In partnership with two municipalities and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the Hitchcock Center will receive a total of $13K to implement a comprehensive stormwater education project for fifth graders in Chicopee and Agawam. Funding will support Hitchcock Center educator Helen Ann Sephton to lead a series of virtual educational programs for every fifth-grade classroom in both towns. The material is designed to deepen students’ awareness and understanding of major storm water and water quality issues in their community.
The newest StoryWalk® has just been installed along the trail on the west side of the Center’s grounds. Families can now enjoying reading Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story by Anna Forrester.
After nearly twenty years of service, our remarkable executive director, Julie Johnson, has announced that she will be departing her leadership role at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment on June 30, 2021.
As she embarks on her life-long goal of starting her own consulting business, Julie is committed to shepherding in the next chapter of the organization and she will remain connected to the Center as one of our strongest community partners. Julie is the longest running director in the organization’s fifty-eight-year history, and her visionary leadership and passion for environmental education and advocacy is woven into the physical, philosophical, and operational DNA of the center.
By Julie Johnson
As I write, it has been five months to the day since we were forced by COVID-19 to close our doors to the public. In the hectic weeks that followed, our extraordinary Board and staff were determined that we would find new ways to educate the community and inspire action for a healthy planet in the midst of a pandemic.
By Jeffrey Mazur This spring I was excited to teach Digital Ecology again. It was the class I taught to my Homeschool II group in 2016 when I first joined the Hitchcock Center. Over the winter I had revamped the curriculum to incorporate new ideas like using stationary wilderness cameras and having my students create […]
by Katie Koerten
John Green is a naturalist, birdwatcher, photographer and nature tour leader living in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. He’s been leading programs for the Hitchcock Center for the Environment and other environmental education organizations for almost five decades. As a fellow bird enthusiast and educator, I owe my foundation for bird song identification to John; he was my most formative birding mentor. He agreed to sit down with me this week as part of #BlackBirdersWeek for a conversation about his life and experiences as a birdwatcher and naturalist.
Today, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. In the midst of a global pandemic and physical distancing, many of us are finding solace and hope in the miracle of spring emerging around us. We hope you can get outside and allow nature to bring you peace and joy.
Mass Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Health Connector launched the ConnectorCare Card to Culture program at the Hitchcock Center on Friday, January 17. This unique program is designed to facilitate access for all Massachusetts residents to cultural facilities, including the Hitchcock Center, across the state. Residents with EBT, WIC, or Connector Care cards are eligible for benefits at over 100 cultural organizations across the state.
The Hitchcock Center received a USDA Forest Service Every Kid in a Park grant to get local 4th graders outside and connected to nature through hikes in Skinner State Park this past fall. Local parks in the Pioneer Valley provide a valuable resource for nature exploration, exercise, and recreational activities. However, not all children have the opportunity to visit these beautiful resources, despite how close they are. The grant provided funding for Hitchcock educators to lead 15 two-hour inquiry–based natural history and geology field trips for 375 fourth grade students, fifteen teachers, one principal.
Through the town’s drinking water permits, the Amherst Department of Public Works (DPW) funds Hitchcock Center educators, Helen Ann Sephton and Aemelia Thompson to teach a series of Water Conservation classes in all Amherst and Pelham classrooms grades 2, 4, 5, 6. By engaging youth in water system cycles and uses, these standards-based classes help develop communities that can more effectively use and manage water resources.