We’re excited to continue our monthly Member Moment, featuring the wonderful members of the Alice Ferguson Foundation. This month’s spotlight is Kent Hibben, a longtime resident of the Moyaone community. Enjoy!
Kent Hibben, 59, grew up in the regional area and was a board member for the Alice Ferguson Foundation for 25 years.
Kent spent much of his time from early teenage years to summers between college working and playing on the farm. His mother Dietlinde Hibben worked in the farmhouse as a live-in artist and curator. Hired to work on the grounds by his life mentor, Hank Xander, Kent paid for college by “building fences, shoveling manure, and mowing hay” at Hard Bargain Farm.
During his time, Kent also helped build Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Wareham Lodge, which had housed social gatherings and school children for overnights for many years. When it came to its deconstruction, never one to shy away from hard work, Kent felt that it was only fitting that he participated. The plot of land is where our brand new pavilion, now in construction, will welcome visiting students this coming Fall.
Inspired by the natural beauty of Accokeek and the Potomac, Kent recalls many fond childhood memories playing with his brothers, Mark and Christopher, as well as Hank Xander’s two sons, Mark and Andy. One memory in particular included a time when Kent was 12 and he sled down the locally infamous steep hill in the back of the Farmhouse, looking towards the Potomac. While riding solo down the hill alongside a five-person rider, Kent recalls messing with the others and cutting them off, causing the others to slip off their sled mid-ride. As punishment, young Kent was made to retrieve the large sled from the very bottom of the hill where an old Tobacco Barn lay.
Caring for the animals on Hard Bargain Farm was one of Kent’s favorite tasks as a Farmer. Among his favorites was Bulldog, a retired American Quarter Horse that lived on the farm in the mid 1980s. He recalls that Bulldog was friendly to others, but could only be convinced by Kent to be ridden anywhere.
When asked what he hoped for the future of AFF, Kent urges that a “hands-on education is the best way to learn about nature and increase longevity of the foundation.” Learning from a physical experience improves memory of the subject matter, so encouraging children to learn outdoors and experience activities, such as rolling down a hill or weeding a garden, is vital for environmental education’s success.
Kent was among the founders of Fergie’s Garden Club, a group of individuals who were avid gardeners and teachers of the craft. Members and Guests to AFF can carry on this tradition by volunteering with us at the Children’s Garden on Thursdays from 9-11am! Learn more here.
While working at AFF, Kent was known for humorously dressing up and remaking historic photographs around the AFF grounds. Pictured below is Kent dressed up as a Bull as he lays on an original furniture piece from when Alice Ferguson resided in the Farmhouse. Above Kent, is a self-portrait of Alice laying on the same couch.
Kent wants to pay homage to a neighbor, Clyde Allen (1901-1991), a fisherman who lived off Mockey Point near Hard Bargain Farm, completely off the grid. Watermen Allen’s property was grandfathered into what is now known as protected land under the National Park Service. Living off the natural resources that the Potomac offered him, Clyde Allen happily welcomed guests from the Alice Ferguson Foundation to help upkeep his home during his golden era. Kent recalls visiting Watermen Allen in the 1980s as he would carry large jugs of frozen water with coworker Eileen Watts, to help Allen keep his fish suitable for sale off of Bryan Point Road. Family and friends of Clyde Allen recall that he continuously would say that “the river’s my home.”
Thank you Kent for your continued support of Alice Ferguson Foundation’s mission and history!