Learn, Explore, Activate, and Participate

Would you like to spend your first weekend at Amherst College working on a farm or exploring ways to solve climate change? Then these are the LEAP programs for you! We have two trips on offer — Farm and Solving Climate Change — both providing you with a chance to learn more about your new home and the surrounding communities, form bonds with your classmates, and have fun!


Grounded: Food, Farming, Climate Change and Community

This on-campus LEAP option is a collaboration between the Office of Environmental Sustainability and Book & Plow Farm. With a healthy mix of learning, outdoor activities, and fun, the LEAP program offers a unique opportunity to learn more about the area you will call home for the next four years by exploring local agriculture and climate change mitigation and adaptation. This program will take day trips around Western Massachusetts and stay on campus overnight.

LEARNING OUTCOMES
  • We hope you get to know each other, your new home, and your new community. 
  • Feel empowered to help create a more sustainable Amherst College.
  • Learn about renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, food justice work and diy farm-based crafts.
WHAT TO EXPECT

We are a large LEAP crew. Each day, we will break into smaller groups to take a field trip, do an on farm crafting project, or harvest food to donate to local food distribution centers.

In addition to those activities, on Friday afternoon we will all go to a local swimming and hiking spot--Puffers Pond, on Saturday, we will have a bonfire and food on the farm, and on Sunday morning we will eat brunch, make flower bouquets and brainstorm climate change and food insecurity solutions for campus, the broader community and globally.

Learn more about the Grounded: Food, Farming, Climate Change and Community LEAP program.

A pair of hands with a knife cutting a plant


Green Building/Green Valley

Facilitated by environmental educators from the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, this LEAP program explores how to find hopeful solutions to “greening” our world by touring two certified Living Buildings (the highest standard of green building on the planet), investigating the concept of biomimicry, discovering the unique geology of the Holyoke Mountain Range, and exploring the biodiversity of macroinvertebrates in a local pond. We will navigate our adventures on bike, bus and foot - lowering our carbon footprint all while learning how to use the Pioneer Valley’s remarkable local transportation system.

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES INCLUDE
  • getting to know your group better through group challenges
  • learning how to navigate alternative transportation around Amherst
  • getting to know your local environmental center, the newly certified 23rd Living Building in the world, and learn how it operates to conserve energy and water
  • exploring how biomimicry can help provide solutions to environmental problems
  • discovering Skinner State Park/Mount Holyoke and learning about the local geology of the valley and how what we see and rely on today came to be the way it is
  • exploring a state-of-the-art dairy farm operation and its waste digestion, energy generating capacity
  • learning how to tell the health of water using a biodiversity count and explore a beautiful local farm and conservation area
  • exploring, hiking, eating good food, laughing ...appreciating this beautiful valley!

Learn more about the Green Building/Green Valley LEAP program.

The Mount Holyoke range in the fall


A group of students talking

Learn More About Other LEAP Programs

You can choose from a variety of programs that include but are not limited to the areas of creative arts, social justice, and outdoor adventure.