Accokeek, MD–On October 9, 2011, the Accokeek Foundation honored Dr. Wilton C. Corkern, Jr., with its National Conservation Leadership Award, in recognition of more than two decades of service to advance stewardship and conservation, especially land preservation and sustainable agriculture. The award was presented at the Foundation’s annual Leadership Salute, a lovely outdoor event in Piscataway Park which raised nearly $55,000 for the Accokeek Foundation’s programs, including a $20,000 grant awarded by the Wallace Genetic Foundation in honor of Corkern.
Corkern, who recently retired from the Accokeek Foundation, became President and CEO in 1990. He established the Foundation’s modern organic Ecosystem Farm with its innovative new farmer training program. He also helped to organize and launch the Friends of the Potomac and to secure designation of the Potomac as one of the first “American Heritage Rivers.” Under his leadership, the Foundation reinvigorated its land conservation program, constructed a “green” Education Center, developed stewardship demonstration areas, and launched the Foundation’s Piscataway Cultural Landscape Initiative, an effort to transform the concept of “indigenous cultural landscape” into a concrete interpretive experience of Piscataway culture and history.
Corkern was recognized for his accomplishments and receivedcongratulatory proclamations from many, including:
- Assistant Secretary of the Interior Robert G. Stanton brought greetings from Steny Hoyer, Minority Whip of the U. S. House of Representatives; Ken Salazar, U. S. Secretary of the Interior; and Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service
- Delegate James Proctor presented the Governor’s Citation from Martin O’Malley, Governor of Maryland
- Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., presented a resolution from the Senate of Maryland
- Delegate Joseph Vallario presented a resolution from the Maryland House of Delegates
- Senator Miller and Delegates Proctor and Vallario presented a Maryland State Flag that flew over the State House in Annapolis
- Accokeek Foundation Trustee Eugene Roberts presented a Certificate of Recognition from Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County Executive
- Elizabeth Hewlett, Chairman of the Prince George’s Planning Board, presented a Certificate of Appreciation from the Prince George’s Planning Board
- Alexcy Romero, Superintendent of National Capital Parks–East, presented three “Centennial Challenge” medallions from the National Park Service: The Frederick Douglass Medallion for Excellence in Leadership; the Carter G. Woodson Medallion for Making a Difference; the Willow Oak Medallion for Excellence in Resource Management
- James Rees, President of Mount Vernon, brought greetings from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association
Corkern previously worked at the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, the George Washington University, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has served on numerous boards and commissions, and currently serves as chair of the steering committee of the Washington AIDS Partnership, as a board member of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, and as a trustee of the Corina Higginson Trust, a Washington, DC, philanthropy. He was recently appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail Advisory Council. He is a member of the Cosmos Club. Corkern received his PhD in American Civilization from the George Washington University.
The event was sponsored by generous donors, including Susan Gage Caterers, B.K. Miller Company, Alexander and Cleaver, Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, Prince Charitable Trusts, SMECO, Cultural Resources Management Group, Delegate Joseph F. Vallario, Jr., and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. Leadership Salute contributions help to ensure high-quality, affordable educational and recreational opportunities for the local community.
About the Accokeek Foundation and the National Conservation Leadership Award
The Accokeek Foundation, which was established in 1957 to protect the Mount Vernon viewshed, stewards 200 acres of Piscataway Park along the Potomac River in Prince George’s and Charles Counties, Maryland. Its programs include the National Colonial Farm, a living history museum that preserves heirloom plants, heritage breeds of livestock, and historic buildings of the Chesapeake Tidewater; the Ecosystem Farm, a demonstration of sustainable agriculture; and training programs in organic farming, museum theatre, and other related fields.
The Accokeek Foundation established the National Conservation Leadership Award in 2001 to recognize contributions in the conservation of natural, cultural, and historic resources. Former recipients of award include Robert G. Stanton, former Director of the National Park Service; John M. Derrick, former chairman and CEO of Pepco Holdings; Steny H. Hoyer, Democratic Whip, U.S. House of Representatives; Gilbert Gude, former Member of Congress; the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union; Willem Polak, President of the Potomac Riverboat Company; Glenn Eugster, retired Assistant Regional Director for Partnerships, National Park Service National Capital Region; and Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, President of the Senate of Maryland. Peter Gilsey, Chair and CEO of Ariba Asset Management, Inc., was selected as the 2010 recipient and was honored posthumously in December 2010.