Hard Bargain News: Newsletter of the Alice Ferguson Foundation
Vol. XXXIII, No. 1                                                                                                    February 2013
In This Issue

Celebrate a Silver Anniversary: renew Your Vows to Create a Trash Free Potomac

They Say if You Love Something, Let It Go

Lasting Love of Hard Bargain Farm

Lasting Love: Legacy Giving

Ode to a Hellgrammite Cultural Heritage Committee in Pursuit of History

Quick Links
The Alice Ferguson Foundation's mission is to connect people to the natural world, sustainable agricultural practices and the cultural heritage of their local watershed through education, stewardship and advocacy.


HBF Field Study Our theme for this edition of Hard Bargain News is, appropriately enough this time of year, 'Lasting Love.' We see evidence of this theme in the Valentine's Day poem Henry wrote to Alice, in the long-standing service of our Farm Manager Eileen Watts, in our efforts to clean up the Potomac River, and in the work we do every day to engender a lasting love of nature in the students who benefit from our educational programs.


This month we show our love for Hard Bargain Farm as we begin to make lasting change by beginning work on our Potomac Watershed Study Center. The Center has been designed to meet the Living Building Challenge©, a set of standards for environmentally responsible building design, construction, operation and maintenance that surpass even those of LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. These high-performance Net-ZERO Energy, Net-ZERO Water and Carbon Neutral educational facilities and outdoor spaces will dramatically improve the Foundation's ability to educate students and teachers as well as inspire future innovation. We are committed to sharing what we learn as we undertake this project and look forward to hosting a seminar in the near future about the geothermal well technology that is an integral part of this project.


As Henry notes in his Valentine poem to Alice, she's busy with all sorts of things including building buildings! As part of our lasting love for the Alice Ferguson Foundation and all the good work that has happened through the decades, we think Alice and Henry would approve of our efforts to meet the Living Building Challenge and what it represents for the future. And like Henry, we feel like some of the luckiest "mortals on whom sun doth shine."




Lori Arguelles 
Executive Director 
Alice Ferguson Foundation
Easter Egg Roll, Hunt...and more!
Join us to revive a Hard Bargain Farm tradition! 

When: March 24, 1:30-3:00 p.m. Easter Egg Hunt at 2:00 p.m. 
Where:  Please park by the Farmhouse 
Details: BYOB (Bring Your Own Basket) Bring a friend...young or old!
RSVP: [email protected] or 202-973-8203
Make Your Voice Heard...and Help Honor this Year's Recipients of the Fergie Award! 

What: Annual Membership Meeting Reception and Awards Ceremony to follow
When:  March 24, 4 p.m.
Where: Wareham Lodge
Honorees: Barbara Livingston, Jim Pester, Carolyn Sanford, and Maggie Zadorozny

Are you an up-to-date member?  Sign up or renew here and have a voice at the meeting!  Not sure? Call 202-973-8203 to inquire about your membership status.


Celebrate a Silver Anniversary: Renew Your Vows to Create a Trash Free Potomac Watershed
Potomac River Cleanup


What: 25th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup

When: April 6th, 2013, 9-Noon

Where: Sites throughout the Potomac Watershed


In 1989, inspired by students attending field studies at Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center, the Alice Ferguson Foundation held its first annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup where 150 volunteers removed ten tons of trash (including 500 tires on an only four-mile stretch!) from two sites on the Piscataway shoreline. Fast forward 24 years to last year's cleanup where 14, 616 volunteers at 660 sites removed 262 tons of litter, and it becomes clear that over the years the annual event has engaged a watershed-wide network of volunteers and become a catalyst event for raising awareness about the litter problem in our region.


We anticipate the 25th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup will continue the trend by engaging more volunteers at more sites throughout the region making the silver anniversary cleanup the largest one yet. Join the thousands of volunteers at hundreds of sites throughout the Watershed on April 6th who will not only spend the day picking up litter, but also recommit themselves to creating a trash-free Potomac Watershed. Renew your vow to a trash-free Potomac! Find out how you can get involved in this event at potomaccleanup.org.


This anniversary marks a time to celebrate successes, as well as look toward the future of our region and the steps that need to be taken to ensure a lasting reduction of litter in the watershed. In addition to joining the annual cleanup there are other ways you can make a difference. The Maryland General Assembly is considering a number of bills that, if enacted, can help reduce litter. With just a few simple actions, you can help make this a reality. Find out how you can get involved with phone banks, letters to the editor, or meetings in Annapolis, go to our Take Action page to learn more.  



They Say if You Love Something, Let It Go...

by Tera Jarrett


Everything is exciting in 5th grade-especially if it involves a field trip. But an overnight field trip? Well, that's just too good to be true. So when my teacher announced that exact proposition to the class-to a farm, no less (I've been a devoted animal lover since childhood)-5th grade me was giddy with excitement. Whether my parents were also excited about the location, or just the idea of getting me out of their hair for a night, I'll never know, but they waved me off fully prepared and enthusiastic.


I'm not sure if there was a moment of the trip I didn't enjoy. Even though a baby goat peed on me, I made a cow mad (I'm not the best milker in the world), and I tripped face first into mud at the creek I still managed to have a blast. Where else do you get to catch crawdads and tadpoles right after chasing a goat around and collecting chicken eggs? Top it all off with a bonfire, s'mores and a ghost story told by your already intimidating teacher and I think I can claim wholeheartedly that Hard Bargain Farm was the best field trip of my K-12 days.


Tera Jarrett with goats at Hard Bargain Farm

I have always remembered my trip to Hard Bargain Farm fondly and wished I could go back, but like of the place did not turn into love, however, for quite a while. Fast forward from 5th grade to freshman year of college and a biology/environmental science major with nowhere to spend her Winter Term, and the story gets interesting. With a few e-mails and some luck, I wound up back at Hard Bargain, as free labor holding official "intern" status. I couldn't be happier with my placement. The views are amazing, the work is interesting, and the people are perhaps some of the nicest I've ever met.


Funny how things work out, huh? As 5th grader turned intern, I can definitely say I'm glad I came back to Hard Bargain Farm, and it definitely holds a soft spot in my heart.


Tera is a freshman at Oberlin College and served as an intern for the Cultural Heritage program during the month of January

Eileen Watts, Lasting Love of Hard Bargain Farm

Eileen Video
Ferguson Farmhouse
Lasting Love: Legacy Giving


Have you ever considered how to make your love for the Alice Ferguson Foundation have a lasting impact? Your generosity today can benefit the Alice Ferguson Foundation for generations to come.


Making a legacy gift, also called a "planned gift" or "deferred gift," is a wonderful way to show your support and appreciation for the Foundation and its mission, while accommodating your own personal, financial, estate-planning and philanthropic goals. The simplest form of legacy giving is to include the Foundation in your will. Designating the Foundation as a beneficiary doesn't cost you anything and will have a profound impact on the delivery of our programs and the pursuit of our mission.


When you plan a gift to AFF, please let us know! We would love to recognize you as a champion of vision, generosity, and lasting love.


For more information on legacy giving to AFF, visit http://fergusonfoundation.giftplans.org/.


Ode to a Hellgrammite
Dobsonfly larvae, or Hellgrammite
Saw the prettiest thing tonight

It was love at first sight

Sounds amazing right?

Too bad it was a Hellgrammite!

- Student of Springbrook High School, Harpers Ferry



A hellgrammite, the larval stage of the Dobsonfly. BTW students may encounter hellgrammites when they participate in the module " Water Canaries: Assessing Benthic Macroinvertebrates." 


Cultural Heritage Committee in Pursuit of History


Last spring, a group of dedicated volunteers, "Alice's Scribes", started to transcribe letters by Henry and Alice Ferguson from source material in the archives at the Alice Ferguson Foundation. Letters, photos and other documentation are being scanned, read and translated into digital files. Great efforts are made to identify people in the photos, date events, and cross reference information in source materials to discover missing pieces in our narrative about Alice and Henry's life, their work, their travels, their families, and their time at Hard Bargain Farm.


In the process of this project we discovered a charming Valentine's poem by Henry Ferguson to his wife, Alice from the early 1930s.


To a Wonderful Lady


My lady is busy with farms and with guilds,

Folks that she's bossing and houses she builds;

She runs a large household with consummate skill

Husband, boy, puppy, all bow to her will;

And so there will wondrous good fortune be mine

If she'll but consent to be my Valentine.


She's the prettiest lady that ever you saw

And beautiful dresses she has by the score;

A talented lady - she sculpts, paints and dances

Tries everything going and misses no chances;

So I'm luckiest mortal on whom sun doth shine

If she'll but consent to be my Valentine.


--Henry G. Ferguson


It is exciting to make new discoveries about this remarkable couple as we deepen our understanding of the Fergusons' legacy. If you would like to contribute to the efforts of the Cultural Heritage Committee, please contact Doris Sharp at [email protected].



The Alice Ferguson Foundation's mission is to connect people to the natural world, sustainable agricultural practices and the cultural heritage of their local watershed through education, stewardship and advocacy.