Hard Bargain News: Newsletter of the Alice Ferguson Foundation
Vol. XXXIII, No. 2                                                                                                     May 2013
In This Issue

Spring on the Farm

Alice Ferguson Foundation Introduces New Membership Model

AFF Marks 25 Years of Litter Awareness

Getting Ready For Teacher Institutes

Hard Bargain Players Ready for 2013 Season

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.


Photo: Michael Yourishin, Prince George's County

On April 25th we were honored to have Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, Maryland Senate President Mike Miller, Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, and Prince George's County Councilman Mel Franklin join us for the groundbreaking ceremony for our Potomac Watershed Study Center.  The Center is designed to meet the Living Building Challenge© and will be the most innovative and environmentally sustainable building projects in the world. (Currently, there are only three certified Living Buildings worldwide.)  In keeping with the Foundation's mission, these high performance green buildings will work in harmony with nature, by making use of the sun and rain to achieve net-zero energy, net-zero water, and carbon-neutral facilities. The Study Center will become an integral part of AFF's Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center, where the Foundation has been fostering the next generation of environmental stewards for nearly six decades.


At the groundbreaking ceremony Old Line Bank announced their pledge of $75,000, which was matched by our former AFF board president Bryan Logan. Major funding is provided by the State of Maryland and Prince George's County.  Additional support for the project has come from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Mae Fauth Trust, Solar Schools Foundation, Unilever, and many generous individuals. We are grateful for the support received thus far and look forward to sharing information soon about how YOU can be involved!



Lori Arguelles 
Executive Director 
Alice Ferguson Foundation

Spring on the Farm

By Ann Bodling


Photo: Doris Sharp

Spring has come leisurely to Hard Bargain Farm this year, dressing the woodlands in the myriad hues of the season. Reds of the red maple blossoms and tans of the silver maple, a variety of greens as the trees awakened, pinks of the redbud and whites of the dogwood all delighted our eyes, hungry as we have been for color and signs of life again. On the woodland floor toothwort, spring beauty, and saxifrage were the early heralds, and in the fields purple deadnettle, sheep sorrel, and blue toadflax bade us believe that winter was over and spring had arrived for certain.


The Children's Garden has enjoyed its own particular spring arrivals of flora and fauna. Honey bees and our wild, native bees have been busily collecting pollen and nectar from the blossoms of last year's collards, mustard greens, and arugula and from an insectary patch created to support beneficial insects. Imagine bright yellow, white, pink and red flowers swaying in the sunshine as large and small pollinators zipping to and fro, and you will have an idea of the fullness of life among the garden plants this season.


The garden has also become home to several nesting bird families, and many more come to forage or collect nesting material for nests elsewhere.  The nesters include bluebirds, tree swallows, and Carolina chickadees and hopefully we will soon hear the young, clamoring for insects, easily found by their parents in the garden soil.  Birds nesting in the hedgerow just outside the garden include northern mockingbirds, brown thrashers, chipping sparrows, cardinals, indigo buntings, and tree swallows swerve through the airspace above. 


Photo: Ann Bodling

As students come to the garden this spring, they are treated to the tastes and smells that ­­surround them, but they also become aware that humans are not the only life that benefits from this tended plot of land. We want them to experience and to learn that it is possible to work and to rest in a garden, to supply what humans need to eat and to supply what other creatures need as well.  We want them to catch a glimpse of what it feels like to live joyfully surrounded by life of all kinds and dare to hope that they may one day do the same.

Alice Ferguson Foundation Introduces New Membership Model

Are you a member?


 Photo: Bill Townsend

Membership has been an important part of the AFF community since it was founded in 1954. Membership dollars support our programs and keep the Foundation running strong. If you are not a member, we invite you to join the community! If you are already a member, consider increasing your membership contribution this year.


AFF is offering an expanded membership model to match the generosity of our donors.  Here's what you need to know:


As always, membership is renewed annually. You will receive a reminder in the month you originally joined.


All donors who give $45 or above will be offered membership. If donors give and do not yet know about the membership program, they will be invited to join and will receive information about the benefits for which they are eligible.

Membership can be initiated and renewed by filling in a membership brochure (available at the Farm, at the DC office, and at AFF events) via mail or online.


We have expanded the benefits offered to members. Basic membership dues are $45; new member levels are $100; $250; $500; $1,000; and $2,500. See details online.


We hope you will join us!

AFF Marks 25 Years of Litter Awareness

Spring is a particularly busy time for the Trash Initiative. It was marked by two major events-Litter Enforcement Month and the Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. Additionally,  policy and outreach efforts were increased.


April's Third Annual Litter Enforcement Month has come to an end with 15 agencies from 12 jurisdictions participating to increase awareness and enforcement of litter, illegal dumping, and related laws. This number of participants is a 50% increase from last year and over twice as much as our first Litter Enforcement Month.  Our partners have until the end of May to report, but already 20% have shared their results, which include the reporting of 310 litter and illegal dumping sites. A final report will be published in early June describing the outcomes of this effort.  
Cleaning up the Potomac
Photo: Doris Sharp
The 25th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup engaged thousands of residents from across the region, an effort that we hope to continue year-round through the use of the Trash Network. From the 528  sites reporting so far, we already have a strong turn out with 12,196 volunteers removing 527,010 number of pounds (equivalent to around school buses) from the Watershed. We recognize and celebrate the dedicated volunteers, site leaders, and partner organizations that have continued to work towards a trash-free Potomac and allowed the annual Cleanup to become such a catalyst for change.  


Even after 25 years, litter is still a problem. We will continue to advocate for the institutions, infrastructures, and policies to be in place to achieve a trash-free Potomac Watershed and make cleanups obsolete.  Here are some ways that you can help achieve this goal.

  1. Enter the Litter Prevention Video Contest for a chance to win $1,000 and spread awareness to the pervasive problem of litter in the Potomac Watershed
  2. Become a Trash Free Community and prevent litter from hitting close to home
  3. Encourage your neighborhood school to join the Trash Free Schools Project
  4. Take action for policies that will protect the health of the Watershed.

Getting Ready For Teacher Institutes

Our educators are hard at work year-round to bring environmental education to regional classrooms. As schools let out for the summer, Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center and Bridging the Watershed offer excellent programs for teachers.


Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center Teacher Institutes

For two weeks in June, twenty-five teachers from Prince George's County Public Schools will convene at Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center to participate in an environmental science teacher institute entitled "Potomac River and  Chesapeake Bay Issues:  Performance Based Science for Upper Elementary and Middle School Teachers."  Teachers will get trained to teach environmental concepts and facilitate hands-on investigative learning. For more information visit our website


We are also excited to be offering a new institute this summer. "Build an Outdoor Learning Community in Your Own Schoolyard" will train teachers from the Chesapeake Bay watershed to facilitate hands-on, investigative learning right outside their classroom door. Participants will learn how to:

  • Find, create, and utilize outdoor learning spaces in their school yard for hands-on, place-based lessons.
  • Be a mentor for their fellow teachers by training others  to  use the outdoors as a teaching context
  • Adapt their curriculum to include engaging outdoor experiences for all grade levels and subject areas, correlating with STEM, ELit, Common Core, and NGSS.
  • Overcome obstacles to teaching students outdoors by engaging their administration, maintenance staff, and community in outdoor projects at your school.
Registration is still open, for more information please contact Libby Campbell at [email protected].


Bridging the Watershed Teacher and Ranger Institute

BTW has trained hundreds of teachers in this award-winning environmental education program that gives students the opportunity to learn real-world science in area national parks. Students engage in authentic data collection and analysis in subjects such as water chemistry quality, biological indicator species, runoff and sediment in the water, invasive plant species, and pollution to help them become environmentally literate citizens. Get more information on the institute here.


BTW Training Middle School Teachers
BTW Training Middle School Teachers
Hard Bargain Players Ready for 2013 Season


Photo: Doris Sharp

Hard Bargain Players Ready for 2013 Season


The Hard Bargain Players have planned a great season for this year. Rehearsals are well under way and the first show will open very soon:


May 31 - June 15: "5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche"

Written by: Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood

Directed by: Derek T. Pickens

Synopsis: It's 1956 and the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein is having their annual quiche breakfast. Will they be able to keep their cool when Communists threaten their idyllic town?


"A farcical romp behind whose silliness lies some social and political observation that remains potent even in the dawning age of legalized gay marriage" - nytheatre.com

"Dishes up high-spirited theatrical comfort food with a bit of a saucy kick." - Chicago Tribune

"Sharp, smart and hysterically funny." - Time Out Chicago


July 19 - August 3: "Blackbird"

Written by: David Harrower

Directed by: Juliette Kelsey Chagnon

Synopsis: Two people who once had a passionate affair meet again fifteen years later.


"Four stars! This haunting, powerful, incendiary work is the sort of daring theater far too absent from our stages these days." -NY Post


August 23 - September 7: "A Soldier's Play"

Written by: Charles Fuller

Directed by: David M. Thomas

Synopsis: In a Louisiana army camp in 1944 Capt. Taylor, the white C.O., has a problem. He commands a black company whose sergeant has been murdered. He is worried the murderer may be a white officer or the local Klan. A black captain, Richard Davenport, is assigned to investigate.


Winner! 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Drama


October 4 - 19: "Evil Dead The Musical"

Book and Lyrics by George Reinblatt

Music by: Frank Cipolla, Christopher Bond, Melissa Morris, and George Reinblatt

Additional Music by Christopher Bond, Melissa Morris and George Reinblatt

Directed by: Michael Margelos

Synopsis: Five unsuspecting college friends go to an abandoned cabin in the woods and discover a book that will unleash an ancient evil upon the world. The classic cult films are put to music in this bloody (literally), hilarious production that will capture your heart and swallow your soul!



The Hard Bargain Players welcome anyone interested in volunteering on and off stage. For more information contact [email protected]  and www.hbplayers.org.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for AFF members. Shows start at 8 PM on Fridays and Saturdays.




The first open air concert will take place on June 22 with Blue Miracle.


Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for AFF members.

Blue Miracle - Southbound
Blue Miracle - Southbound



Mark your calendar, c'mon out and enjoy the performing arts at Hard Bargain Farm!



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.