ACCOKEEK, Md. – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today joined students, National Park Service leadership, fellow elected officials and the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s board, staff, supporters and alumni to celebrate the opening of an innovative new environmental education center that will allow the foundation to expand significantly the hands-on learning initiatives offered on the 330-acre Hard Bargain Farm.
“The Alice Ferguson Foundation’s ‘Hard Bargain Farm’ has provided an incredible backdrop for a wide variety of educational programs for many years. Its new education center is a national model that will allow the foundation to expand its future reach by exposing generations of students to really fascinating hands-on learning opportunities,” said Senator Cardin. “Not long ago, carbon-neutral buildings made completely of non-toxic materials that use net zero energy and water were the stuff of science fiction, but today are a reality. Visionary projects like these will show us the way out of the climate change crisis we are continuing to create for ourselves. I couldn’t be happier to have this monument to sustainability in Maryland or to know that thousands of students will have the chance to learn vital lessons here in the future.”
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. The foundation’s mission is to connect people to the natural world, sustainable agricultural practices and the cultural heritage of their local watershed through education, stewardship and advocacy.
The Potomac Watershed Study Center is the foundation’s newest and most innovative initiative. It strives to meet the requirements of the Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous set of energy efficiency and green building standards in the world today. When fully completed, the center will consist of a lodge providing overnight accommodations for students, a day-use education building, two sleeping cabins and an ADA-accessible wetlands boardwalk.