Our First Living Building Season Sees a Bumper Crop of Visitors
On September 13, 2016, after four years of planning, designing, fundraising and building, the Hitchcock Center opened the doors to our new 9,000 square foot “living” building. In just our first week, we welcomed over 400 program participants and visitors through our Monarch Citizen Science, Caterpillar Lab, Nature Play Afterschool, Homeschool, Girls Into the Wild, Phenology, preK-12 Teacher Open House, and Building Tour programs!
Our Grand Opening Celebration in October brought over 350 people together in celebration of our revolutionary new home through tours, nature walks, artist and architect talks, water conservation activities, children’s games, food, and more. Opening ceremonies included a migration parade from the old center to the new and a ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked-off by special guest speakers MA Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Representative Ellen Story, and Assistant Town Manager Dave Ziomek.
Since September, we have led over 30 Living Building Tours for over 500 people, some from as far away as Israel, Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and Uruguay. Students, professionals and community members have learned, inquired and begun conversations about how we can build more socially just, cultural rich, and ecologically sustainable communities. We offer public tours twice a month as well as private tours upon request. Private tour groups to date have included:
We are providing meeting space for outside groups including the Amherst Garden Club, Hampshire Bird Club, Master Gardener’s Association, Learning in Retirement, and more. We hosted the Amherst Chamber of Commerce’s After Five on October 19th which introduced over 30 local businesses to our new environmental education center.
Our Water Issues Symposium, led by three nationally recognized water experts, Amy Vickers, Laurel Schaider, and Casey Brown, brought nearly 100 participants together to address concerns about our local water quality, impacts of our drought, and how climate change will impact future water supplies.
This winter, our new Educating for a Healthy Material World program series will be launched for general audience and professional members to focus on the worst-in-class toxic ingredients most commonly used in constructing our homes and places of work and ways we can promote a more responsible materials industry.
We are proud to collaborate with the United States Geological Survey, Northeast Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative, and UMASS Amherst’s Department of Environmental Conservation in launching two research studies on the predation and population trends of Red-Backed Salamanders at our new site.
We hope you will have a chance to participate in some of the inspiring programming that we have planned for the coming year. Check out our Visitor Center, take a walk on our trails, or learn how we’ve created the greenest environmental education center in the region.Click here to return to full list of blog entries. Click here to return to full list of eNewsletter entries.