Family Programs

Hitchcock Center’s COVID-19 Public Statement and Updates

Did you know that your EBT, WIC, or ConnectorCare card can be used to access membership and programs at the Hitchcock Center? Learn more about the ConnectorCare Card to Culture Program.

Woodcock: Skydancer

with Dan Ziomek, local birder and naturalist
Friday, March 27, 6:30-8:30pm
Members $12/Non-members $16
Register here

Have you heard the telltale peep of the woodcock looking for a mate to do its early spring sky dance? If not you are in for a treat that will likely become an annual tradition, you’ll be hooked. Join bird song radio personality and our favorite garden advisor Dan Ziomek to enjoy this special spring event. Recommended for adults and young people 4th grade and up. 

Chain Reactions and Creative Contraptions – POSTPONED
Saturday, April 4
10am-12pm
Ages K and up
Free, but registration required
Playful Engineers teaching artist and engineering enthusiast Jay Mankita will present a hands-on workshop in which participants will have a chance to design, build, test, and play with Rube Goldberg “Machines”, and other chain reactions, connecting focused play with serious science. Participants learn through demonstration and play, exploring basic force and motion physics, as they build fun chain reactions with common toys and other ordinary materials. Jay brings lots of materials to work with, including dominoes, wood blocks, string, chain, pulleys, elastics, tinker toys, K’nex, Legos, tracks, ping-pong balls, clamps, connectors, bases, dowels, and magnets.
A note regarding the ages of participants: children younger than kindergarten are welcome, but they must be closely supervised. Babies or toddlers or anyone else who might put things in their mouth should NOT attend due to many little swallowable parts. 
This program is possible with support from the Amherst Cultural Council.
Birding for beginners and families (and those who prefer a slower pace)

with Dan Ziomek
Saturdays, April 18 – May 16, 7am-12pm
Members $100/Non-members $120
Register here

This class will consist of five Saturday mornings (7am- 12pm) during the peak of spring migration. We will visit five local hot spots and try to highlight not only the birds but the habitats that they prefer. We will walk at a leisurely pace and look and listen for the many species that use our valley as a migration highway

Week 1

April 18: Gate 5 at the Quabbin Reservoir. We will make the short (1 mile) walk into the reservoir looking for early spring migrants and late moving water fowl. If time permits a side trip to Lake Wallace in Belchertown might also be included. Birds of interest: Eagles, Mergansers, Phoebe and Kinglets.

Week 2

April 25: Station Road Rail Trail. Varied habitat with marsh, fields and wet woodlands. Birds of interest: Wood Duck, Herons, early warblers, etc.

Week 3

May 2: Conte Refuge: this varied habitat is perfect for both field birds and neotropical migrants. Here we will look for Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Kestrel and many warblers.

Week 4 

May 9: Mitch’s Way Hadley, this bird habitat stretches along the CT river and catches many migrants on their trip north. Birds of interest: Warblers, Green Heron, Flycatchers, etc.

Week 5 

May 16: Skinner Mountain, this will be our toughest walk so we’ll go slow. Both migrants and breeding birds are possible. Birds of interest: Cerulean Warbler, Worm Eating Warbler, Indigo Bunting and Yellow-Throated Vireo.

Class notes
  • All classes start from the Hitchcock Center.
  • Carpooling will be necessary.
  • Bring binoculars and identification guides if possible.
  • Open to all ages with an interest in bird watching.
  • Bring bug spray, water, snacks, etc.
  • Tick checks should be done after every class.
Amherst Sustainability Festival

Saturday, April 25, 10am – 4pm
Amherst Town Common

Join us for a day of family fun, education and entertainment. The Sustainability Festival is in its eleventh year and is bigger and better than ever! There is literally something for everyone with over 100 vendors of renewable energy, energy efficiency product suppliers, advocacy groups as well as sustainable crafts and artisans!

Second Saturdays at the Hitchcock Center

September-June, 9am-1pm
FREE

The Hitchcock Center is open to families and the community on the second Saturdays of the month, September thru June. Stop by to explore our building, talk with an educator, read a book with your kids or grandkids in our visitor center, and join us for one of our family science programs.

Saturday Family Science Series

Join us for seasonal nature and science programs each second Saturday of the month. Designed for children with their parents, these programs will explore cool topics in nature. Themes available here.

Second Saturday Family Science programs are generously sponsored by Pelham Auto Service.

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Hitchcock Center for the Environment