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.

Gates Reopen for Programs at Hard Bargain Farm

September 12th, 2020

Accokeek MD – The Alice Ferguson Foundation is offering a variety of engaging hands-on outdoor programs this fall, including interactive activities for small groups, families, and young children at its historic farm and environmental campus.

“With most of our area schools switching to online learning, it’s more important than ever for kids and families to spend time outdoors, exploring and learning about the world beyond their computer screen,” said Theresa Cullen, Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Executive Director. “We’re eager to welcome students and their families back to Hard Bargain Farm to enjoy our fun, outdoor, and socially distant activities.” 

New educational programs include:

  • Nature Nut Wednesdays, an outdoor play pod and enrichment program for early childhood and elementary-age students, filled with outdoor adventures, laughter, and learning. Featuring five-weeks sessions in the morning or afternoon.
  • Small Group and Family Visits, to visit with the barnyard animals, explore the wetlands and woods with a nature hike or birdwalk, or discover where food comes from as you learn about farming and agriculture at our 1930’s era working farm.
  • And more…

 

The Alice Ferguson Foundation is following the best health safety practices from local health authorities, school officials and Center for Disease Control and Prevention in implementing all of its on-site programming. The Alice Ferguson Foundation will also be engaging schools and students in science-based learning through its virtual field trips and online academic programs. Learn more about Alice Ferguson Foundation’s school virtual program offerings here. 

For more than 65 years, the Alice Ferguson Foundation has shared the wonder and excitement of outdoor hands-on learning with students and residents of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. Located on 330 acres of working farmland, emergent wetlands, and the longest, freshwater Living Shoreline in the nation, the staff and educators of Alice Ferguson Foundation have provided transformative environmental education experiences for nearly half a million area students since 1954. Alice Ferguson Foundation’s team of educators are a critical provider of equitable access to learning that builds environmental literacy skills and connects over 8,000 students to the wonders of their local watershed, and their role in stewarding it. 

Learn more at fergusonfoundation.org.

Environmental Education Programs Go Virtual For 2020-21 School Year

August 22nd, 2020

Accokeek MD – This school year, the Alice Ferguson Foundation is engaging schools and students in science-based learning through its virtual field trips and online academic programs. 

“Though our gates are closed to school visits, we are doing our part to bring science and nature to life for students across DC, Maryland and Virginia,” said Theresa Cullen, Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Executive Director. “Supporting teachers during this virtual transition and continuing to provide quality environmental and STEM-based experiences is of the utmost importance to our team.” 

 

While executing nine exciting weeks of virtual summer camp, educators spent the summer creating lesson plans and piloting online versions of our programs in our newly designed virtual studio space for the upcoming school year. Virtual programs can include a visit to our barnyard, discovering the macroinvertebrates found in our rivers and streams, or observing birds up close. 

Virtual programs include a variety of activities ranging from 30-minute lessons to 3-hour block interactive learning activities which are all closely aligned with learning standards to provide the most value to teachers and students. 

To learn more about Alice Ferguson Foundation’s program offerings, visit fergusonfoundation.org/virtual-programs/

For more than 65 years, the Alice Ferguson Foundation has shared the wonder and excitement of outdoor hands-on learning with students and residents of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. Located on 330 acres of working farmland, emergent wetlands, and the longest, freshwater Living Shoreline in the nation, the staff and educators of Alice Ferguson Foundation have provided transformative environmental education experiences for nearly half a million area students since 1954. Alice Ferguson Foundation’s team of educators are a critical provider of equitable access to learning that builds environmental literacy skills and connects over 8,000 students to the wonders of their local watershed, and their role in stewarding it. Learn more at fergusonfoundation.org.

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.

Alice Ferguson Foundation Welcomes New Executive Director

September 25th, 2019

The Alice Ferguson Foundation welcomed Theresa Cullen as its new Executive Director in late August. Cullen joins the Alice Ferguson Foundation with more than 25 years of experience in education in the United States and internationally. Most recently, she served as Head of The American School in Switzerland, where she directed the operational and instructional program for 200 students on a 3-campus school, as well as a 45-member faculty in the areas of curriculum development and best education practices. As Head, she also managed operating and fiscal budgets in addition to managing admission and placement of students.

Born and raised in Prince George’s County, Cullen often visited the Accokeek area to swim and canoe on the river with her family. She is a strong advocate for our mission and the community we serve.

“I believe that all individuals, particularly children, should be part of a beautiful environment for learning. Being outdoors is critical to their development and to the future not only of our region and country, but of the world,” said Cullen. “Getting children out of the classroom to really experience hands-on learning is essential for them to connect concepts taught in the classroom with their real world surroundings.”

In her role as Executive Director, Cullen will oversee finances, staff operations and strategic priorities of the organization, and partner with Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Board of Directors on organizational planning.

“I’m energized to blend my education background with the operational demands of an established nonprofit,” said Cullen. “Our greatest opportunities to build educational and stewardship successes, at the moment, lie within the business side of the Foundation, and I’m excited to focus there, behind the scenes of our impactful programming.” 

Cullen is eager to begin cultivating relationships with the community, beginning with our upcoming Fall Nature Series, which includes six adventures on our 330-acre riverfront working farm led by our environmental educators. The highlight of the series lineup is Alice Ferguson Foundation’s inaugural Fall Farm Day at Hard Bargain Farm on Saturday, October 26 from 11 AM – 4 PM. Families are invited to enjoy our picturesque views and participate in activities unique to Hard Bargain Farm, such as wetland explorations, hayrides, garden and farmyard tours, and much more.

Located in Accokeek, Maryland, the Alice Ferguson Foundation educational programs unite students, educators, park rangers, communities, regional organizations, and government agencies throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.to promote the environmental sustainability of the Potomac River watershed.

 

31st Annual Potomac River Cleanup April 13th, 2019

April 5th, 2019

Thousands of Volunteers to Participate in the 
31th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup

 

Washington DC  – Thousands of residents across Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia will come together on Saturday, April 13 to protect the rivers we love and the water we drink as part of the 31th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup (#PotomacCleanup)

Since 1989, the Alice Ferguson Foundation has coordinated the Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup every April, engaging more than 150,000 volunteers, nearly 500 partner organizations, and removing more than 7.5 million pounds of trash from the Potomac River Watershed.

Results from last year’s 30th Anniversary Cleanup included:

  • More than 9,500 Volunteers
  • 346,000 pounds of trash collected
  • 267 Cleanup Sites Across Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia  

Where: Cleanups will be held at hundreds of sites throughout the Potomac Watershed, which includes the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  Local DC  sites with 50+ expected volunteers include Fletchers CoveWashington Canoe ClubPierce MillNational ZooKenilworth Aquatic GardensAnacostia Park.  Interested in different locations? Click here for scheduled cleanup sites.

When:  The majority of cleanups will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2019, from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. There will be additional cleanups scheduled throughout the month.

Who: Thousands of volunteers from around the watershed including elected officials, community businesses and leaders, NGOs, teachers, and government agency leaders.

 The annual Cleanup is part of the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiativewhich seeks to connect people to their local watershed with the ultimate goal of creating clean land, safe water and healthy lives. The data gathered from the hundreds of sites during cleanups in the month of April is used throughout the year to track trash hot spots, mark progress and target policies intended to reduce litter in the region.

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

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.

Celebrating Three Decades of Volunteers Organizing for a Cleaner Potomac River Watershed

April 18th, 2018

One Weekend, More than 150 Trash Cleanups in Maryland, Virginia, & DC

 

This past Saturday, the Alice Ferguson Foundation and dozens of partners celebrated the 30th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. More than 150 trash cleanup events occurred throughout the Potomac River Watershed, including events in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia & West Virginia. 

 

The Potomac River is the source of drinking water for 80% of the residents within the watershed. With increasing attention on the beauty of our region’s waterways, and the immediate threat of plastic pollution, volunteers are taking action. Since 1989, more than 150,000 volunteers have collectively prevented 7 million pounds of trash from entering the Potomac River. As part of the region-wide cleanup efforts, event partner Rock Creek Conservancy hosted the 10th annual Extreme Cleanup, coordinating nearly 30 events in one of the nation’s first urban park spaces, Rock Creek Park, and throughout the Rock Creek watershed.

During Potomac River Watershed Cleanups, volunteers collect citizen science data, including total pounds of trash removed and most common trash items. The data successfully serves to implement waste-reduction legislation, including the plastic bag fees and the Anacostia River Styrofoam ban.

Plastic drinking straws are a focus for this year’s cleanup.  Plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found at cleanups. In the USA, 500 million drinking straws are used every day.

“This single-use, plastic item cannot be recycled or composted and they are ending up in our waterways and our communities,” said Hannah Seligman, Alice Ferguson Foundation volunteer coordinator. “Last weekend, volunteers at an event counted and removed 564 straws in just two hours from a small stretch of a stream..”

The Potomac River Watershed Cleanup is participating in the Year of the Anacostia celebration by highlighting the nearly 50 cleanup events happening within the Anacostia River watershed. One of the event partners, the Anacostia Watershed Society, will host the Annual Earth Day Cleanup on Saturday, April 21.

“The Anacostia River is on the verge of being restored to swimmable and fishable, thanks to great partners like the Alice Ferguson Foundation. Together we’re celebrating the Year of the Anacostia by participating in clean ups and enjoying the tremendous recreational opportunities offered by the Anacostia River,” said Jim Foster, President of the Anacostia Watershed Society.

With more than 300 #PotomacCleanup events planned throughout the watershed this April, community leaders, regional stakeholders, and volunteers #makewaves (YOTA hashtag) for the water we drink and the rivers we love. You can still join an event this April. Visit PotomacCleanup.org to learn more.

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.

Alice Ferguson Foundation Recognized with 2017 Green Business of the Year Award

October 16th, 2017

On Friday, October 6, the Alice Ferguson Foundation was recognized by the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce as the 2017 Green Business of the Year at its annual Excellence in Business Awards Gala. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in the county and pays tribute to organizations that have demonstrated measurable growth, community involvement, support and commitment to sustainability.

 

“We are honored to receive such a prestigious award. Since our founding more than 60 year ago, we’ve brought environmental education to life for more than half a million students around our region,” said Lori Arguelles, Alice Ferguson Foundation’s president and CEO. “In the last decade and as a testament to our founding principles, we have invested in upgrading and modernizing our campus to make it one of world’s greenest, most energy efficient building complexes in the world.”

 

The Foundation’s environmental campus includes the net-zero water, net-zero energy, and carbon neutral Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Environmental Center, a Living Building Challenge certified project that meets the world’s most stringent green building requirements. The Cafritz Environmental Center, which hosts thousands of students each year, is only the 13th project in the world to achieve full Living Building Challenge certification.

The Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce is an alliance of more than 900 businesses, representing over 300,000 employees, making it one of the largest chambers in the state of Maryland and the Washington Metropolitan region. Their annual gala honors businesses and organizations that go above and beyond with noteworthy contributions to their respective fields, and which help maximize the economic potential of the county as a whole.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation is a nonprofit located in Accokeek, Maryland. The 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.

Oktoberfest for a Cause: Marking 35 Years of Celebrating Heritage & Environment

October 9th, 2017

Accokeek, MD – Each year, community members from across Prince George’s County and the surrounding area have the chance to enjoy fall festivities at Hard Bargain Farm. The Alice Ferguson Foundation opened its doors again last Saturday, October 7, for its 35th annual Oktoberfest at its environmental campus in Accokeek, Maryland. One of the area’s most popular fall activities, this year’s Oktoberfest featured authentic Bavarian dances, traditional Alpine music, German food and dessert, hay wagon rides to the Potomac River, visits with barnyard animals and the beautiful autumn landscape of the 330-acre farm.

“For three and a half decades, this autumn tradition had brought the community together to celebrate the season and each other,” said Lori Arguelles, Alice Ferguson Foundation’s President and CEO. “It’s our honor and pleasure to welcome everyone to this beautiful slice of autumn festivities at the heart of Piscataway National Park.”

 

The Washington, D.C.-based Bavarian dance group Alt Washingtonia Schuhplattlers performed traditional dances and offered lively singalongs throughout the day. Children met the farm’s barnyard animals, squeezed apple cider with an old-fashioned cider press, and enjoyed hands-on arts and crafts in the Foundation’s historic cabin.

 

For the third year in a row, celebrations took place on the lawn of the Foundation’s environmental education center, the first net zero “Living Building” in Maryland and one of only 15 such certified buildings in the world.

All proceeds from the event benefited Foundation’s core programs, which provide environmental education programs to more than 10,000 students each year, as well as litter and trash prevention and education outreach efforts across Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The event was supported by MGM National Harbor, Pepco, Old Line Bank, SMECO, Eagle Hill, Eight O’Clock Coffee, MOM’s Organic Market, TATA, Walton, Buck Distributing, Cloverland Stables LLC, ColorNet Printing, Greater Prince George’s County Business Roundtable, G.S. Proctor & Associates, Mayson-Dixon Strategic Consulting, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Prince George’s Councilmembers Mel Franklin, Andrea C. Harrison, Mary Lehman, Karen Toles and Todd Turner, as well as Rodgers Consulting, Washington Gas, and Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

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.