23 Community Highlights: Building Birdhouses to Making Giving Bags. Jurassic Roadshow to Long Island Express.

Northampton’s annual Pride Parade and Celebration takes place on Saturday starting at 12noon! Celebrate LGBTQ culture and rights – there is a specially designated youth space at the event just for families!

Building Birdhouses to Making Giving Bags. Jurassic Roadshow to Long Island Express. Wild Flower Walk to Historical Fashion Show…

These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Get out into your community and learn while you play!


Service-Based LearningPlaygroups & StoryhoursDinosaurs/FossilsNature & HistoryFashionScienceAnimal/Nature StudiesParent Workshop



SERVICE-BASED LEARNING

Seven Stations! On Saturday, May 4th from 10am-1pm, join Hilltown Families for a Saturday morning of volunteering together with your family during our spring Family Community Service Event to be held at Leeds Elementary School. We will be offering seven volunteer stations for families to participate in hands-on service projects for ALL AGES that support animal welfare organizations, conservation efforts and food security. Projects include building birdhouses, making toys for cats & dogs, upcycling tshirts into Giving Bags, making seed bombs, writing letters and planting seedlings. Come any time after 10am, get your Passport, and travel about to one or all stations! Find out more and preregister here: Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event: May 4th! Northampton, MA (FREE)

PLAYGROUPS & STORYHOURS

Are you looking for playgroups and storyhours to bring your preK kids to? Family Centers and libraries offer a host of free activities all weekday long! Find out what’s happening any day of the week in the ongoing section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events. Simply selected the day of the week in our Thursday list of Weekly Suggested Events or in our Friday Recap Map!

DINOSAURS/FOSSILS

Dinosaur Footprints Reservation will host a free guided program for families on Saturday morning, May 4th in Holyoke. Walk where dinosaurs once roamed and learn how their footprints were preserved in the rock and what can we learn from studying their tracks. Suitable for age 6yo+. Following the program volunteer to remove garlic mustard, a non-native invasive species that is, unfortunately, found all over western Massachusetts. It is easy to remove, meaning that volunteers of all ages will be able to help out! Volunteers must be 5yo or older, and all should come dressed in pants, a work shirt, and sturdy footwear.

Bring your own mystery fossils to Northfield Mountain on SaturdayJurassic Roadshow will be on hand, teaching families all about the fascinating fossils that have been found nearby and the prehistoric history that we live amongst! There will be displays and interpreters to share information, and Roadshow experts will be on hand to take a look at mystery pieces and offer their insight. Great for dino-loving kids of all ages! Free.

Did you know that the town of Greenfield was once home to a first ever dinosaur museum? The museum, opened during the mid-19th century by a local jack-of-all-trades named Dexter Marsh, was home to the first ever dinosaur tracks to receive a thorough and official scientific examination. What happened to the tracks? And what happened to the museum? Find out more about this fascinating piece of Pioneer Valley past at Greenfield Community College’s Sloan Theater on Wednesday evening, May 8th. Free.

NATURE & HISTORY

Topics of geology and archaeology often overlap – especially in studies of the Connecticut River Valley! The Western Chapter of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society is offering a free lecture on Saturday afternoon, May 4th, on the geologic history of the area from an archaeological perspective. Older students can attend the lecture at Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield to extend their understanding of their surroundings, and can learn about the effects of broad topics in geology upon the local landscape.

The many different mountain ranges of New England’s landscape have played an important role in local history – the mountains have helped to define routes of travel, settlement locations, and provide useful natural resources. On Saturday afternoon, learn about the geography of the mountains of the northeast and the role that they’ve played in New England history at the Jones Library in Amherst. Nicholas Shaw, Amherst High School environmental science teacher, will share a free presentation (best for older students) in the library’s Woodbury Room.

Known as the Long Island Express, the hurricane of 1938 ripped across New England and left western Massachusetts a mess, the landscape littered with uprooted trees. On Saturday afternoon, May 4th, the Pioneer Valley Institute screens, “Out of the Storm: The Galford Lumber Company,” a documentary about the loggers of West Virginia who relocated to Northfield in order to help the community clean up from the storm. Some of the workers spent nearly two years displaced from their homes in order to help the community recover. Learn about this important moment in local history at the Dickinson Memorial Library in Northfield. Free.

During the industrial days of the Pioneer Valley, South Hadley Falls was engineered in order to suit a canal system. Learn about how the re-routing of the Connecticut River was designed on Monday evening, May 6th at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke as part of the lecture series, “Trains, Planes, and Automobiles: Transportation in the Pioneer Valley.” Students can learn about learn about the canals and locks as a way of better understanding the history of their community, and can learn to use what they know about American history to put the system’s creation into a greater historical context.

FASHION

On Saturday afternoon, Ventfort Hall Gilded Age Museum in Lenox hosts, “Staging Fashion: 1880-1920,” a tea-and-talk event all about three pioneers of fashion – Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, and Billie Burke. These women became some of the first fashion icons during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and their “look” and lifestyle was desired by many – they were the first to truly turn fashion into not only a way of dressing, but a way of living. Students can pair what they learn about the early days of popularized women’s fashion with knowledge about American history and women’s rights (and their place in society). Reservations suggested, best for older students.

SCIENCE

History and science come to the Jones Library in Amherst on Thursday evening, May 9th in a free presentation about the science of the Abolitionist movement by Britt Rusert, Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies at UMass. Participants will learn about the many connections that black and white Abolitionists made between natural science and anti-slavery struggles throughout the antebellum era (1781–1860). From Frederick Douglass’s enthusiasm for phrenology to Lydia Maria Child’s writings on evolution, Abolitionists challenged racist science through the creation of a vibrant and dynamic science of liberation. Best for older students supplementing their studies of history, science and African American studies.

ANIMAL/NATURE STUDIES

Volunteers will explore and identify characteristics of a vernal pool at High Ridge Farm with UMass Professor, Scott Jackson, on Saturday morning, May 4th in Williamsburg. A free great hands-on experience for students wanting to learn more about their local habitats and vernal pools.

On Saturday afternoon, the Westfield Athenaeum will host a free screening of a family-friendly nature film, Wings of Life, on the web between bats, butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and flowers. Narrated by Meryl Streep and directed by acclaimed director Louie Schwartzberg, the film presents a great opportunity for kids to learn about a complicated and fascinating natural system. Popcorn provided!

Hopkins Memorial Forest in Williamstown will host a free spring wildflower and botany walk on Sunday morning, May 5th. Early May is an especially good time to explore the botanical attractions of the Northern Berkshires because during this period, many “spring ephemeral” wildflowers are in bloom. These species, which include trillium, trout, lily, violets, and toothwort, bloom early in order to take advantage of the abundant sunlight that reaches the forest floor before the trees leaf out. The walk will be led by Williams College Professor of Biology, Henry Art.

On Sunday morning, naturalist Pam Weatherbee will be leading a free spring wildflower walk at Field Farm in Williamstown, home of some unusual habitats. These habitats produce an interesting and beautiful array of woodland wildflowers known as spring ephemerals, which have a short time to grow, bloom and set seed before the leaves come out and restrict the sunlight reaching the forest floor. On the two-hour easy walking tour Pam will introduce participants to the fascinating flora of the rich woods, just starting to bloom.

Older students can learn about the musculature of frogs at an OEB Science Cafe eventp on Monday evening, May 6th. Esselon Cafe in Hadley hosts a free talk focused on the muscles and body structure of frogs, where Mt. Holyoke professor Gary Gillis will explain their fantastic acrobatics.

PARENT WORKSHOP

Berkshire United Way presents, “Outside the Comfort Zone: Everything We Don’t Want to Talk About in Adolescent Sexual Health, but Should,” at Baystate Hospital’s Health Education Center in Holyoke on Thursday afternoon, May 9th. Parents can attend this free workshop and learn about appropriately addressing topics like sexual issues, teen pregnancy, and care of LGBTQ, pregnant, and/or parenting teens. By learning more about these topics, parents can be prepared to address them if they arise with their own children, but will also be prepared to help their children through supporting their peers who may be dealing with pregnancy, coming out, dangerous relationships, etc.

Do you have a child leaving for college next year? There will be a free workshop, ” “What About Me!?” Preparing Parents for the Empty Nest,” offered to parents of seniors at the Amherst Regional High School on Wednesday evening, May 8th. A time of life filled with anxiety & sadness, pride & joy, the rollercoaster of emotions can be difficult to navigate for some parents. Learn strategies in an interactive workshop/discussion at the ARHS.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and over 100 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Gideon Davidson]

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