Learn About Bats: Interactive Exhibit, Facts & Habitat

Berkshire Museum presents
Bats: Creatures of the Night
Learn the true story of the only flying mammal
from January 19 to May 12, 2013

Discover bat habitats and where the different species live around the globe at the Berkshire Museum exhibit, Bats: Creatures of the Night. Match different kinds of bats with their preferred foods. Explore life-size models of a variety of bats, from the Fisher Bat and the Honduran White Bat to the Gray-headed Flying Fox Bat. View exciting photographs of bats in action, featuring the Gambian Epauleted Fruit Bat and the Mexican Free-tailed Bat, among many others. Exhibit opens January 19th and run through March 12th, 2013.

Forget the myths and learn the truth about bats: they are gentle, beneficial animals that play an important role in our planet’s ecology. With larger-than-life models and interactive stations, visitors to Bats: Creatures of the Night at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield can experience the sensitivity of bat hearing, discover how bats find their way in the dark, and understand how mother bats locate their young. The exhibition opens January 19 and runs through March 12, 2013.

Bats use echolocation to navigate the dark, and at the Berkshire Museum, you and your family can try it out! Echolocation is just one of the many bat-related concepts highlighted in Bats: Creatures of the Night. The exhibit features a rich array of video, photography, life-like models, and interactive stations to inform museum guests about how interesting–and vital–bats are. The interactive stations sound particularly interesting, including opportunities to simulate echolocation, learn how mama bats keep tabs on their young, and trying on bat “ears.”

The exhibit runs from January 19th through May 12, 2013. The Exhibition Opening Day happens on Saturday, January 19th from 1-3pm, with a number of activities appropriate for all ages. Kids can experiment with echolocation, go on a scavenger hunt through the museum, or get crafty and make a pair of batwings. There will be an introductory slide show at 4pm, and a preview reception from 5-7pm (museum admission is free after 5pm). There is also a gallery walk about bats with an expert on February 9 at 11am. You can read more about it at: berkshiremuseum.org

BAT FACTS & BOOKS

Bats are fascinating. The largest bats have a wingspan of 6 feet and the smallest weigh as much as a dime. They can eat 2,000-6,000 mosquitoes per night and digest fruit in 20 minutes. Of the more than 1000 species of bats around the world, only three are “vampire” bats, who drink the blood of live animals. While vampire bats have sullied the reputation of this useful and gentle mammal, they are intriguing. Vampire bats have an anti-coagulant in their saliva that keeps the blood flowing as long as they are feeding, but allows the animal to heal quickly upon their departure. Vampire bats are also particularly social and have been known to bring food to elderly or sick bats. Bats play an essential role in the ecosystem, as pollinators, seed dispersers and pest managers.

Books to consider for exploring bats at home:

MAKE YOUR OWN BAT HOUSE

Want to attract bats around your home? Put up a bat house! Families can make their own bat house at an Audubon workshop to be held on Saturday April 13, 2013 at 1:30 at the Audubon Society in Lenox . The program begins with a slide show about bats in our area, as well as their natural history. While there is a registration fee, it includes the materials to construct one bat house. Be sure to bring a hammer. The workshop is suitable for children over 5, as long as they are with an adult. You can read more about it at www.massaudubon.org. – If you can’t make the workshop but still want to make a bat house with your kids, check out these DIY Bat House Kits..


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theresa Heary-Selah — Theresa is a teacher and a freelance writer, making her home in Greenfield, MA and Wright, NY with her family.  She teaches at S.H.I.N.E. (Students at Home in New England), a social and academic support program for middle school students in the Pioneer Valley, and writes about home-schooling and technology.  Theresa’s interests include home-schooling, gardening, cooking, hiking, and dancing.

[Photo credit: Evergreen Exhibitions]

Experience a Holiday Season from the Gilded Age at Ventfort Hall

Gilded Age Christmas in the Berkshires

Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum will kick off its 5th annual “A Home for the Holidays” program, an exciting full month of festivities for adults and children alike. Starting Friday, Nov. 23rd from 10am-5pm, the day after Thanksgiving, the 1893 mansion will have been lavishly decorated for a Gilded Age Christmas by a host of volunteers, among them the Ventfort Hall Flower Ladies.
In addition, throughout the month of December, there will be theater performances, concerts, dances, tours, viewings of Les Petites Dames de Mode, Victorian Holiday Teas, and a Museum Shop stocked full of gift ideas for Christmas. (Courtesy photo)

Along with the strong spirit and traditions of the holiday season comes the challenge to celebrate apart from the commercialism and consumerism we’re deluge with via advertisements and conspicuous consumption. There are, however, safe havens at which to celebrate the holidays non-commercially – and Ventfort Hall Mansion and Guilded Age Museum‘s Mansion and Gilded Age Museum’s holidays programs in Lenox perfectly illustrate such a space. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, the museum will offer a wide variety of programs for kids and family alike – everything from museum exhibits to traditional Victorian tea, an evening of dancing to a hand chime lesson!

DANCE & FOOD: On Sunday, December 2nd at 4pm, dancers from the American Dance Institute will perform Classical Ballet Highlights in the museum’s Great Hall. Following the performance will be a Victorian Holiday Tea, at which families can enjoy delicious treats and learn about Victorian foods and etiquette. ($$)

MUSIC: On Sunday, December 9th at 3pm, become an instant hand chime master and member of a hand chime choir! Director Jane Holland will teach participants to play the chimes as an accompaniment to Christmas carols. Families can learn about how the chimes work as a multi-player instrument and can learn to better understand how to read basic sheet music. A Victorian Tea follows the chime tutorial! ($$)

STORYTELLING: From December 27th-30th, puppeteer Carl Sprague will present a marionette production of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, “Hansel and Gretel.” After the show, kids can meet the antique puppets used in the show at a Victorian Tea, and there will also be an opportunity to learn about the puppeteer’s methods. ($)

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: For parents, the museum hosts a couple of evening highlights worth getting a babysitter for! The opening reception for the Lenox Caroling Festival on Friday, December 7th from 6-8:30pm ($$). The event will feature a performance from MCLA’s Allegrettos, last year’s 2nd place winners. Enjoy hors d’ouvres and a cash bar. Or, if you feel like dancing, on Saturday, December 8th, the Greg Caputo Quartet will play at the museum! From 7:30-10:30pm, there will be dancing, food, and a cash bar ($$).

NEW YEARS EVE: Finally, from December 26th-31st, the museum will host one-woman performances of, “Paris 1890 – Unlaced!” which features actress Anne Undeland as five different women navigating the Belle Epoque age of late-19th century Paris. The New Year’s Eve performance will have a champagne reception and meet-and-greet with Undeland ($$).

Free Friday Mornings at Tanglewood for Families & Educators this Summer

Students Can Discover the Symphony During Free Friday Mornings at Tanglewood: Summer 2012

(Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

This summer, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood are offering a unique FREE musical learning opportunity for kids in Lenox. MA!  Every Friday morning through August, the orchestra rehearses – and families, educators, homeschool groups, musicians, and other community members are invited to attend the rehearsals for free!

Before each rehearsal, there will be a Youth Music Presentation (including a “Quiz the Kid” Q+A), an engaging and informational tour of Tanglewood, and a pre-rehearsal talk on the music to be played, instruments in the orchestra, and fun facts about the music!  Those participating in the program are offered shed seating at the rehearsal, though kids under the age of 8 are asked to enjoy the show with their grown-ups from the lawn.

Attending the Free Friday Mornings program can teach kids about classical music, and its place within music history (and modern music!).  Kids will also learn about the many different instruments that make up the orchestra’s beautiful sound.  Older students can use the program to supplement studies of physics (think sound waves!), history, and material culture (take a look at how instruments have evolved over time, and how pieces reflect certain cultural eras).  

Education highlights include:

  • A pre-rehearsal youth music presentation and instrument demonstration.
  • An engaging and informative Tanglewood tour—different each week!
  • High level musician educators will give a talk about specific music topics directly related to the upcoming rehearsal (geared for middle school to adults)
  • Shed seating for a closed rehearsal of a Boston Symphony Orchestra performance.
    All ages are welcome, bring the whole family! (Children 3rd grade and up may listen in the Shed, while younger children are invited to enjoy the music from the lawn)
  • Following the rehearsal, guests are welcome explore the grounds, listen to a second hour of rehearsal music from the lawn, or enjoy a picnic lunch under the trees

HOW TO SIGN UP

It is ultra easy to come to a rehearsal, it is done by email. To reserve free Shed seating, simply EMAIL your request to Darlene White at dwhite@bso.org with the number of participants in your party. If you are a parent, educator or a community or youth leader, simply email your request, be sure to include phone and contact information, and your affiliation (such as teacher, parent, etc.).  Also include what Friday (or Fridays) you would like to attend, and how many persons will be attending in your group. If some in your group will be listening from the lawn, let Darlene know that as well. If you like, you can reserve more than one week in advance.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR TEACHERS

The education program runs year round and they have some great education resources, so If you are a teacher, let Darlene know your school, grade level, and subject.

SHED SEATING IS LIMITED

Because Shed seating is limited, reservations are confirmed on a first-come-first-serves basis. Groups are welcome, and it is best – especially for groups – to reserve early.

For more information, email Darlene White at the Boston Symphony Orchestra Berkshire Education and Community Programs Office: dwhite@bso.org.

Free Friday Mornings at Tanglewood for Families & Educators

Students Can Discover the Symphony During Free Friday Mornings at Tanglewood: Summer 2011

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's Education and Community Programs will be offering a weekly FREE kid-friendly education program every Friday morning at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA for students ages 8 and up. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Families, homeschoolers, educators, and community and youth groups in Western MA are invited to reserve Shed seating for a closed rehearsal of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood (Main Gate, 297 West St, Lenox, MA). It’s called the Friday Morning Rehearsal, and happens each Friday beginning July 8th at the Tanglewood Main gate 9-11am, running through August 26th, 2011. It is a festive morning education program for families that offers a free, fun, and kid friendly approach to classical music.

Each week children and adults are treated to a delightful music presentation by a young musician from the area, a brief tour, and a few words about the upcoming rehearsal, before entering the Shed for a closed session–all free of charge. The Shed is open to third grade age and up, as the intensity of quiet and stillness required is often to much for younger kids. But this is a family friendly program where parents with young children often bring a picnic or just relax on the lawn. Children love to listen from the lawn, and can often be seen twirling to the music.

Education highlights include:

  • A pre-rehearsal youth music presentation and instrument demonstration.
  • An engaging and informative Tanglewood tour—different each week!
  • High level musician educators will give a talk about specific music topics directly related to the upcoming rehearsal (geared for middle school to adults)
  • Shed seating for a closed rehearsal of a Boston Symphony Orchestra performance.
    All ages are welcome, bring the whole family! (Children 3rd grade and up may listen in the Shed, while younger children are invited to enjoy the music from the lawn)
  • Following the rehearsal, guests are welcome explore the grounds, listen to a second hour of rehearsal music from the lawn, or enjoy a picnic lunch under the trees

HOW TO SIGN UP

It is ultra easy to come to a rehearsal, it is done by email. To reserve free Shed seating, simply EMAIL your request to Darlene White at dwhite@bso.org with the number of participants in your party. If you are a parent, educator or a community or youth leader, simply email your request, be sure to include phone and contact information, and your affiliation (such as teacher, parent, etc.).  Also include what Friday (or Fridays) you would like to attend, and how many persons will be attending in your group. If some in your group will be listening from the lawn, let Darlene know that as well. If you like, you can reserve more than one week in advance.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR TEACHERS

The education program runs year round and they have some great education resources, so If you are a teacher, let Darlene know your school, grade level, and subject.

SHED SEATING IS LIMITED

Because Shed seating is limited, reservations are confirmed on a first-come-first-serves basis. Groups are welcome, and it is best – especially for groups – to reserve early.

For more information, email Darlene White at the Boston Symphony Orchestra Berkshire Education and Community Programs Office: dwhite@bso.org.

Free Friday Mornings at Tanglewood for Families & Educators

The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Education and Community Programs Present Free Friday Mornings for the Tanglewood 2010 Season

Free kid-friendly education program every Friday morning at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA for students ages 8 and up. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Homeschool parents, educators, and community and youth groups in Western MA are invited to reserve Shed seating for a closed rehearsal of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood (Main Gate, 297 West St, Lenox, MA). It’s called the Friday Morning Rehearsal, and happens each Friday at the Tanglewood Main gate at 8:30am. It is a festive morning education program for families that offers a free, fun, and kid friendly approach to classical music.

Each week children and adults are treated to a delightful music presentation by a young musician from the area, a brief tour, and a few words about the upcoming rehearsal, before entering the Shed for a closed session–all free of charge. The Shed is open to third grade age and up, as the intensity of quiet and stillness required is often to much for younger kids. But this is a family friendly program where parents with young children often bring a picnic or just relax on the lawn. Children love to listen from the lawn, and can often be seen twirling to the music.

HOW TO SIGN UP

It is ultra easy to come to a rehearsal, it is done by email. The person to contact is education manager Darlene White at dwhite@bso.org. If you are a parent, educator or a community or youth leader, simply email your request, be sure to include phone and contact information, and your affiliation (such as teacher, parent, etc.).  Also include what Friday (or Fridays) you would like to attend, and how many persons will be attending in your group. If some in your group will be listening from the lawn, let Darlene know that as well. If you like, you can reserve more than one week in advance.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR TEACHERS

The education program runs year round and they have some great education resources, so If you are a teacher, let Darlene know your school, grade level, and subject.

SHED SEATING IS LIMITED

Because Shed seating is limited, reservations are confirmed on a first-come-first-serves basis. Groups are welcome, and it is best – especially for groups – to reserve early.

For more information, email Darlene White at the Boston Symphony Orchestra Berkshire Education and Community Programs Office: dwhite@bso.org.

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