Adult Community Programs

Hitchcock’s Climate Action Series

An adult engagement program at the intersection of climate change, sustainability, and environmental justice.  Bringing partners and community members together  to address critical community issues through a fireside chat, practical workshops, and deliberative forums.

Spring Birding Course with Scott Surner

February 24 – June 8 2024
Classes and field trips
Sliding scale tickets: $375, $325, $280
Up to 15 participants. Registration required. 

Feb 24: Travel day. 5 pm – all Day. Plum Island or Cape Ann. We start the class by birding along the Massachusetts coastline looking for winter ducks, Loons, Grebes, Purple Sandpipers, and perhaps a Snowy Owl.
March 9: Local. 7 am – 12 pm. We’ll visit several areas in the Hadley, Northampton, and Hatfield areas looking for newly arriving waterfowl and perhaps Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, and Lapland Longspur.
March 16: Local. 7 am – 12 pm. Hampshire/Franklin Counties- more arriving waterfowl.
April 6: Local. 7 am -12 pm. Hampshire County- Early warblers, Wilson Snipe, and perhaps some more waterfowl.
April 13: Local. 7 am – 12 pm. Depending on reports, we could visit Westover to look for Upland Sandpipers and rough-winged Swallows and then hike in Tilley Street. Other possibilities include looking for Vesper Sparrows in Hadley, along with Wilson’s Snipe.
April 27: Plum Island area. 5 am – all Day. Herons, early shorebirds, Ibis, and more.
May 4: Local. 7 am – 12 pm. Looking for arriving Warblers, Vireos, Kinglets etc
May 25: Local. 6:30 am – 12 pm. We’ll hike up Mt. Holyoke with hopes of finding Cerulean and Worm-eating Warblers, plus other migrants.
June 1: Travel day. 5 am -12 pm. Southwick Wildlife Management Area. We usually come away with 40-50 species in this grassland area. Some of the past highlights have been Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Grasshopper Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and Prairie Warblers.
June 8: Travel day. 5 am – 2 pm. October Mountain/Berkshire County. Nesting birds. It’s been a few years since the class has visited this area. Past highlights have been Barred Owl, Winter Wrens, and serval species of Warblers.

Garden Design 101- Ecologically (in-person and remote)

Wednesday, April 24, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Mary Jo Maffei of Garden Path Designs
Sliding Scale $10, $15, $20

Garden Design 101 takes concepts from architecture, interior design, and garden design, and shows you how to incorporate these principles into your greenspace.  Topics include: assessment and function, enclosure and third dimension, texture and shape, rhythm and repeat planting, timing and massing, color, and maintenance.  Mary Jo’s approach shows how you can garden for the betterment of the planet in a beautiful way by then layering on an ecological approach to all those garden design principles.  You can have a lawn that is ecologically sound and create a pleasing landscape that is friendly to pollinators, birds, and wildlife.  This presentation shows you how adding an element to your garden, such as a fence, can vastly enhance the garden’s beauty and focuses on gardening as a process rather than as a product 

Mary Jo Maffei is Garden and Landscape Consultant and Designer who gives presentations on garden design including pollinator and bird friendly gardens.  By simplifying the elements of garden design, she helps people understand how to view and adapt their greenspace to their needs.  She has been gardening since she was a teenager, but started gardening seriously and studying garden design 30 years ago.  Mary Jo is passionate about beautiful and functional garden design and love helping others create their own beautiful outdoor space.

Flora and Faunathon

April 27 – 28 2024
Self guided, all ages
Registration required

Whether you are a lifelong naturalist or simply want to appreciate and count the species in your neighborhood, Flora & Faunathon is for you! Enjoy a beautiful weekend outside exploring nature. From noticing the trees and squirrels in your neighborhood, to finding rare species of birds, or woodland flowers on a local hiking trail, enjoy getting out and finding nature all around us.

If you like, you can even compete for prizes. Can you find the most bird species? Or raise the most money? Take the coolest picture? Explore your neighborhood, your backyard, nearby hiking trails, or a city park. Go alone or go with friends! It’s the perfect family activity. Get your networks to sponsor your explorations and help support Hitchcock Center’s work developing hopeful, creative problem solvers who can take on the challenges of climate change.

Evening Forest Bathing

with Todd Lynch
Thursday May 2, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Sliding scale fee: $10, $20, or $30
Limited to 12 participants

Connecting with nature has the benefits of reducing anxiety, easing stress and rekindling a sense of wonder. In this meditative experience, modeled on Forest Bathing, we’ll explore the woods around the Hitchcock Center at the magical hour of a spring evening.  While in this magical setting, we’ll spend time with marvelous plants and practice engaging our senses through guided prompts. Slowing down, listening and exploring the intentional connections thriving in nature help to bring us into closer relationship with our surroundings and with ourselves.

Birding By Ear with John Green

Wednesday, May 15, 8 – 10 AM
Saturday, June 8, 8 – 10 AM
Sliding Scale $15, $25, $35

Sometimes the most amazing birds you can’t spot, but their song gives them away!  Join naturalist John Green and his great ear to see what birds you can find by sight or sound during this special time of year for birds, the height of bird migration and nesting.  

Ethnobotany Walk

Sunday, May 26, 10 AM – 12 PM

Our native plants have so much to teach us, their balanced place in the ecosystem, their co-evolution with pollinators, mycorrhizae and us humans!

Forest Bathing and Art Workshop

with Todd Lynch
Saturday  June 8 –  9am – 3pm
Sliding scale fee: $80, $100, or $120
Limited to 12 participants

Join Forest Bathing guide and ecological artist Todd Lynch for a refreshing day of discovery and art making and leave with ways you can integrate these practices into your own rhythms. Forest Bathing combined with ecological art-making can offer us ways to explore our relationships across many levels. These practices root us in our senses in the present moment.

Fireside Chat: Firefly Ecology

with John Green
Thursday, June 13, 8:30 PM

Do you love the ephemeral season of fireflies? Or maybe you call them lightning bugs, either way come and learn about and enjoy some guided firefly watching.  We will have a fire going and snacks so we can talk about fireflies in Hitchcock gardens before we head to fields to revel in them together.

Battle of the Botanicals

Thursday, June 20. 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Registration required, age 21+

Join us for an evening of botanically inspired cocktail & food pairings – our fifth Battle of the Botanicals! Teams from local restaurants will present a tasting station with an appetizer and cocktail sample that highlight a signature botanical feature. The three top-voted bartenders will then take the stage for a live cocktail mix-off!

A panel of local celebrity judges, including Hope and Olive’s Jim Zaccara and New England Public Media radio hosts Monte Belmonte and Kaliis Smith, will name a winner.

The Magic of MOTHS

With Adam Kohl
Friday, July 26, 8 – 9:30 PM

During Moth week come learn about this amazing night time creature.  Did you know that it seems that by tracking moths in a habitat you assess the stability and productivity of your local food web?

Mushroom Hunters Field Walk

Saturday, August 31, 10 AM -12 PM 

Join us for a Mushroom hunting field walk, learn basic mushroom identification and ecology. 

Building Tours for Classes or Groups 

The Hitchcock Center is the 23rd building in the world and the 4th in Massachusetts to achieve the Certified Living Building designation! The building is designed to model systems in nature- it is net zero energy and water, has composting toilets, and has been made with responsibly sourced non-toxic materials. Find out what makes our building a special teaching tool empowering visitors to ask, “what does sustainability look like in the built environment and in my community?” Using Zoom, we’ll explore the systems and features of the building. Bring your questions so we can learn together. Tours typically last from 1-1.5 hours and have a sliding scale fee of $100-$200.  Please email to schedule a tour.

Cancellation policy

Cancellation policy for Hitchcock’s seasonal programs: You may cancel your registration for any of our programs up to a week prior to the program’s start date to receive a refund minus a 10% administrative fee.  If you cancel within 7 days or less of the program’s start date, we cannot offer a refund unless we are able to fill your spot in the program.


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Hitchcock Center for the Environment