By Katie Koerten
As the leaves fall all around us, the Hitchcock Center is getting ready for some big changes next year! You have probably heard that the Hitchcock Center is building a new building and will be moving to the Hampshire College campus in fall 2016. We are so excited to begin teaching out of a “living building” that embodies our mission and curriculum! You may have heard my big news by now, too! I’m pregnant and will be home with my first baby during the spring and part of summer 2016. Let me introduce our exciting substitute teachers who will help keep our children and family programs continuing strong at the Hitchcock Center during that time.
Registration will happen online HERE beginning December 10, 2015 for winter programs and January 14, 2016 for our spring programs. Summer camp registration will happen early this year, February 2, 2016 for members and February 16, 2016 for non-members.
Jeff is answering the call of the wild – to inspire others to be better stewards of our planet through helping children and adults more deeply connect to the natural world. For the past two years, Jeff has been working for Mass Audubon as a teacher/naturalist at Drumlin Farm, Arcadia and Habitat Sanctuaries and created his own afterschool program called “Into the Woods” for the Lexington Montessori School. Jeff brings to his teaching a deep-felt gratitude for the earth, an innate and also continuously growing ability to experientially engage others in the wonders of nature, and his own wellspring of curiosity and delight at the surprises that unfold around us each day. Jeff, his wife Jackie, and two children Adam and Raquel, recently moved to Amherst from the Boston area. When not at the Hitchcock Center, Jeff can be found in the woods keeping a keen lookout for mushrooms, swimming at Puffer’s Pond, biking or tending his garden. Jeff and Hannah French will be co-teaching the Homeschool Program this spring and Jeff will be the Camp Director this summer.
Hannah’s sense of curiosity and wonder for the natural world led her to study at UMass Amherst, where she earned a B.S. in Environmental Science. Now she is pursuing a Master’s in Education at Antioch University of New England, seeking certification as an elementary educator and specializing in science and environmental education. Over the past year and a half, Hannah has become very involved at the Hitchcock Center, spending two summers as a nature camp counselor, interning in Hitchcock Homeschool I and II classes, working at winter vacation camp, dressing up and singing at Enchanted Forest, and even leading a Homeschool Discovery Day for her senior project at UMass. She is thrilled to be returning to Hitchcock this spring to teach Homeschool I and Homeschool Discovery Days alongside Jeff Mazur and lead Nature Play Afterschool with the help of Josia DeChiara.
Many years ago, Josia Gertz DeChiara was a camper at the Hitchcock Center, climbing trees and playing in mud puddles. Her fascination with the magical inner workings of plants drew her to study molecular ecology at Hampshire College, where she is now a junior. Josia has been a Hitchcock Center intern since the fall of 2013, where she has been assisting with Nature Play Afterschool, Nature Discovery Preschool, and Hitchcock Homeschool programs. She loves how excited children are to explore the natural world and is grateful for the opportunity to be part of their play and learning. When she is not studying or tramping around Larch Hill, she can often be found running, making kimchi, or trying to identify ferns and moss. Josia will be taking the lead on our Girls into the Wild afterschool program and assisting Hannah French with the Nature Play Afterschool program.
Katy joins us all the way from the Midwest. She grew up in South Dakota and graduated from the University of North Dakota. Originally wanting to be a meteorologist, she got her degree in atmospheric sciences. Soon after, she decided to pursue her passion of sharing the outdoors with others and moved to Massachusetts to do the Outdoor Leadership Program at Greenfield Community College. Since then, she has spent time working at summer camp, leading kayak trips, teaching outdoor education, running ropes courses, being a recreation program caseworker, and teaching 5th grade. She currently works next door at The Common School as a teacher aide. Katy was an intern for the Hitchcock Homeschool program in the spring of 2014 and is so excited to be back. When she is not at Larch Hill, she can be found jamming on the piano or hiking/snowshoeing with her husband and two dogs. Katy will be assisting Josia DeChiara with the Girls Into the Wild afterschool program.
Katie Koerten is Children and Family Programs Coordinator/Camp Director for the Hitchcock Center. She plans, develops, coordinates and implements the Center’s Children and Family Programs including its summer and vacation camps, homeschool, and afterschool Programs.Click here to return to full list of blog entries. Or chose a specific Blog category below.