workshops fresh for teachers who are long:time veterans. Three further workshops are scheduled for the rest of the school year.

Student reflection:
"I learned a lot.
Saved the environment.
And had fun."
::Northwestern HS student, Prince George's County Public Schools

AFF and BTW staff wish very happy trailblazing to Nancy Smaroff, who is starting her full:time retirement from AFF. Nancy will pursue watercolor painting, other artistic endeavors, and keeping up with her newly retired husband at their Virginia and New Mexico homes. Nancy was the first and founding director of Bridging the Watershed. Starting in 1998 with a cadre she recruited of fellow teachers, friends and National Park Service Macroinvertebrate Field Study during a BTW Workshop, photo by Becca Scott rangers, the five stand:alone, curriculum:based BTW modules were created in the first summer institute, a flurry of brainstorming and lesson writing. Since then the five modules have been published, piloted and established in parks throughout the greater metropolitan Washington DC area, serving schools in DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Three years ago, Nancy began creating park:specific modules, to be used in one park only, which weave history and cultural interpretation into the science activities. An award:winning example is "Herring Highway", a study and data collection unit which explores the return of the herring migration up Rock Creek which disappeared nearly a century ago. After Nancy stepped down as head of BTW in 2006, she continued to write curriculum for another year.

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Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative

Mark your calendar! The 20th Potomac River Watershed Cleanup is scheduled for April 5, 2008. The 3rd annual Potomac Watershed Trash Summit is scheduled for June 17, 2008 at The World Bank headquarters in downtown Washington, DC.

Second Annual Potomac Watershed Trash Summit
U.S. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton signing the Trash Treaty
U.S. Representative Eleanor
Holmes Norton (DC)
signing the Trash Treaty

By Ginny Harris and Alison Mize
This fall and winter the TFPWI is moving swiftly forward! AFF is holding regular Roundtable meetings with different topics as a follow:up to the Potomac Watershed Trash Summit. Our main focus is the Regional Public Education Campaign. We are working collaboratively with citizens, elected officials, nonprofit organizations, and federal agencies. All meetings are open to the public and we encourage everyone to be a part of the solution by attending the meetings and help us go "Trash Free by 2013". Meeting dates with additional information are available on our website.

Over three:hundred regional leaders, elected officials and interested citizens gathered at The World Bank in Washington, DC, to "talk trash" at the 2nd Annual Potomac Watershed Trash Summit, held on June 14, 2007. Keynote speaker Dr. Sylvia Earle, oceanographer and marine biologist, spoke eloquently about the need to save our oceans from the pollution of trash and waste. Her experiences in the depths of our oceans were illustrated through photographs and impressive stories. In the afternoon, seven intensive roundtables of leaders, experts and officials worked in tandem to solve the problems of building a region:wide framework for successfully becoming a Trash Free Potomac Watershed by 2013!

Chair of the Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative (TFPWI) Advisory Council Congressman Chris Van Hollen, MD and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. addressed the crowd and reaffirmed their commitment to the TFPWI. Federal, state, and local elected officials signed the Trash Treaty during the morning plenary session increasing the total signatories to seventy:one.

2007 Potomac Trash Summit

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Foxy Trio Haying with Foxes
By Eileen Watts
The feat of transforming a field of green grass into hay requires some long hours of driving in circles, usually over a period of three days, pulling different pieces of equipment. This gives the operator of the tractor great opportunities to make plans, assess the product, and observe a lot—such as what else shares or uses that field. There are occasional mallard duck nests in the middle of the tall grasses, many depressed spots where deer have slept for the night, suddenly:discovered ground hog holes which jostle the machinery, snakes and turtles which you hope to avoid, and fawns hiding in the grass waiting until the last minute to run.

This year, what appeared to be a ground hog hole, though much enlarged, was home to a mother fox and four kits. This den shined from a distance as a sandy mound and for days ahead of cutting, an adult fox could be seen basking in the mid:day heat next to her subterranean home. As the haying process commenced, anywhere from one to four nosy and curious kits would appear at their doorway to see what all the commotion was about. They sat there watching, scratching, blinking in the bright light, confident that the mechanical animals going by were no threat and so let them get as close as fifteen feet or so. Curiosity satisfied, they would go back down to their cool abode. Then we noticed a second burrow across the road, perhaps 200 feet from the original. Kits were seen trotting back and forth from one to the other. Was this a second apartment for the growing juveniles? Mother fox was seen one day diving down entrance number one, then a short time later reappearing quite a distance away in the opposite direction from den number two. Is there another long tunnel under our feet? The soil is very sandy, so digging would be relatively easy, but that would still be quite a feat for a small animal that isn't really equipped for digging like some. Or did a ground hog do it for her previously? We wonder a lot of things as we drive over the fields—observing only a fraction of nature around us. Foxes, good luck and carry on!

P.S. When one of our barnyard turkeys died I took her down near fox den number one and laid her in the nearby woods. Being part of the food chain is a noble thing I told her.

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"Living Buildings" at Hard Bargain Farm
Moss Overnight Lodge rendering
Rendering of the Moss Overnight Lodge

The Alice Ferguson Foundation is preparing to construct new facilities that will dramatically improve their ability to educate and inspire students and teachers. Planned facilities include construction of a new day:use Education Building, Overnight Lodge, and Wetlands Boardwalk. The new facilities will address inadequacies in the current overnight Wareham Lodge and an off:site day:use pavilion that are hindering educational programming. New facilities will not just remedy these urgent problems, but also offer the opportunity for expanded programming for environmental and agricultural education, as well as the arts.  

In keeping with the Foundation's educational and agricultural mission, our high:performance green buildings will work in harmony with nature, allowing us to make use of the sun, wind, and rain:and to conserve resources for others and for the future. Our new facilities are dubbed the Potomac River Habitat Complex because of their location within spectacular Potomac River habitats. Through these green facilities, students, teachers and visitors will experience numerous examples of our partnership with the natural world.

The new facilities at Alice Ferguson Foundation may be the first Living Buildings in the country. A Living Building goes beyond the LEED certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which recognizes achievement in the areas of Site, Water, Energy, Materials, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation. A Living Building eliminates impact to the local and global environment through use of renewable energy sources, sustainable water discharge, and zero carbon footprints, while designed for spirit, inspiration and education.

To achieve these goals, two buildings have been designed to meet the Foundation's educational needs and goals for the future. The Moss Lodge will replace the old Overnight Lodge, located on a shady hillside. Its roof reaches up to gather rain that will be purified for use by both buildings. The landscape will channel and filter stormwater runoff and greywater from sinks and showers to recharge the underground aquifers. The Education Center, called Grass Building, will be built at the sunny edge of a field, its roof spreading out like wings to collect solar energy for the entire complex. The Grass Building will provide a multi:function gathering space for students visiting the Farm. This facility can also be used by the Foundation and the local community for meetings and events. 

The design team is led by nationally renowned design firms M2 Architecture, Re:Vison Architecture, and Andropogon Associates. They integrate green design and sustainable building principles to minimize overall environmental impact. The new education and overnight facilities will utilize geothermal and solar energy for heating and cooling, treat wastewater and stormwater on site, and reuse greywater for landscape irrigation. Natural sunlight will illuminate indoor spaces during the day. Selection of nontoxic materials and carefully engineered ventilation will ensure excellent indoor air quality. Education and dormitory spaces will be comfortable, practical, and reflect the natural world and rural heritage of the Foundation's Hard Bargain Farm.

Outdoor landscapes will integrate art and science, telling the stories of water, soil and sun. Some areas will be used for innovative stormwater and wastewater treatment and use, off:limits to students. Other areas will be kid:friendly places to explore a sculpture garden, examine insects, or pick vegetables and herbs. The Wetland Boardwalk is incorporated into the Foundation's redesigned Challenge Trail, which tests students'problem:solving skills in a natural setting.

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Farm Report
By Eileen Watts
Goats in the barnyard, photo by Doris Sharp The severe drought between April and October took a heavy toll on pastures, spring:fed drinking trough, and hay fields. We had to stop all hay sales as a result, disappointing many local customers. The first cutting in May and June was thin, not enough for the entire year. Four inches of rain fell in late August, in time to give a boost to grasses for a second cutting in September and October. Seven inches of rain came later in October, easing the deficit, but still leaving us six inches short of normal. All in all, our hay needs have been met for this winter's feeding season. There will not be much leftover come next spring.

The beef herd now stands at twenty head: one bull (he's a proven dad now, having sired five calves this year), seven mature cows, three heifers that will calve for the first time in 2008, two steers (21 months old), and seven calves born in 2007. We are looking into how best to market the two steers.

The small scale broiler project, started in April, went very well. Twenty:three birds were raised for 8 to 10 weeks in a chicken tractor outdoors (a borrowed unit from the National Colonial Farm), processed here and sold fresh.  The community's response was fantastic with quite a waiting list so another batch of twenty:five was ordered immediately. Some of our first buyers were so into eating fresh birds (and curious to boot) they volunteered to come help with the plucking. There is a desire out there to have a hand in the production of one's food. The ability to buy fresh vegetables and meats these days from local producers is a real privilege and very important to many. This winter we should have cull chickens for sale that will be excellent for soup. Stay tuned!

As a small experimental venture all eggs produced by our approximately one hundred hens have been going to the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. We have been supplying 10:20 dozen/week. The hotel has many customers who want eggs that are not pasteurized (irradiated) and come from cage free birds. So far, the reception has been very good.  Turkey, photo by Doris Sharp

The barnyard crew of goats, sheep, pigs, geese, dairy cow and donkey, has a new strong competitor for visitor's attention in Rufus, a forever:strutting Bourbon Red tom turkey. Rufus was raised by employee Sharon Rabie's family, shown at the Charles County Fair a year ago (won a blue ribbon, too), and feels the need to show off his finest for every visitor. His docile nature and "turkey" behavior captures lots of interest. No, he is not going to be part of anyone's Thanksgiving dinner.

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Shoreline Restoration Project
By Karen Jensen Miles
Location of shoreline restoration work
Section of shoreline to be restored
We have completed the requirements for the grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust that included the specifications and blueprints for a living shoreline along ~3200'along the Potomac River in Piscataway Park. AFF acted as the fiduciary agent and project coordinator. The next step in this multi:step process is for the National Park Service to appropriate the monies for an environmental assessment of the area. At that point, we can begin requesting funding for construction of the living shoreline, a series of broken sills and tembolo beaches both upstream and downstream from rip:rap gabion that was placed along 1000'of shoreline in 1976. Severe erosion has occurred in this area and is endangering two important wetland habitats, cultural resources and the banks along the river.
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UNITED WAY DAY OF CARING at Hard Bargain Farm United Way Volunteers, Photo by Doris Sharp
By Brenda Wright
The United Way of Charles County, MD, has supported AFF for many years by including us in the annual combined charitable campaign. As if this were not enough, many people in the member organizations also take a day every fall to go to organizations such as ours to volunteer as workers, giving their time and talents for a good cause.

The Day of Caring starts with a breakfast at the Jacyees of Waldorf.  Afterwards the volunteers from all participating local organizations disperse to different non:profit agencies in the area.

United Way Volunteer from SMECO lending a hand, photo by Libby Campbell
United Way Volunteer from
SMECO working in the trees.

Hard Bargain Farm was lucky enough to get twenty:four volunteers to help out with various projects on the farm. One group worked on drainage at the five:car garage to keep water from seeping into the garage. The amphitheater was spruced up with a good sweeping, leaf blowing and mulching. We also had a crew pulling alien invasive plants, and another working in the formal garden. 

The Agencies represented were the Charles County Sheriffs Department, Civista, College of Southern Maryland, Target, and Kiwanis Club of Charles County.

The volunteers worked very hard and the place looks much better for their effort. We really appreciate the energy and enthusiasm of these volunteers and greatly enjoyed working with them side by side.

WORLD BANK Volunteers Visit Again
By Doris Sharp
On November 1, a very large tour bus with about thirty volunteers from the World Bank on board entered the upper gate trying to get to the Farmhouse. When the road became too curvy the bus driver got a little scared. He backed up all the way and entered at the lower gate. However, he would not dare another attempt to reach the Farmhouse and all the volunteers had to walk up to the top of the hill. These volunteers helped us tremendously to spruce up the Farm by planting trees; putting in fence posts; planting an "ozone" garden; raking leaves around the Lodge; removed alien invasive plants; and worked in "Fergie's" formal garden. They shared with us a wonderful lunch The World Bank had catered by Pineapple Alley of Clinton. The volunteers were very much taken by the beauty of the Farm and the vista of the Potomac River. They can't wait to come back next year. Our hats off to them for jobs well done.

United Way volunteers from the Sheriffs Department pitching in at the Amphitheatre, photo by Doris Sharp
United Way volunteers from the Sheriffs Department pitching in at the Amphitheatre

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"THEATER IN THE WOODS" : A breath:taking season for the Players
By Suzanne Donohue
The Hard Bargain Players in 'Proof', photo by Doris Sharp
The Hard Bargain Players in "Proof"

The Hard Bargain Players opened their 2007 season with a reader's theatre production of excerpts from Edgar Lee Master's Spoon River Anthologies, a collection of poems and epitaphs of deceased citizens delivered by them. The production was a beautiful choice for the amphitheatre and played well to small but enthusiastic audiences.

In the month of July the HBP Kids Workshop reconvened with three alumni and a new member. The group performed a total of six scenes and four monologues from various shows including The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket by Peter Parnell; Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon; and Kindertransport by Diane Samuels.

In August the Players produced a very successful production of David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize winning play, Proof. The only glitch was that their final performance was cancelled due to severe weather.

In October HBP shared Abe Polsky's hard hitting drama Devour the Snow, a fictional account based on actual events in 1847, when Lewis Keseberg, a survivor of the tragic Donner Party expedition, brought a suit for slander against several other survivors, who accused him of being a grave robber and murderer.

Following the opening night performance of Devour the Snow, the Hard Bargain players announced the winners of the 2006 HBP Awards. Notable recognition was given to the musical Floyd Collins; it received an award for best production of 2006 and Jeff Paden who played the title role won for best actor of 2006. Oleanna was awarded with a best director award for Randy Tusing and a best actress award for Sara Joy Lebowitz.

The Hard Bargain Players are currently reviewing submissions for their 2008 season. They will be entering The Author's Voice, by Richard Greenberg, in the Maryland Community Theatre Festival Association One Act Festival, which will be held the weekend of Jan 18:20 in LaPlata at the Port Tobacco Playhouse.


By Doris Sharp
Dirty River Band, photo by Doris Sharp
Dirty River Band performing at the Amphitheatre

The concert season opened in June with the Dirty River Band playing an eclectic mix of bluegrass, country rock, folk and blues. (Dirty River volunteered at the Spring Farm Festival this year. Those of you who visited will remember that the weather was not on our side this year—all of a sudden the temperature dropped and it rained…and rained… But Dirty River played and played and was happy to do so for three hours!)

In July vocalist Barbara Martin and guitarist Mac Walter presented us with superb acoustic blues and jazz. August brought us a fundraising concert performed by Greentree, celebrating Nature through song with Jody Marshall (hammered dulcimer), Carey Creed (vocals), Grace Griffith (vocals), and Paul Nahay (keyboard). It was incredibly hot that night and the concert had to be moved to the Wagner Community Building. In September we had a great Evening of Poetry and Music with Hiram Larew, Lynn Hollyfield, Cliff Lynn and Rocky Jones. This was a perfect night under the stars.

It was a wonderful season for the lively arts at Hard Bargain Farm and we are looking forward to 2008.

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By Kay Powell, Past Executive Director of AFF
A faithful member of the Hard Bargain staff passed away in September. Maj. T.W.C. Adams was his formal name but he was "Cy" to most of us. Maj. Adams joined the staff as Business Manager in 1964. These were the early years of the Foundation when the environmental program was yet to be established. I imagine there were committees and small work groups, meeting intensively to create a vision of what was to become the Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center.

Cy's talent was accounting. He kept scrupulous records by hand of all the Foundation's transactions. I remember his telling of the many controversial meetings and that he worked closely with a neighbor and secretary, Thelma Gasparovic.

I really got to know him in 1979, my first year as Executive Director of the Foundation. He spent hours with me explaining the ledger system and what expenses fell into a variety of accounts. With this mentoring came many stories of not only the Foundation but his life as well. Cy was born in New Zealand and when he was a very young child his family moved to Casper, Wyoming. He joined the Army and served during WWII. He was so proud of that service that he remained Major Adams throughout his life.

Cy lived in Accokeek on Bryan Point Road. He was colorful in his dress and demeanor. He had a great affinity for sports cars and we heard many complaints after Hank had graded the roads and big rocks had emerged to hamper his way. When Cy was present you learned about the latest trip he was planning, the language class he was attending or the book he was writing.

His weekly visits on Friday afternoons to reconcile the books happened like clockwork. We made sure that everything was in his folder, which was labeled very properly "The Business Manager's Folder". He set about the job with precision.

AFF Staff in 1991: Cy Adams on the bottom right next to Kay Powell
AFF Staff in 1991: Cy Adams on the bottom right next to Kay Powell

Cy continued as Business Manager until 1992 long after most of us would put down the pencil. Like a soldier, he weathered many changes—the introduction of computers, more complicated accounting, and formal audits that were required by granting agencies.

Cy taught me many things about accounting, but mostly I appreciated the way he approached life—with honor and an adventurous spirit.