Building for the Future – Our Program Growth
Our new living building brings innovative opportunities for engaging our community in environmental learning experiences that are enduring, empowering, and exciting. Our new net zero energy, water, and waste building, with its integrated exhibits, demonstration and teaching gardens, outdoor learning spaces and accessible trails, will be a powerful teaching tool that is critical to the success of a retuned approach to achieving environmental literacy in the 21st Century. View this page (PDF).
Currently serving an average of 8,200 children, youth and adults each year, 30% of which are low-income, we plan for:
- 40% more program participants
- 250% more drop-in visitors
- 50% increase in public hours
- 45% low-income participants
- Learning from Nature, will offer K-8 teachers a package of new curriculum, field trips, and professional development tools using our new living building to develop scientifically and technologically literate students. As an innovative teaching tool, our building promotes solving complex, multidisciplinary problems and applying reasoning and innovative thinking to real-world applications. These skills lead students to greater environmental literacy, civic participation, college preparation, and career readiness. This project will target schools, with an emphasis on Title I schools (40% or more low-income students), throughout the state.
- Field Trip Program, with a net increase of two additional classrooms, we are able to expand our field trip program to serve 25% more preK-12 students, from 2,250 to over 3,000 students annually.
- Teacher Professional Development, new workshops, courses and summer training institutes will assist 20% more teachers, from 250 to 320 annually, helping them to address new requirements of the Massachusetts Science and Engineering/Technology standards.
- Family Programs, new weekend hours will double the number of programs for families with children that promote greater exploration of and connection to the outdoors.
- Living Building Tour Program will educate and train volunteer docents to use the living building as a living demonstration of ecological design, biomimicry, and sustainable development principles.
- Summer & Vacation Camp and Afterschool Programs, will expand with additional sessions and new age groups to increase the number of children and youth served annually by 22% overall, from 250 to 310 annually.
- The Teaching Garden Program, will engage the community in designing, developing, installing and maintaining The Teaching Garden at the Hitchcock Center. Ongoing programs will use this accessible garden to promote education about native landscapes and gardening for biodiversity for children, youth and adults.
- Adult Education, will develop more in-depth naturalist and citizen science research and programs for adults to foster lifelong learning.
- The Cultural Village Partnership, will unite the Hitchcock Center with Hampshire College, the Eric Carle Museum, and the Yiddish Book Center as the Cultural Village, enhancing the visitor profile of the region.
- Intern Program, will expand by working closely with the five colleges as well as area community colleges, to enhance academic and professional engagement in the fields of environmental education, natural history, sustainability, and the green economy.