Introducing…Molly Meehan

We would like to welcome Molly Meehan as the Accokeek Foundation’s newest staff member. Molly will be working with the Foundation’s Center for Agricultural and Environmental Stewardship to help organize and provide a wide variety of workshops, presentations, training opportunities, and other programs. Molly comes to the Foundation with a background in sustainable agriculture, sustainable living, and social justice. She was an Americorps volunteer and has worked internationally in sustainable living education. She most recently worked as a Market Master for Fresh Farm Markets. Molly grew up in the Washington, DC area, earned a BA in Human Rights from the University of Dayton and an received her MA in Sustainable Development from the School for International Training in Vermont.

We are very happy to have Molly on the staff and look forward to great things from her in the future.

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Missive from the Reading Room of the American Antiquarian Society

by Lisa Hayes, Director of Public Programs and Education

In December I learned that I had been selected for a four-week Creative and Performing Artists and Writers Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, to do research for the Accokeek Foundation’s museum theater program. With our busy schedule at the farm, the only time I could come was January. So now it’s the day after a blizzard, and I’m sitting at my wooden table in the beautiful Reading Room at the AAS. Two tables over, I see James and Lois Horton, distinguished scholars here to do research for a major new work on African American history. Looking down at me is a portrait of Isaiah Thomas, the New England publisher who started the Society in 1812 with his personal collection of 8,000 books. The AAS is now home to over three million books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, graphic arts materials, and manuscripts that document the history of the United States. While my main focus has been on crime and punishment (the theme for our 2011 Museum Theater Internship Program), I have also been searching for materials related to what we interpret at the National Colonial Farm, from foodways to plants and animals. Today’s “digging” turned up an article on making cider and two articles from the January 1787 edition of The American Museum, one on an “Experiment for raising Indian corn in poor land” and the other about the “culture of carrots.”  Time to get back to “digging”!

Discover Maryland Foodways this March

In March of this year the National Colonial Farm will premier its newly developed Foodways program.  Over the years this successful program has fascinated visitors as they witness firsthand what our colonial ancestors ate and how it was prepared.  This year we plan on taking the program and the visiting public even further into the culinary traditions of Maryland.

Maryland Fried Chicken

While we will still be cooking over the fire and using all the gizmos and gadgets of years past, the format will be drastically different!  Each program will be presented much like a modern-day cooking show, where a seated audience (along with a few special guests or tasters) will watch presenters prepare a meal and discuss what makes each of these meals unique to the Tidewater area.  From Maryland Fried Chicken to Southern Maryland Stuffed Ham we want to explore and celebrate the rich, culinary tradition that Maryland offers!

BUT WE NEED HELP!!!

Foodways Volunteers and Farm Visitors

Volunteers are needed to help with the prep work and assist during the actual “performance”.  If you are a “Foodie” at heart, love history and would love to be a part of this program please contact the volunteer coordinator for further details.  In addition to prep and set up we’d also like to set up times to test out many of the recipes we plan on doing during the season.  We hope this turns out to be one of the most enjoyable, hectic and educational experiences for everyone involved!

Farmers, environmentalists must work together for sustainable agriculture

A Letter to the Editor of the Baltimore Sun

The publication of the American Farm Bureau’s response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to set a strict “pollution diet” for the Chesapeake Bay (Baltimore Sun, Jan. 9, 2010) provides us with an important opportunity to open up the dialogue between farmers and conservationists. Earlier this month, the Accokeek Foundation hosted a conference titled “Common Ground: Growing Agriculture, Restoring the Bay,” in which policy makers and farmers alike explored ways that profitability and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand. A panel of successful farmers affirmed that, in this region that prizes local food, pastoral landscapes, and a wholesome environment, the farms that are profitable in the future will be those that adopt sustainable practices and help protect and restore the Bay.

The Accokeek Foundation and other organizations with similar standing and expertise in sustainable agriculture should do all we can to ensure that farmers have the tools they need to adopt sustainable practices and find success. I hope that farmers will use this opportunity to work with new environmental regulations and reclaim their rightful role as exemplary stewards of the land.

Wilton Corkern, President

The Visitor Center is Getting a Face Lift

Museum Visitor Center and Gift Shop

A Snowy Visitor Center

During January and February, we will be working on cleaning, painting, and rearranging the Visitor Center and incorporating more interpretive material. Though the shop area will be blocked off, the Visitor Center will remain open on its regular winter schedule of weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Hot drinks will be available to purchase, and our staff will be gathering suggestions from visitors about items you would like to see us carry in the shop.

Meet Catherine Krikstan: Our Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer

Catherine Krikstan

Meet Catherine Krikstan, Accokeek Foundation's Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer

The Chesapeake Conservation Corps was launched in 2010 to increase public involvement in environmental protection and bring in new participants to the field of conservation. The program will help individuals, communities, organizations, and governments become better stewards of our state’s natural resources. Sixteen watershed organizations and government agencies throughout Maryland such as the Accokeek Foundation, Alice Ferguson Foundation, the South River Federation, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have been provided with volunteers who will aid in environmental outreach and stewardship efforts.

We are excited to have Catherine Krikstan join our team. Starting mid-November with the Chesapeake Conservation Corps’ inaugrual kick-off ceremony, Catherine hit the ground running assisting with final preparations for the December 9th conference, Common Ground: Growing Agriculture, Restoring the Bay. This year, Catherine will work with staff to encourage agricultural and environmental stewardship, providing support to the Center for Agriculture and Environmental Stewardship (CAES) and the Ecosystem Farm. Over the course of the year, she will help to coordinate educational programs and workshops and support our public outreach and marketing efforts. She has a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and recently earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Her last semester of graduate school was spent covering the Chesapeake Bay for the Capital News Service, where she published stories in both local and national news outlets about struggling watermen, rising sea levels, and ever-expanding algae blooms. She has a strong interest in sustainable agriculture, and spent last summer managing her own small-scale Community Supported Agriculture program on the Eastern Shore.

Let’s all give Catherine a warm welcome and best wishes for a happy new year at the Foundation.