October 2010        

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



Calendar of Events


Board of Directors
  • Michael Herman, President
  • Nancy Gasparovic, Vice President
  • Linda Lampkin, Secretary
  • Harold Phelps, Treasurer
  • Judith Allen:Leventhal
  • Abraham Haspel, Director
  • Peggy DeStefanis, Director
  • Dan Jackson, Director
  • Steve Kim, Director
  • Stevenson McIlvaine, Director
  • Frank Nicolai, Director
  • Betsy Reid, Director
  • Ken Robinson, Director
  • Liz Theobalds, Director
  • Nancy Weiman, Director
Executive Director
  • Tracy Bowen
  • Matt Alcide, Development Associate
  • Ann Bodling, Naturalist
  • Chelsea Borchini, Naturalist
  • Sylvia Brown, Community Outreach
  • Libby Campbell, Deputy Director
  • Sara Campbell, Naturalist
  • Laura Chamberlin, TFPWI Manager
  • Lane Elson, Farm Associate
  • Katrina Fauss, BTW Field Study Coordinator
  • Tom Frezza, BTW Educator
  • Beth Gillan, BTW:YPP Intern
  • Laura A. Gillespie, Web Designer/Editor, BTW
  • Christa Haverly, Outreach Coordinator
  • Becky Horner, PRWC Coordinator
  • Aroni Johnson, BTW Educator
  • Wendy Lind, Office Administrator
  • Deanna Lutz, Financial Administrator
  • Michelle Melton, Trash Summit Coordinator
  • Tawna Mertz, Consultant, TKM Marketing, Inc.
  • Karen Jensen Miles, Program Director
  • Helen Nelson, CPA, Accountant
  • Chris Ordiway, Naturalist
  • Carol Park, Database Specialist
  • Natalie Perez, Naturalist
  • Sharon Rabie, Naturalist
  • Linda Rives, BTW Educator
  • Keith Roumfort, BTW Educator
  • Doris Sharp, Arts & Publications Coordinator
  • Chris Sharpe, BTW Intern
  • Ashlea Smith, TFPWI Coordinator
  • Jodie Abbott Standish, Web Designer
  • Bill Townsend, Naturalist
  • Jeanne Troy, Program Director, BTW
  • Eileen Watts, Program Director/ Farm Manager
  • Becky Williams, Naturalist
  • Brenda Wright, Naturalist
  • Jonathan Wright, Maintenance Associate





An Easy Way to Make Donations!

The Alice Ferguson Foundation has been approved once again for participation in the United Way of the National Capital Area (UWNCA) and the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Our United Way code is #8083 and our CFC code is #62564.

Please consider us!





Garden in Fall.  Photo by Doris Sharp This glorious fall weather has smiled on some major happenings here at AFF: the 30th Oktoberfest, the Living Shoreline dedication and a prestigious award for BTW. On a smaller scale our education programs are in full gear and fully booked, and our latest additions to the barnyard, Rotor and Rooter, are a big hit with the elementary crowd. Look below for lots of details and pictures of all these fun events.


Piscataway Park Living Shoreline Restoration Celebration
By Karen Miles

October 12 was a brilliant day along the banks of the Potomac River across from Mount Vernon. About 100 persons gathered to celebrate the completion of the construction phase of the living shoreline at Piscataway Park. As the event got underway, a flight of honking geese flew directly in front of the crowd. With the majestic river and the newly built and planted shoreline as the background for the event, onlookers had the opportunity to hear from several public servants who had a particular interest in the successful completion of this project just a few miles downstream from our nation's capital.

Steny Hoyer, Majority Leader for the US House of Representatives, eloquently spoke of the importance of this project, not only for people today but for those yet unborn. Jonathan Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service (NPS), and Dr. Jane Lubchenko, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), both addressed the importance of conserving our natural resources for richness and viable populations of plant and animal species. Tracy Bowen, AFF's Executive Director, pointed out the partnering between AFF, NOAA, NPS, Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Keith Campbell Foundation that made this a success. Wes Matheu, owner of Shoreline Design, Inc., the construction firm that did the lion's share of the work, spoke of the help that stimulus funds from the American Restoration and Recovery Act (ARRA) afforded him, his employees and sun:contractors involved in the project.

Fifth grade students from Highland Park Elementary School in Prince George's County on their habitat hike stopped by and listened for a while; then they moved on and seined for fish along one of the newly constructed pocket beaches directly behind the speakers' podium. They were very excited to be a part of the celebration and also to experience the wonders of the outdoors, learning about the critters in the river. (They netted mummichogs and large:mouth bass, both very important fish species in this part of the Potomac River food web.)

Students from Highland Park Elementary in Prince George's County with  AFF Executive Director Tracy Bowen; Rep. Steny Hoyer; Jonathan Jarvis, Director of NPS; Dr. Jane Lubchenko, NOAA; and Michael Herman, President, AFF  Photo: NOAA
Students from Highland Park Elementary in Prince George's County with AFF
Executive Director Tracy Bowen; Rep. Steny Hoyer; Jonathan Jarvis, Director of
NPS; Dr. Jane Lubchenko, NOAA; and Michael Herman, President, AFF Photo: NOAA

"I was particularly interested in learning about the educational component of what the Alice Ferguson Foundation conducts on this site. I was struck by how well our collaborative restoration effort is bringing such an important benefit to youth in our local communities. To me, this is exactly what President Obama was hoping for when he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law. He didn't just want to support the economy; I believe he hoped that the Recovery Act would support opportunities to benefit the environment and our future generations as well. This project certainly embodies these ideas." ::from a letter written by Dr. Jane Lubchenko, NOAA, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere


Farm Update
by Eileen Watts, Farm Manager

Rotor and Rooter, Hampshire pigs.  Photo by Doris SharpAt the end of September there was a rainfall deficit of 7.4", but rains since then made up for it. We are hoping for good grass growth to sustain our now twenty:nine head of cattle well into winter. The very hot summer (nearly 70 days of 90 degrees or above) probably had a negative impact. It seems the grass is slow to come back after each graze, even though each area gets a rest of at least 30 days. Two new calves were born during this period. Four two:year old steers will be going to slaughter in November.

Even with our goal of year:round grazing, hay is a must to have on hand. The second cutting, completed in September, totaled 850 bales and looks good. Our finicky dairy cows are pleased.

A new batch of layer chicks arrived in September. They are a mix of White Rock (will lay brown eggs) and White Leghorn (will lay white eggs, the commercial favorite). When mature, the Rocks will be nearly twice the size of the Leghorns, giving them a dual purpose. Leghorns have been selectively bred to lay the maximum number of eggs while requiring a minimum amount of food. So children will be introduced to the breed that supplies most of the eggs their parents buy and also see that having white feathers does not guarantee white eggs.

Twenty:five broiler chicks arrived at the same time. They will be ready for the table beginning of November. They are such a popular item on our farm products list and fifty more chicks arrived in October. We will borrow a mechanical plucker for the first time to make the job of removing feathers a lot quicker. The Foundation received a grant from MARBIDCO (Maryland Agricultural and Resource:Based Industry Development Corporation) with the purpose of encouraging independent producers to expand their business operations to make a product that is "value:added". We can certainly expand on this item! The funds will be used to convert a small spring house to a chicken processing center. Items to be purchased include stainless steel sinks, a scalder, a plucker, and formica work surfaces. A new chicken tractor will be built next year.

Two little Hampshire pigs were purchased in September. Staff quickly named them Rotor and Rooter.

Plenty of fresh grass:fed beef will be for sale in early December. Please contact us at [email protected] for information and prices. Quarters and halves will be sold at $6.25/pound. Individual pieces will be somewhat higher.


United Way of Charles County's Day of Caring

United Way of Charles County's Day of Caring volunteers. Photo by Doris SharpRight before Oktoberfest we received great help with our preparations. Through the annual Day of Caring program volunteers from Spring Dell Center gave their time to help us with spreading a huge amount of mulch and sweeping around the Lodge where the Oktoberfest festivities take place. We are very grateful and we all had a good time.

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

Chesapeake Bay Trust Awards Scholarship to Students

Through its Arthur Dorman Scholarship Program the Chesapeake Bay Trust awards every year a $5,000 scholarship to a Maryland high school or college aged student who demonstrates a commitment to improving the environment and the Chesapeake Bay. The winner of this $5,000 scholarship is announced during the Trust's Legislative Reception in January. Applications close on Monday, November 22.

Do you know a student who has done great environmental work? Please visit www.cbtrust.org/ and find out how you can nominate him/her for this award.


Bridging the Watershed
By Jeanne Troy

One of Bridging the Watershed's greatest assets is the way the partners build on each others' strengths. This synergy has been recognized by the Department of Interior in 2010 with the Partners in Conservation Awards. These awards recognize conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of landowners; citizens' groups; private sector and nongovernmental organizations; and federal, state, local, and tribal governments. We are delighted to be one of twenty:four partnerships to be honored by the Department of the Interior, of which only three were within the National Park Service.

"These twenty:four awards celebrate partnerships that conserve and restore our nation's treasured landscapes and watersheds, partnerships that engage Native American communities and partnerships that engage youth," Secretary Salazar noted.

In addition to this great award, we are honored to be included in the "Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed", the action plan to implement President Obama's Executive Order 13508, the ambitious plan to restore the health of the Bay. In particular, the strategy states that "The National Park Service will work with the Alice Ferguson Foundation to expand the Bridging the Watershed program, which provides educational experiences connecting students to their place in the natural and cultural world."

from l::r: Libby Campbell, AFF Deputy Director;   Jason Calhoun, Director of Science for Prince William County Schools; Abe Haspel, AFF Board of Directors; Jeanne Troy, Director of Bridging the Watershed; Tracy Bowen, AFF Executive Director; Jonathan Jarvis, National Park Service Director.  Photo by NPS
from l::r: Libby Campbell, AFF Deputy Director; Jason Calhoun, Director of Science for Prince William County Schools; Abe Haspel, AFF Board of Directors; Jeanne Troy, Director of Bridging the Watershed; Tracy Bowen, AFF Executive Director; Jonathan Jarvis, National Park Service Director. Photo by NPS


AFF Participates in USA Science & Engineering Festival in DC
By Chris Sharpe

A steady stream of visitors stopped at our booth.  Photo by Libby Campbell On the weekend of October 23/24 the USA Science and Engineering Festival on the National Mall was an opportunity to re:invigorate the interest of our nation's youth in science, technology, engineering and math. The event featured over 500 exhibitors and dozens of performances and demonstrations. Thousands of young aspiring scientists made the journey to DC from all across the greater metropolitan area to take in the sights and expand their knowledge of leading technologies and innovations. Nestled between exhibits on underwater exploration using submersible robots and ice:core drilling, lay the Alice Ferguson Foundation's booth which featured our "Trash Timeline".

The event was considered a great success by all AFF staff present. We set up our "Trash Timeline" and encouraged children and parents to organize common household refuse into chronological order by how long it takes to decompose.

Many people found it shocking that it takes thousands of years for a simple glass bottle to decompose, and even more shocking that something like Styrofoam may never decompose. Over the course of the weekend, we had a steady stream of visitors stop at our booth and walk away with a new understanding of the environmental costs of the trash they create on a daily basis. We also passed out hundreds of flyers for this spring's Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, and the response was overwhelmingly positive: many people pledged not only to come and help clean up but also bring their friends and family along.

As an added bonus, most of the AFF staff present got an opportunity to walk around and explore the Festival a little bit. Some interesting sights along the way: a booth about recycling plastics where it was explained how recyclable plastics are separated by shredding and submerging them in water; some types sink where others float and then they will be recycled accordingly. There was also a robot soccer tournament, pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope, a mock:up of one of the Apollo Re:Entry capsules that brought astronauts safely back to Earth, The Weather Dude singing songs about meteorology, and much more. It was a fantastic weekend and a great opportunity to get people to learn about us and our programs; educate them about the trash problem, and how they can get involved with the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup.

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Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative

Potomac Watershed Trash Summit: By the Numbers

287 Attendees with 1000s of years of combined experience
38 Action Items identified by stakeholders
21 New Potomac Watershed Trash Treaty signers
20 Pizzas ordered for 2 school groups
7 Roundtables
6 Relieved Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative Staff Members
1 Man with an axe
1 Trash TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) for the Anacostia

Potomac Watershed Trash Summit

The 5th Annual Potomac Watershed Summit on September 22 was a great success, bringing together nearly 300 key stakeholders in the region to plan, discuss, and take action towards a Trash Free Potomac Watershed. The morning roundtables covered Policy, Trash TMDL Implementation and Facilities, and the afternoon roundtables discussed Enforcement, Public Education, Regulation and Composting. Twenty:one elected officials agreed to sign the Potomac Watershed Trash Treaty since August 2010, bringing the total to 161 signatures from leaders in the region.

At the plenary session, Steve Raabe of OpinionWorks and Eva Kasten of Noral group led the unveiling of the new Regional Anti:Litter Campaign, a new public education and social marketing campaign that will raise awareness and understanding of the issue of litter, change attitudes and perceptions, persuading citizens to think twice about their behavior. The Plenary session also featured a dialogue with key government stakeholders who were responsible for the development of the Anacostia Trash TMDL and its implementation.

Awards were presented to our "Potomac Champions" which included the Anacostia Leadership and Volunteer Fredrick, Big Sweep; as well as Litter Enforcement Awards. The ‘Ultimate Cheapskate' Jeff Yeager, an Accokeek resident, author, and frequent guest on the ‘Today Show' provided insight into how—by consuming less and producing less waste—we all can make a positive impact on the watershed as well as our personal finances.


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Oktoberfest Crowd.  Photo by Bill Townsend
Dancers and young onlookers.  Photo by Bill Townsend
Keith Roumfort sells pretzels.  Photo by Doris Sharp
30th Annual Oktoberfest

We had a triple A Oktoberfest this year. The weather was a picture perfect Autumn day, we had an Awesome crowd of more than 1200 visitors and an Amazing group of volunteers and staff which made the 30th annual Oktoberfest one of the best in recent years.

The crowd did not seem to mind the standing room only atmosphere. People were celebrating the season while sharing stories of past Oktoberfests, waiting to fill their steins, or getting seconds of the strudel.

Stafford Allison, who first came up with the idea of having an Oktoberfest at Hard Bargain Farm, has been leading the kitchen crew for thirty years now and the food just keeps getting better. There were many comments on how wonderful the sauerkraut tasted this year.

The Alt Washingtonia Schuhplattlers have been performing at the Oktoberfest from the very beginning; the faces may have changed over time but the performance is always amazing and very entertaining.

A good time was had by all. See you all next year!

Former student on bunk.  Photo by Bill Townsend The Oktoberfest brought together many school visitors alumni. One of them was Lori Pester, daughter of our master gardener volunteer Jim Pester. Here she reminisces on the bunk that she slept on during her Eva Turner Elementary 5th grade visit to Hard Bargain Farm in 1984.

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Halloween in the Woods
The Hard Bargain Players

The Hard Bargain Players will host a special Halloween fund raiser on Saturday, October 30th, 2010 to benefit the NTAF Mid:Atlantic Spinal Cord Injury Fund in honor of Jim Kleyle (a member of the Hard Bargain Players' troupe) at the Hard Bargain Amphitheater. Starting at 7:00 PM we will gather, enjoy some snacks and at 7:30 PM the Players will present thrilling cinema handpicked by the Kleyle's for your entertainment. The Players will also be sponsoring a costume contest, a cookie contest and a 50/50 raffle following the film. The evening will wrap up with a 10 PM showing of Rocky Horror.

Food and some light refreshments will be available, including freshly popped popcorn, hot dogs, chips, cookies and other wonderful things to delight your taste buds. Keep in mind it can be very cold at night in October, please wear layers and bring extra coats or blankets for warmth!

Where: 2001 Bryan Point Rd.; Accokeek, MD 20607
When: 7:00 pm on October 30, 2010
Who: Age 17 and above. Children under 17 require accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Tickets: This is a free event; however, donations are encouraged (cash or check).

In the case of rain we will hold the event at the Wareham Lodge. Call 301.928.1648 for more information.


Grace Griffith and Lynn Hollyfield.  Photo by Doris SharpConcert in the Woods
By Doris Sharp

On August 28 the Hot Buttered Nuggets (Douglas Everton "Master Vocal Sound Effects Artist", guitar and jazz banjo, Nancy Lisi on standup bass, Zack Bronder on drums) performed at the Amphitheater and offered a great variety of music:: Traditional Swing, Vintage Rockabilly, New Orleans Style Dixieland Jazz, Ragtime and Mississippi Delta Blues. Besides singing and playing banjo and guitar bandleader Douglas Everton did the whole brass section with only his lips—you surely could hear Satchmo's horn! It was a perfect night: pleasant temperatures, no humidity, no bugs, and great music!

The concert season came to a close on September 11 with a wonderful performance by our local award:winning singers Lynn Hollyfield and Grace Griffith, accompanied by Steve Wolf (bass) and Jim Brink (percussion). Both featured new CD releases: SAILING by Grace Griffith and LAYERS by Lynn Hollyfield. It was a beautiful finale! This season we were lucky again having great weather for every concert.


Theater in the Woods
By Doris Sharp

From August 6—21 the Hard Bargain Players performed Equus by Peter Shaffer, directed by David Thomas. It was a challenging play. Set designer Randy Sena created a theater:in:the:round in the normal seating area, so some audiences were seated on the actual stage. Light designer April Weimer created dramatic lighting effects and had a clear delineation between current and remembered events. The actors gave an excellent performance. Check out the Players' website www.hbplayers.org.


Fergie's Gardeners
By Doris Sharp

In September Fergie's Gardeners hosted a meeting of the NCGC District 1 club at our Lodge. After their meeting they toured the Farmhouse and the formal garden, led by Betsy Reid, Libby Campbell and Doris Sharp. Our visitors were absolutely intrigued and fell in love with Hard Bargain Farm. As a consequence a couple garden clubs booked a house and garden tour including tea at the Farmhouse for the Spring of 2011.

(House and garden tours are available. Please check out the Fergie's Gardeners website gardenclub.fergusonfoundation.org)

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