Berkshire Family Fun: April 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
April 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of April. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Easter Events in Western MA, 2014

Easter Events in Western MA 2014

During Easter many towns host egg hunts for their residents. Check our list of Easter events for an egg hunt nearest you, along with Easter craft opportunities, brunch and Easter Bunny appearances.

Community events that celebrate Easter take place through April 20th. We’ll be adding to this list as events come in, so be sure to check back: Easter Events in Western MA 2014.

Environmental Film Festival in the Berkshires

Project Native 4th Annual Environmental Film Festival
March 29 & 30, 2014
Great Barrington, MA

For the past three years, Project Native has hosted a successful day-long environmental film festival. This year they are expanding the festival to include an evening screening at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA, on Saturday, March 29th in addition to the festival on Sunday, March 30th at the Triplex Cinema.

The festival will kick off Saturday, March 29th at 7pm with a special screening of Revolution, an award-winning film by Rob Stewart, director of Sharkwater at the  Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA. Startling, beautiful, and provocative, Revolution has already won awards at international film festivals. Revolution is not just about the environment—it’s a film about hope and inspiration. It is an urgent call-to-action with an uplifting message that tells us it’s possible to alleviate the damage already done. While creating this film, Stewart met with experts in their fields to investigate the important issues affecting our lives. In an effort to uncover the secrets to a safer world, Stewart goes on an adventure filled with action and drama that will leave audiences around the world, at any age, inspired about how they can get involved in the fight to save our planet.

“Our goal is to not only show the problems facing our world, but to also inspire action for positive change,” says Karen Lyness LeBlanc, Education & Outreach Coordinator for Project Native. Project Native is encouraging middle, high school and college students in the area to attend and bring their friends. This event is FREE, thanks to support from the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation. A panel discussion will follow the film.

Then on Sunday, March 30th, screening at the Triplex Cinema…

2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA

Local Teachers Create Original Book and Puppet Play

Local Teachers Create Original Book and Puppet Play: The Hollyhock Dream

Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School early childhood teachers (L-R) Beth Oakley, Jo Valens, Trice Atchison, Michelle Kuzia and Somer Serpe, with their original storybook of The Hollyhock Dream, to be performed as a puppet play Saturday, March 15, 11am at Mason Library in Great Barrington.

Early childhood teachers from the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School have created an original story book, The Hollyhock Dream, about a girl and her little brother who venture through the forest in search of the flower their mother dreams will make her well. The fairy tale debuted as a puppet play at the school’s Holiday Handcraft Fair in November, and teachers will perform it again for the community at Mason Library in Great Barrington, Saturday, March 15, 2014, at 11:15am.

The Hollyhock Dream was written by teachers Trice Atchison, Beth Oakley and Jo Valens. “We went to a workshop led by author and storyteller Nancy Mellon last spring and, as part of the evening, wove together a story on the spot,” says parent-child teacher Trice Atchison. “We were so inspired by the process, we decided to collaborate on a new fairy tale puppet play.”

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Writing a new story allowed the teachers to consider themes such as how there can be more than one right way to a destination—sometimes with the least likely person leading the way; how benevolent help can show up during moments of confusion; and how the natural world is full of wonders, including plants that heal…  Read the rest of this entry »

6th Annual Geography Expo Supports Self-Directed Learning

Sign up for the 6th Annual Geography Expo
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Pittsfield, MA

The 6th Annual Geography Expo is an intergenerational geography fair featuring the work of students from all school choices throughout Berkshire County and beyond. It’s free to participate and open to all, taking place on Wednesday evening, April 2nd, at the Berkshire Atheaneum in Pittsfield, MA. Want to participate? Pick your country, state or region, sign up, and get busy studying and preparing your presentation! Sign up details below.

On Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, the world will be on display from 6-8pm in the Community Room at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield, MA. Sponsored by The Berkshire County Homeschool Community and Berkshire County 4-H, the 6th Annual Geography Expo will fill the library’s large Community Room with sights, sounds and culinary scents from around the globe.

We asked Teresa O’Brient of Stockbridge, and Elaine Caligiuri of Lee, organizers of The Expo, to share with our readers information on this great opportunity for students from all educational backgrounds (homeschool, public/private school, exchange students, etc.) to participate in a self-directed, community-based learning opportunity that explores cultures both near and far… Click here to find out what they shared and how youth around the region can participate in this free event!

Cinema of Law: Screenings at the Berkshire Athenaeum

Criminal Justice Review in Film, 2014

There’s a lot more to law than just Law and Order!  The legal system is not all arrests and gavels – it’s a complicated system to navigate, and its intricacies can be fascinating.  The Berkshire Bar Association (BBA)and the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, along with the Berkshire Law Library, are offering a film series filled with popular films following a law theme.  The four-part series is a mix of both documentary and fiction, both new and old!

Best for older high school and college students interested in criminal justice, the film series brings to light the reality of working in the legal system, whether as a lawyer, judge, or officer.  Students can learn about a branch of government not often examined in-depth, and will be able to enjoy some great cinema at the same time!  The films also help to promote the importance of understanding and engaging with government.

All films are free, and will take place at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield.  Each film comes a legal subject and will be introduced by a member of the BBA. Screenings will be on Tuesday evenings at 6pm, beginning on March 4th and include… Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: March 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
March 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of March. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Human Library Project at Williams College Promotes Dialogue and Reduces Prejudice

Human Library Project at Williams College
Promoting Dialogue, Reducing Prejudice
February 28 & March 1, 2014

Founded in 2001 in Denmark to promote human rights and social cohesion, the human library project seeks to create greater understanding between people and provide a safe space where we can learn more about each other and work through stereotypes and discrimination present in our community in order to ultimately to forge new connections between people. Williams College invites all members of the community to experience the Human Library, Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, Mar. 1 from 1-4pm  at Paresky Center on the Williams College campus. This is a free, interactive event and reservations are not required.

The best kind of learning takes place experientially, when we get to interact with materials and navigate situations in a way that allows us to make discoveries. However, we can’t learn everything experientially – sometimes, we have to simply take someone’s word to be true when it’s not possible to have a lesson for ourselves. And what do we do when an experience isn’t accessible and nobody around us has any useful input? We head to the library, and find a book to provide us with the information that we desire. There’s just one problem with books, though – as information-filled as they are, they can’t answer your questions!

This Friday and Saturday, Williams College in Williamstown, MA, presents a unique (and very rare!) opportunity to not only learn from books, but to have them answer your questions, too! The 2014 Human Library is, as its name implies, made up not of actual books but of human books – human beings whose unique life experiences make up volumes and volumes of information, stored amongst a network of brain cells and synapses instead of a stack of bound pages. Open from 1-4pm on Friday, February 28th and Saturday, March 1st, the Human Library offers more than sixty different human books who can be checked out for periods of up to half an hour. Each human book will begin by answering a few (3-5) predetermined questions before allowing their borrower to ask their own questions… Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack of Tickets to DiNO-Light at The Colonial Theatre

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to…

DiNO-Light
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Friday, February 21st at 2pm

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to see a DiNO-Light, at The Colonial Theatre on Friday, February 21st at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA! Deadline to enter to win: 2/18/14 by 11:59pm (EST).  More details below.

About DiNO-Light

Lightwire Theater presents the Corbian Visual Arts and Dance hit, Darwin the Dinosaur. This heart-warming original story, also known as Dino-Light, features a friendly dinosaur who wanders away from home and discovers a world of creatures who light up the darkness and help him find the true meaning of love. Unique and visually dazzling, Darwin has been praised for its cutting edge blend of puppetry, technology, and dance by audiences all over the world.

“An eye-popping display of storytelling that’s like nothing else you’ve ever seen.” “Corbian Visual Arts and Dance is a force to be reckoned with” – Broadwayworld.Com

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Berkshire Family Fun: February 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
February 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of February. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Winter Celebrations Warm Up Western MA!

During this part of the year, the cold and dark make it difficult to truly enjoy the outdoors. For the past month, temperatures in the single digits have kept kids and adults alike on the couch instead of in the snow… and we’re all starting to get cabin fever! Luckily, mid-winter ’tis the season for winter festivals, and the coming weeks bring a deluge of indoor and outdoor community celebrations happening in all four counties of Western MA!  Find out about winter celebrations happening in Amherst, Easthampton, Greenfield, Holyoke and North Adams…

Berkshire Family Fun: January 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
January 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of January. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday!

List of Weekly Suggested Events

Read the rest of this entry »

The Popover: Featured Holiday Recipe from The Red Lion Inn

Download recipe (pdf)

Rosemary Popovers
From The Red Lion Inn

The popover has been popular for centuries. Well, at least Yorkshire pudding, its predecessor from England, has. Yorkshire pudding has been around since the 17th Century, although it has evolved considerably.

The first ever recorded recipe for Yorkshire Pudding appears in a book, The Whole Duty of a Woman in 1737 and listed as ‘A Dripping Pudding’ –  the dripping coming from spit-roast meat. “Make a good batter as for pancakes; put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton, instead of a dripping pan, keeping frequently shaking it by the handle and it will be light and savoury, and fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it in a dish and serve it hot.”

Most American popovers today are not flavored with meat or herbs. Instead, they have a buttery taste. Chef James Beard, anointed the “dean of American cookery” by the New York Times in 1954, has argued that the resemblance between Yorkshire pudding and popovers is purely coincidental and that the popover recipe has changed several times before becoming the recipe that it is currently used by today’s cooks.

Popovers have been called puff pops, Portland popover pudding and Laplanders – from the name of nomadic Swedish reindeer herders. Also called the Dutch Baby and Hootenanny Pancakes, these delicious dough puffs are appropriate to eat with any meal.

This light and hollow pastry made from egg batter is typically baked in muffin tins. When cooked, the batter “pops” over the top of the muffin tin, which is how the popover got its name. Usually served alongside meat dishes at lunch or dinner, popovers may be served as a sweet, topped with fruit and cream for breakfast or with afternoon tea.

The following Red Lion Inn recipe of Rosemary Popovers is rooted in the British tradition using animal drippings as a base to create depth of flavor. The piney distinctive aroma of rosemary provides a delicious accompaniment to any roasted meat. Enjoy during the holidays or at any time of the year when a crispy, soft, flavorful roll hot out of the oven will do.


ABOUT THE CHEF

Brian Alberg

Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA, Brian is a staunch supporter of the local food movement in the region, establishing strong relationships with regional farmers and food producers. Brian is the founding chair of Berkshire Farm & Table and serves on the board of the Railroad Street Youth Project.

Berkshire Family Fun: December 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of December. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2013

“Backstairs” Tour to Illuminate the Lives of Early 20th-Century Servants in the Berkshires

The Mount Creates “Backstairs” Tour to Illuminate the Lives of Early 20th-Century Servants

Taking a Backstairs Tour will allow families to learn about the story of the home and Edith Wharton’s place in literary history; more importantly, however, it will shed light on the class divisions that existed during the Gilded Age in the United States. Students can ponder the ethics of keeping servants, and can think about fair working conditions and wages when they consider the servants’ employment. Older students can also consider the current debate over raising minimum wage in our state when they think about the servants’ working conditions – how does the service industry today compare to its early 20th century equivalent?

The Mount, former summer home of Edith Wharton, is one of the Berkshires’ many beautiful, historic homes. From the sculpture garden and woodlands to the ornately decorated interior, the house embodies all that was high society during the early part of the 20th century. But how was Wharton’s lavish lifestyle sustainable? Who kept the house clean, cooked meals, and orchestrated parties and other social gatherings?

Families can learn about the “behind the scenes” workers of The Mount on a special new tour. Titled the Backstairs Tour, the new addition to the estate’s regularly scheduled tours and events is exactly what the name implies. The Backstairs Tour takes visitors to the otherwise unseen parts of the home – literally to the backstairs, as well as the servants’ quarters in the main house, stable, and gatehouse. Visitors will learn about the role of Wharton’s staff who, in addition to cooking and cleaning, were responsible for driving, extensive gardening, secretary tasks, and other household jobs… Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack of Tickets to “A Christmas Carol” at The Colonial Theatre

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to…

A Christmas Carol
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Sunday, December 15th at 2pm

Your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to see A Christmas Carol at The Colonial Theatre on Sunday, December 15th at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA (valued at $120) is easy & simple… see below!

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to see a theater production of the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, at The Colonial Theatre on Sunday, December 15th at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA! Deadline to enter to win: 12/10/13 by 11:59pm (EST).  More details below.

ABOUT A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Revel in the joy and redemptive power of Christmas as told in the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is reformed and shown the error of his ways by four spirits. Journey back to Victorian England and experience the classic story filled with terrific turns and infused with holiday music. Shows run: Saturday, Dec 14, 21, & 28 at 7pm; Sunday, Dec 15, 22, & 29 at 2pm; and Friday, Dec 20 & 27 at 7pm.

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Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack of Tickets to Christmas at The Colonial Theatre with Mary Verdi

Mary Verdi Opens the Holiday Season
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Thanksgiving Weekend

Your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to Christmas at The Colonial Theatre with Mary Verdi on Sunday, December 1st at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA (valued at $60) is easy & simple… see below!

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to see Christmas at The Colonial Theatre with Mary Verdi on Sunday, December 1st at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA! Deadline to enter to win: 11/26/13 by 11:59pm (EST).  More details below.

ABOUT MARY VERDI

Mary Verdi and special guests Bobby Sweet & Ron Ramsey will ring in the Holiday Season on Thanksgiving Weekend at The Colonial Theatre on November 30 at 7pm and December 1 at 2pm. Every year, Mary Verdi’s Christmas at the Colonial show invites families from across the Berkshires to a very special holiday celebration. Mary created this show for all to enjoy an unforgettable performance that includes a sing-along of old favorites, dancing, a children’s choir, bell choir, and a full band with strings and horns featuring area performers.

In its 4th year at The Colonial, this year’s show will feature Mary Verdi and her band, guest artists Bobby Sweet & Ron Ramsey, A Children’s Chorus, Dalton Ballet, Berkshire Music School Violins, St. Ann Children’s Chorus, Berkshire Pulse Drum Core, Neighborhood Gang, and of course, Santa!

Mary will be performing selections from her Christmas in the Berkshires CD as well as holiday favorites like “Silver Bells,” “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” “Oh Holy Night,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!” — www.maryverdi.com

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Wendell Minor’s America: Premier Historical Picture Book Illustrator on Exhibit at Norman Rockwell Museum

Exhibition Celebrates 25 Years of Work by Historical Picture Book Illustrator Wendell Minor
Saturday, November 9, 2013 – Monday, May 26, 2014

Image credit: Wendell Minor, “Abraham Lincoln Comes Home,” 2008. Cover illustration for “Abraham Lincoln Comes Home” by Robert Burleigh, Henry Holt and Co. Watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©Wendell Minor. All rights reserved.

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, invites families to “Wendell Minor’s America,” a special exhibition featuring more than 150 original artworks, artifacts, and references from illustrator Wendell Minor’s distinguished portfolio.

The award-winning illustrator drew his way through childhood in Aurora, Illinois, inspired by the richly illustrated magazines that were so much a part of American life during the mid-twentieth century. The exhibition celebrates his many cover illustrations and his 25th anniversary illustrating children’s books, each of which has been inspired by Minor’s love of history, art, science, and the natural world…

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Berkshire Family Fun: November 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
November 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of November. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun: October 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families
October 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of September. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Cardboard Challenge Supports Creative Free Play

Cardboard Challenge in the Berkshires

The Berkshire Cardboard Challenge, is inspired by the International Day of Play, an annual event sponsored by the Imagination Foundation and inspired by “Caine’s Arcade” that invites kids around the world to design and build awesome creations using cardboard, recycled materials and imagination. Artists will be on hand as facilitators as kids of all ages play with cardboard – families are particularly encouraged to attend.

What more can a box be than a corrugated cube of cardboard? Explore the possibilities at the Berkshire Cardboard Challenge! IS183, Art School of the Berkshires, offers an opportunity for kids and families of all ages to exercise their creativity in celebration of the International Day of Play! Held from 11am-2pm on Sunday, October 5th at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Williamstown, the event invites families to experiment with recycled materials to create fascinating feats of engineering and imagination!

Inspired by Caine’s Arcade, a elaborate all-cardboard arcade created by an elementary school student, the Berkshire Cardboard Challenge helps to promote creative free play amongst kids of all ages. A box can become anything in the world (or out of this world!), allowing for endless hours of play influenced by little more than a child’s imagination and experiences. Participating in free play can help children’s creativity grow, and can strengthen their confidence in their own imagination. Play can help children explore new ideas, develop characters, and find solutions to problems that, though they are invented, may teach them useful lessons for real life…

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Just My Type: When It’s Not Diabetes

Nothing Left to Give

Diabetes has a way of crowding out everything else in life. Nowhere is that more true than with childhood illnesses and injuries.

You see, even though my daughter, Noelle, has type 1 diabetes, she does have normal kid problems. Sometimes that’s hard to remember, and sometimes it’s even harder to deal with. It may sound strange, but I dump so much time, energy and anxiety into caring for her diabetes that I have nothing left for the bleeding scratch on her knee: “Oh, it’s fine, go hold a tissue on it.”

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Learning About Immigration in Modern Times

Norman Rockwell Museum To Host Second United States Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony

Courtesy Photo: Norman Rockwell Museum.

Often, immigration is taught to students in a way that focuses on the history of immigration in the United States. Central to the development of our country and responsible for bringing people from all over the world to be part of communities across America, immigration is discussed with students mainly in the past tense. We focus on who immigrated when and why, without spending much time looking at who is immigrating now. Learning about immigration as something that happened in the past does, of course, help students develop an understanding of the ways in which our country has constantly changed throughout the last few centuries, but it doesn’t teach them that the United States is continuously evolving. By examining modern immigration, students can develop an understanding of what immigration means in modern times…

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Berkshire Family Fun: September 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: September 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of September. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week.

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

Saturday &  Sunday, September 21st & 22nd,  the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area presents Heritage Walks, which celebrate the communities, natural areas, history, and different cultures of the many places recognized as part of this National Heritage Area.  Heritage Walks take place on Saturday 9/21 and Sunday 9/22 at many different sites throughout the region.  For example, you can tour the Historic Colonial Theatre, watch hawks at Bartholomew’s Cobble, explore local cemeteries, tour historic homes, see the W.E.B. DuBois National Historic Site, and explore the Housatonic River.  Because the Heritage Area designation is about the intersections between nature, culture, and history, each walk offers something different and it is likely you will find one that fits your interests!  A full list of Heritage Walks can be found here.  860-435-9505.  Berkshire County.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Autumn at Bascom Lodge atop Mt. Greylock

Bascom Lodge in the Berkshires

During Labor Day weekend, Bascom Lodge is offering music and dance workshops. Bringing West African traditions to the peak, Marafanyi Drum, Dance, and Song presents a full day of learning and music-making! A variety of workshops are available throughout the day on Sunday, September 1st, before a special concert takes place in the lodge’s lobby at 6pm. The concert is free, and would make a great ending to a day of mountain exploring!

Atop Mt. Greylock – Massachusetts’ highest peak in the Berkshires – sits a beautiful piece of American history. Bascom Lodge was built during the 1930′s as a project of the Civilian Conservation Corps, a federal Depression-era jobs program. The lodge itself speaks volumes about the mountain’s natural history, as it is built out of Greylock schist and sturdy red spruce. Alongside rustic design and period architecture, the locally sourced building materials share the same aesthetic as the mountain’s trails and wild spaces.

Bascom Lodge offers a myriad of opportunities for fun for families throughout the summer and early fall. Open June 1st through October 30th, the lodge offers workshops, lectures, and explorations of all kinds. With the most beautiful time of the year approaching, Mt. Greylock is an excellent place for hiking and leaf peeping. Rugged kids can hike (with parents) to the top of the mountain to explore the lodge and learn about its history, while families with younger children may opt to drive up the mountain in order to enjoy the view and explore the top…

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Just My Type: Judgement and Misunderstanding of Type 1 Diabetes

What’s in a Name

I have this fantasy in my head: Next time someone asks my daughter, Noelle, about why she is pricking her finger or wearing an insulin pump, she will reply, “I have organ failure.”

Putting aside the fact that I would much rather have other fantasies in my head, I am embracing this one since a recent visit to the psychologist in Noelle’s pediatric endocrinologist’s office. The psychologist is just one other resource offered by the office to address the complete needs of a child with type 1 diabetes; last month we visited the nutritionist to learn that fast food really isn’t all that good for you. I know, shocking…

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Butterfly House Sets Flight in the Berkshires

Project Native
Native Butterfly House
A New Community-Based Educational Resource

“People see a beautiful butterfly but they don’t connect it to their landscape,” Project Native Education Director Karen LeBlanc said. “With the butterfly house they will understand that caterpillars need certain plants to live and eat. If you don’t have the plants, you’re not going to get the butterfly.”

Promoting the connection between native habitats and local wildlife, Project Native has opened a Native Butterfly House open to the public at its native plant nursery in Housatonic, just 4 miles north of Great Barrington, MA. Take a tour of this new educational facility on Friday, August 16th from 10am-12noon, or come to the kick-off party in the evening from 5-6:30pm.

The new 35-by-55-foot structure encloses a garden of native plants grown at Project Native, all of which support the life cycle of native butterflies. Staff and visiting children have been collecting native butterflies from the Project Native property to populate the butterfly house, which is open to the public daily from 10 to 4.

“This is a great addition to Project Native,” General Manager David Ellis said. “It is a terrific educational resource and a great attraction. It will serve as the keystone for our educational programs which show the importance of native habitats in sustaining our wildlife.” Groups of children have gone on butterfly safaris for several weekends in search of caterpillars and butterflies to populate the enclosed garden. There are two more butterfly safaris this summer, Wednesday, August 21st from 1-2:30pm and Saturday, August 24th from 9:30-10:30am. An advanced bug safari for kids ages 8 and oler happens on Sunday, Augutst 18th from 2:30-4:30pm.

Project Native’s mission is to promote, restore and sustain native habitats in the Berkshire Taconic region. The 13-year-old non-profit organization grows native plants from seeds collected in the region and makes them available to the public. The fields and forests of the 54-acre former dairy farm have been largely cleared of invasive plants to restore its landscape with native habitats that include trails, a native-plant seed bank, and educational activities. Native plants as defined by Project Native, are plants that existed in the region prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 17th century.

LeBlanc first conceived of the butterfly house after placing caterpillars in small butterfly huts on the property. Soon she discovered that visitors and staff were fascinated by watching the life cycle as a caterpillar becomes a chrysalis and then emerges as a butterfly, and proposed building a structure large enough to contain permanent plantings and facilitate learning…

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Berkshire Family Fun: August 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: August 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of August. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

Read the rest of this entry »

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