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Celebrating Earth Day 2020

Today, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. In the midst of a global pandemic and physical distancing, many of us are finding solace and hope in the miracle of spring emerging around us. We hope you can get outside and allow nature to bring you peace and joy.

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on April 22, 2020.

Enticing Non-seed Eaters

By Scott Surner

Today I’d like to touch upon some of the birds that are returning, but are not seed eaters. The birds I have in mind require or prefer a slightly different menu. In the next ten to fourteen days, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Gray Catbirds and Baltimore Orioles will be returning to our area from their wintering grounds. If you’ve never tried to entice one of these species into your yard, now maybe the time to give it a try.

Published in Blog, Sunday Birding with Scott on April 19, 2020.

A Spring Hawk Watch at Bare Mountain, Hadley

By David Spector


Each fall billions of birds fly south from northern breeding grounds, and each spring those that survived migration and the non-breeding season return north. Among those are that are easiest to observe in these migrations are the diurnal birds of prey — hawks, falcons, and vultures — spectacular birds that, unlike most smaller birds, migrate by day.

Published in Blog, Off the Beaten Path Hikes on April 15, 2020.

Start a Yard List

By Scott Surner

The great thing about birding is you can do it from any location! In this time of the coronavirus your own backyard could be your best and safest choice to view migration and nesting birds. I certainly understand not one yard is like another, some have very large yards, while others might have more modest surroundings, either way it’s amazing what moves through and over our yards during the year. If you haven’t already, start a yard list and you will be amazed at what you see. 

Published in Blog, Sunday Birding with Scott on April 12, 2020.

A Hike at Royalston Falls, Royalston, MA

By Micky McKinley and Jaana Cutson

This is a descending trail that leads to a deep, ancient gorge carved by glacial meltwater to falls that plunge 45 feet into a basin. One of the things that make the falls so special is its remote location. It is well worth the rather difficult 0.8-mile hike to the edge of a half-hidden forested ravine. Please note that the trek is not an easy one, and can be very wet in places, so you should use extreme caution when walking here. The 0.8 mile-trek down to Falls Brook is part of the much longer Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. The M-M Trail extends for 117 miles from the border with Connecticut near Springfield to Mount Monadnock in southwest New Hampshire.

Published in Blog, Off the Beaten Path Hikes on April 8, 2020.

Be a Salamander Superhero with 24 Sustainable Activities

Sustainability is for everyone. You can make a difference! April is Earth Month, and we’re issuing a challenge to you and your family: can you be a Salamander Superhero by changing some of your habits this month? Try out the activities below – they’ll help you gain more of a sense of how you use […]

Published in Educator Resources on April 6, 2020.

Off The Beaten Path While Social Distancing

Social distancing is a new and hopefully temporary norm with the threat of COVID-19 in our communities. As we continue to adjust to this way of living the Hitchcock Center remains committed to the importance of getting outside in nature for healing and exercise. We know that with trailheads being crowded, you may be looking for other places to get outside while also keeping a safe distance from others. So we are bringing back our 50th Anniversary blog on 50 places to explore around the Valley, written by a variety of local authors. Look for them roughly mid-week to inspire your explorations outdoors.

Published in Off the Beaten Path Hikes on April 6, 2020.

Hitchcock Center Hosts Statewide Cultural Access Launch

Mass Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Health Connector launched the ConnectorCare Card to Culture program at the Hitchcock Center on Friday, January 17. This unique program is designed to facilitate access for all Massachusetts residents to cultural facilities, including the Hitchcock Center, across the state. Residents with EBT, WIC, or Connector Care cards are eligible for benefits at over 100 cultural organizations across the state.

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on January 17, 2020.

Get Out! Exploring the Wonders of our Local Parks

The Hitchcock Center received a USDA Forest Service Every Kid in a Park grant to get local 4th graders outside and connected to nature through hikes in Skinner State Park this past fall. Local parks in the Pioneer Valley provide a valuable resource for nature exploration, exercise, and recreational activities. However, not all children have the opportunity to visit these beautiful resources, despite how close they are. The grant provided funding for Hitchcock educators to lead 15 two-hour inquiry–based natural history and geology field trips for 375 fourth grade students, fifteen teachers, one principal.

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on December 29, 2019.

Creating a Generation of Green Leaders: The Hitchcock and R.W. Kern Centers

By Ahmed Abusharkh

The oceans are rising, the animals are dying, and the Earth is heating up. Young people know it. Adults know it. The politicians and millionaires refusing to address the issues know it. The question is, “Who’s going to do anything about it?” Seemingly, our hope rests on the shoulders of young people and the future generation of green leaders. They have the biggest stake in the game, given that they have to deal with whatever environmental catastrophes that are handed down to them for the longest. Even though it might not be their fault, even though they didn’t build the system that pumps out millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, they’re going to have to figure this out if we want a chance at a cleaner Earth in the future. Luckily, the two Living Building Challenge sites at Hampshire College are helping sculpt the next generation of young environmental leaders who can do something about it.

Published in In the News, Living Building Project on December 22, 2019.
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