Upper Elementary: Ages 9–11 or Grades 4–6 (In-person)

We continue to find flexible and adaptive new ways to meet the needs of children and families during this pandemic. Our emphasis is on providing inquiry-based environmental and outdoor education programs for small groups, typically made up of no more than 10–12 individuals. Our programs, as always, are focused on learning from nature, but we are placing a heightened focus on meeting the need children have for unstructured time with their peers. It is essential to children’s social-emotional development and general sense of well-being to be able to play and be free outside with each other!

Programs may also be viewed in a calendar.

A note about registration: Many of our programs fill quickly, so we highly recommend registering on the waiting list. We go to this list first if a space opens up. And by adding your name, you can help us better plan for the programs that are in high demand.

Afterschool Programs

Wild Children of the Woods Series

Program Full, Wait List Only
With Monya Relles
Ages 8-11 or Grades 3-5
Mondays, 3:30-5:30
September 13 -December 13 (no program October 11)
Tier A:$376 | Tier B:$301 | Tier C:$225 | Tier D:$150
Limited to 12 participants

We go to the woods to think, learn, play, and explore in this afterschool series for upper-elementary schoolers. We will roam the grounds of the Hitchcock Center as we watch Fall turn to Winter. We will visit stump city, ferns, and the far-away woods, play some organized games, and learn about the animals, plants, and life in these woods, including ourselves.

Art in the Forest Series

with Aemelia Thompson
Ages 8-11 or Grades 3-5
Tuesdays, 3:30-5:30pm
September 14 – December 14 (no program November 2)
Tier A:$383 | Tier B:$306 | Tier C:$230 | Tier D:$153
Limited to 12 participants

While surrounded by the undeniable beauty of the outdoors, children in the Art in the Forest program will be encouraged to develop awareness of the details in the natural world and learn how to utilize its beauty in artistic expression. Throughout the Fall we will explore our own imagination and expression with activities that include drawing, mud sculptures, natural dying, and more. We’ll spend part of our time working together towards creating works of art and part free time in the woods, playing, talking, and building community.

Girls into the Wild Series

Ages 8–11 or Grades 3–5
Limited to 12 participants

with Katie Koerten
Thursdays, 3:30-5:30pm
September 23 – December 16 (no program November 25)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$357 | Tier B-$286| Tier C-$214  | Tier D-$143


with Monya Relles
Thursdays, 3:30pm-5:30pm
September 23 – December 16 (no program November 25)
Fee per Child: Tier A-$357 | Tier B-$286 | Tier C- $214 | Tier D-$143

Girls into the Wild is back in Fall 2021 for more romping wildly through the field and forests of the Hitchcock Center. As always we’ll visit our favorite places to play in the forest, such as Stump City, the Ferns, and the Faraway Woods – exploring the seasonal beauty of nature as we go. Play games, make friends, and create nature projects in the outdoors! Come build your confidence and show your wild side! Genderqueer, nonbinary, agender and transgender young people are welcome! Please note that the program WILL be held on November 11 – Veteran’s Day!

Early Drop off for Afterschool 

Mondays, 3:00-3:30pm
September 13 – December 13 (no program October 11)
*Extended Day: September 13 (1:00-1:30pm)
Fee per Child: $78


Tuesdays, 3:00-3:30pm
September 14 – December 14
Fee per Child: $84


Wednesdays, 3:00-3:30pm
September 15* – December 15 (no program November 24) *September 22 for Wednesday Nature Afterschool Program
*Extended Days: October 20th and December 8th (1:00-1:30pm)
Fee per Child: $72


Thursdays, 3:00-3:30pm
September 23 – December 16 (no program November 25)
Fee per Child: $66

Due to the changes in the Amherst school schedule, Hitchcock is offering an optional half hour add on before the regular Afterschool start time for families who need it.  This time will be spent playing games or on quiet independent activities before the regular program start time at 3:30pm (1:30pm for early release dates).  This offering is only available for the children registered for the afterschool programs.  You will receive the link for this registration in your registration confirmation email.

Homeschool Programs

Homeschool II: Connections – Where Does it Come From?

With Jeff Mazur
Grades 4-6, Ages 9-12
Tuesdays 10am – 2pm
September 14 -December 7 (No program September 28, October 19, and November 23 for Discovery Days)
Tier A:$768 | Tier B:$615 | Tier C:$461 | Tier D:$308
Limited to 12 participants (if over enrolled, we may open a second class on Thursdays)

In such a product oriented society, it is easy to lose connection with how things are made and the origins of our resources. While researching the path of product production we are able to see first hand the energy that goes into making each product. With games, crafts, special guests, home projects and field trips we will develop an appreciation for the resources, time and energy used to make products that we use daily.

Discovery Days

Diversity and Biodiversity Discovery Day

With Monya Relles
September 28, 10am – 2pm
Ages 6-12 or grades 1st – 6th
Tier A:$76 | Tier B:$61 | Tier C:$46 | Tier D:$30
Limited to 12 participants

On the first discovery day of the fall we will explore and celebrate the ideas of diversity and biodiversity. We will play games and explore the woods to figure out what makes us different and how those differences make us stronger, especially in the face of climate change.

Poisonous or Venomous: An Exploration of Natural Defenses Discovery Day

With Jeff Mazur
Ages 6-12 or grades 1st – 6th
October 19, 10am-2pm
Tier A:$76 | Tier B:$61 | Tier C:$46 | Tier D:$30
Limited to 12 participants

What’s the difference between poisonous and venomous? Where do these toxins come from? How do plants and animals use their toxins? In this class we will explore the answers to these questions with hands-on activities, games, and nature exploration. 

Abundance and Gratitude Discovery Day

With Monya Relles
Ages 6-12 or grades 1st – 6th
November 23, 10am-2pm
Tier A:$76 Tier B:$61 Tier C:$46 Tier D:$30
Limited to 12 participants

What does it mean to have an abundance of something? What would happen if we had an abundance of food, water, or energy and we could share everything at will? What kind of societies did and still do operate with abundance economies? In this class we will explore the answers to these questions with hands-on activities, games, and nature exploration.

Family Programs

Monarch Tagging 

With Jennifer Unkles
All ages
Saturday, September 18, 2:30-4pm

Drop in to see how monarch butterflies are tagged and ask questions about this amazing creature and their hope filled cycle of survival.


With Jennifer Unkles
Ages 3+
Wednesday, September 22, 4-5:30pm
Suggested Donation: $5–$30 per person
Limited to 12 participants

The monarch butterflies are back and their cycle continues! Come for a small group class to see them up close, learn about their fascinating life cycle, tag and release pre-caught butterflies and then take a hike to look for others. Nets and supplies will be provided. We often find other insects on these walks. Data collected will be added for scientific research through the Monarch Watch Citizen Science Project.

COVID-19 Safety

Read our complete COVID-19 Program Participant Guidelines.

Our programs are designed to be fun and engaging and above all safe. The COVID-19 program guidelines are designed to help protect everyone as we meet the strict health and safety requirements of the CDC and our state. Please take the time to read the information thoroughly. If you feel that you or your child(ren) cannot follow these guidelines, we ask that you wait until these restrictions have been lifted to join one of our programs or events. We may change our guidelines to reflect new guidance from CDC and Massachusetts.


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.

Translate »
Hitchcock Center for the Environment