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

09/29/2020
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Charles County Adopt A Stream Workshop

How To Organize A Cleanup Workshop

09/23/2020
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm How To Organize A Cleanup Workshop

Washington DC Adopt A Stream Workshop

09/12/2020
10:00 am - 11:30 am Washington DC Adopt A Stream Workshop

Charles County Adopt A Stream Workshop

08/01/2020
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.

Potomac River Watershed Cleanup

04/18/2020
9:00 am - 12:00 pm Potomac River Watershed Cleanup
Alice Ferguson Foundation, Accokeek Maryland

Alice Ferguson Foundation Leads Multi-Sector Conversation on Ending Local Plastic Pollution

October 22nd, 2018

Businesses share insight on finding solutions to plastic pollution

Arlington, VA – The Alice Ferguson Foundation convened more than one hundred fifty policymakers, nonprofit partners, and local business owners for a one-day conference on solutions to local trash pollution. Now in its 12th year, the 2018 Trash Summit, themed “Business Solutions to Plastic Pollution” featured speakers from organizations and businesses, including KCI Technologies, Marriott International, Farmers Restaurant Group, Elevation Burger, Busboys and Poets, Our Last Straw and others. The event featured a keynote speaker from As You Sow, a nonprofit that works directly with large multinational corporations on recycling and waste diversion.

Conrad MacKerron, Senior Vice President of As You Sow, delivers the keynote address.

The event included speakers from the Virginia State Senate, Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection, the District Department of Public Works, the District Department of Energy and Environment, Prince George’s County Department of the Environment and George Mason University, among others. Speakers discussed the science and practice behind new trash reduction and management initiatives aimed at removing single use plastics from area restaurants, and how creative partnerships between businesses and organizations can raise awareness and drive systems change.

 

Other topics featured at the event included research conducted by George Mason University Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center, discussion from businesses on source reduction procedures and policies, data from D.C, Maryland, and Virginia trash reduction efforts, and a conversation on waste-reduction best practices.

Presentations and other resources from the conference are available online here.

12th Annual Trash Summit: Business Solutions for Plastic Pollution was made possible with support from George Mason University and other sponsors.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation’s educational programs unite students, educators, park rangers, communities, regional organizations, and government agencies throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to promote the environmental sustainability of the Potomac River watershed.

 

Never Too Young To Make a Difference: 5th Graders Divert School Waste from Landfills

July 10th, 2018

Students from CCPCS participate in the Trash Timeline activity, which explores decomposition rates of different materials.

This past school year, hundreds of students from around the region participated in the Trash Free Schools program. Students learned about waste production, the impacts of litter on the environment and took action to clean up their communities and waterways.

Through a Community Stormwater Solutions grant from the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), Alice Ferguson Foundation staff worked with Capital City Public Charter School (CCPCS) to engage 80 fifth graders in creative student-led action projects to prevent litter, clean up waterways, and ensure healthy communities in the District. 

During a program led by Alice Ferguson Foundation staff, students explored decomposition rates of commonly littered items by creating a visual timeline. Student also conducted a waste audit in their cafeteria to learn about the kinds of trash produced at the school.

Results from cafeteria waste audit at Capital City Public Charter School. These results informed student-led action projects.

Two field trips, first to Hard Bargain Farm and then to the Fort Totten Transfer Station, supplemented the student’s learning by highlighting what happens to trash, recycling and composting after they leave our schools and homes.

Alice Ferguson Foundation staff met with students to brainstorm and discuss potential action projects and provide feedback on detailed project proposals. Students decided to launch an expanded trash disposal station, which would allow them to expand recycling, expand composting and create a table for unwanted and untouched food for sharing. Students designed the disposal station, created signs to explain proper sorting and volunteered to stand by the sorting station to help students properly dispose of their lunch waste.

Thanks to the students hard work, the station was launched in mid-May and has already helped to divert more than 100 pounds of compost and recycling from the landfill!

If you’re interested in joining the Trash Free Schools program, email us at [email protected] or call (301)292-5665.

More Than 300,000 Pounds of Trash Collected and Removed During Regional Cleanup Event

June 11th, 2018

Thousands of volunteers participate in this year’s 30th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup

Drawing on data collected from 267 cleanup events across Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and West Virginia, more than 9,700 volunteers collected 346,444 pounds of trash throughout the Potomac River watershed at this year’s Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. Several hundred organizations and groups partner in the effort each year.

“We are honored to be doing our small part for a healthy, clean river by connecting people and local organizations with the resources, support, and information they need to do community cleanups in their neighborhoods,” said Lori Arguelles, president and CEO of the Alice Ferguson Foundation. “The Potomac is one of the largest rivers that flows into the Chesapeake Bay, and, if you live in the area, it’s very likely that the river is your source of drinking and washing water. Littering, runoff, and trash contribute to a widespread problem that affects everyone.”

Nearly 90% of the 300 cleanup events organized throughout the month of April reported on the pounds of trash collected, the number of volunteers, and the instances of commonly found items at their cleanup sites. This year, volunteers reported collecting 862 tires, 11,034 plastic bags, 9,726 plastic straws, and 6,871 cigarettes collected from communities, parks, waterways and other locations across the region.

This year, the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup participated in the Year of the Anacostia celebration by highlighting the nearly 50 cleanup events that happened within the Anacostia River watershed.

“The Year of the Anacostia is all about enjoying the Anacostia River and its parklands and building a better social and environmental future for the Nation’s Capital. The Alice Ferguson Foundation is doing critically important work teaching children and adults to understand, love and conserve the Anacostia,” Doug Siglin, executive director of the Anacostia Waterfront Trust.

The annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup is one of many of the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s programs designed to promote environmental sustainability in the region and connect people to the natural world. The Foundation’s Regional Litter Prevention Campaign, which empowers communities to “Take Control, Take Care of Your Trash,” led to a 30% reduction in observable littering behavior in the targeted District of Columbia neighborhoods between 2013 and 2015. Another program, Trash Free Schools, engages more than 2,000 students annually from more than 20 schools throughout the DC metro region.

Since it began thirty years ago, the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup has mobilized more than 150,000 volunteers to remove more than 7 million pounds of trash.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation’s educational programs unite students, educators, park rangers, communities, regional organizations, and government agencies throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to promote the environmental sustainability of the Potomac River watershed.