Adult Community Programs

The Hitchcock Center offers a wide range of adult education programs aimed at fostering greater environmental awareness, literacy and action. These programs are offered through our highly skilled education staff as well as through a strong network of scientists, naturalists, environmentalists, educators, advocates and organizations who partner with the Hitchcock Center.


To view programs chronologically, please visit our calendar.

Nature All Season — Fall Session

Join us for an in-depth natural history course to develop your naturalists skills. Each month, in our series of nature explorations with different local naturalists, we explore a focused, seasonal, natural history topic. We’ll look at nature in new ways, from broad habitat perspectives to close details of individual species. Over the course of the year we’ll visit a variety of natural habitats in the greater Pioneer Valley area. Identification skills, ecological connections, adaptations, and life cycles of organisms will be the focus of our observations. Bring your curiosity and observation skills. Dress for the weather for 3 hours as we rarely cancel due to inclement weather. Bring binoculars and a hand lens, water and snacks if you would like.  These will be outdoor only programs and please bring masks and plan to wear them when within 6 feet of others. 

Tier A – $45 per class or $162 for fall season
Tier B – $36 per class or $130 for fall season
Tier C – $27 per class or $97 for fall season
Tier D – $18 per class or $65 for fall season
There is a 10% discount for signing up for the full fall series.

Meets selected Sundays, 9am-12pm

September 20 — Insect Tracks and Signs with Charley Eiseman

At Montague Plains
Join the author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates for an exploration in search of galls, leaf mines, egg cases, cocoons, webs, nests, burrows, and other traces of insects, spiders, slugs, and worms!

Charley Eiseman is a freelance naturalist based in western Massachusetts and working throughout New England. He is the lead author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates and has certified vernal pools for many local towns.

October 4 — Invasive Plant Ecology with Martha Hoopes

At Northampton Community Gardens
Focused on particular invasive species spotted along the trail, this walk will cover the the ways genetics, humans, environmental conditions and native diversity can all play a role in the spread and impacts of native species. 

Ecologist Martha Hoopes is interested in how species coexist and even more in why they don’t. Her research focuses on conservation biology and the human interactions with the environment that lead to rarity, declining population sizes, and even to extinction. Martha is a co-author of the book Invasion Ecology

November 29 — Geology of the Pioneer Valley with Steve Roof

At location TBD
Join us on a walk through time! Come and explore the earth-shaping history of the Pioneer Valley as Steve delves into geologic processes and the ways in which land and humans interact and affect one another. 

Steve Roof, professor of earth and environmental science, focuses his research and teaching on environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, and land conservation. 

December 13 — Winter Happenings with Brian Schultz

At Hitchcock Center
Join us on this winter walk as we look for overwintering species (insects and otherwise) and learn about the ways many organisms, including trees, survive throughout the harshest months of the New England year. 

An agricultural ecologist and entomologist who does research at the Hampshire College Farm Center, Schultz has spent a number of years in Central America and the Caribbean studying methods of insect pest control.

Hitchcock Nature Trivia Night: A monthly virtual trivia contest fundraiser

Wednesdays, 7:00 – 8:30pm
September 23, October 21, November 11, December 9

Join us for a monthly online trivia contest fundraiser for environmental education. The quiz will test you on a wide breadth of science, nature and environmental knowledge. The winning team will split the award with the Hitchcock Center for the Environment that will help provide 25%-50% discounts on program fees for economically challenged and low-income household.

Fall Birding with Scott Surner

Saturdays, September 5, 12, 19, 26 and October 10, 17
7 – 11am at varying locations
Fee per person: Tier A – $360, Tier B – $288, Tier C – $216*

Join Scott Surner for outdoor birding this fall. Good news,  in spite of all that isn’t safe right now watching birds outdoors is still to be enjoyed.  Field trips will meet at the locations rather than at the Hitchcock Center and there will be no carpooling. Masks will need to be worn when 6ft distance from each other can not be maintained as well as any other COVID-19 health and safety requirements of our state and local health departments. Program enrollment is limited to 10 participants per program and will be held exclusively outdoors.

*Given this time of financial hardship for our community and our organization, we are offering a sliding scale fee structure aimed to provide greater flexibility in choosing a price that is right for you and your family.

Virtual Building Tours for Classes or Groups

With Jessica Schultz
Mondays – Thursdays, 10am-4pm
Sliding scale: $50/$75/$100
To schedule a date please contact Jessica Schultz, Living Building Coordinator

The Hitchcock Center is the 23rd building in the world and the 4th in Massachusetts to achieve the Certified Living Building designation! It 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.

Living Building Tours are sponsored by PV Squared and USA Waste & Recycling.

Guidelines and Fees


Given this time of financial hardship for our community and our organization, we are offering a new sliding scale fee structure aimed to provide greater flexibility in choosing a price that is right for you and your family.

  • Tier A: The fee is set 25% higher than what it costs to run the program and helps to support those who cannot afford the full cost of the program.
  • Tier B: The fee is set to cover 100% of the program costs.
  • Tier C: The fee is set at 25% less than what it costs to run the program.
  • Tier D: This fee is set at 50% less than what it costs to run the program. This option is available for EBT, WIC, and Connector Care Card to Culture participants, that is, households receiving benefits through the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance and the Massachusetts Health Connector
COVID-19 Safety

Read our complete COVID-19 Program Participant Guidelines.

Our in-person programs will be held outdoors, even in the cold weather months. Outdoor learning environments have been shown to be one of the safest ways to teach while  preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Masks will be required at all times when social distancing (six feet apart) is not able to be maintained. This will continue until our local and state health officials say otherwise.

As much as our teaching approach is “hands-on,” we will be limiting touching and sharing. If any equipment or materials are needed as part of the program, we will provide participants with their own. All equipment and materials will be returned and individually disinfected at the end of the program.

Participants need to come prepared for all outdoor weather conditions. We suggest bringing a backpack with extra layers, including socks and hats, bottled water, and snacks, as well as insect repellent and sunscreen as-needed.

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Hitchcock Center for the Environment