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Hitchcock Center Naturally Adaptable During COVID-19 Pandemic

Hitchcock Center’s outdoor, nature-based programming made us natural leaders as students need outdoor classes and many educators statewide take their first steps into outdoor instruction. Outdoor learning environments have been proven to support the health, curiosity and natural development of children, and we are committed to creating ever more programs that support children’s healthy development this way at a time when indoor instruction poses daunting risks. We’ve taught other teachers, accustomed to classrooms and labs, to make the same shift.

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on November 27, 2020.

Fourth Annual Western Mass Youth Climate Summit Goes Virtual and Expands Youth Empowerment

This year’s Summit was the first to be fully youth designed and facilitated by a youth leadership team of five students: Victoria Fogg, Leo Franceschi, Tessa Kawall, Ollie Perault, and Sadie Ross. Four schools actively participated in the virtual event with 32 students, including WEB DuBois Middle School (Berkshire Regional), Suffield High School (CT), Frontier Regional High School, and homeschoolers. Another three schools participated via the recorded event, including The Bement School, Northampton High School, and Quabbin Regional High School.

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on November 27, 2020.

Reflections on a Great Gardening Year at The Hitchcock Center

by Bridgit Litchfield, volunteer and master gardener

What a soul-satisfying pleasure it is to share gardening tasks with other volunteers and work-study students from the local colleges. We have fun, laugh and get much accomplished while everyone’s ideas are sought, discussed and respected. Each comes to help with the Hitchcock Center’s mission — to educate and motivate into action citizens of all ages and abilities to become environmentally sound stewards of nature.

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on November 27, 2020.

The CARES Act and Charitable Giving in 2020

The CARES Act waives Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for 2020, but you can still choose to take a Qualified Charitable Distribution from a traditional IRA starting at age 70½ to support a qualifying charity and eliminate taxes on that distribution.

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on November 27, 2020.

Grants Provide Important Water Educational Opportunities in Agawam and Chicopee Communities

In partnership with two municipalities and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the Hitchcock Center will receive a total of $13K to implement a comprehensive stormwater education project for fifth graders in Chicopee and Agawam. Funding will support Hitchcock Center educator Helen Ann Sephton to lead a series of virtual educational programs for every fifth-grade classroom in both towns. The material is designed to deepen students’ awareness and understanding of major storm water and water quality issues in their community.

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on November 25, 2020.

Bat Count StoryWalk® is Ready for Reading and Walking

The newest StoryWalk® has just been installed along the trail on the west side of the Center’s grounds. Families can now enjoying reading Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story by Anna Forrester.

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on November 23, 2020.

A Special Hitchcock Center Announcement 

After nearly twenty years of service, our remarkable executive director, Julie Johnson, has announced that she will be departing her leadership role at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment on June 30, 2021.

As she embarks on her life-long goal of starting her own consulting business, Julie is committed to shepherding in the next chapter of the organization and she will remain connected to the Center as one of our strongest community partners. Julie is the longest running director in the organization’s fifty-eight-year history, and her visionary leadership and passion for environmental education and advocacy is woven into the physical, philosophical, and operational DNA of the center.

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on November 13, 2020.

How Many Birds?

By Scott Surner

How many birds do you really have at your feeder? The short answer is it’s very hard to know. Most of us (including me) will keep a species list of what shows up at the feeding station and try and ascertain how many of each species there is. The easiest and only way to do this is keep a tally during the day. At the end of your observation period you take the highest number of each species for the day and you have your high count for that species. This is pretty much the only way to do it, and it’s fun to look back over the years and see what some of the high counts have been and on what date. So, when keeping your list, remember to not only keep a species list and numbers, but remember to enter the date!

Published in Blog, Sunday Birding with Scott on August 30, 2020.

A Message from Julie

By Julie Johnson

As I write, it has been five months to the day since we were forced by COVID-19 to close our doors to the public. In the hectic weeks that followed, our extraordinary Board and staff were determined that we would find new ways to educate the community and inspire action for a healthy planet in the midst of a pandemic.

Published in eNewsletter on August 17, 2020.

Reflecting on Spring Birding Class 2020

By Scott Surner

Well, June is now in the rear-view mirror, spring migration is over, breeding season is in full swing and (wait for it) and fall migration starts to show itself in a small way around July 4th . This is when a few southbound shorebirds from the arctic starting showing up along coastal beaches.

Published in Blog, Sunday Birding with Scott on July 5, 2020.
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