On October 9, 2011, the Accokeek Foundation honored Dr. Wilton C. Corkern, Jr., with its National Conservation Leadership Award, in recognition of more than two decades of service to advance stewardship and conservation, especially land preservation and sustainable agriculture.
The award was presented at the foundation's annual Leadership Salute, an outdoor event in Piscataway Park which raised nearly $55,000 for the Accokeek Foundation's programs, including a $20,000 grant awarded by the Wallace Genetic Foundation in honor of Corkern.
Corkern, who recently retired from the Accokeek Foundation, became president and CEO in 1990. He established the foundation's modern organic Ecosystem Farm with its innovative new farmer training program. He also helped to organize and launch the Friends of the Potomac and to secure designation of the Potomac as one of the first "American Heritage Rivers." Under his leadership, the foundation reinvigorated its land conservation program, constructed a "green" Education Center, developed stewardship demonstration areas, and launched the foundation's Piscataway Cultural Landscape Initiative, an effort to transform the concept of "indigenous cultural landscape" into a concrete interpretive experience of Piscataway culture and
Corkern previously worked at the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, the George Washington University, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has served on numerous boards and commissions, and currently serves as chair of the steering committee of the Washington AIDS Partnership, as a board member of the Washington Regional
Association of Grantmakers, and as a trustee of the Corina Higginson Trust, a Washington, DC, philanthropy. He was recently appointed by the secretary of the Interior to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail Advisory Council. He is a member of the Cosmos Club. Corkern received his PhD in American Civilization from George Washington University.
The event was sponsored by generous donors. Leadership Salute contributions help to ensure high-quality, affordable educational and recreational opportunities for the local community.