Suggested Events for March 7th-13th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

The Smith College Botanic Garden's annual Spring Bulb Show runs from March 7-22!

“Thank you for keeping the isolation at bay in the Hilltowns! You do so much to support local businesses, families, moms, dads, kids, pets, and the earth. Heartfelt thanks for your efforts!” – Jennifer Drumm Schmitt (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.

Hilltown Families’ Events

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Bulletin Board

Mar 7

Shake off the cold at Nonotuck Community School’s 4th annual Winter Family Dance Party! Bring the whole family for a morning of dancing, face painting, and arts & crafts! Come build your own tambourines and shakers and try your luck in the 50-50 raffle. Enjoy delicious pizza by Hillside Pizza! Tickets are just $5 per person and $15 per family! Happening on Saturday, March 7th from 10am-12pm at the Jackson Street School Gym (120 Jackson Street) in Northampton. All proceeds will benefit the Nonotuck Community School. Sponsored by Florence Bank.

Mar 7

Does your child love to learn? Is your child respected, nurtured and inspired? Come warm up at The Hartsbrook School’s open house and experience the warmth of their child-centered approach. Their multi-disciplinary curriculum blends academics, art, music and craftsmanship for a lifetime of creative and critical thinking. Sip hot chocolate, speak with current families, participate in a hand-on activity, see student work and meet early childhood, grades and high school teachers. Join them on Saturday, March 7, from 10am to 12noon at 193 Bay Road in Hadley. All ages welcome! www.hartsbrook.org

Mar 7

Join the Springfield Museums on Saturday, March 7 for their annual Dr. Seuss Birthday celebration! The fun runs from 10am-5pm, and features the annual Seuss Cake Contest plus two performances of the Comedy Magic Show by Ed Popielarczyk plus The Teacher Creatures presenting Animals Around the World. And be on the lookout for the Cat in the Hat himself, who will be prowling the museum grounds! All this plus great hands-on art and science activities throughout the day, all included with Museum admission. For information, visit www.SpringfieldMuseums.org.

Mar 13

Odyssey Bookshop hosts a RED launch: Friday, March 13, 7pm. Bring your tweens & teens and embrace the RED! Hailed from our very own East Longmeadow comes debut author Victoria Aveyard with the most anticipated young adult novel of 2015. A little bit, Hunger Games and a little bit Divergent, Red Queen will not disappoint. Discover the world of revolutionaries, powers and more, this March as you dress your best in RED, gorge on RED velvet cupcakes and drink RED sparkling juice for this epic event. Join the Odyssey Bookshop for an author reading, signing and RED costume competition! Ages 12+ Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307

Mar 14

Chirping Storytime with Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple: Saturday, March 14, 3pm. A launch party for the little bird in your life! Soar down to the Odyssey Bookshop for a fun-filled celebration! Storytelling greats, Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple will join for the launch of their much-anticipated picture book You Nest Here With Me. Combining their poetic writing and their love of birding, mother and daughter Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple have written what is sure to become a bedtime classic. Learn how this lovely story came to be with a bird call demonstration, peck at cupcakes, and make a nest of your own at our craft table! Perfect for ages 2+. Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, 413-534-7307

Mar 14

The Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company is excited to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day with a performance at the Academy of Music Theatre in downtown Northampton on Saturday, March 14th at 7pm! Their vibrant modern take on the traditional style of step dancing has entertained sold out crowds in the Pioneer Valley and beyond for many years. Joined by local Celtic musical group ‘Four Sisters & the Farmhands’ this is sure to be a show that has something for everyone. Come join in the fun of the jigs and reels this season with your family! Tickets can be purchased via the web at www.AcademyOfMusicTheatre.com or by phone at 413-584-9032 x105. Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and children.

Begins Mar 20

The Center in Amherst is offering a new class for toddlers! Enroll now for an 8 week spring session, starting Friday, March 20th. In this 45 minute class for kids aged 2-5, students will leap, twirl and spin their way into the world of children’s literature. Using picture books, nursery rhymes and songs as inspiration, children will be introduced to the fundamentals of creative movement in a fun, nurturing environment. Whether they’re soaring like the red bird that brown bear saw, leaping and pouncing at the Wild Rumpus, or dancing the alphabet, kids will love this interactive class that honors the reader, and storyteller, in all of us. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com.

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.org

Jul 6-10

Journey Camp returns to Cummington for Hilltown families this summer. The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12,June 29-July 3, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill, Deerfield. Hilltown Journey Camp, boys & girls, 7-12, July 6-10, 8:45-4, Taproot Common Farm, Cummington. Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, 11-18, July 27-July 30, two overnights & campfires, Woolman Hill. Girls Week, 7-13, Aug. 3-7 & Aug. 10-14, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

Now available

Crimson & Clover Farm is happy to announce that 2015 CSA Shares are now available! Located at the Northampton Community Farm, near downtown Florence, Crimson & Clover Farm raises a wide variety of delicious, beautiful, and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables for our 20 week CSA program. As a community based farm, they offer a welcoming environment where their members and their families can come and enjoy this amazing community resource as well as receive nutritious locally grown food. In addition to vegetables, they also offer a variety of locally produced products for sale through their farm store, as well as a bountiful PYO garden. For more info about the CSA and how to become a member of the farm, visit crimsonandcloverfarm.com.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, 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 advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

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
March 7th-13th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Time to Talk: Mapping Out Childrens’ Behavior

Barriers to Learning: Part 2

Our behaviors are stitched together by a series of reactions…how we respond to things, how we process and then how we move on to another reaction. For children it is important to have some recognition of behavior and how reactions dovetail.

In my last article, I talked about how behaviors interfere with children’s learning and can impact their emotional, vocational, and economic futures. One important factor that positively impacts learning is the ability to think and reason. We can teach self-regulation of emotions. First, the child needs to understand that no one can think when they are emotional. I already explained using a 1-5 rating scale for “How big is my problem?” and “How big is my reaction?” The game “Should I or Shouldn’t I?” gives kids practice using a rating scale. Turning music on, then off for practice calming down was also mentioned in my previous article. Read the rest of this entry »

International Women’s Day Gives Us Pause on the Issue of Human Rights

March 8th Provides Educational Opportunity Along with Celebrating Womanhood

Celebrated as a national holiday in some countries, International Women’s Day sheds light on women’s role in societies around the world – past and present. In addition to the learning opportunities that the event presents, families can attend a celebration in Northampton in order to engage in community-based learning about the importance of women’s voices.

On Sunday, March 8th, communities from all over the world will celebrate International Women’s Day – an event that honors the economic, political, and social achievements past and present, and brings light to the continuing efforts to achieve worldwide gender equality. Recognized as a national holiday in some countries, International Women’s Day presents opportunities not only to celebrate and honor womanhood, but to learn about important women in history and their achievements.

Using online resources, families can explore the meaning of International Women’s Day. Videos showing everything from international political leaders discussing the importance of the holiday to documentary-style looks at women’s lives in many cultures to women’s role in history can help families to learn about the past, present, and future of women’s role in society worldwide. Comparing and contrasting women’s lives in the United States and in other countries can help to provide perspective on the differing role of women in cultures around the world. Additionally, an exploration of the history of International Women’ Day can help families to learn about the history of women’s rights in the United States, and internationally!  Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Enclaves Flourish in Easthampton

Easthampton City Arts Enriches Cultural Life of Western Mass Community

Art Walk EasthamptonWestern Massachusetts’ beauty has allowed the area to become somewhat of a haven for artists. The area is chock-full of painters, photographers, sculptors, potters, performers, and other creative types, their work saturating our communities with artistic expression in a wide variety of mediums. Connecting these artists and their work to the the rest of the community are arts organizations, which serve as valuable resources for connecting families with events and community-based learning opportunities. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting to Know Somebody on Fakebook

Building Fictional and Historical Bios- Great Exercise In Banking Knowledge

While Facebook isn’t a great place for children to spend time online, imposter site Fakebook totally is! Instead of being centered around a profile that reflects the user’s true self, Fakebook is meant to be used for creating profiles based upon historical figures or fictional characters – people who either no longer exist, or who have never existed (except within the pages of a book). Read the rest of this entry »

Off the Mat: Positivity Downs Winter’s Walls

Cabin Fever Gratitude

It’s 4 degrees outside and snowing. Again. I’m at the kitchen counter with my coffee dregs. 10 feet away, building a marble set, he’s forgotten I’m here. What can I get done without moving? I reach my phone and type email with my thumbs. Usually, I take advantage of voice dictation, but speaking would remind him I’m here. I wonder how many generations will pass before the phrase “all thumbs” is considered an asset. Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Maple Sugar Season

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: February Segment
Maple Sugar Season in New England

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts, Ashley Kohl and Seth Stutman, to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Thursday, February 26, 2015, highlighting community-based resources and events that use the Maple sugar season as a catalyst for learning, celebrating local culture and building community. Sienna shares three community-based resources and two community events, highlighting two types of events:

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: March 2nd-6th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 15 community-based educational opportunities 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.


Sponsor Learning Ahead


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HFVS Sheep Shearing & Maple Syrup Episode (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Sheep Shearing & Maple Syrup Episode

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
February 28th & March 1st, 2015
(Original broadcast: Feb 28, 2009)
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Sheep Shearing

Shearing the sheep and skirting the fleece at Red Gate Farm in Buckland, MA. Click on photo to see more images. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfied


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

  • Lunch Money – “Wake Up, World” - Dizzy 
  • Pete Seeger – “Maple Syrup Time” – Seeds: The Songs of Pete Seeger
  • Kitty Donohoe  – “Maple Syrup” – Bunyan and Banjoes
  • Phil Rosenthal – “Buffalo Gals” – This Land is Your Land
  • Nashville Bluegrass Band & Kid Pan Alley – “Extra Hand” – Kid Pan Alley
  • Station Id: The Harmonica Pocket [www.harmonicapocket.com]
  • Carla Sciaky – “Sheep Shearing” – Spin the Weaver’s Song
  • Justin Roberts – “Field Trip” – Pop Fly
  • The Hipwaders – “Field Trip” – Goodie Bag 
  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • L. Frank Baum – The Story of Baa-Baa Black Sheep
  • Teresa Doyle – “The Shearing” – If Fish Could Sing … and Sheep Could Dance
  • Matt Nathanson – “Starfish and Coffee” – For the Kids Too
  • Moxy Fruvous – “Maple Syrup Time” – If I Had a Song: Songs of Pete Seeger Vol. 2
  • The Hipwaders – “Things You Want” – Goodie Bag

Berkshire Family Fun: March 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
March 2015

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of March. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at 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 appreciate the extensive calendar listings and postings on Hilltown Families. They cover a wide geographic area and inspire me to visit new museums and other places and also remind me to return to some old favorites.” – Bridget Spann (Williamstown, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 28th & March 1st, 2015

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 February 28th-March 6th, 2015 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, Learn Local. Play Local. for 27 Community Highlights: Family Concerts to Purim. Pancakes to Seeds., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

February 28th-March 6th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

STE(A)MSustainabilitySocial JusticeSpring MusicalsCommunity MealNature/Animal StudiesPuppetryLiterature/WritingPurimSocial StudiesHistoryFamily Concerts

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Parenting Green: It’s Not What We Say, It’s What We Do!
  2. Collaborative Consumption: Learning How to be Resilient Supports Community-Based Education
  3. 6 Ways Community Can Support Family Dinners
  4. HFVS Purim Episode with Guest DJ, Mama Doni (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. TED-Ed Clubs: Supporting Students & Their Big Ideas!

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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27 Community Highlights: Family Concerts to Purim. Pancakes to Seeds.

Community meals are great intergenerational opportunities to sit down with neighbors of all ages, making connections and nurturing relationships across the generations. Participating in a community pancake breakfast does more than fill your belly… it strengthens the social fabric of community by developing a sense of place in our children! The Easthampton PTO is hosting a Pancake Breakfast at Easthampton High School on Saturday, February 28, 8:30am-10:30am.

Family  Concerts to Purim. Pancake Breakfast to Charles Dickens. Seeds to Origami. 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 community highlight this week: Families can join the Northampton Parents Center for Family Fun Night on Saturday, February 28, 4pm-7pm! There will be a performance by In the Nick of Time, dessert from Herrell’s, an optional potluck dinner, and playtime. This is a great chance to to get to know other local families! 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)


STE(A)MSustainabilitySocial JusticeSpring MusicalsCommunity MealNature/Animal StudiesPuppetryLiterature/WritingPurimSocial StudiesHistoryFamily Concerts


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 February 28th-March 6th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Thanks to Hilltown Families, our source for so many good things – this weekend we’ll be tapping some of our own trees, then using your list of sugar shacks to find one to sample.” – Carrie Cuthbert (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

Feb 28

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “February Fiesta!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Grammy-Nominated Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. Come dance, decorate a maraca, and eat pizza with your friends! Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 28th from 10:30am-12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Mar 7

Shake off the cold at Nonotuck Community School’s 4th annual Winter Family Dance Party! Bring the whole family for a morning of dancing, face painting, and arts & crafts! Come build your own tambourines and shakers and try your luck in the 50-50 raffle. Enjoy delicious pizza by Hillside Pizza! Tickets are just $5 per person and $15 per family! Happening on Saturday, March 7th from 10am-12pm at the Jackson Street School Gym (120 Jackson Street) in Northampton. All proceeds will benefit the Nonotuck Community School. Sponsored by Florence Bank.

Mar 14 & Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Begins Mar 20

The Center in Amherst is offering a new class for toddlers! Enroll now for an 8 week spring session, starting Friday, March 20th. In this 45 minute class for kids aged 2-5, students will leap, twirl and spin their way into the world of children’s literature. Using picture books, nursery rhymes and songs as inspiration, children will be introduced to the fundamentals of creative movement in a fun, nurturing environment. Whether they’re soaring like the red bird that brown bear saw, leaping and pouncing at the Wild Rumpus, or dancing the alphabet, kids will love this interactive class that honors the reader, and storyteller, in all of us. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com.

Mar 21

March Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21 from 9-11:30am.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21st, 9-11:30am. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.org

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, 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 advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

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
February 28th-March 6th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Maple Days in Western MA

Learning through the Lens of Maple Sugar Season

How sweet the end of winter is here in western Massachusetts – and not just because the snow is beginning to melt! Warmer temperatures signal the start of sap flow in sugar maples, whose frozen and sleepy roots and limbs come alive when the landscape begins to thaw. Maple sugaring is a centuries-old tradition in New England, and the seasonal industry remains an important part of the foundation upon which local agricultural is built. Additionally, maple sugaring brings opportunities for families to engage in intergenerational community-based learning through visits to farms, community meals, living history, and experiential hands-on activities.  Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Setting Up the Toddler Who Wants to Get To Work!

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

The Industrious Toddler

I have found that young toddlers thrive on exploring the world around them. Finding new ways to create and explore can mean the difference between a boring day and a day filled with the emergence of new skills. Lately with the snow over the babes heads, finding new ways to master skills such as cutting, grasping, gluing, sorting and creating has taking up the bulk of our art time.

Toddlers love repetition, as you may have noticed. They love the predictability of repeated motions, motions that will soon be a mastered skill. They thrive in a child-centered environment. A place where all the tools on the table are for them to explore, there is no one telling them “please don’t touch” instead all the supplies are screaming “touch me” and “ figure me out.”

The industrious art projects that can help you through this winter are just as much educational as they are fun. Help your toddler master fine motors skills such as scissors, tweezers, knives, forks, spoons by giving them the opportunity to uses such tools on a toddler friendly forum! Read the rest of this entry »

Amherst Cinema’s Family Film Series- A Blend of Entertainment & Learning

Innovative Cinema Continues  to Give Great Consideration to Clever Programming

Amherst Cinema’s Family Films series showcases a handful of fantastic family movies. Not only are the films entertaining and engaging for viewers of all ages, many of them are historically or artistically significant as well – making the series both fun and educational!

Films for young audiences are far more than a way to keep kiddos quiet and entertained for a few hours. The best of such films include plots that are not only engaging for children, but that can be enjoyed by adults as well. And, in addition to engaging plots, the best of children’s film is artistic and creative to boot!

Families can enjoy some of the best of films for young audiences during Amherst Cinema’s Family Films Series. The series is an ongoing endeavor and features a varied collection of wonderful films that can be enjoyed by folks of all ages. Covering a wide rage of themes and styles of cinematography, the Family Films Series is not only entertaining but educational as well!  Here’s what they have coming up next month: Read the rest of this entry »

Open Sesame: Celebrating Black History with Children’s Picture Books

Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings and Review by Cheli Mennella

10 New Books Celebrating Black History

In celebration of Black History, here are 10 new books for children of all ages and the grown-ups who love them. Full of inspiration, incredible acts of heroism and bravery, and striking illustration, these are needed books not just in February, but in every month of the year.

Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs (as told by his niece) presents the principles of nonviolence that “Uncle M.L.” practiced and lived by. Each principle, presented in oversized font and bold, mixed-media illustration – have courage; love your enemies; fight the problem, not the person who caused it; when innocent people are hurt, others are inspired to help; resist violence of any kind; and the universe honors love – is further explained with specific actions and events of Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s life, from peaceful protests to rousing sermons.

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Mixing Conservation with Art Releases Creativity

Junior Duck Program Motivates Kids to Study Nature with an Artistic Eye

Combining artistic expression and conservation, the annual Junior Duck Stamp Program gives children the opportunity to study local waterfowl and practice using their artistic skills to portray them in their native habitat. The competition even provides curriculum materials to support families and educators in expanding children’s learning as they participate!

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the commonwealth of Massachusetts has been a leader in the study of waterfowl species and their habitat. In keeping with this scientific tradition and commitment, children of almost any age are invited to participate in this year’s Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp Program! An annual art contest that pairs the study of waterfowl with artistic expression, the Junior Duck Stamp Program provides a platform for learning about conservation, the environment, species identification, and artistic expression!

Open to children in grades K-12 (or of the age equivalent to grades K-12), participation in the Junior Duck Stamp Program requires young scientists and artists to create original pieces of artwork that showcase a species of waterfowl native to Massachusetts. Children may use visual aids in order to create their pieces, so as to ensure that the shape, size, coloration, and surroundings that they create are accurate, but all works of art should be entirely original, rather than drawn or painted as a copy of a photograph, drawing, or other representation of a bird. Read the rest of this entry »

Human Library Project Returns to Williams College

Human Library Project at Williams College
Promoting Dialogue, Reducing Prejudice
Friday & Saturday, February 27 & 28, 2015

Founded in 2001 in Denmark to promote human rights and social cohesion, the human library project seeks to create greater understanding between people and provide a safe space where we can learn more about each other and work through stereotypes and discrimination present in our community in order to ultimately to forge new connections between people. Williams College invites all members of the community to experience the Human Library, Friday, Feb. 27 and Saturday, Feb. 28 from 1-4pm  at Paresky Center on the Williams College campus. This is a free, interactive event and reservations are not required.

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

This Friday and Saturday, Williams College in Williamstown, MA, presents a unique (and very rare!) opportunity to not only learn from books, but to have them answer your questions, too! The 2015 Human Library is, as its name implies, made up not of actual books but of human books – human beings whose unique life experiences make up volumes and volumes of information, stored amongst a network of brain cells and synapses instead of a stack of bound pages. Open from 1-4pm on Friday, February 27th and Saturday, February 28th, the Human Library offers nearly forty different human books who can be checked out for periods of up to half an hour. Each human book will begin by answering a few (3-5) predetermined questions before allowing their borrower to ask their own questions… Read the rest of this entry »

Clark Lifts Lid on Major 20th Century Modernist Movement

Machine Age Modernism Exhibit At Clark Art Institute Captures Turmoil & Upheaval

Clark Art Institute’s Machine Age Modernism exhibition explores groundbreaking printmaking and offers community-based learning opportunity on art history. Exhibition opens February 28, 2015 in Williamstown, MA.

The Clark Art Institute considers the history and politics that inspired many artists working during and between World Wars I and II in the exhibition Machine Age Modernism: Prints from the Daniel Cowin Collection. Influenced by such prewar movements as Futurism and Cubism, and using innovative techniques developed by artists associated with London’s Grosvenor School of Modern Art in the 1930s and 1940s, artists of the Machine Age defied aesthetic and technical conventions in order to convey the vitality of industrial society and changed printmaking in the process. Machine Age Modernism will be on view in the Clark Center February 28–May 17, 2015.
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The Ripple: Getting Beyond the Dam

Life Will Return to Our Rivers!

The challenge we (who value these nonhuman lives) face is to turn the immense powers we have to obstruct life into powers that liberate it.

Sweet as maple syrup, the thaw is coming.

Sea lamprey, shad, herring, alewives, eels, sturgeon and the last of the salmon: all are sensing it, as they swim far offshore in the (comparatively) warm ocean. Exactly how they sense the return of Spring remains unknown, even to the brightest marine biologist; but our lack of comprehension, alone, will not prevent their return. Our dams will.

Every dam we remove increases the chances that our native anadromous fish—and all the other creatures (birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles) that feed upon them—will thrive. For this reason, I long ago joined the Connecticut River Watershed Council, which has a laudable record of success in removing the obstructions that block fish passage.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Feb 16th-20th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 12 community-based educational opportunities 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.


Sponsor Learning Ahead


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HFVS with Guest DJ, Danny Weinkauf (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Guest DJ, Danny Weinkauf

Danny brings a life long friend and occasional writing partner Francis X. Busso as a guest. Themes are friendship, songs that we remember from childhood and songwriting ideas. — www.dannyweinkauf.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
January 31st & February 1st, 2015
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

“Champion of the Spelling Bee” from Danny Weinkauf’s album No School Today. Video by Vanessa Appleby.


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

1. Johnny Cash – “I Walk the line” (With his Hot and Blue Guitar)
2. Danny Weinkauf – “Botony” (Unreleased song)
3. Randy Newman – “You’ve got a Friend in me” (Toy Story)
4. Sammy Davis Jr. – “The Candy man” (The Definitive Collection)
5. Cat Stevens – “If you want to sing out” (Gold)
6. Danny Weinkauf – “Only One You” (Unreleased song)
7. David Bowie – “Op.67 the bird” (David Bowie narrates Peter and the Wolf)
8. They Might Be Giants – “Music Jail part 1&2″ (Dial a song 2015)
9. Danny Weinkauf – “It’s Your Birthday” (Single)
10. The Pop Ups – “All these Shapes” (Appetite for Construction)
11. Danny Weinkauf – “Together We Can Fly” (No School Today)
12. Danny Weinkauf – “Ambivalent” (No School Today)
13. The Beatles “With a Little help from my friends” (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 21st & 22nd, 2015

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 February 21st-27th, 2015 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, Learn Local. Play Local. for 33 Community Highlights: Sledding to Fireworks. Food Swap to Seed Saving., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

February 21st-27th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

TrackingHistoryLocal FoodMusic StudiesSTEMWinter FunPerformancesDance StudiesSustainabilityCultural StudiesPreschool HighlightsParent Workshops

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Let Them Grow: 10 Easy Chores for a Two Year Old
  2. Engage in Your Community as a Citizen Scientists During the Great Backyard Bird Count
  3. Email for Kids
  4. Parenting Green: Six Steps Towards Reducing Your Family’s Waste
  5. 18 Recommended Winter Resources & Activities for Families with Special Needs in Western MA

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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33 Community Highlights: Sledding to Fireworks. Food Swap to Seed Saving.

Have some winter fun at the Clark Art museum on Sunday, February 22, 12noon-4pm! Bring a sled or cross-country skis, or borrow snowshoes from the museum, and have a blast exploring the campus and all its beauty. There will be fun family-friendly activities, like capture the flag and touch football, led by the Williams College men’s lacrosse team. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA.

Sledding to Fireworks. Vintage Photographs to Antique Threads. Food Swap to Seed Saving… 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 community highlight this week: Families can have some winter fun at Red Gate Farm‘s annual Fire and Ice event on Saturday, February 21, 5pm-8pm! There will be a winter bonfire, grilled food, sledding, hot cocoa, marshmallows, and more. Bring or borrow a sled and slide down the farm’s big or small hills. This fun winter event is great for all ages! 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Buckland, MA. ($)


TrackingHistoryLocal FoodMusic StudiesSTEMWinter FunPerformancesDance StudiesSustainabilityCultural StudiesPreschool HighlightsParent Workshops


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Suggested Events for February 21st-27th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“The connections we’ve made with other families through Hilltown Families over the years keeps us going over these winter months! There is always somebody out there to join us sledding at the golf course, skating on the lake, or cross-country skiing in the yard! Thanks for helping us build community in what could be a very isolating geographical area one email at a time!” – Kara Kitchen of Plainfield, 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

Feb 14-28

Share the Love this Valentine’s Day! Oak Meadow is offering 10% off enrollment and 15% off materials in their Bookstore from February 14 to 28. Their student-centered, nature-based homeschooling curriculum for students in K-12 allows families to set their own natural rhythm of learning and encourages creativity, critical thinking, and intellectual development through hands-on activities and interdisciplinary projects. Use their curriculum independently or enroll in their fully accredited distance learning school.

Feb 28

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “February Fiesta!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Grammy-Nominated Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. Come dance, decorate a maraca, and eat pizza with your friends! Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 28th from 10:30am-12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Accepting applications for fall 2015. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 220 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, our upcoming Kindergarten Screenings, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org

Mar 14 & Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Mar 21

March Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21 from 9-11:30am.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21st, 9-11:30am. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.org

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, 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 advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

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
February 21st-27th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

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Building A Sharing Creative Community through Artist Trading Cards

Artist Trading Cards Promote the Spirit of Community

Does your family love to make and share art? Join ATCs for All in order to be part of an online community of artists, the purpose of which is to inspire creativity, and to collect and share artwork! Families can learn about the many different forms that art can take, while experimenting with new materials and connecting with other creative folks!

Following in the wake of Hilltown Families’ Annual Handmade Valentine Swap, the creative, collaborative, and community-building possibilities offered by ATCs for All share a common thread with Hilltown Families’ annual swap – the purpose of the organization is to make and share art with willing, eager, and inspired participants everywhere! ATCs for All (the ATCs being short for Artist Trading Cards) is a community-run group that utilizes a website in order to facilitate art sharing of all kinds!

Originally started in order to give creative folks a venue through which to share hand-crafted trading cards and mail art, ATCs for All now encompasses a wide variety of art forms, including (but not limited to!) stamping, painting, collage, fabric art, book-art, and altered art. While making and trading artist trading cards is still an important part of what ATCs for All offers, it’s not the only way to participate in art sharing!  Read the rest of this entry »

Holyoke Codes Empowers Youth with Free Workshops

Let’s Play: Building the Free Play Common Core

What to Play? by Carrie St. John

Play: Every Child’s Common Core

Play encourages creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, social skills…and so much more. Then there is the common core which promotes college preparation. “Free Play” Vs. “Common Core”…both in 2 corners ready to duke it out for the future of child development? Not necessarily! Create a Free Play Common Core to support creative-free play at home!

Free Play and Common Core are not two phrases usually seen together. The basic shared goal, in its simplistic form, of the Common Core State Standards is to give students knowledge and skills so they can be prepared to succeed in college, career and life. As a kid, play is a vital part of learning from the first peek-a-boo with a much loved adult to fort building with sofa cushions to running with the neighborhood kids making up games while socializing. Play encourages imagination, social interaction and play can teach self entertainment and more. All important skills to have for success on whatever path you choose. Play is your shared common core as a kid. Read the rest of this entry »

Springfield Armory: A National Historic Site

Kids Can Learn About Local History and Become Junior Rangers at this Community-Based Resource

Tying local history with important national and international events, the Springfield Armory provides visitors with a glimpse into the history of military arms manufacturing and the history of the industrial revolution. In addition to opportunities to learn about history from exhibits, families can learn to be Junior Rangers or participate in special hands-on programs held during school vacation week!

Opened as an arsenal to support George’s Washington’s troops during the Revolutionary War, the Springfield Armory served as a major arms manufacturing center for over two centuries. Closed since 1968 – but designated as a National Historic Site – the armory provides families with opportunities to explore the intersection of local and national history. Weaving together the stories of major industrial innovations and the workers themselves with national and international military history, the armory’s exhibits and educational programs provide context for some of American history’s major events.

As part of the National Parks system’s Junior Ranger program, the Springfield Armory offers young visitors the opportunity to become Junior Rangers – a rank that requires visitors to first learn about the site’s history and relevance! Aspiring rangers ages 6+ can explore the museum’s exhibits guided by a special Junior Ranger packet that will lead them to make specific discoveries. As part of their self-guided training, Junior Rangers will learn about Civil War rifles manufactured in Springfield, the local inventors and inventions that helped drive the Industrial Revolution, and a special kind of counter-intuitive gun that saves lives!  Read the rest of this entry »

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