The Accokeek Foundation’s natural resource stewardship initiative increases interest and use of native plants and trees in small landscapes through demonstration and education of sustainable land management practices that support natural habitats.
- Conduct annuals soil tests on various pastures and and fields to understand the overall conditions of the land.
- Use natural additives to improve low fertility levels.
- Reduce and control surface runoff with the use of vegetation buffer, and grading and stabilization techniques to prevent erosion.
- Capture rainwater with rain barrels and other cisterns.
- Limit impervious material used at the park and installed a green roof on the education building.
Invasive Removal with Livestock:
- Augment use of mechanical control method to manage invasive plants with heritage sheep that forage and help clear heavily infested areas before sending in workers.
- A high density, low frequency rotational grazing method for cattle and sheep. This style, most commonly known as “mob grazing,” only allows animals to return to a particular pasture at a maximum of only two or three times a year or per grazing season.
- Rotationally graze chickens after cattle on pasture so they can scratch through and spread the dung piles naturally.
- Two annual cuttings of hay in pasture fields to provide winter food to livestock.
Composting / Mulching:
- The Accokeek Foundation creates its own compost and use it to make a valuable soil product, adding nutrients which increases the health and yield of the soil. The Foundation has compost bins in several buildings around the site to allow for appropriate sorting of food scraps from other waste. From everyday meetings, various programs, and even events, compost is constantly collected to repurpose discarded food and some paper products. Additionally, grass clippings, fallen leaves, hay/straw other organic matter are added to the mix.
- With so many wooded acres, the Foundation’s stewardship team are constantly trimming trees, removing fallen limbs or downed trees. Throughout the year, these items are collected and chipped, turning them into mulch. The mulch is used to establish pathways on trails, cover gardens for weed suppressant, and add to compost. Composting and mulching is a one of the many ways that the Foundation demonstrates closed-loop systems for sustainability.
Integrated Pest Management:
- Allow chickens to free range to provide assistance without integrated pest management. A mobile chicken coop allows the chickens to be rotated around various locations through the park.