programS for elementary students
Designed to promote understanding and stewardship of the natural resources in the Potomac River watershed, our programs bring science to life for young learners. Students get to explore the world around them through more than a dozen different kinds of age-appropriate hands-on activities based on the National Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Join us online or in person for a learning adventure.
Innovative hands-on activities and field investigations
Now Scheduling Fall 2023 Programs!
Day & Overnight Programs
Grades Pre-K to 12
Students will engage in hands-on and minds-on science and learning activities in an outdoor, natural environment located on the shore of the Potomac River. Located at a historic farm, our education campus connects students to engaging and innovative ways to learn and investigate the world around them with programs designed to engage all learning styles and help students explore issues of human impact in age appropriate ways.
Location: Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Education Campus in Accokeek, MD
A Day in Nature
Located along the Potomac River, students will get hands-on and minds-on in an outdoor, natural environment. Students will explore scientific and academic concepts through experiential learning. Students are immersed in nature to experience and explore the marsh, forest and river ecosystems.
Look out over the Potomac River to gain a historical and current understanding of how people impact the watershed. Explore our historic farm and meet our friendly barn animals to understand their role in our lives and environment.
Take action by participating in a riverside litter cleanup and learn more about what we can all do to protect nature.
Field Studies curriculum is adjusted for students K-12.
Students may eat lunch at the farm. The day typically runs from 10 AM to 2 PM.
* Note: Times and activities may vary according to the seasons, weather conditions, bus schedules, other AFF onsite activities or interests and needs of the group.
Extended Day Program
Your students get to stay until 7pm! Program is similar to the day program but adds in dinner, a hayride and s’mores around the campfire!
An Overnight Adventure
Stay the night in our cabins at Hard Bargain Farm!
The overnight program is designed for students grades 3-8 and consists of two days of age-appropriate activities, which typically run from 10 AM to 8 PM (Day 1) and 8 AM to 12 PM (Day 2).
Day 1 of the curriculum is similar to the day program which focuses on habitats, ecosystems, watersheds, human impact on the environment and what we can all do to help. Curriculum can be adjusted for the age and interests of the group. Of course, this includes meeting our farm animals! Then enjoy a wagon ride to the Potomac River, dinner and a campfire with s’mores under the stars. (weather permitting).
Day 2 of the program begins at 8 AM in the barnyard to help with chores or milk our cow. Build student confidence and team skills in our Challenge Course and then head out to explore the garden and learn about native plants. Students will participate in an interactive learning activity, Who Polluted the Potomac? that reveals students’ connection to the environment of the Potomac River and how we can all help protect our environment.
Science in Parks, Schools & Green Spaces
Each year, our team of experienced educators bring our exciting and hands-on science programs to hundreds of local schools in our community. We can bring the microscopes, critter tanks and science activities to your classroom, to a schoolyard or nearby green space, or to a park near your school for a live and interactive activity that sparks interest and excitement in learning in the minds and hearts of your students.
Location: In schools, green spaces, and more than 15 state and national parks in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC.
The Alice Ferguson Foundation’s team of experienced educators can come to your classroom to run interactive science activities and teach hands-on environmental science. Our programs can engage students on real-world relevant topics such as the impact of waste and trash, how the water cycle works and the habits and life-cycles of the animals around us. Our educators can also visit your classroom before and after a day or overnight field trip to engage students in pre- and post- field trip activities that tie the field trip into the students overall science learning in the classroom.
*We are not currently offering this program option.*
Designed for: Students 3rd to 6th grade.
Time: 1-2 hours during the school day.
Science in the Parks
We bring science to life in parks across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. Our Bridging The Watershed program, in partnership with the National Park Service, engages students in meaningful watershed educational experiences through hands-on, curriculum-based outdoor studies in national parks and public lands. Students investigate subjects related to watersheds, ecosystems, and human impacts on the environment.
Designed for: Students in 6th grade.
Time: 3-5 hours during the school day.
Grades Pre-K to 6
We are excited to bring you more than 15 robust online programs that battle screen fatigue with a mixture of team building, engaging activities, and live field experiences.
With the guidance of our experienced team of educators, students will:
- learn about animal adaptations
- investigate water quality through the identification of pollution-sensitive macroinvertebrates
- understand and identifying invasive plant species
- find out how runoff and pollution impact their communities
- and more.
Our team of experienced educators help students draw vital connections between the science they are learning and real-world all around them.
What our students are saying:
“It’s really fun; you milk cows, learn about other animals and the environment and learn how to reduce the amount of pollution in the Potomac River.”
Student from Capital Hill Montessori2018
“It’s worth the mosquito bites and it’s educational in a fun way!”
Student from Woodridge Elementary School2016
“I worried about being away from home, but when we did the activities I realized it was a lot of fun.”
Student from Stoddert Elementary School2018
“I had the best time and I 100% recommend coming here. If you don’t like it, we can’t be friends anymore.”
Student from Truesdell Public Charter School2019
““My trip was awesome; I got to do and see things I’d never done before. I would like to come back.” – Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School, 2018
Student from Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School2018
“Don’t be scared! I was scared of touching bugs and now I’m not. I love nature now.”
Student from Inspired Teaching Public Charter School2017
Going Beyond the Textbook
Students discover the magic of science in the world around them through our award-winning environmental education and team-building programs.
Explore Our Programs
Middle school Students
Click below to explore our program offerings for students 6th grade through 8th grade.
High School Students
Click below to explore our program offerings for students 9th grade through 12th grade.