Naturalist-in-Residence

Our residency programs partner a skilled Hitchcock naturalist with schools to restructure curricula to study local places, solve environmental issues, and use natural areas close to your school for outdoor-oriented, project- and place-based learning. We can custom-design our residencies to the meet the unique needs of your school. In addition, we often partner with schools in seeking outside grant funding to support our naturalist-in-residence programs.

A Sample Overview of Our Residencies

Crocker Farm School, Amherst

The Hitchcock Center has been working in the Amherst Public Schools for 30 plus years. From field trips to the Hitchcock center in the 1980’s to the EcoBus program in the 90’s to ongoing Water Conservation education for half of the students in every school, to curriculum development with teachers, our connection and collaboration is strong.

In 2014 Crocker Farm School applied for and received a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Students and Teachers working with Artists, Scientists and Scholars (STARS) Residencies program. Hitchcock educator Helen Ann Sephton worked with the third grade classes on the project “Variation and Adaptation in Local Animals.” Students  observed live animals, mounted animals, and mammal skulls to learn how animals are adapted to their specific habitats. They explored a pond, learning about biodiversity and aquatic adaptations. On their school grounds, students collected and observed insects and other invertebrates. They demonstrated their learning through writing and drawing, and worked with art teacher, Diane Travis, to create models of fictitious animals. They are excited to share their work at the June, 2015 science fair, which will include parents, other grades, local papers and the local cable station.

Fort River School, Amherst

In 2014 the fourth grade teachers at Fort River School also applied for and received a Massachusetts Cultural Council STARS grant to work with Hitchcock educator Helen Ann Sephton. Helen Ann has worked with this grade in the past to enrich their Trees and Plants unit by exploring the school grounds and identifying the plants found there. In the spring of 2014, John Keins’ class participated in the Hitchcock Center’s Biothon, identifying all species found around the school in one afternoon. They decided to take this to the next level, and this grant will fund the project: Field Guide to Plants and Trees of Fort River School. The guide will include plants and trees right around the school as well as at the Fort River, which runs nearby. The finished product will be presented to families at a community event in June, and a copy will be kept in the classrooms and the school library.

More residencies coming soon…

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Hitchcock Center for the Environment