Federal Government Shutdown Closes Piscataway Park


NPS Piscataway ParkDue to the government shutdown, Piscataway Park will be closed to the public.  The gates for the site and facilities managed by the Accokeek Foundation will be locked as long as the federal shutdown continues. Until further notice, it will not be permissible for the public to enter national park land. This includes access to the water and fishing pier, nature trails, Visitor Center, Education Center, National Colonial Farm, and the Ecosystem Farm. Essential personnel will carry on regular operations to ensure safety to the animals and site security.

All programs, scheduled tours, and volunteers events during the period of closure will be cancelled.

Special arrangements have been made the farm’s CSA pickup. Pickups will be available during its regular time on Tuesday and Friday (if necessary) at the Moyaone Commons located at 2311 Bryan Point Road.

The Accokeek Foundation is deeply disappointed to be unable to serve the public at Piscataway Park during this time, and we look forward to resuming normal operations soon. If you have questions about the status of closures or the effect of closures on the Accokeek Foundation, please contact the Foundation’s communications office at outreach@accokeek.org.


2012 Annual Report Now Available Online


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Holli Eliott, Ecosystem Farm Manager


Holli Elliot

Holli comes to the Accokeek Foundation from a background rich in community organizing, entrepreneurship, and agrarian values. She grew up in New Mexico on a 45 acre farm, producing alfalfa, pumpkins, and pinto beans commercially, as well as vegetable and animal production for meat, milk, and eggs. Holli holds dear the work ethic imparted by her upbringing on a farm. She studied philosophy and biology at Creighton University in America’s heartland (Om-aha) from 1994-98. In the early 2000′s she moved to Washington D.C. and built two yoga studios, starting with nothing more than a dream (and good credit.) By 2011, when she sold the endeavor, she had a team of over 40 people invested in the vision and averaged over 170 students per day.

Even during Holli‘s city dwelling and yoga days, she stayed interested in agriculture and regularly visited, studied and volunteered at innovative farms across the globe. Holli holds two Permaculture Design Certificates, including one with an Earthbuilding focus. Holli has a talent for long-range vision and is committed to creating community driven programs. These days she is busy designing closed-loop systems incorporating all of the 200 acres the Accokeek Foundation stewards. She hopes to continue to inspire people to see the relations between all the things in our world.


Linda Brown, Museum Educator


Linda Brown joined the Accokeek Foundation’s education staff the Spring of 2013. Linda’s work experience ranges from customer service and retail to education and childcare. Her most rewarding job experience was as a first-grade teacher with the Potomac Heights Christain Academy. She now enjoys working as a Museum Educator, leading K-12 school tours of the National Colonial Farm, where she can mix two loves of her life into one–working with children and the quiet life of a farm. A Maryland native, Linda has lived most of her life in Indian Head, Maryland where she still lives with her husband of 37 years. She has two adult sons, and is a new, first-time grandmother of a beautiful baby girl, Abigail Grace. When she isn’t busy working, devoting her time to her church, or home with her family, Linda enjoys taking long walks, hikes, and playing with her dog “Bo-Bo.”


Joseph Mickens, Site Interpreter


Born in the Bronx, New York, yet raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Joseph Mickens joins the Accokeek Foundation with a passion for learning, meeting new people, and the history and culture of Southern Maryland as he steps back into the 1770s in his role as Site Interpreter. Before coming to Accokeek Foundation, Joseph worked as a Contractor for Lathan Construction at the Smithsonian. When not working on the National Colonial Farm, he enjoys time in the 21st century with his wife and five children.


Mariah Fry, Site Interpreter


Mariah Fry interprets “Jemima Bolton”

Mariah Fry began her journey with the Accokeek Foundation during the summer of 2011 as a Museum Theater intern. When she is not in costume as a site interpreter for the National Colonial Farm, Mariah teaches middle school writing in Fairfax, Virginia and will act as an  interpreter for the soon to be opened National Children’s Museum. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and son.


Important News Update: Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park and Facilities Closed


The Accokeek Foundation offices and Piscataway Park in Accokeek. MD will be closed to the public, Tuesday, October 30, to ensure the safety for everyone. This includes the walking trails, fishing pier, National Colonial Farm site, and Ecosystem Farm. We will be monitoring and securing the site (and the animals) throughout the storm; stay tuned for updates or call 301-283-2113 ext. 39 for further information.


Accokeek Foundation Receives Ticket to Ride Grant for School Tours










 $230,000 Grant Connects 30,000 Students with National Parks Across the Country

Washington, D.C. (August 28, 2012)  -  Responding to an overwhelming need for transportation and educational programming funding from parks and schools nationwide, the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, created the Ticket To Ride program.  With support from Disney, Ticket to Ride provides financial resources for transportation, in-park educational programming, and meals that make national park field trips possible for schools across the country.  This year, Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park was selected to receive a Ticket to Ride grant in order to bring 1,500 students to Piscataway Park.  Nationwide, over $230,000 in Ticket to Ride grants will make it possible for more than 30,000 students to experience their local national park this fall.

The Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park offers unique educational programs about Maryland’s history, modern sustainable agriculture, and natural resource stewardship. Entertaining tours and performances, customized experience based activities, and service learning opportunities help people connect to the land and to one another.

This land also serves as an outdoor classroom for educational programs, research, agricultural, and conservation projects. Each year, thousands of students and educators participate in programs developed to supplement social studies and environmental education in the classroom. With the Accokeek Foundation’s involvement in the Ticket to Ride program we will include pre-site and post-site component for students to complete prior to coming to the site and after they get back to school. These components will consist of an interactive learning guide with videos, trivia and vocabulary words that are in line with the theme tour chosen by the teacher.

“Providing the means for America’s youth to experience all that our national park system has to offer is imperative,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “The Ticket to Ride program makes it possible for us to engage the younger generation through the parks’ unique natural, cultural and historical classrooms, ultimately fostering an early love and appreciation for these important places.”

In addition to the Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park, the Fall 2012 Ticket to Ride grantees include:

Assateague Island National Seashore

Biscayne National Park

Boston National Historical Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Buck Island Reef National Monument

Catoctin Mountain Park

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Congaree National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Craters of the Moon National Monument and National Preserve

Devils Postpile National Monument

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park

Fort Sumter National Monument

Homestead National Monument of America

Lava Beds National Monument

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

Moores Creek National Battlefield

National Mall and Memorial Parks

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

North Cascades National Park

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Point Reyes National Seashore

River Raisin National Battlefield Park

San Juan Island National Historical Park

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Stones River National Battlefield

Virgin Islands National Park

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

Yosemite National Park

For many students, the Ticket to Ride field trip will be their first visit to a national park.  Recognizing that once in the parks, a world of experiential learning opens up, the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service are dedicated to providing this critical access to the parks. Through these field trips, young people discover their natural, cultural and historical heritage, participate in volunteer and service-learning activities, enjoy recreational opportunities and most importantly, begin a lifelong relationship with their national parks.

For more information about the Ticket to Ride program, our corporate partners and ways to support this and the other exceptional National Park Foundation programs, go to www.nationalparks.org.


You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites — all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks.  Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks.  We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.  Join us in supporting your national parks — this is your land. www.nationalparks.org.

Join us – This is Your Land. www.nationalparks.org
FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/nationalpark
TWITTER http://twitter.com/goparks


Administrative Coordinator Position Announcement


The Accokeek Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization involved in land stewardship, historical preservation and sustainable agriculture, is seeking an Administrative Coordinator to provide daily support for the Accokeek Foundation’s administrative office.

The Accokeek Foundation offers more than 100 events and classes each year, field trips for area school children, and provides services to the thousands of annual visitors of Piscataway Park, a national park on the Maryland shore of the Potomac River. The Administrative Coordinator serves as a key point of contact to the public and provides critical administrative support for all aspects of the Foundation’s programs. This position requires outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, excellent administrative and organizational skills, and the ability to successfully juggle multiple responsibilities with humor and grace.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Phones. Screen and route calls, respond to inquiries, and provide excellent customer service and follow up.
  • Mail. Screen and distribute all mail and general email.  Assemble outgoing mailings as needed.
  • Calendars and scheduling. Manage calendars for organization and for President. Set up appointments and meetings, check space availability, and arrange travel.
  • Database support. Input data, run reports, and provide information to staff as requested, including updating contact information, registrations, donations, and payments in a timely and accurate manner with utmost confidentiality.
  • Program support. Monitor registrations, create surveys, and provide logistical support (food, room reservations, setup, check in, etc.); organize and maintain data (visitation, program attendance and budgets, volunteer participation, survey results); and assist with reporting.
  • Correspondence. Prepare and send correspondence, invoices, etc.
  • General administrative duties. Provide support such as filing, maintaining supplies and office machinery, and other duties as needed.

Education and experience:

College degree preferred. At least one year of relevant work experience.

Skills Needed:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and comfort on the phone.
  • Strong interpersonal skills (ability to interact professionally with the general public, with staff members and volunteers as well as Board of Trustees and major donors is critical to the position).
  • Attention to detail and punctuality/reliability a must.
  • Highly proficient with computer technology and programs including Microsoft Office Suite, Salesforce, Google Calendar and other “cloud” computing resources.
  • Experience with processing payments (credit cards, checks, cash) accurately and honestly.
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks and deadlines in a busy work environment.
  • Ability to provide basic technology support for office equipment, computers, projectors, etc. is highly desirable.
  • Proficiency in spoken Spanish a plus.

Position Details:

This is a full-time position (40 hours per week). Schedule is 9am to 5pm, Monday-Friday. Occasional weekend and evening work may be required. Starting salary range is $19,000-21,000 per year. The Accokeek Foundation provides a generous employee benefit package including health insurance, paid vacation, holiday, and sick leave, and a retirement plan, as well as a great team-oriented work environment in park setting with opportunities for advancement for the right individual.

To Apply:

For best consideration, apply by July 20, 2012. Forward cover letter and resume via email to pattinorment@accokeek.org. Please use subject line “Administrative Coordinator, AC2012.” This position is open until filled.

The Accokeek Foundation conducts background checks in order to insure the safety and well-being of the organization’s staff and visitors. The Accokeek Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


The Satisfactions of Farming


by Becky Seward, Ecosystem Farm Manager

(Written to the CSA community and published in this week’s edition of Field Notes.)

I write to you on the tail end of a couple of beautiful days of rain and another gorgeous day of sun and warmth to wick some of that extra moisture off of the field. It has been a truly blessed season here at the Ecosystem Farm; I cannot believe the good fortune we’ve had! I have really enjoyed seeing you all around the community, and have been feeling so welcomed by many of you. Thanks for your support!

The weather has afforded us some nice days to work in the greenhouses and do some substantial weed-pulling. Yesterday I came home filthy from a day of field work, cleaning out a dusty shed, and cutting bamboo. It was a wholly irritating, itchy, yet satisfying discomfort that is so fulfilling to ash off at the end of the day. I was reminded that this is a life that I love, with its balancing act and its never-ending to-do list, for its visceral tasks. The sense of completion that I get from weeding an entire bed comes not only from the fluffy beds that are left behind, but the moist knees and the dirty hands. My father (who is volunteering Tuesdays now!) was reminding me this week that I was always in the dirt as a little girl, with worm collections and bugs in jars left about the house. I have fond memories of dressing up in frilly dresses and tights, only to climb the nearest tree or plop in the nearest mud puddle. It was in these spaces that I felt myself and I suppose, at the time, I was garnering an appreciation for nature that has only grown deeper and more sophisticated as I have grown older.

It has always seemed to me that farming is one of the most people-oriented and timely ways to be a nature lover. It is a profession, serving a human need, that has immense ramifications in both the human and natural world. I see more birds from the tractor than I would from a walk in the woods. After the big rain this week, on Monday we saw two snapping turtles, a few big black snakes, several wild turkeys, as well as the regular sightings of birds of prey and insects. It is a naturalist’s paradise of songbirds alone at the Ecosystem Farm and we have enjoyed sharing our observations with each other as we work each day.

Farming allows me my personal connection with nature every day, as well as my visceral need to be caked in mud, and also a human connection in the most profound way. We not only develop an intimacy with the farm as an ecosystem and the food that we tend with care for you, but that food in turn goes to you for your health and your connection to the land. I hope you feel this care in your box this week!

An excerpt from The Satisfactions of the Mad Farmer by Wendell Berry: [Read more...]