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.

Community programs are listed on this page by program category. Click the category to get there faster: environmental justice seriesnatural history, sustainability, volunteer days. To view programs chronologically, please visit our calendar.

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

NATURAL HISTORY PROGRAMS

Nature Study Club 2019

Sundays once per month, 9am-12pm (some class times may vary depending on topics)
Sign up for the remainder of the year: $140 members/$170 non-members.
Or, $30 per session.
Register here

Join us for our sixth year of offering an in-depth natural history course for naturalists and citizen scientists. 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, varying from broad habitat-wide perspectives to the finer 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 and be prepared to spend time outdoors. Dress for the weather as we rarely cancel due to inclement weather. Bring binoculars and a hand lens, water and snacks if you would like. Carpooling to more distant locations will be encouraged.

Individual Session Descriptions

January 13: Bark: Getting to Know Trees in Winter with Michael Wojteck

Michael will help us look more closely at the bark of local tree species. Furrows, ridges, plates and more will provide a vocabulary and train your eye for these characters. You’ll gain confidence in your skills at identifying trees without their leaves. Michael is the author of Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast and has lots to share about these wonderful plants!

February 10: Mammal Tracking with Kathy Dean – Program session filled

Put on your woolies and join us for a morning of following some of our local mammals in their travels through the forest. Kathy will help us distinguish different tracks and also the patterns in the snow as the animals move. We will try our skill at determining what different animals were doing and why.

March 3: Dam Demolition and Riparian Restoration with Dana McDonald – Program session filled

We will visit the sites where 2 dams have been removed in Pelham. Dana will help us see how the renewed flow of the streams supports new habitats and new niches for stream life. You will gain deeper insight into these positive steps in restoring some of the changes we have made in our environment.

April 28: Ecology and Spring Fora of a Rich Forest with Glenn Motzkin – Program session filled

A rich forest is one where the soils are less acidic and richer in nutrients. Glenn will take us to a local site with these characteristics and you will see how the plant communities here are different from those we usually see. Spring wildflowers should be in full bloom!

May 5: Spring Bird Migration with Ted Watt – Program session filled

We’ll get out early and search for some of the beautiful birds that return in May to nest and raise their young in our New England woods and fields. We’ll hope to see warblers, vireos and orioles and more! And we will listen to the various songs and start to distinguish some of the patterns of notes.

June 2: Sea Lampreys in the Fort River with Boyd Kynard

Boyd will get us up close and personal with some sea lampreys that are intent on only one thing: mating and laying eggs to create the next generation. He will share with us the amazing life cycle of these fish and explain how they do not feed during this time, living off their stored reserves to get them through this journey.

July 14: Herbivorous Insects with Charley Eiseman

Come out to the fields and woods to find and learn more about all sorts of insects that rely on plants for food. We’ll capture a variety and learn their names, the group of insects they belong in, and more about their amazing life histories.

August 25: Local Fungi Exploration with Dianna Smith – Program session filled

We will search the forests for the various fungi species that are fruiting in late summer. Dianna knows the specific name of whatever mushrooms we can find, as well as fascinating details about their life cycle and natural history. Come learn how to distinguish some of these very important organisms.

September 15: Singing Insects with Laurie Sanders

We will gather for a late summer concert of insect calls – crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids. Laurie will help us sort out categories of insect calls and then narrow down the possibilities of what we hear. We will go outdoors and listen after dark to the spectacular concert that graces our late summer fields and forests.

October 6: Invasive Plant Ecology with Martha Hoopes

Martha is a plant ecologist at Mt. Holyoke College who spends time learning about and researching invasive plants. She will present a unique look at these species and help us understand more of the why and the where behind the success of these plants.

November 17: Ecology and Management of Montague Sand Plains with Glenn Motzkin – Program session filled

We will explore the sand plain habitat with an eye for the unique plant communities found there. Much of the plains are managed by the State and Glenn will explain the thinking behind the recent timber cuts on the plains and how this supports some of the rare species that are found there.

December 8: Natural History Hike in the Quabbin with Ted Watt – Program session filled

We’ll hike into the Quabbin wilderness, getting a deeper understanding of the habitats that are preserved there, and the plants and animals that live there. If there is snow we will follow some of the creatures moving through and learn more about their lives.

Flora and Fauna Fest

Saturday, June 1, 10am-1pm
For more information and to register.

Choose your challenge and join the count! Challenge yourself in a quest to spot as many species as you can. Invite your friends and family to sponsor you to support education for a healthy planet. Your count will contribute both to the Hitchcock Center’s catalogue and to a global biodiversity research database. How many species can you find?

10AM: COUNTS BEGIN

  • Trail Loop Contest: Race to document the biodiversity in the Hitchcock Center’s own backyard! Download the iNaturalist app to assist you in the identification process and then share what you find on this global research database.
  • Species Spy Scavenger Hunt: See if you can spot them all!

12PM: RESULTS & CELEBRATION

Your registration helps to raise funds to support the Hitchcock Center’s year-round environmental education programs. You can help even more by asking your friends and family to sponsor your quest to spot species!

In Bloom in Western MA Conference

Saturday, June 8, 8am-4pm
Register here

Morning Keynote:
Creating Outdoor Spaces that Connect Children to the Natural World
with Sheila Williams Ridge, Director, Shirley G. Moore Lab School
University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

Antioch New England’s 2019 In Bloom season comes to fruition with this first foray to Amherst, Massachusetts. On June 8, 2019, Hitchcock Center for the Environment will be host for In Bloom in Western Mass. We are confident that the clematis, iris, peonies, AND dandelions will all be in bloom!

In the past, In Bloom workshops have catered to teachers of children between the ages of 3 and 6, but children grow up, so we’re catching up! This year our workshops are geared to preschool through third grade, so invite your elementary teacher colleagues.

The enthusiasm of early childhood professionals in their valiant efforts to get children outside continues to be inspirational and heartwarming. We’ve got exciting speakers, plus a host of new workshop presenters from our region, along with some old favorites.  We’ll also continue to spotlight the work of Antioch New England faculty members who teach in the Nature-based Early Childhood Certificate program.

During the lunch break we will show our short documentary film, The Best Day Ever: Forest Days in Vermont Kindergartens. This movie was filmed in public school kindergartens in Hartland and Norwich, Vermont and illustrates the benefits of one day each week spent outside, year-round, with Kindergarten children. Learn More…

Birding by Ear

with John Green, naturalist
Sunday, June 9, 7am-10am
$12 Members/$16 Non-members
Space is limited registration required.

Have you been wanting to learn your bird calls? Or practice them? Join John Green as he ambles through his favorite habitat at Quabbin looking and listening.

Morning Nature Walk for Seniors

with John Green, naturalist
Monday, June 17, 9am-11am
FREE, registration required, space is limited.

Join John Green a lifelong naturalist as he wonders through the woods looking and listening.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE SERIES

Please check back for more environmental justice programs in the fall.

VOLUNTEER DAYS

Please check back for more volunteer days in the fall.

SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAMS

Our Living Building Tour Program

with Jessica Schultz
First Fridays at 4pm: March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7
Third Wednesdays at 12pm: March 20, April 17, May 15, June 19
FREE but please register online

Come meet our newest educator – our Certified Living Building! It is designed to model systems in nature, it is net zero energy, net zero water, has composting toilets, and has been made with responsibly sourced non-toxic materials, come check it out at one of our bi-monthly tours. Tours typically last from 1-1.5 hours. Note: We are pleased to be able to offer Spanish language translators for our building tours. If you or someone you know could benefit from translation, please let us know in advance, so that we may schedule a translator for your tour date.

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Hitchcock Center for the Environment