Land & Cultural Preservation
Restoring Indigenous Values in Caring for the Land
The Accokeek Foundation is located in Piscataway Park, within the traditional ancestral homelands of Piscataway People both past and present. We acknowledge and honor with gratitude the land and waterways, and the people who have stewarded this land throughout the generations. We are humbled and honored to be able to carry on in this tradition.
An Indigenous Cultural Landscape
A Model of Stewardship
The land and waterways now known as Piscataway Park have been the tribal homeland of the Piscataway People for longer than records have been kept. Today it remains the cherished homeland of the Piscataway People of Southern Maryland.
At the heart of the Foundation's work is a dedication to embody the Piscataway values of generosity, sharing, reciprocity, respect, and stewardship.
We Are Still Here
The Piscataway people are alive and well. Like other modern Americans, many Piscataways have moved to far-flung places, but the heaviest concentration is in Charles, Prince George's, and St. Mary's counties, particularly in La Plata and Brandywine.
The Piscataway community has been growing in size since the 19th century. It is tied together by a common culture, by neighborhood connections in Southern Maryland, through lines of kinship extending to all Piscataway people, and by several tribal organizations.
Above all, today's Piscataways have in common their homeland, which centers on Piscataway Park.
Stewardship and Conservation
As stewards of Piscataway Park, the Accokeek Foundation works to protect the plants and animals that call the park home.
Over the years, a great deal of natural land has been cleared for development. In the process, old trees that once provided habitat to cavity-nesting birds—including the Eastern bluebird—have been cut down. With the addition of fierce competition from human-introduced species like the house sparrow and European starling, Eastern bluebird populations plummeted. To support the native bird populations, the Foundation works with volunteers to provide them with suitable nesting sites. Each year, a group of volunteers monitors 20 nest boxes and report population data to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Invasive Plant Management
In Piscataway Park, a comprehensive and effective invasive plant management plan is just one piece of the native plant restoration puzzle. To truly revitalize this landscape, we must also consider deer management, a restoration plan for native plant communities, a stewardship framework for existing native plants, and erosion control. This work involves a strong network of individuals and organizations partnering together to support native plant revitalization projects in the park.
Piscataway Park encompasses about six miles of shoreline along the Potomac River. The Accokeek Foundation stewards about two of those six miles, and the largest part of our shoreline work involves removing trash. Runoff from all around the Potomac watershed finds its way to the wetland areas and shore of Piscataway Park. Through a combination of volunteer efforts and education about waste in the watershed, we work to create a healthier river habitat for park wildlife.