6 Remedies to the Pre-Dinner Snack Dilemma

The Snack Dilemma

As a dad, every day is full of food dilemmas: is this meal healthy enough? Should I make them try everything on their plate? How to get five fruits and vegetables a day? One that comes up a lot is, should I feed my kids after school, so close to dinnertime?  Will it ruin dinner? I have a few rules that help me through.

Veggies and Hummus

Click here to read remedies to the pre-dinner snack dilemma John uses with his family…

HFVS Occupation Episode with Guest DJ, Brandon Smith (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Occupation Episode with Guest DJ, Brandon Smith

LISTEN TO PODCAST: 


Brandon wants to be an astronaut. What do you want to be? Listen for a variety of songs about what you can be when you grow up!

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
April th & 16th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video:  “The Old Wooden Broom” by Brandon Smith


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • The Beatles – “Money (That’s Want I Want)” [With The Beatles]
  • Brandon Smith – “Sing Along With Me” [Treasure Hunt]
  • Stevie Wonder – “Sir Duke” [Songs in the Key of Life]
  • Billy Joel – “The Entertainer” [Streetlife Serenade]
  • Elvis Presley – “Guitar Man” [Single]
  • The Stampeders – “Sweet City Woman” [Against the Grain]
  • Lemon Pipers – “Green Tambourine” [Green Tambourine]
  • Brandon Smith – “Robot” [Treasure Hunt]
  • Brandon Smith – “I Want to be an Astronaut” [Treasure Hunt]
  • The Beatles – “Paperback Writer” [Single]
  • The Marvelettes – “Please Mr. Postman” [Single]
  • Harry Nilsson – “Coconut” [Nilsson Schmilsson]
  • Rose Royce – “Car Wash” [Car Wash: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
  • DEVO – “Working in a Coal Mine [Single]
  • Harry Belafonte – “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” [Calypso]
  • Brandon Smith – “Hero” [Treasure Hunt]
  • Earth, Wind, and Fire – “Shining Star” [That’s the Way of the World]
  • Frank Sinatra – “That’s Life” [That’s Life]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for April 5th & 6th, 2014

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for April 5th-11th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Hilltown Families Ticket Giveaways, Hilltown Families Events, & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 29 Community Highlights: Food Chemistry to Period Restaurants. Edible Books to Oddball Science., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: April 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of nearly 50 summer camps & programs, and for your Easter plans, Easter Events in Western MA, 2014 has you covered!

April 5th-11th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


Animal ScienceFood StudiesAstronomyCultural StudiesLiteracySTEMMuseum AdventuresDance StudiesNature ScienceOrnithologyParent Workshops

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Community Recommended Documentaries for Parents
  2. Picture Books for Spring Time
  3. Where to Get New/Used Bikes for the Family in Western MA
  4. Play Spring Walk Bingo!
  5. The Magic of Spring Peepers. The Science of Vernal Pools

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music
Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA Cup & Top in Florence, MA

Click here to read the rest of our RECAP MAP!…

29 Community Highlights: Food Chemistry to Period Restaurants. Edible Books to Oddball Science.

World music is a powerful pathway towards discovery of other cultures and music instruments. Families can learn about two instruments used in North Indian music – the sitar and the tabla – at the Amherst Jones Library‘s “Introduction to North Indian Classical Musicfree events this month!

Draft Horses to Merino Sheep. Food Chemistry to Period Restaurants. Edible Books to Oddball Science. Folk Dancing to Classical Indian Music… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week: Did you know that if a domestic sheep weren’t shorn, their wool would grow and grow and grow? Come learn about shearing and the wool harvest at Winterberry Farm at their new farm in Colrain on Saturday, April 5th during  Shearing Day! There will be music, food, demonstrations, and a chance to see 30 sheep get sheared. A great chance for families to learn about this traditional process and for kids to know where their woollies come from. Free.


Animal ScienceFood StudiesAstronomyCultural StudiesLiteracySTEMMuseum AdventuresDance StudiesNature ScienceOrnithologyParent Workshops


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for April 5th-11th, 2014

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in western Massachusetts, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“I SO appreciate being able to go through your eNewsletter each Thursday evening to find the kinds of events & activities that appeal to me & my family! The format allows me to first scan the outdoor, educational and/or service opportunities, and then fine-tooth search through the day-by-day ‘suggested events.’ I usually check out at least a post or two as well – and I often email a link to the eNewsletter to a friend whom I think will be interested. I rely on Hilltown Families more & more as my son gets older – especially since we started home-schooling. Thanks very much for your excellent work, folks!” Susan M. (Amherst, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

SUMMER CAMPS IN WESTERN MA

Summer Camps in  Massachusetts

“Hilltown Families continues to be my go-to place for family events. I really appreciated the organized list of summer camps!”

Check out our featured post, 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

BULLETIN BOARD

Introducing The School for Contemporary Dance and Thought (SCDT), offering innovative dance training and performance studies for all ages. SCDT is made up of a collective of seasoned teachers who are independent performance artists with international experience. Classes include: Creative Contemporary Dance (ages 6-12) Song, Story and Dance (ages 2.5-4) Friday morning advanced Contemporary Dance, Hip-Hop Urban fusion for kids and adults Contemporary Indian Dance (ages 6-12) (Mohiniyattam/Bharatanatyam), Shaking Practice, and The Observatory: Tuning Scores Laboratory. Please visit the website for class schedules, faculty, and registration information: scdt2014.weebly.com

Open House: Apr 5

Visit the Montessori School of Northampton (MSN), 51 Bates Street, for an open house on Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 10:30am to 12noon! Parents of students from ages 2 through 12 interested in September 2014 admission are invited to tour the school, participate in an art project and music circle, and meet staff. MSN offers a Little Children’s House program for toddlers from age 2, a Children’s House (preschool/kindergarten) program for ages 2 years 9 months through 6, and an Elementary program for ages 6 through 12. MSN is accredited by both the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE). For information, please call 413-586-4538 or visit www.northamptonmontessori.org.

Apr 10

Greenfield Center SchoolThe Center School presents: Parenting, Teaching & Promoting Advocacy for Transgender Children, An Evening with Lori Duron, New York Times Book reviewed author of Raising my Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son, Thursday, April 10th at 7:00pm at Seelye Hall, Smith College in Northampton. Based on her (one million subscribers & counting) blog, Rainbow is the first memoir written by a mother that chronicles the daily joys & struggles of raising a gender-variant child. For the first time ever in the Pioneer Valley, Ms. Duron will speak in an evening sponsored by The Center School. The event is free to the public. Tickets are limited & subject to availability, so please call 413-773-1700 to reserve. www.centerschool.net

Apr 13

Take your family on a tour through pre-historic Australia with Erth’s DINOSAUR ZOO Live™ where an eye-popping array of ancient creatures come to life on stage. Meet a menagerie of insects, mammals & dinosaurs in their ancient environment, in this highly imaginative, entertaining & educational live show. Brought to life by skilled performers & puppeteers, you’ll experience the sweetly curious baby Dryosaur, the peaceful hulk Titanosaur, and the teeth-gnashing T-rex. It all happens at the FAC Concert Hall on Sunday, April 13 at 4pm. Free pre-show family fest at 3pm in lobby. Tickets are only $20/adults & $10/kids 17 & under. Family 4-packs are $50. For tickets call 413-545-2511 or 1-800-999-UMAS or online: www.fineartcenter.com. Amherst, MA.

Apr 17-19; 24-26

In a city reminiscent of Batman’s Gotham, water is worth its weight in gold due to a 20-year shortage. The citizens must use toilets run by a corrupt corporation willing to do anything to make a buck. In this desolate world, one young man has decided enough is enough and begins a rebellion to save the oppressed poor. Urinetown: The Musical is an irreverent musical satire- a tale of greed, corruption, revolution, and love. April 17-19 and 24-26 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $10 general admission, $7 students/seniors. Tickets are available at: wnsboxoffice.tixato.com/buy/urinetown. The Williston Theatre is located in Scott Hall at 18 Payson Avenue, Easthampton. Parking is available, free of charge, behind the building.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your April vacation program, afterschool class, community event, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, wellness program or business featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

On Friday, April 11th from 4-7pm: ACT OF KINDNESS: Flowers for Friends: A Free Family Friday Night Event at The Art Garden with Hilltown Families. Sign up to bring your kids and come join your neighbors in a free community art event, painting terracotta flower pots to plant with pansies and then pass along to those in your community. With the idea of spreading kindness and beauty, families are encouraged to pass their posies along to an elder in their neighborhood, or their librarian, classroom teacher, receptionist at the hospital or animal shelter, or other community space of their choice. Space is limited. Pre-registration is kindly requested. Shelburne Falls, MA (FREE)

Easter is around the corner: April 20th. During Easter many towns host egg hunts for their residents. Find an egg hunt nearest you, along with spring time craft opportunities, brunch and Easter Bunny appearances and make your family plans to get out into your community and celebrate. Check our list of Easter Events in Western MA.  With nearly 30 opportunities already posted, this growing list is your go-to resource for Easter and spring time celebrations in the region!

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 5th-11th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Science Meets Poetry: Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Illustrated Poem Contest

Science Meets Poetry with Wonders of Water Illustrated Poem Contest

Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Illustrated Poem Contest. Entries to the contest are due by April 14th, 2014.

Beloved children’s poet Shel Silverstein once wrote, “… let it rain on my skin, it can’t get in – I’m waterproof!” These words – from the poem “Dancin’ In the Rain” – are silly yet somehow scientific, and encourage us to think about what happens when our skin gets wet. There are an infinite number of other water-related thoughts that kids might have, and thanks to an upcoming poetry contest, big thinkers will have a place to share writing that they’ve done about water-related phenomena.

The 2014 American Chemical Society’s Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Illustrated Poem Contest invites students in grades K-12 to write and illustrate poems about water. The official theme, “Wonders of Water,” encourages students of all ages to ponder the role that water plays in their daily lives, in the natural world around them, and in the chemical and physical properties of everything on earth. With a maximum length of 40 words, poems should be concise yet also creative and original – even with a small number of words, students will find plenty of space to make their voice come through. Read the rest of this entry »

Historical Exhibit in Hatfield Gives Glimpse Into Civil War Life in Western MA

The Things They Left Us

While most of the major events of the Civil War took place further south than New England, the war plays a major role in the history of communities all over western Massachusetts. Not only did the area serve as part of the Underground Railroad and a home to abolitionists, but agrarian towns changed drastically during the Civil War, as men and boys who farmed in order to sustain their families left home to fight in the war.

Thanks to a new exhibit at the Hatfield Historical Museum, families can learn much about local ties to the major events that took place during the Civil War. A newly installed exhibit at the museum includes a variety of Civil War-era artifacts, including a blood-stained bible that once belonged to a soldier, the Civil War diary of Hatfield resident Daniel White Wells, a knapsack worn by soldiers in the Union volunteer infantry, a 32+2 star American flag, and a Confederate tourniquet, taken as a souvenir by a young Hatfield soldier.

A visit to the exhibit is educational and informative for students of all ages, even if they don’t have any background on the Civil War yet. Young students can compare the items displayed to their modern equivalent, so as to reflect on changes in technology, culture, and use of items, and they may also begin to think about what late 19th-century Hatfield must have been like with many of the men and boys gone to fight in the war. Older students who have already begun to learn about the Civil War in school can develop a better idea of what Civil War life was like for those who fought – the objects displayed in the exhibit convey the hard work, long distances traveled, and terrifying battles endured by those who left Hatfield (and communities just like it all over New England) to join in the war.

RELATED EVENTS

In celebration of the new exhibit, the Historical Society will be hosting two exciting opening events. On Saturday, April 5th, 2014, from 9:30am-12:30pm, families can visit the museum to meet members of the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry at an encampment, sample Civil War foods, and see demonstrations of drills that Civil War soldiers took part in. The Historical Society will host a similar event on Sunday, May 25th, 2014, from 10am-12noon as part of the town’s Memorial Day celebration – this event will feature a larger number of reenactors – three tents in all! Both events are free, and present a unique opportunity to experience living history. Read the rest of this entry »

Parenting Green: The Gift of Honey

Raw Honey: Learning, Eating & Appreciating

Our family eats honey regularly. The jar lives on our kitchen table.  It’s used daily in tea, we pour it over yogurt, and spread it on toast. It’s something I enjoy and use often, something I place value on. When our friends had us over recently and offered to send us home with a frame of honey straight from their hive, I couldn’t say ‘no,’ though the impulse to negate such a generous offering was stirring. I am so glad I accepted. The 2-5lb weight of the frame was surely felt.  It was densely full of honey, capped off by sweet smelling wax.  How did the bee make two distinctly different substances from one tiny insect body (okay, many tiny insect bodies)? Read the rest of this entry »

Citizen Scientists Wanted to Map the Stars

Loss of the Night Citizen Science Project Maps the Night Sky and Levels of Sky Glow

What do you see when you look into the night sky above your home? Turn informal observations of celestial bodies into citizen science with Loss of the Night! Created by German researchers, Loss of the Night is designed to collect information about the amount of sky glow (also known as light pollution) present in populated areas all over the globe. An additional goal of the project is to help users learn more about the stars that they see above them and the seasonal changes that take place in the sky.

A byproduct of densely populated areas, sky glow occurs is the obstruction of night sky views by an excess of light produced on land (by and for humans). Not only does sky glow negatively affect studies of the night sky, but researchers suspect that it may also influence species of plants and animals whose cyclical growth and change relies on their relationship to seasonal changes and, therefore, the moon and stars.

In order to participate and learn, families must download the free Loss of the Night app for Android smart phones. The program determines the phone’s GPS location, and uses the information to generate information about the stars and planets visible above that part of the earth. Read the rest of this entry »

New Children’s Book Highlights the Pioneer Valley

Night Night Valley
Children’s Picture Book Highlights the Pioneer Valley

Night Night Valley is a community-based picture book that encourages both literacy and community engagement.

If you’re raising kids in western Massachusetts, Night Night Valley, a sweet children’s book based in and around the Pioneer Valley, is a must-read for your little ones at bedtime.  Written by Jennifer S. Page and illustrated by Rachel A. Chapman (both of Amherst, MA), Night Night Valley travels through our local landscape as night time arrives.  Your children will recognize many of the water-color illustrations that depict life in western Massachusetts.

Local food is highly valued by many families, and the book begins with a nod to our many farmers’ markets and open areas for picnicking. Subtle referencing to the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art are made with illustrations of butterflies and “hungry caterpillars.”  Local parks like Look Park, Groff Park and Holyoke Heritage State Park will peak your child’s interests with recognition and encouragement to begin the journey towards sleep.

“The Kids at Look Park have all gone to bed. ‘We had so much fun on the train ride,’ they said.”

And if your child hasn’t yet made a visit to these locations, they have possibly seen the many landmarks this delightful bedtime story references, like Mt. Pollux, the Connecticut River, downtown Amherst & Northampton, and apple orchards.

“Downtown is so quiet, no traffic right now. The farmer has said good night to his plow.”

  • Night Night Valley. Written by Jennifer S. Page and illustrated by Rachel A. Chapman. Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; Lrg edition (February 14, 2014). 28 pp. ISBN: 9781480079908

 

Phenology: Connecting with Nature Science & Local Culture

Phenology: Citizen Scientist & Local Culture

Independent, citizen science like Nature’s Notebook is a great way to connect with nature, learn about phenology, practice gathering data, and learn the basics of experimental design while contributing to a scientific study. Another way…participate in the many phenology-based community celebrations that happen throughout the year, both locally and all across the nation!

Phenology is the study of cyclic and/or seasonal phenomena in plants and animals, especially in relation to weather and climate.  It is important in terms of processes like bird migration or flowering, and for synchronicity between species.  Relationships and interactions in nature depend greatly on timing, and this timing can be studied in order to better understand climate change.  Recording phenological events gives us an idea of how climate has changed over time – keeping track of flowering times allows us to see how they change each year, or decade, or century!

The famous writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau, who is known for his nature journals, recorded the flowering times of many different plant species.  Thoreau’s observations have since been used in studies on the impact of climate change on plants in New England.

Families can help with studies of phenology in a similar way to Thoreau! The National Phenology Network has developed Nature’s Notebook, a citizen science program that aims to get people outdoors and observing nature. Nature’s Notebook has an app and a website where citizen scientists can record observations to help scientists better understand the ways in which climate change is affecting plants in New England.  The National Phenology Network needs volunteers to take part in many of the Nature’s Notebook projects, of which there are several throughout the country. Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Anger, Quarrels & Love

Anger: The Unvarnished Truth

We had the blowout of the century last week, my husband and I.  The blowout of the century.  The topic isn’t as important as the pure seething vitriol that came from both our mouths, flung at each other with all the might we could muster.  It was a horrific display of the worst of our humanness.  I had had it.  He had had it.  For weeks the blood boiled in both of us and reached the point where the pressure cooker burst–burst wide open.  It was late at night.  The dog was sleeping.  The cat was sleeping.   Ila was sleeping…or so I thought.

The next morning, we both did our best to paste a shiny smile on our faces so that she wouldn’t suspect that our feelings for each other at that moment were less than fond (to put it mildly).  Although I didn’t notice then (shame on me) looking back now, Ila was very quiet that morning. She moved through the routine as if she was walking through molasses.  The car ride to school wasn’t full of top-of-her-lungs “Frozen” songs and she was shy and clingy when it was time for me to leave her in her classroom.  That afternoon, after picking her up, her tiny voice cut through the silence and pulled me from my very busy mind.  “Mommy, why aren’t you married to Aidan’s daddy anymore?” Read the rest of this entry »

Local Library Offers Financial Literacy Learning Opportunities

Money Smart Week Comes to the Jones Library in Amherst, MA

Libraries have long been advocates for reading and literacy for the people in their communities. Another community need now being addressed by libraries in an annual campaign is financial literacy and money management. Money Smart Week, a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances, will be observed with several free programs at the Jones Library in Amherst, MA, during the week of April 5 – 12, 2014… Read the rest of this entry »

Teach with Movies: Pairing Films with Learning Guides & Lesson Plans

Teach with Movies

Teach with Movies encompass more than 390 Learning Guides and lesson plans, as well as articles on using movies to further education.

Children love stories, and they love to learn from them. Stories take many different forms – they might be found in a picture book, told aloud from memory, read in a chapter book, or played out in real life, on a stage, or on a screen. Wherever they come from, stories help children to learn about the world around them. As adults, we make a conscious effort to help our children recognize what they’ve learned from a story, and the most common place to find stories meant for learning is in a book – but there are stories all around us, just waiting for their educational value to be taken advantage of!

Using resources offered by Teach with Movies, families can utilize the educational potential found in hundreds of movies for kids of all ages. Offering support specifically designed for parents, teachers and homeschooling families, Teach with Movies’ site is filled with movie guides that include ideas for lessons, conversation starters, follow-up activities, and more – all designed to encourage and support students’ learning… Read the rest of this entry »

Early Twentieth Century Craftwork and Artisans Featured at Historic Deerfield

Early Twentieth Century Craftwork and Artisans Featured at Historic Deerfield

Sarah Cowles (1845-1922), a member of the Pocumtuck Basket Makers, wove an image of Deerfield’s iconic c. 1699 Old Indian House in her basket. Cowles was one of a number of women who was swept up by the William Morris craze for making handmade goods. Founded in 1902 by Madeline Yale Wynne, the group made baskets principally of raffia, a product of Madagascar, and used natural dyes to color their work. Wynne chose the name Pocumtuck to reference the Native Americans who first lived in Deerfield.

The early 1900s sparked a renewed interest in the materials and craftsmanship roughly associated with the colonial period in the United States.  Known in the US as the “American Craftsman” school of thought or as the “Arts & Crafts Movement,” this interest in traditional methods, materials, and styles of craftwork was part of an international design revolution against the mass-production that new industry and machinery had made possible.  The movement, which began in the British Isles in the late 1890s, was initially a socialist rejection of the mechanized, assembly-line-style work that had all but eliminated the creativity and skill that craftsmen (and women) had demonstrated prior to the rise of industry. By elevating the aesthetic significance of these unique, unassuming, artisan-made objects, the Arts & Crafts movement created a new niche for craftworkers and pushed back against the increasing sense of excess in the design world. Ironically, these humble objects inspired by craftsmen of old were not accessible to everyone. Because the materials, time, and skill needed to create high-quality, authentic arts & crafts objects were harder to come by than what the factories produced, each object was competitively priced.

Artists in New England were particularly drawn to the resurgence of traditional handicrafts, and many joined the arts and crafts community that had sprung up in Deerfield.  These artists – ranging from metalsmiths, potters, and furniture makers, to photographers, embroiderers, and basket makers – were heavily inspired by the history of the Deerfield area, and incorporated references to the town’s history in their work.  Several Deerfield artists even achieved national recognition for their crafts.  It is these artists and their work that Historic Deerfield celebrates in their current exhibition, “A Community of Craftwork,” on view now through February 2015.   Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Pioneers of Sound Episode with Guest DJ, Elska (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Pioneers of Sound Episode with Guest DJ, Elska

LISTEN TO PODCAST: 


Listen to the modern “Pioneers of Sound!” with Elska as she takes us on a sonic journey into the world of early electronic music, synthesizers, micro-beats, bells and more.  Broadcasting from her Arctic island home, Elska teaches us about the origins of the most innovative sounds in pop music, how they were made, and then she plays us fascinating examples from pop music, art music, classical and some music that defies classification all together.  Get ready for a true sonic journey with “Pioneers of Sound!” − www.islandofelska.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
March 29th & 30th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video:  Hiddi Hiddi is how one says “hello” on the Island of Elska!


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Elska – “Arctic Fox” [Middle of Nowhere]
  • múm – “I am 9 Today” [Yesterday Was Dramatic - Today is OK]
  • Björk - “Frosti” [Vespertine]
  • Walter Carlos – “Two-Part Invention in F Major” [Switched-On Bach]
  • Walter Carlos – “Two-Part Invention in B Flat Major” [Switched-On Bach]
  • Suzanne Cianni – “Buchla Live in 1975” [Lixiviation]
  • Elska – “Hiddi Hiddi” [Middle of Nowhere]
  • Devo – “Peek-A-Boo!” [Oh, No! It's Devo!]
  • Kraftwerk – “The Robots” [The Man-Machine]
  • Elska – “Click Click” [Middle of Nowhere]
  • Steve Reich – “Music for 18 Musicians: V. Section IIIB” [Music for 18 Musicians]
  • Talking Heads – “This Must Be the Place” [Speaking in Tongues]
  • Laurie Anderson – “Walk the Dog” [Big Science]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for March 29th & 30th, 2014

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for March 29th-April 4th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Hilltown Families Ticket Giveaways, Hilltown Families Events, & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 21 Community Highlights: Magic Flute to Sound of Music. Electricity to Telescope, and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: April 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of nearly 50 summer camps & programs, and for your Easter plans, Easter Events in Western MA, 2014 has you covered!

March 29th-April 4th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


Community ServiceGeologySpace/AstronomyEnvironmental ScienceAnimal StudiesSTEMHistoryOutdoor AdventuresFashion StudiesTheaterParent WorkshopMusic Studies

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Recommended Fiction Titles with Autistic Characters
  2. Supporting the Creativity of Writing
  3. Picture Books for Spring Time
  4. HFVS Weather Episode with Guest DJ, Alison Faith Levy (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. 8 Western MA Farm Programs Offer Education for Families

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Art Spark

Click here to read the rest of our RECAP MAP!…

21 Community Highlights: Magic Flute to Sound of Music. Electricity to Telescope

The Magic Flute to The Sound of Music. Electricity to Telescope. Garlic Mustard to Bat Houses.

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

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week:  Transport children into an enchanted world that blends myth, fairytale, and the archetypes of good vs. evil this Sunday afternoon, March 30th while exposing them to the wonderful world of opera! Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls presents a free screening of the Metropolitan Opera’s performance of The Magic Flute. Mozart’s famous fairytale opera features magic bells, dancing animals, dragons, a hero and heroine, and much more. This production was directed by Julie Taymor in 2004 and is adapted for children.. This production is ideal for introducing children to opera – it is funny and engaging, yet it also teaches important lessons about patience and distinguishing right from wrong.


Community ServiceGeologySpace/AstronomyEnvironmental ScienceAnimal StudiesSTEMHistoryOutdoor AdventuresFashion StudiesTheaterParent WorkshopMusic Studies


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Suggested Events for March 29th-April 4th, 2014

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in western Massachusetts, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“Hilltown Families is an amazing resource. It is my go-to for discovering kid-friendly events each week. This website makes it really easy to find out what’s happening in and around the Valley, as well as provides great information about local resources and ideas of things to do with my child. Thank you!” – Jaime C. (Northampton, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

SUMMER CAMPS IN WESTERN MA

Summer Camps in  Massachusetts

“Hilltown Families continues to be my go-to place for family events. I really appreciated the organized list of summer camps!”

Check out our featured post, 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

BULLETIN BOARD

Helping a Parent-Helps a Child. Prevent child abuse and neglect. Caring, flexible, good listeners are needed to do weekly home visits to Hampshire County parents living in stressful situations. With three to five hours per week, you can make a difference to a family in need of extra support. Training and regular supervision are provided. The Spring Training Group for the Parent Aide Volunteer Program is forming now. Commitment to volunteering isn’t required until after the training. Having a car is required. For more information call Lydia at Berkshire Children and Families in Hadley at 413-584-5690 Ext. 144 or email lvernon-jones@bcfcma.org

Mar 29

Valley Vegfest, Saturday, March 29, 10-4, at J.F.K. Middle School in Northampton. The first–ever Western Mass vegetarian festival featuring passionate speakers, vegan food vendors, veg-friendly products, and non-profit organizations dedicated to animal welfare, healthy living, and the environment. Learn about and sample delicious healthy new foods. Enjoy entertainment and activities for kids. Speakers include author and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary director Jenny Brown, along with Neil Hornish, Dr. Kumara Sidhartha, MD, and Hannah Kaminsky. Have your questions answered during Q&A discussion sessions on a variety of topics, such as raising vegan children. Admission is free, donations are appreciated. Details at www.valleyveg.org

Mar 29 & 30

Tiny Owls, Captivating Ravens, an Enchanted Castle, Magical Roses, a Jealous Suitor, and a Lonely Beast. Full of whimsy and magic, Beauty and the Beast follows the story of a young woman who discovers the true meaning of love in an unexpected place. A moving ballet based on the fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, Pioneer Valley Ballet’s original ballet features all new choreography and a colorful cast of characters dancing to the music of Antonin Dvorak. A thrilling and opulent performance for all ages, March 29 & 30 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Tickets and information: www.pioneervalleyballet.org

Mar 30

Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival presents Mama Doni’s Jewish Holiday Party, a live family concert on Sunday, March 30 at 3:30 PM at Lander-Grinspoon Academy, 257 Prospect St., Northampton. An award-winning singer, songwriter and performer, Mama Doni and guitar virtuoso Eric Lindberg fuse together traditional Jewish melodies with contemporary bluegrass sounds. They rock the stage with a live performance guaranteed to get every member of the family dancing. Perfect for toddlers to grandparents! $7.50 adults, $5 children (under 2 free), capped at $20/family. Advance tickets at Lander-Grinspoon Academy or Springfield Jewish Community Center. Tickets also available at the door. Call 413.584.6822 or visit PVJFF.org. Co-sponsored by PJ Library.

Apr 7-Jun 16

StoryCatchers: Writing to Discover is offering an afterschool writing workshop for girls in 5th and 6th grade. Held on Monday afternoons (3:30-5:30) in a peaceful Florence yoga studio, girls will explore, invent, and imagine the stories they have to tell. Writers will gather, have a snack and be offered a prompt — a found object, a quote, an image, a piece of music – before settling down to write. We will reconvene to listen to one another’s words, discovering our answers to Mary Oliver’s question: “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” Meets Mondays between April 7-June 16 (except April 21 and May 26). $180 for 9 weeks. Learn more at www.storycatchersworkshops.com or email info@storycatchersworkshops.com.

Apr 10

Greenfield Center SchoolThe Center School presents: Parenting, Teaching & Promoting Advocacy for Transgender Children, An Evening with Lori Duron, New York Times Book reviewed author of Raising my Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son, Thursday, April 10th at 7:00pm at Seelye Hall, Smith College in Northampton. Based on her (one million subscribers & counting) blog, Rainbow is the first memoir written by a mother that chronicles the daily joys & struggles of raising a gender-variant child. For the first time ever in the Pioneer Valley, Ms. Duron will speak in an evening sponsored by The Center School. The event is free to the public. Tickets are limited & subject to availability, so please call 413-773-1700 to reserve. www.centerschool.net

Open House: May 3

The Ashfield Community Preschool invites you to join them for their annual open house on Saturday, May 3 10am-Noon. This event is for families with young children ages 2 years nine months – 5 years who are looking for quality care and small class sizes in the rural Hilltown of Ashfield, MA. Children who attend the preschool participate in a hands-on gardening program, growing a sunflower house and pumpkin patch. This year they will add a butterfly garden. In this pastoral setting the preschool offers a six week summer program with walking trips to visit local Ashfield artists. Join their staff on May 3. Tour their facility and grounds and register for summer and fall sessions. The preschool is located at 103 Baptist Corner Rd. 413-628-3248.

Jun 25-Jul 25

Share a local Hilltown summer experience with a student from Spain. Since 2008, Home Stays USA has arranged home stays for Spanish students. They look for host families with children of the same gender and close in age and interests to create a strong, intercultural relationship. Hosts invited on two-day group trip to New York City. Local organizers Joe Bock and Paula Garcia, from both Spain and America, are always close-by and in touch to ensure a successful stay. If attending a camp, organizers arrange camp paperwork for student if necessary. Airport transportation provided. Many references available upon request. June 25-July 25. $700 stipend provided. A great way to make a friend in Spain, have fun and represent the great Hilltown area.

Introducing The School for Contemporary Dance and Thought (SCDT), offering innovative dance training and performance studies for all ages. SCDT is made up of a collective of seasoned teachers who are independent performance artists with international experience. Classes include: Creative Contemporary Dance (ages 6-12) Song, Story and Dance (ages 2.5-4) Friday morning advanced Contemporary Dance, Hip-Hop Urban fusion for kids and adults Contemporary Indian Dance (ages 6-12) (Mohiniyattam/Bharatanatyam), Shaking Practice, and The Observatory: Tuning Scores Laboratory. Please visit the website for class schedules, faculty, and registration information: scdt2014.weebly.com

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your April vacation program, afterschool class, community event, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, wellness program or business featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
March 29th-April 4th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closings

Berkshire Family Fun

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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.

Edible Books Connect Culinary Arts & Literature

The Edible Book: A Benefit for the Friends of the Forbes & Lilly Libraries

The Forbes and Lilly Libraries are holding their Edible Book event on Sunday, April 6th this year, an annual event that crosses culinary arts and language arts with creative free play!

If you could make a piece of art that describes your favorite book, what would it look like? If you created a food whose flavor matches your family’s favorite story, what would it taste like? And what do you think would happen if you combined your art piece with the book’s perfect flavor match? Create a real-life edible artistic masterpiece – just like you’ve imagined! – by participating in Forbes Library’s event, Edible Book Northampton!

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Let Them Grow: Learning Activities for Mud Season

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Mud Season Activities

Mud Season is the time between winter and spring. It is when the snow disappears and the grass has yet to grow. It’s when mud is the primary ground cover. It is still often too cold to take your toddler out for long periods of time, but it is warm enough to get out there for a short spell and get dirty. It is in between snow boots and galoshes; ice and mud puddles. It is the time of year that we start to think about spring but it isn’t spring enough to be able to act like spring yet… or is it? Here are several learning activities you can take advantage of during mud season with your young children that have hints of spring and loads of fun: Learning Activities for Mud Season

Language Play: Learning to Play an Instrument Support Language Skills

Hearing, Language, Learning and Music

Wondering how to help encourage kids to practice their musical instruments? See what works for other parents in western MA and suggestions working musicians offer too in Hilltown Families post, “Getting Kids to Practice Their Musical Instruments.” (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The last two weeks, I participated in an online continuing education training concerning language listening skills. I came away in awe of the new research being done on something that we don’t really think of as necessary to learn. We think of it as something optional to learn or even optional to have available at our schools. All the latest research shows us that learning to play an instrument helps us to listen to language and improves learning and cognitive function throughout our lives! But it’s especially a benefit for kids with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder (listening and understanding language at the level of the brain), specific language impairment, autism, and stroke recovery.

In a three year assessment of kids who had music training vs. those who didn’t, the kids with training did better at reading, speech in noise, and had stronger brain responses to sounds including language. Their brains changed! Of course, the longer the training, the better the cognitive changes, but scientists now know that the effect usually requires at least two years of music training. These results appear to be long term, too. Musicians have much fewer problems when older with hearing in noise, even if they’ve stopped their training at some point. We’re not talking about listening to music; we’re talking about active engagement in learning music. Current research studies are focusing on the effects of singing and drumming on understanding language…

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PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Music from Around the World with Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton

Music from Around the World with
Sierra Leone‘s Refugee All Stars
Iron Horse Music Hall ♦ Northampton, MA
Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 @ 7pm

Tix Promo: Sierra Leones

Enter for a chance to win one of two pairs of tickets we’re giving away to see Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 at 7pm. Deadline to enter: 4/6/14. Details below.

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

We are continuing to offer tickets to Dean’s Beans Music from Around the World monthly concert series at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA. For April we have two pairs of tickets to giveaway to see Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, a musical group formed in West African refugee camps, at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA on Wednesday, April 9th at 7pm. Win a pair of tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. These concerts are also a great opportunity to expose older children with audience skills to music from around the world. Deadline to enter to win: 04/06 @ 11:59pm (EST). Enter for a chance to win!

ABOUT SIERRA LEONE’S REFUGEE ALL STARS

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of war and inflamed the passions of fans across the globe with their uplifting songs of hope, faith and joy. The band is a potent example of the redeeming power of music and the ability of the human spirit to persevere through unimaginable hardship and emerge with optimism intact. From their humble beginnings in West African refugee camps Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have performed on some of the worlds most prestigious stages and matured into one of Africa’s top touring and recording bands. — www.refugeeallstars.org

Enter for a chance to win!

Textile Exhibit Celebrates Muslim Female Identity

Textile Exhibit Celebrates Muslim Female Identity
Westfield State University through April 5th, 2014

Westfield State University’s Arno Maris Gallery presents “Threads that Bind,” a Middle Eastern textile exhibit, which will be on display until April 5. A reception will be held on Thursday March 27 from 5:30-8 p.m. with exhibit curator Dr. Christina Swaidan, associate professor of art history at Westfield State. This exhibition inspires further discussion both about textile and fabric arts as well as Muslim culture and the representation and daily lives of Islamic women. See our discussion questions for ideas to spark conversation with your kids and/or students.

The Arno Maris Gallery at Westfield State University invites you and your family to its current exhibition, Threads that Bind. This display of Middle Eastern textiles highlights items of Muslim women’s clothing such as the abaya, an all-purpose robe-like dress that is worn both to Mosque and while entertaining family and friends at home, and the salwar kameez, which is comprised of a set of loose, pajama-like pants and a tunic top. Curator Dr. Christina Swaidan, an associate professor of art history at Westfield State, organized the exhibit with the intention of educating the college and local community about women in Islamic culture.

“When most people picture a Muslim woman, they imagine a shadow: a demure woman draped in all black,” says Swaidan. “She is viewed as devoid of personality or individuality.”

But the clothing and textiles in Threads that Bind are anything but demure or shadow-like: vibrant colors serve as the background for rich details like lace, embroidery, and other embellishments. And, according to Swaidan, the designs on the garments are often unique to the region in which they were produced, which could immediately signal the origin of a garment (or its wearer) to others familiar with the various patterns.

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Flowers for Friends: Free Friday Family Workshop with Hilltown Families

Flowers for Friends: Family Workshop
with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden
Friday, April 11th, 2014 from 4-7pm

Share a small act of kindness to another! Decorate pots and plant posies to pass along to others in your community with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Friday, April 11th from 4-7pm (FREE).

In the spirit of spreading kindness to others, Hilltown Families presents a free family workshop, Flowers for Friends, at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Friday, April 11th, 2014, from 4-7pm.  Families are invite to join neighbors & friends in a free community art event, painting terracotta flower pots to plant with pansies and pass along to another in their community.

Participating families are encouraged to give their posy to an elder in their neighborhood, or their librarian, classroom teacher, receptionist at the hospital or animal shelter, or other community space of their choice.  — Pay it forward with a small act of kindness!

This is the second year in a row we are coordinating this event. See photos from last year here and check out this video that features last year’s event:

Flowers for Friends is the fourth in a series of five Free Friday Family Community Service Nights that Hilltown Families and The Art Garden are offering, thanks to a grant from the Xeric Foundation. All materials included. Space is limited for this free event and pre-registration encouraged.

Click here to sign up…

Vernal Pools in Western MA

Vernal Pools: Community Resources & Events Supplement Interests & Education

Studies of vernal pools support learning in many areas of interest, and a close look at amphibian reproduction can help to spark children’s curiosity about other aspects of amphibian life. Find out what’s happening in Western MA this spring!

Along with the greenery of spring comes a reawakening of wildlife, and some of western Massachusetts smallest and most fascinating creatures make their debut as soon as the snow melts! One sure sign of the change of seasons is the sound of peepers – noisy wood frogs who have made their way from their winter residences to the vernal pools that have filled with fish-free water thanks to the melting snow. Vernal pools aren’t just home to wood frogs, though. Their amphibious neighbors include salamanders, fairy shrimp, and tiny mussels, making vernal pools a fascinating (and usually temporary) incubator for many species.

Vernal pools truly come alive at a very specific time during the spring. On the first rainy night when the temperature stays above 40 degrees, frogs and salamanders migrate from their winter homes to their annual breeding grounds, filling the pools with the sounds of mating and an abundance of eggs. While it can be tempting for rainboot-clad kiddos to stomp right on into a big, shallow puddle in the woods, it’s important to know whether or not they’re romping about in a vernal pool. Such pools house the eggs of many species of frogs and salamanders, and humans’ springtime frolicking can easily disturb these eggs and negatively affect populations. However, spending an afternoon exploring along the edges of a vernal pools is nature’s classroom at its best! Families can learn to identify commonly found species, and can watch a vernal pool over the course of the spring, summer, and fall (and maybe even winter) to see how it changes… Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Celebrate the Shortnose Sturgeon!

Our Friend, the Shortnose Sturgeon

Short-nosed sturgeon

Since the Atlantic Salmon was declared extinct in the Connecticut River two years ago, I have wandered the river banks with students, wondering what a healthy living river is like. That the Shortnose has survived under such duress, with such poor assistance provided by humans, made us love it—because it expresses the brisk vitality that remains in that 400 mile waterbody. The Shortnose does not give up, and neither should we. Before we lose this last clan entirely, let us try to assist it, and raise the Shortnose’s image and story to the forefront of our biocultural awareness. Let this environmental-adapter epitomize us and our still beautiful Nonotuck biome, at this moment of epochal transition.


Spring equinox has passed and the great thaw is underway, turning greys into green and silence to chansons. Have you enjoyed the cold (as much as the otters, who fished the icy pools)? The ice it brought let us walk rivers and tributaries as if they were sidewalks, and grand boulevards. What a wonderful feeling!

The perspective gained by walking above the river was as rare as the record-breaking weather that enabled it. Seeing the way trees lower, extend and up-curl their limbs over the water, to catch the sun on each yearning pinkytip; and noticing deep punctures of buck hoof puzzled over by bobcat pads as wide, soft and light as hamburger buns—such perceptions awaken dormant parts of human being, sparking awareness of how lucky we are when we find time to unplug. Despite the best attempts of technologists to rewire us, we’re wild; and, when we step into places without signs or brands or passwords, a brisk vivacity and slight confusion welcomes us, and matches our character, as Shakespeare made plain in this description of some dukes chillin’ in the forest of Arden: Read the rest of this entry »

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…

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