Prepare for a Field Study

Students at the Potomac River shorelineWe are very excited that you have chosen Hard Bargain Farm as an outdoor environmental experience for your students. The following information is to help you plan your field study at Hard Bargain Farm.

Step One: Scheduling

After selecting the duration and courses you are interested in, you will need to contact the Alice Ferguson Foundation to schedule your program. Registration for the Homeschool Program is available online. All required paperwork, including copies of Confirmation Form, Parent and Chaperone Letters, Packing Lists, Sample Schedules, and Directions to Hard Bargain Farm, can be found in in the Field Study Handbook. You will receive this once you have scheduled your field study.  Confirmation of your trip must be received within two weeks of your scheduled date.

Payment: The program fee (except for programs scheduled through the William S. Schmidt Center) may either be mailed in advance or given to a naturalist upon arrival. Checks should be made payable to “The Alice Ferguson Foundation”. If you plan paying upon arrival, all the monies should be collected prior to the trip and placed in an envolope clearly marked Program Fee, please also indicate number of students and chaperones. There are no concessions at Hard Bargain Farm. It is not necessary for students to bring money or valuables.

Step Two: Preparing Your Students

Pre- and Post- trip activities in the classroom will greatly enhance the students’ learning experiences. The HBF Kids’ Zone has a number of award winning, fun, interactive lessons designed to enhance and expand on the field trip experience. For more information about these and other lessons available, please go to Online Lessons & Resources.

This is an outdoor, all weather program.  Indoor facilities are used only during thunderstorms and other severe weather.  Please be sure your students and chaperones dress appropriately for the weather, bring rain gear and several layers of warm clothing for cold weather.  All participants must wear long pants and comfortable walking shoes.  Shorts and sandals are not recommended, even in warm weather, since walks in the woods and farm may be through tall grass, mud and ever briars. If you are attending an overnight program, download the Gear List (available in Spanish) to be sure you are prepared.

Signed Image Release Forms: Be sure to bring signed copies of the image release form for each of the students and chaperones (Spanish language form found here).

At Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center, we are working to become a trash free facility, and we challenge our visiting classes to bring Trash Free Lunches (available in Spanish).  Have your students visit Take Out the Trash to learn about the Four R’s and test their trash free packing skills.


Step Three: Have Fun!

You and the chaperones are role models for the students. Your positive attitude and enthusiasm will greatly enhance the students’ experiences at Hard Bargain Farm. Encourage students to listen to instruction, try new things and be open to new experiences.


Cancellation Policy: We do not cancel programs because of weather. However, for Prince George’s County schools, any delay cancels all field trips, for Charles County Schools if there is a delay the decision will be made that day. Parents should check with the school.  We assume the group is coming unless we hear otherwise. If you must cancel, it is your responsibility to contact the AFF Office Manager at 301-292-5665 or E-mail as far in advance as possible.