Learning Ahead: Oct 20-24, 2014

learning ahead

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all year long!

This week we are featuring 15 events that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events. Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 18th & 19th, 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 October 18th-24th, 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: Mandarin to Historic Hike. Cemeteries to Pumpkinfest., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know! Plus, we have a comprehensive list of Halloween Events in Western MA for spooky community & learning events.

October 18th-24th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

ArchaeologyChinese LanguageTextilesLocal History  ♦ PaleontologyWomen’s StudiesAnimal StudiesCemeteriesPumpkin FestsNature StudiesParent WorkshopsPreSchool Activities

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Parenting Possibilities: Chores and Halloween
  2. HFVS Halloween Episode with Guest DJ, Heidi Swedberg (Radio Show/Podcast)
  3. Community Service: An Alternative to Halloween Candy
  4. One Clover & A Bee: Poetry for Halloween
  5. Halloween Math: Counting Kit Kats & Charleston Chews

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Warm thank you to our sponsors!

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

35 Community Highlights: Mandarin to Historic Hike. Cemeteries to Pumpkinfest.

Are you carving your Halloween pumpkin this weekend? Pumpkins are the focus of many community celebrations this weekend, including the Franklin County Pumpkinfest, Mount Warner Pumpkin Fest, Easthampton Harvest Festival, and the Westhampton Great Pumpkin Roll! (Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield)

Mandarin to Historic Hike. Archaeology to Paleontology. Cemeteries to Pumpkinfest… 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: It’s hard to imagine dinosaurs roaming the earth, let alone the Connecticut River Valley, but that is exactly what they did some 190 million years ago, during the Jurassic period. Families can learn about dinosaurs in the region with geologist Dan Vellone at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center’s Family Dino Day on Saturday, October 18 from 10:30am-2:30pm. Through exploration stations, arts and crafts activities, dinosaur tracks and bones, and a presentation (12noon), all ages can have fun learning about dinosaurs. Vellone’s presentation will focus on the origins of dinosaurs and how they are rooted in the Connecticut River Valley. Pack a picnic and explore Northfield Mountain’s trails after the dino festivities. Call 1-800-859-2960 to pre-register for this free event. Northfield Mountain is at 99 Millers Falls Road in Northfield, MA. (FREE)


ArchaeologyChinese LanguageTextilesLocal History  ♦ PaleontologyWomen’s StudiesAnimal StudiesCemeteriesPumpkin FestsNature StudiesParent WorkshopsPreSchool Activities


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for October 18th-24th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As a working mom, I don’t always have the opportunity to make community connections and Hilltown Families provides a needed resource for families like mine that are looking for opportunities to build community… What a great resource!” – AnnMarie D. (Belchertown, 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

Oct 17

Levellers Press, the publishing wing of Collective Copies, a thirty-year-old worker co-operative in Amherst, Massachusetts, has announced the publication of Building Co-operative Power: Stories and Strategies from Worker Co-operatives in the Connecticut River Valley. There will be a book release reading, signing and celebration on Friday, October 17 at 7 p.m., at Collective Copies’ Off the Common Bookshop at 71 South Pleasant Street, Amherst. At 6 p.m. Levellers Press celebrates its fifth anniversary as a publishing company. The public is invited.

Oct 18

Common School Children’s Carnival takes place on Saturday, October 18, from 10am-2pm in Amherst. (Rain location: Amherst Middle School.) Join the School for an old fashioned, family-friendly event. There will be games, prizes, activities, great food and fabulous entertainment. From Bounce House to Cake Walk to Live Music, there will be something for everyone. Open to the public. Free Admission. The Common School is located at 521 South Pleasant Street in Amherst, MA. Find out more at www.commonschool.org.

Oct 18

The annual Children’s Fair and Open House will be held at the Montessori School of Northampton on Saturday, October 18, from 11am-3pm at 51 Bates Street, Northampton. This day of fun for families features children’s games and crafts, face painting, bounce house, musical entertainment, food and beverages, Circus Folk Unite!, Northampton Martial Arts, Tom Ricardi & Birds of Prey, and author Jarrett Krosoczka. NEW THIS YEAR!–an obstacle course, a book fair, and an art & craft fair. Tours of the school and information on current openings as well as for Fall 2015 will be available. General admission is free; some activities require purchase of activity tickets at a minimal charge. For more info, call 413-586-4538. www.northamptonmontessori.org

Oct 18 & 25

Two Happenings in the Berkshires! Enchanted CobbleSat Oct 18, 3pm-Dusk. Carve/paint Halloween pumpkins at Bartholomew’s Cobble, plus marshmallows & campfire stories. Your creations come alive along Ledges Trail by their flickering “fire” light. 105 Weatogue Rd Ashley Falls-Sheffield. $15/pumpkin. Also, Hauntings in the GardenSat Oct 25, 11am & 3pm (Rain date Oct 26). Explore Naumkeag Gardens with wacky, magical Royal Frog Ballet. Family-friendly tours blend performance, visual art, music & movement to delight all ages. 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge. Sponsored by Trustees of Reservations. Members $10; Nonmembers $15; Children $5. Member family max $20; non-member family max $35. www.ttor.org 413-532-1631 x0 westregion@ttor.org

Open House Oct 19

The Yiddish Book Center will host their annual Community Open House on Sunday, Oct 19 (10am-4pm). On the schedule is a full day of events for all ages. Free & open to public. They have a story performer, public tours, a talk and slide show by Yelena Lembersky entitled The Art of Felix Lembersky: Insights from his Granddaughter in conjunction with the opening of a traveling exhibit on Lembersky’s work, and a welcome/update from Aaron Lansky. And to cap it all off, the Sarah Rose Lazarus Concert features Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi at 2pm. Yosi Kosher Catering will be serving up lunch/snacks. The Yiddish Book Center is located adjacent to Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. For more info & full schedule visit yiddishbookcenter.org. 413-256-4900.

Open House Oct 25

Open House at The Hartsbrook School, Saturday, October 25, 10am to 12noon. Tour their classrooms, meet with teachers, stroll around their beautiful campus. Student work will be on display and current families will be available to answer questions. All ages welcome! The Hartsbrook School is a Waldorf school in the Pioneer Valley. Their program from early childhood through high school integrates academic, artistic, and practical work to awaken clarity of thought, warmth of heart, and strength of purpose. Join them at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA. www.hartsbrook.org

Open House Oct 25

Smith College Campus School, a coeducational day school enrolling children kindergarten through sixth grade, will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, October 25th from 9:30-11am. All prospective kindergarten through second grade students and their families are welcome! Come explore classrooms, see what their students are learning, and meet teachers, administrators and current parents. For more information about Smith College Campus School or to preregister for the Open House visit online at www.smith.edu/sccs or call the admission office at 413-585-3270. Smith College Campus School is located at 33 Prospect St. in Northampton, MA. There will be another kindergarten through sixth grade open house in January.

Oct 25

Halloween Chills & Thrills at the Springfield Museums (21 Edwards St.) on Saturday, October 25th, from 10am-5pm. Bring the family and come enjoy a full day of spooky art and science activities plus live animal demonstrations, special planetarium shows, and more! Two great performances are free with museum admission – there’s The Garbage Monster and Other Songs by Tom Knight Puppets (11am, Wood Museum – designed for ages 2-5, but all are welcome) and Strings on Stage by The Wayne Martin Puppets (2pm, Davis Auditorium, D’Amour Museum). For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Oct 25

The first-ever OnTrend Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, October 25 at the brand new Hadley Farms Meeting House in lovely Hadley, MA. The fair will showcase talented indie crafters and makers of all kinds from throughout New England and New York. Shoppers with find high-quality handmade jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, home goods, and much more. Bring your holiday shopping lists and support our talented local artisans! Free to attend. For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at Jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

Open House Oct 26

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, October 26, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers and current parents and get a feel for their creative and rigorous academic program and warm, ethical community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, competitive athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Their students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, 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
October 18th-24th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 11th & 12th, 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 October 11th-17th, 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: Fall Festival to Medieval Faire. Wild Rice to Apples., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know! Plus, we have a comprehensive list of Halloween Events in Western MA for spooky community & learning events.

October 11th-17th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

STEMFilm StudiesLocal HistoryAgricultureArcheology/TextilesService-Based LearningPaleontologyArchitectureCommunity CelebrationsMedieval HistorySukkotLocal Food HistoryHaunted HistoryOutdoor AdventuresTheater Studies

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. What’s the Alternative to a Sexualized Halloween Costume? Make Your Own!
  2. 8 Halloween Costume Safety Tips
  3. DIY: Halloween Paper-Maché Piñatas
  4. HFVS Halloween Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Sojourner Truth Memorial: American and Western MA History

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Warm thank you to our sponsors!

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

33 Community Highlights: Fall Festival to Medieval Faire. Wild Rice to Apples.

Pumpkin games this weekend at the Ashfield Fall Festival!

Fall Festival to Medieval Faire. Haunted History to Paleontology. Wild Rice to Apples… 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: Travel back to colonial times with the Buckland Historical Society at their Colonial Day celebration on Sunday, October 12 from 2pm-5pm at the Wilder Homestead. Colonial Day replicates life in New England several hundred years ago, and engages visitors in everyday activities that are characteristic of the period. There will be demonstrations of open hearth cooking, basket making, weaving, spinning, quilting, folk painting, and cider pressing, as well as oxen and performances of Morris dance and music from the 1700s. How do these activities compare to those of today? Most people no longer weave their own baskets or spin their own yarn – why do you think that is? Colonial Day will get all ages actively engaged in learning about history and will help them see how much has changed in a few hundred years! 413-625-9763. 129 Route 112. Buckland, MA. (>$)


STEMFilm StudiesLocal HistoryAgricultureArcheology/TextilesService-Based LearningPaleontologyArchitectureCommunity CelebrationsMedieval HistorySukkotLocal Food HistoryHaunted HistoryOutdoor AdventuresTheater Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for October 11th-17th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Over the last few years I have participated in the Big Brother/Big Sister organization located in Amherst. Every week I spend some time with my little brother (a 13 year old boy from Northampton) and we always check Hilltown Families to see what’s going on. We’ve learned a lot about what’s going on in our community and have benefited immensely.” – Dennis Caraher (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

Oct 11

Enjoy the magic of live theatre and the power of imagination with Bonnie Duncan’s Squirrel Stole My Underpants: A Poignantly Silly Adventure Tale for Families on Saturday, Oct 11 at 11am & 1pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. A lonely girl is sent outside to hang up the laundry and keep herself busy. The moment her back is turned, a mischievous squirrel appears, steals her favorite piece of clothing and runs off. When she gives chase, she finds herself lost in strange lands and an entire world emerges from her laundry basket. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or by calling 413-658-1126.

Oct 11

Oak Meadow Open House is Saturday, Oct. 11, from 11 am to 1 pm, at 132 Main St. Brattleboro, VT. Join Oak Meadow for this fun, annual event! Learn about their progressive, creative, experiential homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12. Speak with teachers and college and educational counselors, browse curriculum materials, network with other homeschooling families. Enjoy crafts, music, and refreshments for kids of all ages. FREE and open to anyone who’s interested in learning more about homeschooling. Open House will be held in their new, though incomplete, offices in the renovated historic Brooks House in downtown Brattleboro. Help them imagine the possibilities their new space holds! For more info, visit www.oakmeadow.com

Oct 11 & 12

The 2014 Ashfield Fall Festival (Ashfield, MA) will take place up and down Ashfield’s Main Street on October 11-12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days – rain or shine. The annual festival offers craft and art exhibits by more than 50 exhibitors, locally-grown and prepared foods, live music and dancing, face-painting and other children’s activities, and book and tag sales. Admission is free. Parking is available in lots east of the town center on Route 116 (attendants collect donations for the Ashfield Citizens’ Scholarship Fund).The Festival also hosts the Ashfield Agriculture Commission’s annual Giant Pumpkin and Tallest Sunflower contest. For more information: www.ashfieldfallfestival.org.

Oct 12

Sukkot Harvest Festival! Sunday, Oct 12, 1-4 at Abundance Farm, 253 Prospect Street in Northampton. In celebration of the fall harvest, Abundance Farm is holding a Sukkot Harvest Festival for all ages, open to the public. Activities will include apple cider pressing, a smoothie-making bicycle blender, honey extraction, fermentation workshop, heritage wheat exhibition, wood-fired cob oven, herbal medicine making, nature arts and crafts and more. Delicious food and beverages from local farms and artisans including a falafel cart! Featuring live music from Brian Bender & Little Shop of Horas. Suggested donation $5 per person. For more information contact info@abundancefarm.org or 413-584-3593 x203. Find “Sukkot Harvest Festival” on Facebook.

Oct 17

Levellers Press, the publishing wing of Collective Copies, a thirty-year-old worker co-operative in Amherst, Massachusetts, has announced the publication of Building Co-operative Power: Stories and Strategies from Worker Co-operatives in the Connecticut River Valley. There will be a book release reading, signing and celebration on Friday, October 17 at 7 p.m., at Collective Copies’ Off the Common Bookshop at 71 South Pleasant Street, Amherst. At 6 p.m. Levellers Press celebrates its fifth anniversary as a publishing company. The public is invited.

Oct 18

Common School Children’s Carnival takes place on Saturday, October 18, from 10am-2pm in Amherst. (Rain location: Amherst Middle School.) Join the School for an old fashioned, family-friendly event. There will be games, prizes, activities, great food and fabulous entertainment. From Bounce House to Cake Walk to Live Music, there will be something for everyone. Open to the public. Free Admission. The Common School is located at 521 South Pleasant Street in Amherst, MA. Find out more at www.commonschool.org.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, 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
October 11th-17th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 4th & 5th, 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 October 4th-10th, 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, 27 Community Highlights: Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Butter Churns., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know!

October 4th-10th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Creative-Free PlayLocal HistoryEntomologyBiologyCultural HistoryHistoric TradesFood CultureCraftsSkillshareLanguage ArtsSTEMGeologyImmigrationPreK ActivitiesLocal/Handmade

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 10 Picture Books for Halloween
  2. 5 Ways to Enjoy Shorter Days with Less Light
  3. Let’s Play: Nature Based Play & Art in Autumn
  4. Seasons at Our Table: Harvest Season
  5. Social Learning Made Easy with Sophia

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

27 Community Highlights: Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Butter Churns.

Do you like spooky scarecrows? What about silly scarecrows? You can make your own scarecrow and decorate it however you like at Atkin Farms in Amherst on Saturday, October 4, and the Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Sunday, October 5. Terrific intergenerational activity the family can do together while supporting creative-free play!

Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Corn Relish. Stethoscopes to Butter Churns… 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 Hatfield Fall Festival is on Sunday, October 5 from 11am-3pm and is full of tons of fun activities and exhibits related to local history! Stop by for classic fall festival activities, like a parade, farmers’ market, cider pressing, crafts, demonstrations, kids’ activities, and others. In addition to these activities, there will be many opportunities to learn about what Hatfield was like in the past. Check out the Cutter Farm Museum to see demonstrations of historic trades, meet farm animals, learn about antique vehicles, and see the actual sleigh that Hatfield town physician Dr. Charles Byrne used for winter house calls in the late-1800s. Inside the Historical Museum (2nd floor of Hatfield Public Library), there will be a used book sale, a viewing of the exhibit, “Simple Tools, Elegant Script: The Lost Art of Cursive,” which features traditional writing implements, and an activity for visitors of all ages to use some of these tools to practice writing. The Hatfield Fall Festival is great fun for history buffs of all ages! Call 413-315-9793 for more information. Hatfield, MA (FREE)


Creative-Free PlayLocal HistoryEntomologyBiologyCultural HistoryHistoric TradesFood CultureCraftsSkillshareLanguage ArtsSTEMGeologyImmigrationPreK ActivitiesLocal/Handmade


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for October 4th-10th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I love seeing “Hilltown Families” pop up in my inbox on Thursdays! I signed up soon after moving to the Valley, 3 years ago. It’s my go-to for things to do with my family. I especially like checking your list of family-friendly weekend activities. I often review the list on Friday evenings so I can plan the weekend. Thank you for being such a great resource for the community!” – Suenita (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.

Bulletin Board

Oct 4-5

Festival of the Hills (FOH) will move to Conway Grammar this year only. Sat, Oct 4; bake sale on town common 9-2. Art exhibit at the Library Sat & Sun, used book sale at Town Hall. Sun, Oct 5; bands 10-4; Michael Nix/Chris Devine-Zach Danziger-Art Steele-T.J/Peepers-Janet Ryan/ Straight Up. Children’s authors; David Costello/Holly Hobbie/Heidi Stemple/Amy Gordon/ Aimee Anderson signing books. Crafts/food/games/hand-made candy/raffle/fun demo’s/fried dough/maple cream/pressed cider. S.Conte WOW Express van. Hist Society will open Boyden School House 12-4. Parking at 116/Roaring Brook Rd. 10K adult, kids 1.2m on Roaring Brook Rd. Police will help all cross Rt116 to events. www.festivalofthehills.com, email mdzialo114@yahoo.com with questions.

Oct 5

Whole Children is kicking off their 10th anniversary with a Fall Festival & Open House at 41 Russell St. in Hadley, Oct 5 from 1-4pm. They welcome the community to help them celebrate a decade of groundbreaking and innovative afterschool programs with a free day of music, games, food, tours, & exciting classes for kids. The Festival will feature performances by the Friendship Band and Joyful Chorus, two of their inclusive performing arts groups. Local musician Jamie Kent will also be singing. There will be pumpkin decorating, candy corn bingo, henna tattoos, and lots more fun for kids. They will also be running demo classes for Kung Fu, Dance & Recess Games. This is a free event, open to all. Call 413-585-8010 or visit www.wholechildren.org

Oct 11

Enjoy the magic of live theatre and the power of imagination with Bonnie Duncan’s Squirrel Stole My Underpants: A Poignantly Silly Adventure Tale for Families on Saturday, Oct 11 at 11am & 1pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. A lonely girl is sent outside to hang up the laundry and keep herself busy. The moment her back is turned, a mischievous squirrel appears, steals her favorite piece of clothing and runs off. When she gives chase, she finds herself lost in strange lands and an entire world emerges from her laundry basket. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or by calling 413-658-1126.

Oct 11

Oak Meadow Open House is Saturday, Oct. 11, from 11 am to 1 pm, at 132 Main St. Brattleboro, VT. Join Oak Meadow for this fun, annual event! Learn about their progressive, creative, experiential homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12. Speak with teachers and college and educational counselors, browse curriculum materials, network with other homeschooling families. Enjoy crafts, music, and refreshments for kids of all ages. FREE and open to anyone who’s interested in learning more about homeschooling. Open House will be held in their new, though incomplete, offices in the renovated historic Brooks House in downtown Brattleboro. Help them imagine the possibilities their new space holds! For more info, visit www.oakmeadow.com

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, 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
October 4th-10th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: October 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
October 2014

October 4 & 5, the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area presents Heritage Walks, which celebrate the Berkshire communities, natural areas, history, and different cultures of the many places recognized as part of this National Heritage Area. A full list of Heritage Walks can be found here.

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of October. 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’m relatively new to the Berkshires so I’m mostly familiar with the southern Berkshires. I love finding out about all these lovely little towns north of me, and knowing about all the various events going on ALL THE TIME, from concerts to theater, to apple picking. I moved here to live in the country and Hilltown Families keeps me informed of all the wonderful things country life has to offer.” – Valerie Sheehan (Lenox, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is sponsored in part by:

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 27th & 28th, 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 27th-October 3rd, 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, 38 Community Highlights: Rubik’s Cube to Watershed Blitz. Pudding Festival to Garlic Festival., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know!

September 27th-October 3rd, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

STEM  ♦ Citizen Scientist  ♦ Music/Cultural StudiesHistoryMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesCommunity ServiceFall FestivalsCommunity MealsJapanese StudiesParent WorkshopsMythologyCollaborative Consumption

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Family-Friendly Farms for Pumpkin Pickin’ in Western MA
  2. Maps of Massachusetts: Supporting Social Studies & Local History
  3. Oak & Acorn: Kale Chips for Kids (and their Adults too!)
  4. Lessons Worth Sharing
  5. The Dinner Table: Don’t Yuck on My Yum!

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

38 Community Highlights: Rubik’s Cube to Watershed Blitz. Pudding Festival to Garlic Festival.

Bear Swamp Orchard in Ashfield

Find a PYO apple orchard near you and take your kids pickin’ this weekend!

Rubik’s Cube to Watershed Blitz. Pudding Festival to Garlic Festival. Cuatro to Kouta… 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: Double Edge Theatre will perform an outdoor presentation on Don Quixote, Odysseus, and Shahrazad on Sunday, September 28, 6pm-7:30pm. They will use poetry, flying, humor, music, puppets, and visual arts to tell these tales, and will then discuss them after the show. Older students with an interest in literature, mythology, and performance arts will enjoy this lively outdoor performance, which takes place at Amherst College. 860-335-8421. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


STEM  ♦ Citizen Scientist  ♦ Music/Cultural StudiesHistoryMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesCommunity ServiceFall FestivalsCommunity MealsJapanese StudiesParent WorkshopsMythologyCollaborative Consumption


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for September 27th-October 3rd, 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

“Your researchers of events and activities are outstanding and I believe unmatched in this area. I like the family emphasis; a wide variety of experiences engaging with the natural environment and cultural awareness are so enriching in a child’s growth.” – Josh Weinstein (Shelburne Falls, 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

Sept 27

Finger Painting Art Party for Kids with Author/Illustrator Kelly Light. Who Loves Art? LOUISE LOVES ART! And so does Odyssey Bookshop! This Saturday, September 27th, at 2pm, meet debut picture book author and illustrator, Kelly Light as she doodles and reads from her new book LOUISE LOVES ART. Chomp down on cupcakes and frolic with finger paints as you add your art to the Odyssey’s HUGE mural that will be on display in the children’s department. This event is free and great for kids 7 and under. Don’t forget to wear a smock. For more info visit www.odysseybks.com. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. 413-534 -7307

Sep 27 & 28

Garlic and ArtsCelebrate life at the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival on September 27 & 28 from10am-5pm in Orange, MA. There’s something for everyone at this fabulous family destination. Over 100 booths: regional artists, farmers and fabulous food. Enjoy amazing music, performance, spoken word, and dance; celebrated chef demos & renewable energy education. Great for families! An animal area featuring two farms worth of heritage and working animals, a kids area vibrant with a pottery tent, climbing wall, native craft, and featured Birds of Prey and Wolftalk presentations, plus hula hooping, horse-drawn hayrides, and garlic games all weekend. Only $5/adults; Kids 12 & under are FREE! For more info visit www.garlicandarts.org.

Oct 4-5

Festival of the Hills (FOH) will move to Conway Grammar this year only. Sat, Oct 4; bake sale on town common 9-2. Art exhibit at the Library Sat & Sun, used book sale at Town Hall. Sun, Oct 5; bands 10-4; Michael Nix/Chris Devine-Zach Danziger-Art Steele-T.J/Peepers-Janet Ryan/ Straight Up. Children’s authors; David Costello/Holly Hobbie/Heidi Stemple/Amy Gordon/ Aimee Anderson signing books. Crafts/food/games/hand-made candy/raffle/fun demo’s/fried dough/maple cream/pressed cider. S.Conte WOW Express van. Hist Society will open Boyden School House 12-4. Parking at 116/Roaring Brook Rd. 10K adult, kids 1.2m on Roaring Brook Rd. Police will help all cross Rt116 to events. www.festivalofthehills.com, email mdzialo114@yahoo.com with questions.

Oct 5

Whole Children is kicking off their 10th anniversary with a Fall Festival & Open House at 41 Russell St. in Hadley, Oct 5 from 1-4pm. They welcome the community to help them celebrate a decade of groundbreaking and innovative afterschool programs with a free day of music, games, food, tours, & exciting classes for kids. The Festival will feature performances by the Friendship Band and Joyful Chorus, two of their inclusive performing arts groups. Local musician Jamie Kent will also be singing. There will be pumpkin decorating, candy corn bingo, henna tattoos, and lots more fun for kids. They will also be running demo classes for Kung Fu, Dance & Recess Games. This is a free event, open to all. Call 413-585-8010 or visit www.wholechildren.org

Now Enrolling

Clonlara School’s Home Based Education Program is enrolling now! Clonlara is an accredited school that works with homeschool families to develop a unique education plan for each student. Clonlara collaborates with families to select subjects to be studied, methods to approach learning, educational materials, resources to use and more. For more information visit www.clonlara.org/home or call 734-926-4611.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, 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
September 27th-October 3rd, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Your Local River is Alive…and Waiting

Touch the River and It’ll Touch You

The Connecticut River is the lifeblood of the Pioneer Valley.

Thinking of how important it is for nature-lovers to spend time “being in” nature, the conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote: “We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in.”

Ethics involve what we judge to be right or wrong; and Leopold is correct: if we are to be ethical—if we are to wisely judge the rightness or wrongness of a thing—we need to have a direct experience of it. It’s easy to forget that a river is alive, and has a life that is valuable unless, from time to time, you touch it. Unless we touch the river, we can’t understand enough about it to be ethical towards it.

Rivers have always provided humans with perfect places to live, whether it be the nhà sông of Vietnam, the chickee hut of the Mississippi shrimp catcher, or the highrise of a hedgefund manager towering over the Hudson. We’ve always been attracted to rivers because they, of all landscape features, are the most alive: kinetic in movement and full of creatures. There is a big difference between viewing a river, though, and touching it. I want you to touch a river this month if you haven’t lately—and let that river be the Connecticut, which flows for over 400 miles from just over the Canadian border to Long Island Sound.

One way to touch the Connecticut River is to volunteer to assist the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s Source to Sea Clean-up, scheduled for Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27, 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 20th & 21st, 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 20th-26th, 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: Banned Books Week to Poetry Festival. Rosh Hashanah to Autumn Equinox., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know!

September 20th-26th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Film StudiesLocal HistoryAstronomyBanned BooksEntomologySkillshareOrnithologyNature StudiesPoetryGeologyLocal FoodMusic StudiesHistoryRosh HashanahAnimal Studies

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Q&A: Where to Pick Local Pears?
  2. HFVS Autism Awareness Episode with Guest DJ, Marc Bazerman (Radio Show/Podcast)
  3.  Pair of Fall Favorite Picture Books
  4. How to Plan a Bioblitz
  5. Recommend an Educational Podcast or Website for Families

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

30 Community Highlights: Banned Books Week to Poetry Festival. Rosh Hashanah to Autumn Equinox.

What do rubber duckies have to do with poetry? Find out this Saturday at the Amherst Poetry Festival!

Banned Books Week to Poetry Festival. Rosh Hashanah to Autumn Equinox. Skillshare to Science Cafe… 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: Learn about the annual hawk migration with The Trustees of Reservations at “Hawks Over Holyoke” at Heritage State Park on Sunday, September 21 from 10am-3pm. Celebrate these unique birds and see live bird demonstrations like “Eyes on Owls” and “Hawks with Tom Ricardi.” This free day of family fun is a great chance for all ages to learn about these magnificent birds. 413-532-1631. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


Film StudiesLocal HistoryAstronomyBanned BooksEntomologySkillshareOrnithologyNature StudiesPoetryGeologyLocal FoodMusic StudiesHistoryRosh HashanahAnimal Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for September 20th-26th, 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

“Our parent group relies upon Hilltown Families… it’s one of the resources we use most for planning outings together!” – Rachel Keller (Williamsburg, 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

Sep 18

On Thursday, September 18th, the streets of downtown Amherst are closed to traffic and open to a night of fun from 5-9pm for the Celebrate Amherst Block Party presented by the Amherst Business Improvement District! In its third year, this event brings thousands of people to downtown for a lively street fair environment including food vendors, multiple main stages with music, circus performers, dancing, and vendors from many area organizations. The streets become a playground for all ages in this fantastic community event. The Amherst Block Party is an event that you won’t want to miss! Visit www.amherstdowntown.com.

Sep 21

Join Huck Scarry, the son of beloved picture book creator Richard Scarry, for the best art project ever in Amherst! Huck is visiting the United States from his home in Austria and will be at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art on Sunday, September 21st at 1:00 pm to demonstrate how to draw everyone’s favorite Busytown characters, including Lowly Worm and Huckle Cat. The latest Richard Scarry book, Best Lowly Worm Book Ever!, was discovered unfinished by Huck Scarry three years ago and Huck worked in the same style of his father to complete the book. Meet Huck and learn more about his famous father! Book signing to follow. Free with Museum Admission. For more information visit: www.carlemuseum.org

Our Place for HomeSchoolers is designed to “unplug” young learners by bringing them into direct contact with the creatures, geologies, hydrologies and infrastructures of the Nonotuck biome and the Westfield River watershed. During a 6 hour session, they roam the valley and the hilltowns, investigating natural and cultural history with all of their senses. An excellent educational enhancement for home schoolers, Our Place allows them to 1) experience first-hand the subjects they study in books and 2) use their background knowledge and critical thinking skills to comprehend, and share their perceptions of, what they are experiencing. If you know a learner who needs some time and space to “think outside,” Our Place is here.

Sep 27 & 28

Garlic and ArtsCelebrate life at the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival on September 27 & 28 from10am-5pm in Orange, MA. There’s something for everyone at this fabulous family destination. Over 100 booths: regional artists, farmers and fabulous food. Enjoy amazing music, performance, spoken word, and dance; celebrated chef demos & renewable energy education. Great for families! An animal area featuring two farms worth of heritage and working animals, a kids area vibrant with a pottery tent, climbing wall, native craft, and featured Birds of Prey and Wolftalk presentations, plus hula hooping, horse-drawn hayrides, and garlic games all weekend. Only $5/adults; Kids 12 & under are FREE! For more info visit www.garlicandarts.org.

Now Enrolling

Clonlara School’s Home Based Education Program is enrolling now! Clonlara is an accredited school that works with homeschool families to develop a unique education plan for each student. Clonlara collaborates with families to select subjects to be studied, methods to approach learning, educational materials, resources to use and more. For more information visit www.clonlara.org/home or call 734-926-4611.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, 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
September 20th-26th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for September 13th-19th, 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 lets me know what’s going on. Lots of things show up here that I don’t hear anywhere else. The content is consistently entertaining and thought-provoking! Thanks!” – Dennis Caraher (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

Fall Openings

Spaces available! Nonotuck Community School is accepting applications for children 15 mos. to 5 years. January start date is available for younger children not old enough to start now. Open from 7:30am – 5:30pm and located in Northampton, Nonotuck has well-appointed classrooms, daily access to indoor and outdoor play spaces, an art studio, yoga instruction, gardening & more. Curriculum is play-based and inspired by progressive early childhood education theory. They emphasize community, emotional intelligence and resilience and provide ample opportunities for cognitive, artistic, social, emotional, and physical development throughout the school day. A parent cooperative. Contact: info@nonotuck.org or 413-586-5996 or www.nonotuck.org.

Begins in Sep

Enrolling now! At The Center in Amherst, children spin stories from movement using classical and modern dance techniques. Sister duo Ashley and Caddy Carlisle combine their years of dance training with a special approach to teaching that gets kids reading, writing and dancing; connecting, collaborating and creating. It’s a holistic approach to dance. Classes beginning in September for children ages 5 through 14, in downtown Amherst. For more information, visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com.

Sep 13

New in Greenfield: Kids Yoga! Celtic Heels is offering yoga classes for ages 3-teen in Greenfield starting in September. Every child should learn at an early age what they are capable of and exploring movement and creativity through yoga is a great way to achieve that goal. Small class sizes will enable each student to cultivate a growing relationship with the school’s accomplished, nurturing and certified instructor. Discounts are offered for additional family members in Irish dance, ballet and Celtic Cardio. Join Celtic Heels for their Free Yoga Day on Saturday, September 13 (and ask about their Irish dance and ballet lesson day too). For additional information email celticheels@gmail.com or visit their website: www.CelticHeelsDance.com.

Sep 13

Fall Courses, LittleFest at the Springfield Museums! Registration is underway for Museum School courses for kids! Led by a team of dedicated and talented instructors, courses include painting, robotics, and medical science, and are limited to 12 or fewer participants. And don’t miss “LittleFest,” the annual literacy celebration on Saturday, September 13 from 10am– 5pm at the Museums and the Springfield City Library, with kids’ shows, activities, and a free book for the first 400 families, courtesy of WGBY Public Television. Admission is FREE for Springfield residents and WGBY and Museum members. For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Sep 14

On Sunday, September 14th at 4pm, join your fellow book lovers from the Odyssey Bookshop at the Jones Library in Amherst for an afternoon of magic and adventure! Hear from two master storytellers as they share their new book: The Iron Trial, Book One of Magesterium. From the imaginations of #1 bestselling authors Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles) and Cassandra Clare (the Mortal Instruments series) comes a heart-stopping plunge into the magical unknown. Perfect for Harry Potter fans! Space is limited but you can reserve your seat at www.odysseybks.com! Ages 7-70!

Sep 18

On Thursday, September 18th, the streets of downtown Amherst are closed to traffic and open to a night of fun from 5-9pm for the Celebrate Amherst Block Party presented by the Amherst Business Improvement District! In its third year, this event brings thousands of people to downtown for a lively street fair environment including food vendors, multiple main stages with music, circus performers, dancing, and vendors from many area organizations. The streets become a playground for all ages in this fantastic community event. The Amherst Block Party is an event that you won’t want to miss! Visit www.amherstdowntown.com.

Begins Sep 19

Earthwork Programs Heron & Swift Eagle Homeschool Programs are starting Friday, September 19 (9:30am-2pm), in Amherst, MA, for ages 7+. For the last 15 years, hundreds of children have developed their Nature Awareness, Wilderness Survival Skills & Mentoring with Frank Grindrod. Curriculum covered is seasonal according to the cycles of nature and is designed to allow students to explore what interests them but still revolve around group studies. $610-$720, sliding scale, for 12-week fall session (includes bound Journal/Handbook). Winter & spring sessions available as well. Register online ASAP: www.earthworkprograms.com or call 413-340-1161 or email Frank: frank@earthworkprograms.com.

Sep 20

Join in the fun of the jigs and reels at Celtic Heels! A dance school in Greenfield offering lessons for ages 3+ in Irish Dance, Celtic Music, Ballet and KidsYoga; as well as, classes specifically for adults has something for everyone and discounts are offered for additional family members. Join Celtic Heels for their Free Irish Dance + Ballet Day on Saturday, September 20 (and ask about their free yoga lesson day too). For additional information email celticheels@gmail.com or visit their website at www.CelticHeelsDance.com.

Sep 28

On Sunday, Sept. 28th, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will be hosting their 4th annual Will Bike 4 Food (WB4F) charity cycling event. When you’re at cookouts and picnics throughout the summer, it’s the perfect time to pull your family, friends and neighbors together to form a team and ride to end hunger. Forming a team is easy (4 or more). With multiple courses to choose from—a 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of any level to become involved. Registration is easy and only takes a few minutes. Don’t miss the post-race for a celebration with complimentary food, beer from Berkshire Brewing Company, and family activities. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at www.foodbankwma.org/events/bike.

Our Place for HomeSchoolers is designed to “unplug” young learners by bringing them into direct contact with the creatures, geologies, hydrologies and infrastructures of the Nonotuck biome and the Westfield River watershed. During a 6 hour session, they roam the valley and the hilltowns, investigating natural and cultural history with all of their senses. An excellent educational enhancement for home schoolers, Our Place allows them to 1) experience first-hand the subjects they study in books and 2) use their background knowledge and critical thinking skills to comprehend, and share their perceptions of, what they are experiencing. If you know a learner who needs some time and space to “think outside,” Our Place is here.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your community event, fall program, after school class, school, 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
September 13th-19th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

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

RECAP

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for September 6th-12th, 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

“We love heading to the farmers’ markets and farm festivals that are listed on Hilltown Families. And we’ve found that our kids eat veggies much more willingly when we talk about which farmer grew them, which fields they came out of, etc. Thanks for being a great resource.” Deborah Doulette (Whately, 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

Begins in Sep

Sign up for Theater Improvisation with Heidi Haas! Improv increases spontaneity, creativity and self-confidence. Classes focus on tuning into one’s scene partners, creating bold characters and developing skits with each other. Classes are offered for 6th-8th graders on Wednesdays from 3-5pm and for 1st-5th graders on Thursdays from 3:30-5pm in Florence, MA. The first 10 week session begins in Sept. Heidi has been teaching theater to children since 1996 and is also a clinical social worker with a specialty in child/family concerns. Check out her website at www.heidihaasimprov.com to register call: Heidi Haas 584-5562 or email Heidi_Haas@comcast.net.

Begins in Sep

Enrolling now! At The Center in Amherst, children spin stories from movement using classical and modern dance techniques. Sister duo Ashley and Caddy Carlisle combine their years of dance training with a special approach to teaching that gets kids reading, writing and dancing; connecting, collaborating and creating. It’s a holistic approach to dance. Classes beginning in September for children ages 5 through 14, in downtown Amherst. For more information, visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com.

Sep 7

On Sunday, September 7, from 2 to 4 pm, the Northampton Community Music Center will host its annual Open House & Instrument Petting Zoo. Come see, hear and try out different musical instruments, meet our teachers, take free demo classes, and enjoy a performance by NCMC’s ukulele choir. NCMC is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1986 with 50 professional faculty members serving more than 800 students annually. NCMC also hosts more than 75 performances and events each year. Programs include instruction in 25 different instruments, choruses, instrumental ensembles, vocal performance classes, recording studio classes, summer programs and special workshops. Financial aid available. For information, call 413-585-0001 or visit www.ncmc.net.

Sep 13

New in Greenfield: Kids Yoga! Celtic Heels is offering yoga classes for ages 3-teen in Greenfield starting in September. Every child should learn at an early age what they are capable of and exploring movement and creativity through yoga is a great way to achieve that goal. Small class sizes will enable each student to cultivate a growing relationship with the school’s accomplished, nurturing and certified instructor. Discounts are offered for additional family members in Irish dance, ballet and Celtic Cardio. Join Celtic Heels for their Free Yoga Day on Saturday, September 13 (and ask about their Irish dance and ballet lesson day too). For additional information email celticheels@gmail.com or visit their website: www.CelticHeelsDance.com.

Sep 14

On Sunday, September 14th at 4pm, join your fellow book lovers from the Odyssey Bookshop at the Jones Library in Amherst for an afternoon of magic and adventure! Hear from two master storytellers as they share their new book: The Iron Trial, Book One of Magesterium. From the imaginations of #1 bestselling authors Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles) and Cassandra Clare (the Mortal Instruments series) comes a heart-stopping plunge into the magical unknown. Perfect for Harry Potter fans! Space is limited but you can reserve your seat at www.odysseybks.com! Ages 7-70!

Begins Sep 19

Earthwork Programs Heron & Swift Eagle Homeschool Programs are starting Friday, September 19 (9:30am-2pm), in Amherst, MA, for ages 7+. For the last 15 years, hundreds of children have developed their Nature Awareness, Wilderness Survival Skills & Mentoring with Frank Grindrod. Curriculum covered is seasonal according to the cycles of nature and is designed to allow students to explore what interests them but still revolve around group studies. $610-$720, sliding scale, for 12-week fall session (includes bound Journal/Handbook). Winter & spring sessions available as well. Register online ASAP: www.earthworkprograms.com or call 413-340-1161 or email Frank: frank@earthworkprograms.com.

Sept 20

Join in the fun of the jigs and reels at Celtic Heels! A dance school in Greenfield offering lessons for ages 3+ in Irish Dance, Celtic Music, Ballet and KidsYoga; as well as, classes specifically for adults has something for everyone and discounts are offered for additional family members. Join Celtic Heels for their Free Irish Dance + Ballet Day on Saturday, September 20 (and ask about their free yoga lesson day too). For additional information email celticheels@gmail.com or visit their website at www.CelticHeelsDance.com.

Sep 28

On Sunday, Sept. 28th, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will be hosting their 4th annual Will Bike 4 Food (WB4F) charity cycling event. When you’re at cookouts and picnics throughout the summer, it’s the perfect time to pull your family, friends and neighbors together to form a team and ride to end hunger. Forming a team is easy (4 or more). With multiple courses to choose from—a 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of any level to become involved. Registration is easy and only takes a few minutes. Don’t miss the post-race for a celebration with complimentary food, beer from Berkshire Brewing Company, and family activities. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at www.foodbankwma.org/events/bike.

Fall Openings

Spaces available! Nonotuck Community School is accepting applications for children 15 mos. to 5 years. January start date is available for younger children not old enough to start now. Open from 7:30am – 5:30pm and located in Northampton, Nonotuck has well-appointed classrooms, daily access to indoor and outdoor play spaces, an art studio, yoga instruction, gardening & more. Curriculum is play-based and inspired by progressive early childhood education theory. They emphasize community, emotional intelligence and resilience and provide ample opportunities for cognitive, artistic, social, emotional, and physical development throughout the school day. A parent cooperative. Contact: info@nonotuck.org or 413-586-5996 or www.nonotuck.org.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your community event, fall program, after school class, school, 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
September 6th-12th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Autumn Bucket List for 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:

Read the rest of this entry »

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for August 30th-September 5th, 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 moved to the area this past summer and Hilltown Families has been a wonderful resource for me as a newcomer. It has pointed my family towards some great activities and local eateries (Cummington Fair, Bread Euphoria, etc.). More importantly, it has given me, as a newcomer, a broader sense of how active this community is and what people here care about. So thank you for that!” – Jenni H. (Sunderland, 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

Fall Openings

Openings Alert: The Center School is accepting applications for just a few spots left in K/1 and middle school for this fall. The Center School features rigorous academics for deep thinkers and creative spirits with a stellar teacher-student ratio. Since 1982 the Center School has provided a progressive, project-based, and dynamic education for PreK through 8th grades at its lovely campus, adjacent to conservation land and trails, on the southern edge of Greenfield. Center Schoolers come from all over the Pioneer Valley with over a third from Hampshire County. Interested? Contact their admissions office today to learn more about the school for your child. www.centerschool.net or 413-773-1700, ext 2.

Begins in Sep

Sign up for Theater Improvisation with Heidi Haas! Improv increases spontaneity, creativity and self-confidence. Classes focus on tuning into one’s scene partners, creating bold characters and developing skits with each other. Classes are offered for 6th-8th graders on Wednesdays from 3-5pm and for 1st-5th graders on Thursdays from 3:30-5pm in Florence, MA. The first 10 week session begins in Sept. Heidi has been teaching theater to children since 1996 and is also a clinical social worker with a specialty in child/family concerns. Check out her website at www.heidihaasimprov.com to register call: Heidi Haas 584-5562 or email Heidi_Haas@comcast.net.

Sep 7

On Sunday, September 7, from 2 to 4 pm, the Northampton Community Music Center will host its annual Open House & Instrument Petting Zoo. Come see, hear and try out different musical instruments, meet our teachers, take free demo classes, and enjoy a performance by NCMC’s ukulele choir. NCMC is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1986 with 50 professional faculty members serving more than 800 students annually. NCMC also hosts more than 75 performances and events each year. Programs include instruction in 25 different instruments, choruses, instrumental ensembles, vocal performance classes, recording studio classes, summer programs and special workshops. Financial aid available. For information, call 413-585-0001 or visit www.ncmc.net.

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has immediate openings for young toddlers, ages 15-24 months, and pre-schoolers ages 3 and 4 years. Following the pioneering approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, and self-confidence while building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature uniquely-designed classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE and yoga. To learn more about their openings or to schedule a visit, contact Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your community event, fall program, after school class, school, 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
August 30th-September 5th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Setting our Watches to the Geological View of Time

There’s Gold in Our Hills!

Gold in Mt. Tom anyone?

I met a person who was panning for gold in one of our hilltown brooks this summer who knew a lot about geology—at least enough to know that gold is produced by volcanic activity. We don’t think of our biome as having volcanic bones; Iceland, Hawaii, and the Pacific Rim come to mind, but Huntington?

Look closely, though, and you’ll find evidence of igneous geology all over the place: from Mounts Holyoke and Tom which were bubbling lava when hungry raptorsauri ran wild here 200,000,000 years ago, to the weirdly eroded lava ash boulders people place out by their driveways in Goshen, to the cocoa puff pumice balls that float in eddies just downriver from the Turners Falls dams. Read the rest of this entry »

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

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