Andrea Jones, Director of Programs and Visitor Engagement

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Andrea_bioAndrea’s passion for authentic and engaging educational practice began when she was a high school social studies teacher in Atlanta, Georgia. With the goal of inspiring young minds to examine big questions, rather than small facts, she earned a reputation for using non-traditional teaching methods — from role playing and dramatic performance to art-making and even grassroots activism.

In her next career as Education Specialist for the Atlanta History Center, Andrea was part of a three-person, award-winning team that created a framework for an entirely new, more immersive visitor experience. “We wanted people to feel like they were participating in historical events firsthand — making real decisions and connecting the past to their current day life,” she explains.

In her new role at Accokeek Foundation, Andrea is using her expertise to strategize innovative ways to involve the public in meaningful discussions and experiences about what it means to have a responsible and sustainable relationship with the land.

Email Andrea at ajones@accokeek.org.

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Adopt-a-Trail Program

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pumpkin ash trailCalling all trail lovers! The Accokeek Foundation needs volunteers to participate in its brand new Adopt-a-Trail program! Help maintain over 3 miles of beautiful trails in Piscataway Park by adopting a trail in 2014.

The Accokeek Foundation’s Adopt-A-Trail program is designed with conservationists in mind; promoting stewardship of the land and access to 200 acres of Piscataway Park. The program focuses on engaging organizations throughout the community that want to make a difference by helping the Foundation to conserve and maintain the trail system. Organizations are encouraged to choose a trail to help maintain for a year, and during that period your organization, with help and guidance from the Foundation’s staff members, will provide maintenance and clean up to your segment of trail.

Volunteer Responsibilities may include: 

• Clearing overgrown brush
• Removing downed tree and limbs
• Removing trash on and around the trail
• Reporting issues

This is a great opportunity for businesses, communities, boy and girl scout troops, classrooms, clubs, groups of friends, or families to give back to their community by helping us protect a great local resource and outdoor classroom.

 

trail maintenanceThe Reward

The Accokeek Foundation will show off your hard work with two signs posted on your portion of the trail as well as your logo (or name) on our Adopt-A-Trail website in order to recognize your organization’s good stewardship and dedication to our community.

 

How to Adopt

Your organization/group must fill out the Adopt-A-Trail Application and submit it to Casey Lowe at volunteers@accokeek.orgOrganizations and groups that are selected must first attend a one-day trail maintenance training session on January 20. After successfully completing this training, adopters can begin work on their trail.

Don’t have an organization? – No worries! Individuals, families and estates can all adopt trails, also.

If your organization is lacking in “manpower,” but still has a desire to help, in-kind or monetary donations are also welcome in order to help maintain the trails. Remember – every little bit helps. It is only through your efforts that The Foundation’s trails will remain accessible and in pristine condition for all who come to enjoy them.

 

Trails Available for Adoption:

The Pumpkin Ash Trail follows the Potomac River from near the Visitor Center to the Ecosystem Farm, passing through a forest and a tidal wetland and providing excellent views of Mount Vernon. The level of water present in the wetland changes with the tide. During high tide, fish and amphibians are abundant. During low tide, the tracks of animals like opossums or raccoons can often be seen in the mud. The trail is named for the pumpkin ash tree, which grows here in one of the northern-most groves known to exist in the United States. Named for the pumpkin-shaped base that it forms when growing on a site that remains wet for much of the year, the pumpkin ash produces “winged” fruit similar to the “helicopters” often spun on school playgrounds. The Pumpkin Ash Trail connects with the Blackberry Trail.

Distance: 0.25 mile one-way
Difficulty: Easy
Markers: Yellow blazing

The Blackberry Trail connects with the Pumpkin Ash Trail near the Ecosystem Farm and ends in a small hayfield near visitor parking, meandering through a floodplain forest. The water that gathers in this area feeds into a tidal wetland before emptying into the Potomac River. This environment provides excellent habitat for moisture-loving animals and plants—such as jack-in-the-pulpit, pokeweed, and pawpaw trees—as well as white-tailed deer, whose tracks are often visible on the trail. Boots are recommended, since portions of the trail are often muddy.

Distance: 0.5 mile one-way
Difficulty: Easy, seasonally muddy
Markers: Purple blazing

The Riverview Trail follows the Potomac River from near the Visitor Center, providing some views of Mount Vernon along the way. It leads through a strip of land known as a riparian forest buffer, which reduces soil erosion, nutrient runoff, and other effects that agriculture and other inland land uses can have on waterways. Planted with more than 50 varieties of trees and shrubs native to Maryland, this buffer completes a two-mile stretch of continuous riparian forest. The Riverview Trail passes the Museum Garden and connects with the Persimmon and Bluebird trails.

Distance: 0.6 mile one-way
Difficulty: Easy
Markers: Dark blue blazing

The Persimmon Trail begins in the barnyard and circles the Conservation Pond. This pond collects runoff from our agricultural fields and controls the flow of sediment into the Potomac River. The pond also serves as valuable habitat for fish, frogs, turtles, ducks, geese, beavers, and other wildlife. Waterfowl often nest on the small island in the pond, and a number of Canada geese have adopted the pond as their year-round home. The trail is named for the persimmon trees that grow along the pond’s north edge. The Persimmon Trail connects with the Riverview Trail.

Distance: 0.4 mile loop
Difficulty: Easy
Markers: Orange blazing

A female eastern bluebird guards her nest. Credit Bonnie Simpers.

A female eastern bluebird guards her nest. Credit Bonnie Simpers.

The Bluebird Trail runs along the edge of the Native Tree Arboretum and around scattered chestnut groves down to the Potomac River. It crosses through current and former agricultural fields, some that are still in use for grazing and some that have grown into small stands of trees. A handful of nest boxes are visible along the trail, erected to provide nesting sites for Eastern bluebirds and monitored by a group of volunteers. These native cavity nesters are present in the park year-round. The Bluebird Trail connects to the Pawpaw and Riverview trails.

Distance: 0.9 mile one-way
Difficulty: Easy
Markers: Light blue blazing

The Pawpaw Trail travels through an old-growth forest, offering a glimpse of what this land was like before European settlers arrived.

The Pawpaw Trail travels through an old-growth forest, offering a glimpse of what this land was like before European settlers arrived.

The Pawpaw Trail begins at the Native Tree Arboretum and leads up the hillside through a mature forest. This forested area offers a glimpse of what the land was like before European settlers arrived. The hillside provides excellent wintertime views of Mount Vernon across the Potomac River. The trail is named for the pawpaw tree, which grows in abundance in the park and produces green oblong fruits that have given Accokeek its name. “Accokeek” is often translated to mean “place of the wild fruit,” referring to the pawpaw. You may discover pawpaws along this trail, although the tree typically prefers low, wet woods. The Pawpaw Trail ends in a grove of American chestnut trees, where it connects with the Bluebird Trail.

Distance: 0.5 mile one-way
Difficulty: Moderate, short steep climbs
Markers: White blazing

 

To Adopt-a-Trail now, or if you have any questions, please contact Casey Lowe at volunteers@accokeek.org or call 301-283-2113.

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Now Hiring: Development Associate

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The Development Associate organizes and supports all fundraising, including foundation and corporate grantseeking; cultivation of major donors and members; management of donor data; and coordination of fundraising events. The Development Associate also supports the organization’s communications efforts related to fundraising.

The successful candidate will be smart, creative, organized, a stickler for detail, articulate on paper and in person, politically savvy, well connected in the community, and interested in using technology for fundraising.

SPECIFIC DUTIES

  • In consultation with the President and the Vice President, update and help to implement the organization’s annual development plan.
  • Research and prepare grant proposals and grant reports, with input from program staff, assistance from consultants, and direction from the Vice President.
  • Write, proofread, edit, and assemble proposals, update and assemble attachments, and develop new fundraising materials as requested.
  • Work with program staff to develop project concepts, scope of work, deliverables, schedules, and budgets for proposals.
  • Using the Foundation’s database, track and manage all deadlines associated with grant applications, management, and reporting.
  • Support fundraising and cultivation events, including soliciting sponsors, preparing sponsor packages, following up with interested donors, and tracking RSVPs.
  • In coordination with program staff, facilitate meetings and tours that highlight important aspects of our programs of interest to major donors and funders.
  • Work with the Marketing Director and the Volunteer and Membership Coordinator on membership appeals and renewals, including database management to support fundraising.
  • Research, develop, and manage the Foundation’s corporate matching gift program, to ensure that employee gifts are matched by supporting employers.
  • To enhance fundraising, write for online communications, including website, blog, social media.
  • Support program staff as they ensure fiscal sustainability of programming and project accounting to demonstrate appropriate use of donor funds.
  • Support the Foundation’s public outreach and marketing efforts as needed, especially as related fundraising, including workplace giving events and presentations to prospective funders.
  • Support educational programs, events, and demonstrations as needed.
  • Build the Accokeek Foundation’s visibility through participation at conferences and meetings, development of training workshops, and networking with colleagues.
  • Work closely with and provide administrative support to the Vice President, as needed.
  • Update the website and social media as requested and/or as appropriate.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS:

  • a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree (or equivalent)
  • demonstrated success in fundraising, at least two years of experience, is preferred,
  • the ability to work independently on a variety of assignments with minimal supervision
  • very strong organizational, research, marketing, and business process skills
  • superior interpersonal and communication skills, including demonstrated writing skills
  • public speaking and presentation skills
  • ability to work with high level constituents (including donors and board members)
  • creative problem-solving skills, initiative, sound judgment, diplomacy and discretion,
  • ability to maintain poise and professionalism under pressure.
  • excellent independent decision making skills, but openness to taking direction,
  • understanding of the significance of organizational culture, and support for organizational standards
  • comfort working in a fast-paced, collegial, team-oriented, and entrepreneurial environment
  • knowledge of development department functions, with proficiency in using MS Office and Salesforce and fundraising and donor applications (Accokeek Foundation uses Causeview)
  • skills in using social networks and multimedia technology to enhance fundraising (peer-to-peer fundraising – Crowdrise, Razoo, etc.)

To apply: Send a resume and cover letter describing your experience, skills, interests, and salary requirements to info@accokeek.org, with “Development Associate” in the subject line. Please include a two-page writing sample from a project you have done (can be excerpted from a report, grant proposal, etc.).

About the Accokeek Foundation

The Accokeek Foundation is a non-profit, educational organization whose mission is to connect people to history, agriculture, and nature through innovative educational programs and engaging visitor experiences. Founded over fifty years ago to “preserve the view” from George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Foundation was one of the first land trusts, blazing new trails in preservation through a public/private partnership that led to the creation of Piscataway Park, a nearly 5000-acre national park. Through a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service, the Foundation cares for two hundred acres of the park, while fulfilling its mission. This working landscape includes the National Colonial Farm (demonstrates life of a tobacco planter on the eve of the American Revolution) the Ecosystem Farm (demonstrates sustainable agriculture on an 8-acre organic vegetable farm), heritage breed livestock, nature trails, gardens, a fishing pier, and boat dock (with kayak launch). In addition, this is the sacred homeland of the Piscataway people, and its significance as an indigenous cultural landscape makes it a key site on several national trails.

 

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

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Now Hiring: Director of Programs and Visitor Engagement

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The Director of Programs and Visitor Engagement is a new position designed to align all of the Foundation’s activities and programs in an educational framework that leverages the organization’s history and the site’s historical, agricultural, and natural resources for the greatest impact. Reporting to the CEO, the Director will work collaboratively with staff on development and implementation of a unified approach to education, interpretation, and visitor engagement, bringing together previously discreet functions into a coherent whole that promotes deep connections to this landscape on the Potomac River.

Responsibilities and Expectations:

  • Engage staff and advisers in development of interpretive and educational offerings that weave together the historical and contemporary agricultural stories of the National Colonial Farm and Ecosystem Farm, with particular attention to creating meaningful visitor experiences that highlight African American and Native American history and culture in Southern Maryland.
  • Guide growth of K-12 school tours, special programs and partnerships, as well as development of teacher support materials and tools for evaluating impact.  Build relationships and partnerships with school districts, teachers, local schools, and youth organizations, with attention to development of STEM-based programs.
  • Oversee design and implementation of new youth and family-centered experiential learning program on sustainable agriculture at the Ecosystem Farm.
  • Oversee design, implementation, and evaluation of visitor experiences that create meaningful connections to the natural resources of the land and river.
  • Supervise all program managers, and provide guidance in accountability and management to  promote a culture of excellence.
  • Oversee development, implementation and continuous monitoring of program budgets.
  • Work closely with development staff in identifying grant opportunities and preparing applications for programs and initiatives.
  • Work closely with Director of Marketing and Communications to communicate the Foundation’s mission and programs, and continually evaluate program effectiveness.
  • Expand the organization’s professional connections and visibility in interdisciplinary circles related to spaces of informal learning – museums, national parks, nature centers, etc.
  • Be an active representative of the Accokeek Foundation at the local, state and national levels and maintain a high professional profile.

Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in related area.
  • At least 5 years supervisory experience in a science center, nature center, living history farm, natural history museum, other non-profit focused on informal learning and visitor engagement.
  • Experience with engaging diverse communities and stakeholders in program development and implementation.
  • Demonstrated success in creating a collaborative, productive team environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain partnerships.
  • Experience with outcomes-based planning and evaluation.
  • Strong program management experience, including developing and monitoring budgets, conceptualizing projects, and writing grant applications.
  • Excellent writing and communication skills.
  • Ability to juggle multiple priorities with competence, grace, and humor.

To apply: Send a resume and cover letter describing how your experience, skills, and interests make you uniquely qualified for this position to info@accokeek.org with “Director of Programs” in the subject line. Please include a two-page writing sample from a project you have done that has some connection to this position (can be excerpted from a report, grant proposal, etc.).

Position is open until filled; preference given to applications received by November 8, 2013.

About the Accokeek Foundation

The Accokeek Foundation is a non-profit, educational organization whose mission is to connect people to history, agriculture, and nature through innovative educational programs and engaging visitor experiences. Founded over fifty years ago to “preserve the view” from George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Foundation was one of the first land trusts, blazing new trails in preservation through a public/private partnership that led to the creation of Piscataway Park, a nearly 5000-acre national park. Through a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service, the Foundation cares for two hundred acres of the park, while fulfilling its mission. This working landscape includes the National Colonial Farm (demonstrates life of a tobacco planter on the eve of the American Revolution) the Ecosystem Farm (demonstrates sustainable agriculture on an 8-acre organic vegetable farm), heritage breed livestock, nature trails, gardens, a fishing pier, and boat dock (with kayak launch). In addition, this is the sacred homeland of the Piscataway people, and its significance as an indigenous cultural landscape makes it a key site on several national trails.

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

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Federal Government Shutdown Closes Piscataway Park

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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.

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2012 Annual Report Now Available Online

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41983 Accokeek AnnualReport 4

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Holli Eliott, Ecosystem Farm Manager

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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.

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Linda Brown, Visitor Services Representative

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linda sprouts pippa chickenLinda Brown joined the Accokeek Foundation during 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. Linda now enjoys engaging with the many visitors of the Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park, from fisherfolk and trail hikers, to the families who come to see the historic farm and barnyard animals. 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.”

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Joseph Mickens, Site Interpreter

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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.

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Mariah Fry, Site Interpreter

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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.

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