29 Community Highlights: Rhubarb Circus to Jam Making. Paper Marbling to Chilifest.

Have you been making jam this summer? Why not trade it with others at the Preserve Swap this Saturday, Sept 13, at the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers’ Market? Never made jam or just want to improve your skills? Join Grow Food Amherst at All Things Local Cooperative Market in Amherst for a jam making workshop on Sunday, Sept 14!

Honey Festival to Chilifest. Paper Marbling to Jam Making. Rhubarb Circus to Science Cafes… 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: Don’t be scared away by that chill in the air! Grow Food Amherst has moved their weekly Sustainability Sunday Workshops indoors for the fall! They will now be holding them at All Things Local Cooperative Market (104 North Pleasant St.) in Amherst. All Things Local is a year round, six day a week, farmers’ and craft market focused on sustainability and community. Learn how you can support local farming and food sources by turning your local produce from those fun filled fall apple picking excursions into delicious homemade jam at the Sunday September 14 workshop on jam making from 2-4pm! Other highlights from this season’s lineup of workshops include local residents sharing their knowledge and skills in the handmade soap workshop and how to make herbal oils, creams, and lip balms to keep your skin and lips healthy when the cold weather comes.


EntomologyHistorySkillshareVolunteer OpportunitiesSTEMFood FestivalPerformance/AstronomyOrnithologyMusic StudiesEnvironmental JusticeCulture/ArtLiteracyCommunity CelebrationsPastry Arts/ArchitecturePoetry


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Science Cafes Provide Unique Community-Based Learning Opportunity

Non-traditional Setting makes Science Accessible

Science Cafes, a grassroots movement to open science to everyone and to bring presentations and engaging conversations into casual community settings, have come to Western MA. Here we feature two that take place on Mondays in the Pioneer Valley…

For families living in western Massachusetts, there are lots of opportunities to learn about science topics present within our communities. Local museums offer endless science-related exhibits, and explorations of the biodiversity and natural history present within our local landscape take place year-round (we’re hardy in these parts!). However, opportunities to interact with actual scientists – the experts and researchers who make discoveries – are far fewer and further between. But now, thanks to two local Science Cafes, students can do just that!

In Hadley, the OEB Science Cafe brings monthly events to Esselon Cafe on Mondays. Run by graduate students and faculty of the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology program at UMass (hence the OEB title), the cafe’s topics follow along the theme of evolutionary biology and teach participants about topics ranging from the similarities between ants and humans to the way that a bird’s brain learns songs. Though the cafes are designed with adults in mind, self-directed teens and tweens with an interest in biology are welcome and can certainly learn lots by attending. Each OEB Science Cafe takes place from 6-7pm, and is free!

In Amherst, the SciTech Cafe meets at Amherst Brewing Company on the 4th Monday of each month. Covering topics within the realm of science and technology – a vast field, the cafe’s next two upcoming topics are the science of alien worlds (also known as space technology) and the science of sleep. Each event will include a talk by an expert, as well as time for questions and even a game!

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 6th & 7th, 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 September 6th-12th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 26 Community Highlights: Water Mills to Woodworking. Family Volunteering to Radical Mycology., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

September 6th-12th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

TransportationEntomologyMuseum AdventuresMycologyArtisan TradeImmigration U.S. HistorySTEMLocal HistoryCommunity ServiceAnimal StudiesFood HistoryAstronomyWater MillsPreK Activities

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. In Search for Mushrooms!
  2. Oak & Acorn: Everything’s Coming up Apples!
  3. Citizen Scientists Opportunity: School of Ants
  4. 11 Recommended Art Studios/Classes in Western MA
  5. Woods of the World on Display at Lyman Plant House

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

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

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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26 Community Highlights: Water Mills to Woodworking. Family Volunteering to Radical Mycology.

Interested in mushrooms? There are a couple of mycology opportunities this week: Radical Mycology in Great Barrington on Thursday (Sep 11) and Fungus Among Us in Easthampton on Friday (Sep 12)

Water Mills to Woodworking. Immigration to Magna CartaFamily Volunteering to Radical Mycology… 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:  All day on Sunday, September 7th, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Hatfield is holding their 2nd annual Family Volunteer Day for family members of all ages – even toddlers can help out!  Activities include touring the Food Bank warehouse, sorting food, educational opportunities for kids, and more.  It is important that kids understand the value and importance of volunteering and community service, and this is an excellent opportunity to give them some hands-on experience volunteering for a great local organization.  This all-ages event shows that no one is too young to start making a difference in their community.  Please RSVP on their Facebook event page to let the Food Bank know how many family members will be attending.


TransportationEntomologyMuseum AdventuresMycologyArtisan TradeImmigration U.S. HistorySTEMLocal HistoryCommunity ServiceAnimal StudiesFood HistoryAstronomyWater MillsPreK Activities


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Bird Identification in Western Massachusetts Made Easy, and Fun!

The Fun of Bird Identification in Western Massachusetts Made Easy

Blue bunting in West Chesterfield, MA.

Birds are everywhere this time of year, some migrating, some that stay with us over winter. Do you know who you’re sharing your yard with? Birds of all sorts have long since migrated to and from western Massachusetts, nesting here for the summer or passing through in their migrations… and it’s high time to get out and get birding!

Birds species can, of course, be identified by looking at them – their size, shape, color, feather pattern, and other distinctive markings help to distinguish one species from another. But what happens if you can’t get a close look at a bird? What if a flash of red passes by up ahead on a trail, or you’ve spotted a raptor soaring high above you? Often times you’re left with only a roadside silhouette of a sighting with which to try and identify a species, and using physical features alone can sometimes be very difficult. On top of the challenges presented by partial sightings are the similarities that some species share – it can be hard to tell which small, semi-spotted brown-and-white bird you’re seeing if you don’t have binoculars allowing you a closer look.

Click here to read on for resources on how to identify birds by their calls and upcoming birding events in Western MA…

Berkshire Family Fun: September 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
September 2014

Housatonic Heritage Walks take place Sept 20 & 21 and then again Oct 4 & 5. Don’t miss these community-based educational opportunities taking place in Western MA this fall!

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. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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.

“I love Hilltown Families for helping us find something to do on any day of the week. We have meet such wonderful people at the various events they have posted. They are a great source for community.” – Alisa Blanchard (Pittsfield, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is sponsored in part by:

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 30th & 31st, 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 August 30th-September 5th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 23 Community Highlights: Corn Maze to Kimchi. Hoosac Tunnel to Marble Quarry., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 30th-September 5th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

AstronomyMusic StudiesHaunted HistoryGeology/Natural HistoryAgricultureFood HistoryMuseum AdventuresSkill Share/FermentationAgricultural FairsCulture/MusicCommunity MealOrnithologyPlant Studies

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. How to Get Kids to Practice Their Musical Instruments
  2. 5 Solutions to Packing a Waste-Free Lunch
  3. Change of Seasons Bring Nature, Art & STEM Discoveries
  4. HFVS Back to School Episode with Guest DJ, Joanie Leeds (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Let’s Play: Organizing & Creating for Back-to-School

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

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

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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23 Community Highlights: Corn Maze to Kimchi. Hoosac Tunnel to Marble Quarry.

Teens and tweens can learn how to play the ukulélé at the Sunderland Public Library on Saturday afternoon, August 30! This is a free chance for kids to get introduced to this fun and unique instrument. Celebrate the SPL’s new ukulélés with this ukulélé workshop facilitated by musician, Julie Stepanek. Open to youth ages 10-18. Beginners welcomed!

Ukulélé to Shape Note SingingCorn Maze to KimchiHoosac Tunnel to Marble Quarry… 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:  Do you want to learn more about astronomy, but don’t know where or how to start? Arunah Hill Days is a free, family-oriented weekend all about astronomy, nature, and science education at Arunah Hill Natural Science Center  in Cummington. Come to Arunah Hill on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this Labor Day weekend for astronomy-related talks and activities for astronomy fans of all ages! Observe the night sky and search for Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, galaxies, star clusters, and more using large, powerful telescopes; see sunspots and solar prominences with a special filtered solar telescope in the daytime; enjoy guided nature walks, disc golf, and a rocket building/launch fest; and hear talks on telescope design and other astronomy topics. Bring the whole family and come early to camp on the Hill! This is a great opportunity to learn as a family and enjoy quality time spent together outdoors.


AstronomyMusic StudiesHaunted HistoryGeology/Natural HistoryAgricultureFood HistoryMuseum AdventuresSkill Share/FermentationAgricultural FairsCulture/MusicCommunity MealOrnithologyPlant Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 23rd & 24th, 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 August 23rd-29th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 29 Community Highlights: Poetry Slam to Classical Music. Back-to-School to Stargazing., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: August 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 23rd-29th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Plant StudiesLocal FoodTransportation HistoryLocal HistoryMusic StudiesBack-to-SchoolInsect StudiesSafetyAgricultural FairsSTEMAstronomyPoetrySummer Celebrations

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. HFVS Back to School Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  2. 11 Suggestions on How Western MA Families Can Make Wise Back-to-School Purchases
  3. Q&A: Hair Cuts in Western MA
  4. Tips for a New School Year
  5. 6 Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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29 Community Highlights: Poetry Slam to Classical Music. Back-to-School to Stargazing.

With only a few more weeks left of summer, wildflowers like goldenrod and joe-pye weed dot our landscape. The Hitchcock Center for the Environment is offering a Native Wildflower Workshop with naturalist Nancy Goodman on Saturday, August 23. Discover many of the beautiful and unique wildflowers that grow in the area and learn how to use Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, the most well-respected guide to northeastern wildflowers. Older students and adults can learn about these fascinating plants and their importance to our local ecology at this program in Amherst.

Poetry Slam to Classical Music. Back-to-School to Stargazing. Tomatoes to Pickles…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:  In the summer evenings, when the darken skies fill with a cacophony of sounds, have you ever wonder what insects are making these beautiful noises?  You can find out at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary’s Night Insect Sounds program in Easthampton on Thursday evening, August 28. Learn about katydids, grasshoppers, crickets, and others. The program starts with a slideshow of the insects and their sounds and then proceeds outside where you can try your hand at identifying the sounds. Best for older students and adults.


Plant StudiesLocal FoodTransportation HistoryLocal HistoryMusic StudiesBack-to-SchoolInsect StudiesSafetyAgricultural FairsSTEMAstronomyPoetrySummer Celebrations


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 16th & 17th, 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 August 16th-22nd, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 30 Community Highlights: Peach Festival to Greek Festival. Harvest Supper to Stone Masonry.. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: August 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, and our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

Other posts to read for summer fun include 5 Hikes for Families in Western MA State Forests and Parks for outdoor walking adventures, Beach Day Trips for a list of shoreline adventures, Swimming Holes in Western MA for local discoveries, and Local Agricultural Fairs for a list of upcoming fairs in our region.

August 16th-22nd, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

School HistoryLocal HistorySTEMAgricultural FairsCommunity MealRepair & RepurposeCulture/GreekTransportation/IndustryFoodOutdoor AdventuresHorsesMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesKindergarten Readiness

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Harriet the Spy Turns 50!
  2. MASS MoCA’s “It’s Only Human” Illuminates Art, Science & Education
  3. Springfield Museums’ New Exhibit Snapshots The Emergence of the 20th Century American Individual
  4. Time Capsule: Extraordinary Exhibit Lifts Lid on Historical Education
  5. Suggestions & Recommendations for Back-to-School

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Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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30 Community Highlights: Peach Festival to Greek Festival. Harvest Supper to Stone Masonry.

Peaches (cc) Phil Romans

Peach Festival at Outlook Farm this Sunday, August 17 in Westhampton!

Peach Festival to Greek Festival. Harvest Supper to Food Future. Stone Masonry to Copperheads… 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:  Summer is winding down and it’s time to get ready for school! Are your quills sharpened? Have you purchased your new chalk and slate? Wait a second – it’s not the 19th Century! What would “back-to-school” look like for children in the 1800’s? Families can step back to the time of quills and ink and one-room schoolhouses at Storrowton Village during their freeBack to School: 19th Century Style” event on Friday, August 22 in West Springfield. Here kids can experience hands-on school activities for this era, like writing with a quill, taking notes using chalk and slate, recess games, reciting in front of the class, and more. All ages will love getting to experience what school was like in another time and comparing it with school today!


School HistoryLocal HistorySTEMAgricultural FairsCommunity MealRepair & RepurposeCulture/GreekTransportation/IndustryFoodOutdoor AdventuresHorsesMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesKindergarten Readiness


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 9th & 10th, 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 August 9th-15th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 30 Community Highlights: Water Mills to Urban Forestry. Fibonacci Sequence to Artbotics.. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: August 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, and our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

Other posts to read for summer fun include 5 Hikes for Families in Western MA State Forests and Parks for outdoor walking adventures, Beach Day Trips for a list of shoreline adventures, Swimming Holes in Western MA for local discoveries, and Local Agricultural Fairs for a list of upcoming fairs in our region.

August 9th-15th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Citizen ScientistLocal HistorySTEMNature StudiesGeologyHikingCultural Studies/MusicIndustrial HistoryCommunity ServiceArtFilm StudiesAgriculture/Dairy FarmingAnimal StudiesOrnithology/RaptorsEducators WorkshopCurrent Affairs

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Tidal Pool Day Trips from Western MA
  2. The Dinner Table: Extending Dinner Time with Walking Desserts
  3. Exhibiting at the Fair
  4.  How Does Your Family Handle Screen Time Limits in the Summer?
  5.  Q&A: Ear Piercing

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

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30 Community Highlights: Water Mills to Urban Forestry. Fibonacci Sequence to Artbotics.

The Holyoke Public Library hosts Nature’s Designs, a special program that will show how the Fibonacci Sequence and Golden Ratio appear in nature, using plant and animal shapes to illustrate on Friday, morning August 15. Presented by Kevin Kopchynski, the free program will be exciting, informative, and surprising! Read our post, Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio Drive Nature Based Education, to discover how nature’s patterns reveal mathematical reasoning!

Fibonacci Sequence to Artbotics. Silent Film to Art Walk. Water Mills to Urban Forestry… 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:  Do you want to learn more about notable Worthington residents of the past? Discover interesting bits of local history on a free cemetery tour with the Worthington Historical Society on Saturday evening, August 9. One night before the full moon, you can explore Worthington’s oldest surviving cemetery (Center Cemetery) and see the grave sites of notable residents. The tour will also take you past the site of the town’s first cemetery, which is now a pasture, as well as the town’s first parsonage and oldest building. Cemetery tours can teach about local history through their focus on people who lived in the past – who lived here? What did they do? How/when did they die? What legacy did they leave behind? Older students who are interested in local history will enjoy this opportunity to discover the history of the Hilltowns in Worthington.


Citizen ScientistLocal HistorySTEMNature StudiesGeologyHikingCultural Studies/MusicIndustrial HistoryCommunity ServiceArtFilm StudiesAgriculture/Dairy FarmingAnimal StudiesOrnithology/RaptorsEducators WorkshopCurrent Affairs


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 2nd & 3rd, 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 August 2nd-8th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 29 Community Highlights: Bottle Rockets to Binoculars. Meadowlands to Beavers.. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: August 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, and our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

Other posts to read for summer fun include 5 Hikes for Families in Western MA State Forests and Parks  for outdoor walking adventures,  Beach Day Trips for a list of shoreline adventures, Swimming Holes in Western MA for local discoveries, and Local Agricultural Fairs for a list of upcoming fairs in our region.

August 2nd-8th, 2014

SaturdaySundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

RocketsBlacksmithing/ToolsService Based Learning/Food SecurityInsect StudiesCultural Studies/Native AmericanSports HistorySTEMAnimal ScienceAstronomyLocal HistoryOutdoor AdventuresAbolitionism

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Geocaching & Letterboxing Support Learning and Outdoor Adventures as a Family
  2. Letterboxing: Adventure, Art and the Great Outdoors
  3. 10 Outdoor Summer Music Series in Western MA
  4. 18 Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Western MA
  5. Aerial Adventure Parks in Western MA

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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29 Community Highlights: Bottle Rockets to Binoculars. Meadowlands to Beavers.

Interested in rockets? There are several events happening this week that allows kids to explore the physics of rockets through hands-on experience!

Bottle Rockets to Blacksmithing. Meadowlands to Beavers. Binoculars Tour to Walking Tour… 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:  The Museum of Science and the M.N. Spear Memorial Library in Shutesbury present “Rockets: There and Back Again!” Youth participants can create an air rocket that launches across the room, exploring the science behind rockets and space exploration in this free hands-on workshop taking place at the Town Hall. Through experiential learning, kids can plan, build, and test their very own designs!


RocketsBlacksmithing/ToolsService Based Learning/Food SecurityInsect StudiesCultural Studies/Native AmericanSports HistorySTEMAnimal ScienceAstronomyLocal HistoryOutdoor AdventuresAbolitionism


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: August 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
August 2014

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. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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.

“We love that Hilltown Families keeps us updated on events in the larger area, in both the Berkshires and the Valley…We use the calendar section, the camp guide, the school guides, and much more.” – Caitlin Loverin (Pittsfield, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is sponsored in part by:

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 26th & 27th, 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 July 26th-August 1st, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 31 Community Highlights: Lava Lamps to Cannonballs. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

July 26th-August 1st, 2014

SaturdaySundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Astronomy ♦ Music Studies ♦ Nature Adventures ♦ Community Meals ♦ Presidential History ♦ STEM ♦Animal Studies ♦ Local History ♦ Hikes ♦ Theater ♦ Insects ♦ Crafts

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Where’s Your Favorite Place to PYO Blueberries in Western MA
  2. Are Your Kids Still in Diapers? What Do They Swim In?
  3. Beach Day Trips: 16 Recommendations from Western MA
  4. 5 Hikes for Families in Western MA State Forests and Parks
  5. What’s Your Favorite Family Card Game?

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too! Read the rest of this entry »

31 Community Highlights: Lava Lamps to Cannonballs. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes.

Cannonballs are an excellent way to support an interests in math and history! Kids can learn about physics and how sailors in the past sent cannonballs through the air at the Westfield Athenaeum on Tuesday morning, July 29 during their free program, Under Pressure! Presented by the USS Constitution Museum, this hands on event will be a “blast” for the entire family!

Lava Lamps to Cannonballs. Biomimicry to Experimentology. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes… 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: Do you ever wonder what life was like in New England during the Civil War? On Friday, August 1st, families can experience life in 1860s Stockbridge at the Stockbridge Library’s “Stroll Back in Time: Life Along Main Street 150 Years Ago,” a free event that transforms Stockbridge’s Main Street into a mid-1800s New England village with historically accurate activities like chores, games, and more. Learn about professions of the time by seeing a blacksmith forge horseshoes and meeting a local shopkeeper, hear music from the Civil War era, enjoy historic games, and discover how people lived 150 years ago. This is a unique opportunity to see Stockbridge as it once was and to think about the ways the town has changed since the 1860s.


AstronomyMusic StudiesNature AdventuresCommunity MealsPresidential HistorySTEMAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryHikesTheaterInsectsCrafts


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 19th & 20th, 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 July 19th-25th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 33 Community Highlights: Whalemobile to TrolleyFest. Scottish Festival to Bang on a Can and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

July 19th-25th, 2014

Saturday • Sunday • Monday • Tuesday • Wednesday • Thursday • Friday

Animal Studies ♦ Shakespeare ♦ Transportation ♦ Culture ♦ Playgrounds ♦ Nature Studies ♦ Agriculture/Farm Tours ♦ Local History ♦ STEM ♦ Insects ♦ Community Meals ♦ Geology ♦ Festivals

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Let’s Play: Water Paints
  2. 16 Swimming Holes in Western MA
  3. Hilltown Family Variety Show Archived Podcasts
  4. Three Programs Kids Can Use to Learn How to Create Video Games
  5. Q&A: Where to Get New/Used Bikes for the Family in Western MA

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33 Community Highlights: Whalemobile to TrolleyFest. Scottish Festival to Bang on a Can.

Guess how many owl species have been recorded in New England… twelve! On Saturday afternoon, July 19, Eyes on Owls will be at the Sunderland Library with their free owl program. This program features six live owls and will teach about the owls of the northeast. Owl pellets will be dissected and are a fascinating way to learn about owl anatomy and physiology, along with what their diets consist of and the habitats necessary to support not only owls but the prey these raptors survive on.

Whalemobile to TrolleyFest. Scottish Festival to Bang on a Can. William Cullen Bryant to Sojourner Truth… 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: The Whalemobile is a 43-foot, life-sized inflatable whale named Nile, modeled after a female humpback whale born in 1987 who summers off the coast of Massachusetts. This traveling educational program teaches kids all about whales – where they live, how they communicate, what they eat, what their behavior is like – and then gives them a chance to climb inside the inflatable replica to learn about whale anatomy and physiology. The Whalemobile will be visiting several libraries in western Massachusetts this summer. Don’t miss this free interactive program for all ages. Find out where it will be appearing here.


Animal StudiesShakespeareTransportationCulturePlaygroundsNature StudiesAgriculture/Farm ToursLocal HistorySTEMInsectsCommunity MealsGeologyFestivals


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 12th & 13th, 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 July 12th-18th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 34 Community Highlights: A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Casablanca. Service Dogs to Bald Eagles and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

July 12th-18th, 2014

Saturday • Sunday • Monday • Tuesday • Wednesday • Thursday • Friday

Film Studies ♦ Local History ♦ Entomology ♦ Theater♦ Art ♦ Bird Studies ♦ STEM ♦ Sustainability ♦Writing ♦ Animal Studies

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Social Studies on the Road
  2. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Pen Pal Program for T(w)eens
  3. WebCams Around the World and Across the Nation
  4. Crash Course: 100+ Episodes in 6 Online Courses
  5. STEMBite: Bite Sized Videos Supporting STEM Education

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

 Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

 

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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34 Community Highlights: A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Casablanca. Service Dogs to Bald Eagles.

Lemons… they can be a catalyst for community service and STEM based learning!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Casablanca. Robots to Rockets. Service Dogs to Bald Eagles… 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: Step back in time at Cummington’s Kingman Tavern, which opens for the season on Saturday afternoon, July 12, and will be open on Saturdays through August 30 with no admission charge. The Tavern is a historic building from the early 1800s that contains 17 rooms, with a replica country store, a barn, a cider mill, and a carriage shed. Families can discover the local history of Cummington and the Hilltowns by exploring the museum and seeing many of its historic artifacts. The general store, in particular, is a great resource for understanding life in the past – it contains many things that would have been sold in a New England general store from 1900-1910!


Film StudiesLocal HistoryEntomologyTheaterArtBird StudiesSTEMSustainabilityWritingAnimal Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 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 July 5th-11th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 35 Community Highlights: Fiddle Fest to Living Culture. Junior Ranger to Magic. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

Also, celebrate 4th of July this Saturday evening! Firework displays scheduled across Western MA, including Westfield, Greenfield, North Adams, West Springfield, Springfield, and Amherst — many of them rescheduled from Friday. Details here: Fourth of July Firework Displays in Western MA.

July 5th-11th, 2014

SaturdaySundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


Local HistoryAnimal StudiesArchitectureMusic StudiesCulturePerformance ArtFarmingNature StudiesSTEMMagicEntomologyFamily Performances

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 11 Recommended Art Studios/Classes in Western MA
  2. Little Homes for Little Folks: Make Your Own Gnome Home
  3. 13 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in Western MA
  4. HFVS Summer Essentials Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Q&A: Where Can Kids Take Swim Lessons in the Summer?

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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

35 Community Highlights: Fiddle Fest to Living Culture. Junior Ranger to Magic.

Join the Dickinson Memorial Library in Northfield for a free program on dragonflies and damselflies with naturalist Julia Blyth on Friday afternoon, July 11. Kids 5 and up and their families can learn all about these interesting insects, their lifecycle from water to sky, and search for them using field guides and nets. 

Construction to Cottages. Fiddle Fest to Living Culture. Junior Ranger to Magic… 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:  Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Double Edge Theatre at their “Celebrate Living Culture” event on Sunday afternoon, July 6. Located in Ashfield, Double Edge Theatre is a rich environment for both experiential learning and performance on 105 acres of historic buildings, forests, pastures and organic gardens. The afternoon includes an open house, tours, fun family activities, raffles, and an exhibition following the Theatre’s 20-year history. This is a great free opportunity to learn more about Double Edge Theatre, their theater philosophy, and explorations of their farm.


Local HistoryAnimal StudiesArchitectureMusic StudiesCulturePerformance ArtFarmingNature StudiesSTEMMagicEntomologyFamily Performances


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Five Catalysts to Connect us with Community-Based Learning

Catalysts + Communities: connecting children to learning

National awareness days, weeks and months are excellent catalysts for learning, like National Moth Week which takes place each July!

When engaging children in enriching learning experiences, the key to successfully identifying educational opportunities for your family is by providing relatable context. Not only are good learning experiences grounded in a familiar physical and cultural situations, they are also timely and should align with the seasonal and calendar-dictated events and natural phenomena that take place throughout the year.

Summer is, of all four of the seasons, perhaps the most opportune season during which to engage children in community-based learning. Traditional students have lots of freedom once school is out for the summer, and along with the pleasant weather comes fascinating natural events and endless community events, both big and small. All of these things can serve as catalysts for learning, helping to either spark curiosity in a new subject or deepen children’s understanding of a topic of special interest to them.

Catalysts for community-based learning come in all shapes and sizes, and no two are alike. Common catalysts for learning include seasons, holidays, current affairs and events, phenology, anniversaries, and special awareness times (days, weeks, months). Each of these catalysts can provide engaging and exciting learning for families, and opportunities are available throughout the summer (and the rest of the year as well!) for learning about almost any topic. In fact, there are some fantastic examples of catalysts for community-based learning coming up during the next few weeks here in western Massachusetts – each of which represents one of the categories into which such experiences typically fit.

Read on to see five highlighted catalyst categories…

Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
July 2014

“I moved to Western MA a year ago and this website is my resource for most of our family outings. I look at it weekly to plan an adventure and have used it as my ‘summer fun’ planning guide this year. I appreciate the work you are doing to collect this information and it has made a huge difference in my understanding of the variety and cultural diversity there is to offer in this area!” – Erica Cruz (Adams, MA)

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of July. 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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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26 Community Highlights: Fireworks to Bedrock. Garden Party to Campfire.

Grow Food Amherst will have a special free event for kids each week at the Amherst Wednesday Market in Kendrick Park. This week on Wednesday afternoon, July 2, kids can learn how to become a “fungi ally.”

Fireworks to Bedrock. Dancing to Fungi. Garden Party to Campfire… 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 Hawley has a rich geologic history? From pillow rocks to a 25-foot by 25-foot charcoal kiln, Hawley has plenty of interesting geology to learn about! You can explore Hawley’s geology with the Sons and Daughters of Hawley at their annual Hawley tour, “The Bedrock of our Foundation: Rocks and Gardens of Hawley,” on Saturday, June 28. Bud Wobus, Professor of Geology at Williams College, will speak about Hawley’s many interesting rocks and geologic features. Participants can also see and learn about the town’s charcoal kiln, which dates back to 1870 and was used to produce charcoal fuel for local industry. Older students interested in local history and geology would enjoy this fascinating and unique tour.


4th of JulyGeologyBird StudiesHistoryMuseum AdventuresDanceAstronomyPlant StudiesOutdoor AdventuresCommunity CelebrationsReading & WritingSTEMCommunity ServiceMapsAgriculture


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Suggested Events for June 28th-July 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

“My husband, young son and I moved to the area almost exactly a year ago and we have been avid readers of Hilltown Families since months before then! It’s been an invaluable resource for getting to know the community and for learning about some of the amazing activities, events and institutions…” – Alla K. (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.

BULLETIN BOARD

Jun 28

Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield (25 Greenfield Road) is hosting a Doll’s Day Out Luncheon on Saturday, June 28th at 11am. Whether it’s an American Girl doll or a beloved baby, every doll deserves a fabulous day out! The award winning kids menu will be available with a special sweet treat included. Adults will be offered the brand new lunch menu! Mrs. Claus will be making a special appearance with her own favorite doll and beautiful handmade doll clothes will be for sale. Call 413-665-1277 to make reservations for this great event! Chandlers.yankeecandle.com ($)

Jul 1 – Aug 19

Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley hosts Camp Odyssey this summer! This once-a-week one hour craft camp features one book and activity for kids every Tuesday afternoon, July 1-Aug 19. Activities range from designing your own glitter tattoos, decorating cupcakes, making and taking home your very own lava lamp, plus many other activities. Appropriate for ages 4-12, depending on activity. Visit their web site at www.odysseybks.com for a full list of their summer long activities. There is a $3 supply fee (or the purchase of the book) to participate, and RSVPs are required at least two days prior. Hurray! Spots are filling up fast! Odyssey Bookshop is located at 9 College Street in South Hadley. 413-534-7307

Jul 9 – Aug 9

Join NCT Kids! this summer for 2 family-friendly musicals based on beloved children’s books. First up is Judith Viorst’s classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day about a boy who is having the world’s worst day! Sing along with Alexander as he learns that everyone has a bad day every now and then but the great thing is…there’s always tomorrow! Next up it’s the rollicking, mischievous, off-the-wall adventures of SkippyJon Jones and the Cirque De Ole! Based on the bestselling book series about the Siamese kitten who thinks he’s a chihuahua super hero, SkippyJon Jones and the Cirque De Ole is a tuneful romp through the big-top of Skippy’s imagination. For tickets call 413-585-3220 or online www.newcenturytheatre.org

Ticket Giveaway: 2014 Green River Festival! The 28th annual Green River Festival happens again this year on July 12th & 13th, 2014… and Hilltown Families has two pairs of tickets to giveaway, one pair for each day! With a free pair of tickets, and free admittance for children ten and under, two adults can take a gaggle of kids and plan on spending the day at this great western Massachusetts music festival! Find out how you can enter for a chance to win!

Circus Smirkus is coming to Northampton on July 29 & 30, and Hilltown Families is a proud premier sponsor! Find out how you can be our guests at one of the four shows taking place at the Three-County Fairgrounds! Subscribe to our eNewsletter and find out how you can enter for a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets with preferred seating! Best seats in the house will give our guests an opportunity to see the award-winning, international traveling youth circus up close during this exuberant & joyful two-hour show! Presented by North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens. For more info about the show, or to purchase tickets, visit www.northstarteens.org/circus-smirkus.

From the state where the American Revolution began, families can take part in the multitude of Fourth of July celebrations happening in western Massachusetts beginning this weekend! Fireworks are happening in Holyoke on Friday, June 27, and four more displays are planned for Saturday, June 28. On the eve for July 4th, you can catch fireworks in Easthampton or South Hadley, and then on Friday, July 4th, fireworks and parades take place across the region, from North Adams to Springfield! Check our post, 2014 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks in Western Massachusetts, for all the details!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer program, school, community event, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business or non-profit 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
June 28th-July 4th 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Berkshire Family Fun

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29 Community Highlights: Battle of the Books to Scavenger Hunt. Shaker Dinner to Strawberry Jam.

Join Grow Food Amherst for a strawberry jam making workshop on Saturday, June 21! Come pick your own strawberries and then learn how to cook and preserve it so you can enjoy the fruit all year long. This workshop would be best for teens and adults interested in food preservation. This skillsharing workshop is free but you must pay for the strawberries you pick, and you must preregister.

Scavenger Hunt to Bug Safari. Strawberry Jam to Shaker Dinner. Battle of the Books to Medieval Festival…. 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 some animals can survive in sub-zero temperatures? And that some are able to climb great heights and steep slopes or rocks? It is amazing how animals are able to evolve and adapt to their surroundings! You can learn about how and why some of these animals had to change to make themselves better suited to their environments at the Hatfield Public Library‘s “Amazing Adaptations” program on Tuesday morning, June 24. This free program focuses on mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates and how they have evolved and adapted over time. Kids will have fun meeting and learning all about these fascinating creatures and how where they life impacts their adaptations.


American HistoryRiver StudiesAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryInsectsFizz, Boom, Read!Local Food/StrawberriesLiteracyMusic HistoryCultureHikes


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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