Summer 2020 Children and Family Programs

We are very excited to offer a number of small group programs for children and families that are designed to get you outside and connected to nature and others. These programs meet the strict COVID-19 health and safety requirements of our state and local health departments and the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 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

*The Hitchcock Center is proud to participate in the EBT, WIC, and Connector Care Card to Culture program by offering a 50% discount to the Tier C fee level for any household receiving benefits through the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance and the Massachusetts Health Connector.

Pre-registration is required for all programs as part of our COVID-19 screening process.

Hike and Stream Catch (ages 8–12)

with Aemelia Thompson, Hitchcock Educator
Tuesdays, 10am–2pm
June 30, July 7 (wait list only)
July 14, 21, 28
Fee Per Child: Tier A-$60 per day | Tier B-$48 per day | Tier C-$36 per day

Come join an all-outdoor group experience where we’ll hike, explore the woods, catch creatures in a stream, and play games. From the Hitchcock Center, we will hike to the Hampshire woods. Once there, we will spread out along the banks of a stream, each with our own net and basin, to cool our feet in the water and see what creatures we can find.  We’ll then make our way to a nearby open field for a socially distant lunch and end with storytelling games. During this four hour program, children will be required to wear masks while hiking and in the stream. We will all sanitize before eating lunch. Social distance will be maintained during the stream catch and games. Days with inclement weather will need to be rescheduled.

Game Day Getaway (ages 8–12)

with Aemelia Thompson, Hitchcock Educator
Thursdays, 10–12noon, July 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30
Fee Per Child: Tier A-$30 per day | Tier B-$24 per day | Tier C-$18 per day

Games are a great way to embrace summer fun. In this two-hour all outdoors program, children can be a part of a small group and enjoy the company of other kids playing classic camp games in safety. We’ll spend our time playing verbal games maintaining social distance, and physical games, which can be played in parallel with other kids. Physical games will include classics like Charades, animal style relay races, and Motion Telephone. Verbal games will include Werewolf, Mind Meld, and Contact. While this program will be offered multiple times, each one will consist of games that encourage social distancing, therefore in each session some games may repeat from day to day. Days with inclement weather will need to be rescheduled.

Nature Discovery Family Adventures (ages 3–5)

with Colleen Kelley, Hitchcock Educator
Wednesday, 10–11:30am, July 8, July 22, August 12
Fee per Child: Tier A-$20 per day | Tier B-$16 per day | Tier C-$12 per day
Fee per Adult: Tier A-$25 per day | Tier B-$20 per day | Tier C-$15 per day
(limit 1 adult with up to 2 children)

This family program is a wonderful way to spend time outdoors with your young one(s), discovering nature together with Colleen Kelley. We will socially distance for circle time. Each family will be given their own discovery tools to use on our adventure together. We will enjoy a fun story at the end of each session. Choose from one or more of our three themed offerings.

Nature Explorer Family Field Trips (ages vary; see below)

with Katie Koerten, Jeff Mazur, Helen Ann Sephton or Aemelia Thompson, Hitchcock Educators
Dates and times vary as specified below                                                                        

Fee per Child: Tier A-$28 per trip | Tier B-$22 per trip | Tier C-$17 per trip 
Fee per Adult: Tier A-$33 per trip | Tier B-$26 per trip | Tier C-$20 per trip
(up to 2 children per adult)

Join one of our talented Hitchcock Center educators and choose among many fun-filled and hands-on field trips designed for the whole family (age levels for children vary as indicated below). Each field trip is two hours in length. Consider extending the trip by packing a picnic lunch and staying after the program ends! An adult is required to accompany their children on the program (up to 2 children per adult). Adults without children are welcome too!!

Habitat (all ages)

Thursdays, 10:30am-12:30pm, July 2 (nearly full), 16
Monday, 10am-12noon, July 20
Wednesday, 10am-12noon, August 5                                                       

Every living thing needs a home or a habitat to survive. The Hitchcock Center has a variety of local habitats on site to experience first-hand. Just as each neighborhood has its own needs and inhabitants, each habitat has its own animals, plants, and interactions. Our trip will take us through forest, field and wetland where we will focus on the components of each habitat and the adaptations of the animals and plants that live there.

Insect Investigations (all ages)

Wednesdays, 2–4pm on July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29                                                                                                  
Mondays, 10am–12noon on August 3, 10 

What makes an animal an insect? What role do insects play in our world and how are they important to people?  Students will learn about the science of entomology through a live insect lab, and will collect insects, and their non-insect relatives, in various habitats on our trails. Through these activities, we will learn about the adaptations, life cycles and ecology of one of the most successful groups of animals on earth.

Life in a Stream (all ages)

Wednesdays, 10am–12noon on July 1, 8 (wait list), 15, 22, 29
Thursday, 10am–12noon on August 6, 13

Streams are an excellent place for the science of discovery and investigation. The critters who make their home in the stream demonstrate a beautiful web of life, from algae and microscopic organisms, to insect larvae and amphibians. We’ll begin at the Hitchcock Center and use our limnology lab tools to practice techniques for observing small aquatic creatures and learning about their unique life cycles and adaptations. We’ll then head to the stream at Groff park, where we will collect and observe several varieties of invertebrates that depend on this habitat.

Mountains and Valleys (ages 8 and up)

Tuesdays, 10am–12noon on August 4, 11

Discover the stories in the stones around us! The Holyoke Range can tell us much about how the Earth’s crust is shaped. It is a geologically unique area, where we can find evidence of shifting tectonic plates, earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciers, and erosion, all in one day’s field trip! We will learn how fascinating geology can be and how the everyday landscape provides intriguing clues to the past. This trip is based at Skinner State Park and involves mostly light hiking with several short steep sections of trail. An additional $5 fee is required at the gate to enter the park.

Bountiful Butterflies (ages 3 and up)

Thursdays, 2–4pm on July 9, 16, 23, 30

Go on a butterfly walk with Jennifer to discover the fluttering friends among us. We will start with some basic tools and background about butterflies and then head to a flowering field with edges that should have a good variety of colorful butterflies.

Birdwatching for Beginners (ages 6 and up)

Tuesdays, 9:30am–11:00am
June 30, July 7 (wait list only), July 14 (wait list only), July 21
Fee per Child: Tier A-$20 per day | Tier B-$16 per day | Tier C-$12 per day
Fee per Adult: Tier A-$25 per day | Tier B-$20 per day | Tier C-$15 per day
(up to 2 children per adult)

What feathered friends are around us? Using binoculars for adults and older kids, and eye focusers for younger ones, we’ll use our senses of sight and hearing to find and identify birds. Katie will teach you the basics of bird identification using field marks and songs. An adult is required to accompany their children on the program (up to 2 children per adult). Adults without children are welcome too!!

Saturday Family Science Virtual Program (ages 5–8)

with Aemelia Thompson, Hitchcock Educator
Saturdays, 10–10:40am on June 27, July 11, July 25
Suggested donation: $5 per child per session
Maximum group size: 16 children
Registration opens on Tuesdays

Back by popular demand, each week in this three-part virtual series, we will explore a different topic and focus on how young learners can think scientifically. In each session we’ll highlight one of “The Tools of a Scientist” which include; observation, hypothesizing, experimentation, and data recording. We’ll practice these science skills and investigate the world we live in by studying plants, animals, water, and air. While there will be activities to serve different ages, this series will focus on younger learners from ages five to eight.

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Hitchcock Center for the Environment