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.


Nature Study Club 2018

Sundays once per month, 9am-12pm (some class times may vary depending on topics)
September 23: Monarch Butterflies with Jennifer Unkles
October 21: Wild Foods with Neil Bovaird
November 18: Geology: The Valley’s ‘Deep’ History with Richard Little
December 2: Explore and Old Growth Habitat with Ted Watt
Fall Session: Members: $100/Non-members: $125 for the full course OR $30 per class
Register here
Join us for our fifth 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, 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 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. Note: A change has been made to this program since it was originally published. The program will meet March-December, 2018.

Exploring Lake Warner

with Ted Watt, Hitchcock Center Naturalist together with Morse Hill Canoe Guides
Sunday, September 9, 10am-12pm
$10 Members/$15 Non-members
Registration required. Space is limited.
Sponsored by Friends of Lake Warner.
Kingfishers, painted turtles, great blue herons, bullfrogs, water snakes… we’ll be searching for them! We’ll paddle slowly around the lake, looking for birds and plants and any other nature we can find. Bring binoculars, snacks and water, sun and bug protection. We will provide canoes, paddles, life jackets, and canoe instruction. Not recommended for paddlers younger than grade 4. Canoes and instruction will be supplied by Morse Hill, certified canoe instructors.

Hawk Migration Watch

with Dan Ziomek
Saturday, September 15, 9am-12pm (rain date Sept. 22)
Registration and donations appreciated
Have you ever watched hawks catch thermals to rise into the air for their gliding migration? It is a real treat and the numbers will astonish you. Join valley birding celebrity Dan Ziomek on Mt. Skinner to see this annual event. Bring binoculars if you have them. Park at the half way house and walk up or drive to the top — see map.

Monarch Tagging

Jennifer Unkles, Monarch tagger since 1997
Thursday, September 20, 4-6pm (FREE)
Sunday, September 23rd, 2pm (at our Pollination Celebration Day, fee for event)
Registration appreciated

Help with this ongoing citizen science project and get up close and personal with Monarch butterflies. It’s a good year for Monarchs! Fun for all ages.

Fungi Field Trip

Dianna Smith, Pioneer Valley Mycological Association
Sunday, September 23, 1:00-3:30pm
Members $15/Non-members $20, Space is limited.
Register here
Join Dianna for an in-depth exploration of our fungi at Cadwell Forest in Pelham. She can identify to species whatever we find and fill us in on each species’ unique adaptations, identifying characters, and ecology. You will leave her walks with a greatly increased knowledge base of our local mushrooms and motivation to keep learning on your own. See her web site for more information. Dress for being outdoors. Directions to the meeting site will be provided prior to the program.

Pollination Celebration Day

Sunday, September 23, 11am-3pm
Members: $4 Children/$7 Adults
Non-members: $5 Children/$8 Adults
Buy tickets

Come and celebrate the pollinators in our world at Hitchcock’s first Pollination Celebration Day! We will have events and activities for the whole family, including honey tasting, a pollinator scavenger hunt, and a monarch migration obstacle course. Make your own wings and march in our pollinator parade! See a demonstration of how to make your own waterproof beeswax container lids! Attend our workshop on how to make your garden more friendly to pollinators! And of course, learn about magnificent monarch butterflies, learn how to tag them, keep track of them and contribute to science. Bring a picnic and stay for the whole thing! This event is rain or shine. Check out the schedule of events.

Fall Birding

with John Green, naturalist
September 30, 8-10am
Members $10/Non-members $15
Space is limited, registration required
Join John Green to explore Gate 29 at the Quabbin Reservoir looking and listening for fall birds, you may catch some migrating warblers as you move through this varied habitat.

Morning Nature Walk for Seniors

with John Green, naturalist
Thursday, October 11, 9-11am
FREE, Space is limited, registration required
Have you visited the new Sylvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge Fort River Handicapped Accessible Trail? Join John Green for a nature walk there during peak fall foliage.

Viewing the Night Sky

with James Lowenthal, Professor of Astronomy at Smith College, International Dark-Sky Association
Friday, October 12, 8-9pm
Friday, November 2, 7:30- 8:30pm
Friday, December 7, 7-8pm
FREE, Registration appreciated
James will provide telescopes and help us view constellations, planets, galaxies and stars from our Hitchcock hilltop. We’ll discuss what we are viewing including science facts as well as legends from other cultures that teach deeper lessons about how we can connect with the sky. Dress for the weather and be prepared to expand your horizons!

Hike Mt Warner Reservation

with Ted Watt, Hitchcock Center Naturalist
Sunday, October 14, 9:30am-noon
Members $10/Non-members $12
Space is limited, registration required.
Take some time to reconnect with nature. Join us to explore the Trustees of Reservations Mount Warner Reservation in North Hadley. The reserve was protected in 2014 and offers some beautiful views of the Valley looking north. Walking will be mostly on gentle slopes, and some a little steeper, in mature woodland with mixed hickory and oak and hemlock. We’ll look at trees and any other interesting natural history events we happen across. Bring binoculars and come prepared for a relaxing, learning time in nature.

Storytelling by the Fire

with David Arfa, Storyteller/ Environmental Educator
Saturday, November 3rd, 6-7pm
Registration and donations appreciated
Join Maggid and storyteller David Arfa under the stars around a fire for a magical night of storytelling. Sitting around a fire under a night sky with young and old alike listening to an ageless tale is a truly a nourishing and special treat. David believes deeply in the power of storytelling and “became hooked on storytelling when I witnessed the ability of stories to leap directly into the hearts of toddling four year old’s, the coolest of teens and serious adults.” Hot cider and popcorn, and feel free to bring your cozy camp chair and a lap blanket.

From Fear to Confidence: Preventing Tick-Borne Illnesses

with Dr. Stephen Rich, UMASS “Tick Lab”
Tuesday, November 27, 6:30-8:00pm
Donations and registration appreciated.
Have you found a tick on yourself or your child and felt worried? Are you concerned about tick-borne disease? The Hitchcock Center is delighted to welcome back Dr. Stephen Rich, chief medical zoologist at the UMASS Amherst Laboratory of Medical Zoology. Steve will present his work at the “Tick Lab” and his important findings over their 12 years of tick testing. In addition, Ted Watt will open with a brief presentation of the natural history and life cycles of the ticks that can be found in our area. Our goal is for you to leave more informed, at ease, and prepared for preventing tick-borne illness!


Jacqueline Patterson: Environmental and Climate Justice

Monday, September 24, 6pm
Franklin Patterson Hall Main Lecture Hall at Hampshire College

Jacqueline Patterson is the Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Environmental injustice, including the proliferation of climate change, has a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world. The NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program was created to support community leadership in addressing this human and civil rights issue. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. Jacqui Patterson has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women’s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. This talk will set the tone for more workshops and talks in collaboration with Hampshire College around environmental and climate justice. This program is available free of charge thanks to funding from the Roddenberry Foundation to Hampshire College.

Conversation on Environmental and Climate Justice

Tuesday, September 25, 12pm – 2pm
Hitchcock Center for the Environment
Registration required, space is limited
Join us for a workshop lunch for deeper discussion about environmental and climate justice. Come learn how to have conversations across constituents about climate, race and the environment. Light lunch provided. This program is available free of charge thanks to funding from the Roddenberry Foundation to Hampshire College.


Nature Play and Learning Places Garden Work Days

Sunday, September 30, 1-3pm
Sunday, October 21, 1-3pm
Registration appreciated
The Hitchcock Center is expanding its nature play area. Join this community effort and come help us dig, weed, plant, mulch, haul, etc. Bring tools and gloves if you have them.


Living Building Tour Ambassador Training Series

with Sara Draper, R.W. Kern Center Director of Educational Program and Outreach;
Jessica Schultz, Living Building Coordinator Hitchcock Center;
and Tim Zimmerman, Assistant Professor of Environmental Education Hampshire College

Mondays, 12:30-2pm, 
September 17, 24, October 1, 15
Free, registration required

Learn to become a Living Building Tour Ambassador at the Hitchcock Center. This fee training will include learning theory, understanding building systems, and a discussion of Living Building Challenge. A light lunch will be provided. Participants who complete the training are encouraged to participate as volunteers in our building tour program.

Get the Buzz on Electric Vehicles

Sally Pick, SJP Environmental Consulting
Tuesday, September 25, 7-8:30pm
Donations and registration appreciated
Curious about electric vehicle (EVs)s? How they work, how far they can go on a charge? An increasing number of electric vehicles on the market are competitively priced and can go over 100 miles on a charge. This workshop will start with a brief ride around the parking lot in a plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt. Participants will learn about EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs available, their features and range, big incentives that bring down their purchase price, charging an EV and matching the right EV and charger with your driving habits and needs. You’ll also learn about pairing solar power for your home with the charging demands of your car, and when to charge for the lowest carbon impact.

Repair Public: Fixery through Community

Sunday, October 21, 12pm- 3:30pm
Donations and registration appreciated
Repair Public is an exercise in community resourcefulness. The basic idea is to encourage people to learn how and/or where to fix broken items instead of tossing them into a landfill and buying replacements. The participants and facilitators are local community members just like you. You bring a broken item that you want help repairing as well as a willingness to try to fix it. There will be repair facilitators on-hand to help you figure out how to fix your treasure, each with one or more areas of specialty. We’ll have various tools available for use, as well as some basic supplies like screws, tape, glue, wire nuts, needles, threads, and probably appliance cord with some plug-ends. With all these ingredients, we intend to help you repair whatever you decide to bring in – To learn more

Conservation through Conversation: “Promoting environmental stewardship through interpersonal communication”

with Ezra Markowitz, Assistant Professor of Environmental Decision-Making
Thursday, November 8, 7pm-8:30pm
Donations and registration appreciated
Most people spend very little time talking about environmental issues with their colleagues, friends and family members. Yet research shows that these are exactly the conversations we need to be having in order to promote greater public engagement with the conservation and sustainability challenges we face. Join Ezra Markowitz Umass professor and researcher of Climate Ethics and Intergenerational decision-making and the environment. In this talk, he will present some of the research he and others have done on the key role of interpersonal communication—everyday social interactions and conversations—in conservation efforts. He will then highlight how this work can be used to support pro-environmental decision-making across a variety of issues. Registration and donations appreciated.

Our Living Building Tour Program

First Fridays at 4pm: September 7, October 5, November 2, December 7
Third Wednesdays at 12pm: August 15, September 19, October 17, December 19 (No tour November 21)
FREE but please register online
Come meet our newest educator – our 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