Tis The Season To Be Trash Free

December 14th, 2020

Written By Krupa Patel,
Trash Free Schools Coordinator

It’s said that 25 percent more trash is thrown away during the holiday months. My family and I make every effort to be trash free, especially during the holidays. From excessive wrapping paper and extra food waste, our communities and landfills are overflowing. I challenge you to make your holidays as trash free as possible. Here’s some little changes you can try that make a big difference…

  • Safely share homemade goodies by using reusable containers
  • Save cardboard boxes and plastic free packaging throughout the year so you’re all set when it’s time to wrap gifts. (I have requested family that if they have me for Secret Santa, that the gift be plastic free.)
  • Find alternatives to wrapping paper. Use items like fabric scraps, reusable canvas bags, newspaper, or even a basket.


  • Support small businesses. You’re buying directly from the business and saving the extra plastic packaging that would normally be used to ship. You can find a lot of small businesses that share environmental missions as you do. (I have found artisans that don’t use plastic in their product and packaging, i.e. ceramic earrings, soaps wrapped in cardboard, body lotion in aluminum or glass jars, etc.)
  • Buy experiences. Take a unique class together, purchase a membership, or begin planning a trip to a special place…safely of course. Give the gift of memories. (I even enjoy getting gift cards to yoga classes, because I wouldn’t want to buy for myself.)


There are many alternatives to make your holiday a trash free one, you just have to think outside of the box. Wishing you a safe and very Happy Trash-Free Holiday season!


How To Organize A Cleanup

10:30 am - 11:30 am How To Organize A Cleanup

How To Organize A Cleanup

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm How To Organize A Cleanup

District Adopt-A-Stream Workshop

10:30 am - 11:30 am District Adopt-A-Stream Workshop

Alice Ferguson Foundation Kicks Off Season of Cleanup Events

October 15th, 2020

New Training Resources Encourage Safe, Socially-distanced Micro-Cleanups this Fall

Accokeek, MD – On September 26, the Alice Ferguson Foundation kicked off its annual cleanup events season as it celebrated National Public Lands Day by cleaning up its Living Shoreline on shore of the Potomac River in Piscataway Park. Alice Ferguson Foundation’s annual spring cleanups had been postponed from April due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Each year, thousands of volunteers receive free bags and gloves from the Alice Ferguson Foundation and participate in cleanup events in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. Data collected by the volunteers is shared with local officials to support and measure the impact of proven trash and litter reduction policies such as bag fees and foam bans.

“Instead of doing large cleanup events, we are encouraging people to do smaller cleanups with their friends and families,” said Samantha Battersby, Trash Free Cleanup coordinator. “We have resources and information on how we can stay safe and healthy while still giving back to the environment.”

Two friends collecting plastic bottles from their cleanup site.

Virtual workshops and at-home cleanups have replaced the usual in-person trainings and the annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, which draws more than 10,000 volunteers each year. So far this year, the Alice Ferguson Foundation hosted seven virtual events for a total of 110 volunteers who learned how to safely organize and lead a successful cleanup.

“Trash is still a problem and it’s not going to just go away by itself. It’s more important than ever for us to provide the tools and tips for individuals and families to make a green difference in the communities they live in,” said Battersby. “Workshop participants are taking what they’ve learned and hosting safe, micro-cleanups.”

Participants are invited to share pictures of their socially distanced cleanup using the hashtag, #PotomacCleanup. Volunteers interested in participating in this years’ cleanup events can contact Samantha Battersby or learn more at PotomacCleanup.org.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation connects people to the natural world, sustainable agricultural practices, and the cultural heritage of their local watershed through education, stewardship, and advocacy.  Learn more at fergusonfoundation.org.

Charles County Adopt A Stream Workshop

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Charles County Adopt A Stream Workshop

How To Organize A Cleanup Workshop

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm How To Organize A Cleanup Workshop

Washington DC Adopt A Stream Workshop

10:00 am - 11:30 am Washington DC Adopt A Stream Workshop

Charles County Adopt A Stream Workshop

10:30 am - 12:00 pm Charles County Adopt A Stream Workshop

Environmental Education Programs Pause Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

March 25th, 2020

Accokeek MD – In light of the recent developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and school closings, the Alice Ferguson Foundation has suspended all education programs and events until further notice. 

“Our community faces historic challenges with the growing COVID-19 pandemic. To do our part, we are cancelling all of our upcoming events and keeping the health and safety of our community, staff, and students a priority,” said Theresa Cullen, Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Executive Director. “Amid the stress and uncertainty, it’s never been more critical to support each other and reduce transmission. Our thoughts are with all those impacted, as well as those caring for others.”

Cancelled programs include:

  • All Spring educational programming, impacting more than 5,600 students.
  • The Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, cancelling more than 265 cleanup events in April
  • All special events through May, including Pinot on the Potomac, Spring Farm Festival and all meetings and workshops


The Alice Ferguson Foundation will be referring to local health authorities, school officials and Center for Disease Control and Prevention for guidance on when it is reasonable and safe to resume and reschedule programs and events.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation relies heavily on grant funding we receive from serving the more than 8,000 school children who participate in our programs each year to experience the wonder and excitement of being in the out-of-doors. The income the Alice Ferguson Foundation receives from these trips pays for our educators and support staff and for the upkeep of our property and buildings. With schools being cancelled, it means that the students are not able to experience all that is magical here, and that the Foundation’s regular funding sources – which provide funds to pay educators and support staff, and for the upkeep of the property and buildings – are on hold.

People continue to ask how they can help the Alice Ferguson Foundation during these uncertain times. To ensure our gates remain open in the future, visit www.fergusonfoundation.org/support.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation connects people to the natural world, sustainable agricultural practices, and the cultural heritage of their local watershed through education, stewardship, and advocacy.  Learn more at fergusonfoundation.org.