Suggested Events for April 29th-May 5th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more events, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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! Click HERE to find out more.

Summer Camp Directory

Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your summer camp or program to our directory HERE.

Our summer camp guide is up! Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans!

Health & Wellness Directory

In an effort to connect families with health and wellness resources in the region, weʼre offering service providers, resources, and institutions a chance to partner with Hilltown Families in their marketing with a brand new online resource: Western MA Health & Wellness Directory.

We’ve all been there… deep in discussion about our health and wellness with friends and family, around the dining room table and cocktail parties, at a playgroup and on the playground. How often have you found yourself looking for a recommendation or local service that could support the health and wellness of your family? This spring we are pulling together a comprehensive list of services and practitioners that can support the health and wellness of you and your family. If you would like to be included in this list, find our more info here and reach out to our amazing Sales & Marketing Manager, Merricka Breuer. (Online publish date: Spring 2017)

Bulletin Board

May 7

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, Peppa’s theatre tour will visit Springfield’s Symphony Hall on Sunday, May 7, at 2pm. In Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, the nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it quickly. They set up a fair to raise money so Mr. Bull can do the repairs. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, Danny Dog, Pedro Pony and Suzy Sheep organize an exciting day out complete with a Champion Puddle Jumping Competition judged by Mr. Potato, where everyone gets wet! An interactive experience full of singing, dancing, games, and muddy puddles, it’s a blast for the whole family. The fun-filled show gives families the opportunity to engage in an unforgettable first live theater experience. $29 and up. http://bit.ly/PeppaPigSpringfield.

May 13

Bring the whole family to Vermont: Brattleboro Memorial Hospital hosts their annual Touch a Truck event on Saturday May 13 from 9am-1pm. Over 50 big rigs will converge on the BMH parking lot. Spend the day in the driver’s seat playing with all the buttons and levers, trying on firefighters’ bunker gear, moving mulch in a mini tractor, and so much more. Want to win free tickets? Download the coloring page and send a masterpiece to be entered into a drawing for free tickets. All entrants’ artwork will be displayed at the event. Contest is open to ages 12 and under. Download it here. Admission: $5 per child (2-12), $15 for families with 3+ children, under 2 and over 13, by donation. All proceeds benefit BMH.

Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one!

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, 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 Sales & Marketing Manger, Merricka Breuer at mbreuer@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 Program Manager, Courtney Supple at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
APRIL 29th – MAY 5th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Local Pottery Resources Provide History Education

Local Pottery Resources Provide History Education

A part of cultures around the world for thousands of years, pottery is fascinating – both as a functional art form and as an entry point for studying history. Utilizing local resources, children’s literature, and online tools, families can explore art, history, culture, and science through pottery-centric studies!

Pottery has been a part of human civilizations around the world ever since the Neolithic era – which was over 10,000 years ago! Much more than just a means of making dishes, pottery serves as a creative outlet for many artists, and the slow development of the art and technology surrounding pottery speaks volumes to the changes that human civilization has undergone, both long ago and more recently. Additionally, while pottery can be found in countless cultures all around the world, techniques, styles, and uses vary between cultures, and close study of various pieces of pottery can speak to the similarities and differences between cultures near and far. Read the rest of this entry…

Citizen Science: Help Out with Spotting Birds

Help Out with Spotting Birds

Springtime brings many migratory bird species back to western Massachusetts and, as these feathered friends return, opportunities for citizen science centered around species preservation arise! Help Mass Audubon to monitor some species whose populations are in decline, and learn about three fascinating bird species in the process.

Springtime is filled with sightings of all kinds of exciting natural wonders, and the season’s outdoor appeal makes it a perfect time of year not only for enjoying our natural surroundings, but for learning about conservation and species preservation, too! In particular, springtime ’tis the season for exciting bird sightings, as well as the discovery of new nests and treasure troves of beautiful and tiny eggs. As western Massachusetts becomes filled with northward-moving migratory feathered friends, families can learn to identify these warm weather visitors and, using resources offered by Mass Audubon, learn about and perhaps participate in efforts to support declining populations of a few key species.

Species to keep an eye out for this season include orioles, Eastern whip-poor-wills, and American kestrels. While all three of these birds can be found locally, their populations are in decline and preservation of each species depends on close monitoring by both ornithologists and citizen scientists. Read the rest of this entry…

Learning Ahead: Season of Sheep Shearing

The Fiber Arts & Local Farming:
Sheep Shearing & Knitting

In the 19th century, Western Massachusetts saw a huge merino sheep boom when many farms purchased Australian sheep for their incredibly soft fleece to produce wool for textiles.  The Hilltowns’ landscape provided ideal pasture for livestock grazing.

Although this craze for merino wool did not last long, and some of the farms no longer exist, there is still a rich and long tradition of fiber farms in Western Massachusetts that continue to produce fiber and yarn for hand knitters and textile artists.

The benefit of purchasing local yarn is that you are more involved in and aware of the entire process of producing your wool.  Unlike commercially produced yarn, which is often processed and shipped from overseas, local yarn speaks to the land and farmers that cared for the sheep and cultivated the land.  Often, the wool is processed locally and requires many hands to create it: from the farmer that cares for the animals to the sheep shearer, spinners and hand-dyers, locally grown yarn offer the hand knitter a deeper connection to our community’s agricultural roots.  It also supports the local economy and helps foster collaboration and sustainable consumption. Read the rest of this entry »

Fiber Festivals Begin with Shearing Season

Books for Young Bards

Books for Young Bards

April is National Poetry Month! Time to indulge in poetic forms of all kinds and kids’ books serve up odes of opportunities. Picture books are notorious for revealing in rhyme and rhythm, but novels can deliver a powerful poetic punch too, and ought to be a part of any reader’s well-stocked library bag. Highly accessible, novels in verse have an intimate and immediate feel to them, and often make good read-aloud books, even as they are perfect for savoring in quiet. Has your family had a healthy serving of poetry today? Try one of these middle-grade grade novels and satisfy their cravings for couplets. Read the rest of this entry…

If ever there were a month for spontaneous outbursts of snowdrop-covered verse and dandelion rhymes – it’s now. After a long, grueling winter, to see the ice recede and flowers push up and bloom, to hear birdsong in the morning and to leave heavy coats behind, is poetic glee. Spring itself is living poetry. What a glorious time to share some couplets with a couple of kids, so here are six new books for young bards.  Read the rest of this entry…

Here is a new book filled with humorous rhymes and fantastically bizarre cars. Poem-mobiles: Crazy Car Poems is the work of the 2011-2013 US Children’s Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis, and award-winning children’s poet, Douglas Florian. Together, they have created a collection of futuristic automobiles, from the Giant Bookmobile of Tomorrow and the Caterpillar Cab to the Eel-ectric Car and The Sloppy-Floppy-Nonstop-Jalopy, which will have readers wheeling with delight.  Read the rest of this entry…

Weekdays in Western MA: April 24-28, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
April 24-28, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers, and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

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HFVS Weather Episode with Guest DJ, Alison Faith Levy (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

WEATHER EPISODE
GUEST DJ, ALISON FAITH LEVY

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
April 22nd & 23rd, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: “World of Wonder,” the title track from Alison Faith Levy’s debut album for children World of Wondera paean to the natural world and all its mystery. Animated by filmmaker Danny Plotnick.


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Electric Light Orchestra – “Mr. Blue Sky” – [Out of the Blue]
  • Grateful Dead – “Box of Rain” [American Beauty]
  • Allen Clapp – “Scattered Showers” [One Hundred Percent Chance of Rain]
  • Alison Faith Levy – “I Love the Rain” [World of Wonder]
  • The Velvet Underground – “Who Loves the Sun” [Loaded]
  • The Hollies – “Everything is Sunshine” [The Hollies: Epic Anthology]
  • XTC – “Ballet for a Rainy Day” [Skylarking]
  • Jimi Hendrix – “The Wind Cries Mary” [The Ultimate Experience]
  • Beach Boys – “Wind Chimes” [Smile Sessions]
  • Allen Clapp & His Orchestra – “If the Wind is Right” [Mixed Greens]
  • The Three O’Clock – “When Lightning Starts” [Sixteen Tambourines]
  • Led Zeppelin – “The Rain Song” [Houses of the Holy]
  • Neko Case – “This Tornado Loves You” [Middle Cyclone]
  • Alison Faith Levy – “Eye of the Tornado” [World of Wonder]
  • Etta James – “Stormy Weather” [At Last]
  • The Beatles – “Good Day Sunshine” [Revolver]
  • The Beatles – “Here Comes the Sun” [Abbey Road]
  • The Beatles – “Sun King” [Abbey Road]
  • Autumn Leaves – “Stars in the Snow” [The Twilight Hours of the Autumn Leaves]
  • The Sippy Cups – “Drinking from the Sky” [Electric Storyland]
  • The Jayhawks – “Save It For a Rainy Day” [Rainy Day Music]
  • The Kinks – “Waterloo Sunset” [Something Else by The Kinks]

Original broadcast: May 12, 2012.

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for April 22nd & 23rd, 2017

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for April 22nd-28th, 2017 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also, check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 36 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Earth Day to Spring Pollinators. Sustainability to Placemaking. STEM to Ecology., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our Summer Camp and Preschool directories.

April 22nd-28th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Earth Day to Food Security. Pollinator Gardens to Indonesian Music. Dilbert to Screen Time. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Here are more interests and values to choose from:
PhilosophyChild DevelopmentHorticultureHistory Service-Based LearningGuided HikesOrnithologyCollaborative ConsumptionAgricultureActivismEcologyEntomologyMusic StudiesCultural StudiesIchthyologyPlacemakingSTEMHomeschool

   

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Visible Mending Blends Fiber Arts with Sustainability
  2. Parenting Green: 6 Reasons to Bike Ride with Your Family
  3. HFVS Bicycle Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  4. Valley Bike Paths

RECAP MAP SPONSOR


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36 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Earth Day to Spring Pollinators. Sustainability to Placemaking. STEM to Ecology.

Difficult problems sometimes lead to creative, inspiring solutions. Nat Turner is using his passion, vision, and innovations to help restore New Orleans Lower 9th Ward post-Hurricane Katrina, transforming Blair Grocery, an abandoned grocery store, into a youth farm-based education center. You can learn about Nat Turner and others working for food security by attending a screening of the 2015 documentary Reversing the Mississippi on Saturday, April 22, 5pm-8pm. This screening at North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens will also include servings of jambalaya (regular and vegetarian). Discuss the film with others interested in working towards greater food security. Meet North Star self-directed teens who recently visited New Orleans and work with Mr. Turner at his school, Our School at Blair Grocery. 413-582-0193. 45 Amherst Road. Sunderland, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Earth Day to Food Security. Pollinator Gardens to Indonesian Music. Dilbert to Screen Time. These are just a few of the community-based 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:

Young people are often very passionate about political issues and personal interests. Teaching your children about sustainability can spark change on a community level. Families are invited to learn and get involved by attending the Amherst Sustainability Festival on Saturday, April 22, 10am-4pm. There will be stage performances all day. Learn about climate change by talking to advocacy groups and visiting vendors of renewable energy products and sustainable crafts! Visit the Town of Amherst website for a full list of performances, demonstrations, and recycling collections. Town Common. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


PhilosophyChild DevelopmentHorticultureHistory Service-Based LearningGuided HikesOrnithologyCollaborative ConsumptionAgricultureActivismEcologyEntomologyMusic StudiesCultural StudiesIchthyologyPlacemakingSTEMHomeschool


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Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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Suggested Events for April 22nd-28th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more events, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

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! Click HERE to find out more.

Summer Camp Directory

Our summer camp guide is up! Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Health & Wellness Directory

We’ve all been there… deep in discussion about our health and wellness with friends and family, around the dining room table and cocktail parties, at a playgroup and on the playground. How often have you found yourself looking for a recommendation or local service that could support the health and wellness of your family? This spring we are pulling together a comprehensive list of services and practitioners that can support the health and wellness of you and your family. If you would like to nominate a local Health & Wellness business or service provider, or would like to be included in this list yourself, reach out to our amazing Sales & Marketing Manager, Merricka Breuer. (Online publish date: Spring 2017)

Bulletin Board

Apr 8-30

Bring the whole family to downtown Amherst and celebrate Daffodil Days! Town bursts with daffodils and fun. Sunday, April 23, come to The Games on the Common where community joins college athletes to play bocce, badminton, and croquet. A festival honors international students on April 8 on the common. On April 22, The Dessert Crawl benefit for non-profit Reader to Reader offers a chance to try 10 desserts for $10. The Sustainability Festival on the Common has music, demonstrations, and presentations on sustainable strategies. Amherst ChalkWalk on April 29 offers the chance to decorate the sidewalks to win special gift prizes. The annual Daffodil Run on April 30 has special awards for silly costumes and a cookout follows at Kendrick Park.

Apr 24

Monday, April 24, 2017, 10am-3pm: Soar into spring with Homeschool Day at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Open exclusively for homeschoolers and their families, and featured activities include: hands-on build & fly challenge activities, interactive flight science demonstrations, open cockpit experiences in historic aircraft, aircraft quests, fight simulators, and more! Virtual Flight Center access available for additional $5 per person. Tickets available for purchase on the day of your visit on a first come, first served basis. Preregistration required. Children ages 3 and under admitted free. www.neam.org for an online registration form. Please contact us at 860-623-3305 x313 for questions.

May 7

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, Peppa’s theatre tour will visit Springfield’s Symphony Hall on Sunday, May 7, at 2pm. In Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, the nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it quickly. They set up a fair to raise money so Mr. Bull can do the repairs. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, Danny Dog, Pedro Pony and Suzy Sheep organize an exciting day out complete with a Champion Puddle Jumping Competition judged by Mr. Potato, where everyone gets wet! An interactive experience full of singing, dancing, games, and muddy puddles, it’s a blast for the whole family. The fun-filled show gives families the opportunity to engage in an unforgettable first live theater experience. $29 and up. http://bit.ly/PeppaPigSpringfield.

Thurs & Fri

Wheel throwing classes at CyclePottery in Florence start next week for Kids, Teens & Adults. Teens & Adults, Join master potter Andrew Quient on Thursdays 6-8:30pm or Kathryn on Fridays 11am-1:30pm. Beginners welcome! Spots left in all three kids classes too! Also, check out openings in the summer camps! See www.cyclepottery.net/classes for more information or contact Kathryn: 413-219-9594, kathryn@cyclepottery.com.

Jun 26-Aug 11

Join Journey Camp at Woolman Hill, Deerfield and at Open View Farm, Conway this summer! The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music, and crafts. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Farm Week Session for All ages 7-12, June 26-30,8:45-4pm, Conway; Session One for All ages 7-12, July 3-7, 8:45-4, Deerfield; Moonseed Teen Leadership Camp for ages 12-18, July 17-20, two overnights & campfires, Deerfield; Girls Weeks, ages 7-12, July 31-Aug 4 & Aug 7-11, 8:45-4, Deerfield. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399; marsha.journey@gmail.com.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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, 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 Sales & Marketing Manger, Merricka Breuer at mbreuer@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 Program Manager, Courtney Supple at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 22nd-28th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Earth Day

Earth Day & Ecopoetry

Each year, Earth Day takes place on April 22nd. Known as the birth of the modern environmental movement, Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 and continues as a way to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Western Massachusetts is host to many secular celebrations and festivals that honor the commitment to sustainable and resilient living, giving the community many ways to come together to engage on Earth Day through service-based learning opportunities, eco-workshops, and local gatherings. Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for upcoming events that support sustainable living and connection to place.

Ecopoetry

Since National Poetry Month and Earth Day share the same season and month, it seems appropriate to feature Ecopoetry, a movement of poetry with a strong environmental ethic that acknowledges the relationship between humans and nature.  Poetry has the power to reveal insight and to spark curiosity and inquiry.  Ecopoetry is a way to reflect on our relationship with the Earth during Earth Day and develop a heightened awareness of how we directly interact with nature in our local Western Massachusetts communities.   Read the rest of this entry »

6 Community Resources & Annual Events for Sustainable Living

Community Resources and Annual Events for Sustainable Living

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)
CISA is a  Western Massachusetts organization that “strengthens farms and engages the community in building the local food economy.”  CISA connects community members with the farms and farmers that produce food in our region to help ensure food security and fortify the relationship between the land and our dinner tables. CISA offers many workshops and community events to provide folks with the opportunity to learn more about sustainable agriculture such as winter vegetable cultivation, homestead woodlot management, farm financing, making the most out of pasture and hayfields, maple sugaring at home and many other subjects throughout the year!  CISA’s website also connects you to nearby farms where you can source your food as well as find resources and recipes.  Consider volunteering with CISA in celebration of Earth Day and sustainable agriculture!

Local Ecological Art
Local Williamsburg artist Todd Lynch creates ecological art installations throughout Western Massachusetts communities at different natural sites to help foster a dialogue between people and the landscape.  One of his installations, the Flotsam Weirs Installation, utilized woven fences made of material found on-site to create an environmental sculpture that helped people learn about hydrology and ecology as well as how structures in the natural world decay throughout time.  The piece is a way to witness the process of nature and to understand the beauty of its ecology through an artistic lens.It is located in Williamsburg, MA.  Pictures are found at www.ecotropy.net.

Pedal People
Local business Pedal People practice sustainability every day when it comes to trash and compost pickup!  Serving the Northampton area, this group of cyclists utilize bikes to tote away trash and compost from Northampton homes instead of driving fuel-reliant cars and trucks! http://www.pedalpeople.coop

Seed Swaps
Seed swaps are a chance for community members to meet one another, gather together and share gardening tips, ideas, and, more importantly, seeds!  Many local libraries in the Hilltowns and Pioneer Valley host seed swaps in early spring to encourage togetherness, sharing and collaborative consumption by providing the space for people to get together and share the food and plants they grow.  Check out these local libraries for nearby seed swamps. Read more about the embedded learning found in seed saving in our post, Seed Capital Provides Return for Nature-Based Education.

Amherst Sustainability Festival
Every year, the town of Amherst celebrates Earth Day with an annual Sustainability Festival. Usually, during the week of Earth Day, this festival includes performances on the town common, workshops to learn more about how to live more sustainably at home, family entertainment, and local farm animals from the 4-H club!

Earth Day at UMass
The University of Massachusetts celebrates with an Earth Day Festival every year with student groups that host booths, a farmers’ market featuring student grown produce, live music, and art activities.  Each year is different, so best to check the UMass website to see what is on the schedule for this year’s Earth Day Festival at UMass.

Nature Table for April: Buds & Blooms

Nature Table for April

Every month, Hilltown Families features a new nature table whose contents inspire learning along a common theme easily spotted in our surroundings that month. A tradition carried out by teachers, environmental educators, and nature-curious families, nature tables bring a little bit of the outdoors inside for inspection, dissection, identification, creative play, art projects, and lots of other educational activities. The idea behind a nature table is to help open up children’s eyes to the unique attributes of each season, and to help them learn how to see these things in nature for themselves. A nature table can include a variety of items, and is often accompanied by a set of books and/or field guides so that children can take part in further learning at their own will.

The long, patient wait for the weather that we qualify as spring usually takes longer than expected. Mother nature teased us with warm, melty weather more than once this year before spring truly came, and though the seasons changed with the vernal equinox weeks ago, springtime’s leaves, flowers, and creatures have yet to grace us with their presence. Mud season reigns – rivers are running high, driveways are rutted, and boots are still a necessity.

This month’s nature table honors the impatient naturalist: those who need a taste of spring before the earth is ready in order to truly believe that there is an end in sight. April’s collection is made up of branches cut from trees and shrubs for the purpose of forcing buds. Quite common in New England, where spring really takes its time waking up, the practice of forcing buds is both scientifically fascinating and morale boosting. Naturalists can study the process of leaf out and bloom that various trees and bushes go through, and those who cannot await spring with patience can enjoy an indoor dose of spring a few weeks ahead of schedule.  Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Dirt Play

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Dirt is Some Thing

Spring has arrived here in Western MA, which means we can now move our creative play outdoors! Toddlers can make the best of anything… especially dirt! Children love playing with dirt. It is soft and malleable; cool and versatile. Children can make anything with dirt! Just recently I was served a dirt grill cheese and a side of fries. As the adults, we have to be willing to provide the dirt and the place to play. We have to be willing to see the benefits behind the mess.  Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: April 17-21, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
April 17-21, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

Save

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Save

HFVS Earth Day Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Earth Day Episode
with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn

This special Earth Day Episode by Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband highlights songs and concepts that explore compassion, kindness, and our interconnectedness with Earth and all beings. The episode underscores the reminder that our love and intention are powerful forces that can inspire all of us to act in ways that protect and take care of the Earth. In addition to music along these lines, the show also includes a story (theme: interbeing) and a guided meditation (theme: non-harming). Because every day should be Earth Day! — www.jamjamjam.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
April 15th & 16th, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video:  EARTH DAY by Charity and the JAMband


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • The Beatles – “Mother Nature’s Son” [The White Album]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Earth Day” [EARTH]
  • Joe Reilly – “I Love Nature” [Children of the Earth]
  • The Banana Slug String Band – “Sun, Soil, Water and Air” [Singing in Our Garden]
  • Melita – “Turn the World Around” [Light Within]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “I Am the Earth and the Earth Is Me” [EARTH]
  • STORY: “The Sun in My Belly” by Sister Susan, illustrated by Sister Rain, inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Charity and the JAMband – “We Speak for the Earth” [EARTH]
  • The Alphabet Rockers – “Change the World” [Playground Zone]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Meditation for Non-Harming” [Sit Breathe Love: Guided Meditations for Children and the Grown-Ups Who Love Them
  • Neil Young – “A New Day for Love” [The Monsanto Years]

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for April 15th & 16th, 2017

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!

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for April 15th-21st, 2017 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also, check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 18 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Reality to Electricity. Rivers to Flutes., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our Summer Camp and Preschool directories.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 15th-21st, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

PhilosophyAstronomyPhysicsEcologyArt StudiesService-Based LearningOrnithologyRiversMusic StudiesHistorySustainability

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. In Appreciation: Mindfulness in Action
  2. Learning Through the Lens of Shakespeare and His World
  3. Learning Landscapes: Adapting to Change Through Collective Creativity
  4. HFVS Book & Story Songs Episode with Guest DJ, Nina Stone (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Building Community One Poem at a Time!

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18 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Reality to Electricity. Rivers to Flutes.

https://hilltownfamilies.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/cbe-highlights-46/#6

Reality to Electricity. Eclipse to Pastels. Rivers to Flutes. These are just a few of the community-based 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:  The annual Earth Day Festival at UMass Amherst next  Friday, April 21, 8am-4pm, will feature over 30 student, faculty, staff, and community groups, showcasing the work they do to increase sustainability and fight climate change on a community level and beyond. The festival will also include a farmer’s market, performance art, music, tie dye and more! The Earth Day celebration takes place in conjunction with UMass Amherst’s 1st Annual Green Commute Day, encouraging people to bike, walk, carpool or take public transit for the day. Come get inspired about the small changes you can make in your life to have a positive impact. Student Union North Lawn. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


PhilosophyAstronomyPhysicsEcologyArt StudiesService-Based LearningOrnithologyRiversMusic StudiesHistorySustainability


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Suggested Events for April 15th-21st, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families helps us to cast a wider net when we are looking for activities during school vacation or on the weekends. Often we find sweet little buried gems that would otherwise have escaped our notice… Thanks for being here.” – Sarah R. (Greenfield, 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! Click HERE to find out more.

Summer Camp Directory

Our summer camp guide is up! Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Apr 8-30

Bring the whole family to downtown Amherst and celebrate Daffodil Days! Town bursts with daffodils and fun. Sunday April 9 & 23 come to The Games on the Common where community joins college athletes to play bocce, badminton and croquet. A festival honors international students on April 8 on the common. On April 22, The Dessert Crawl benefit for non-profit Reader to Reader offers a chance to try 10 desserts for $10. The Sustainability Festival on the Common has music, demonstrations, and presentations on sustainable strategies. Amherst ChalkWalk on April 29 offers the chance to decorate the sidewalks to win special gift prizes. The annual Daffodil Run on April 30 has special awards for silly costumes and a cookout follows at Kendrick Park.

Apr 14

Montessori Comes to Forbes Library: On Friday, April 14, at 11am, bring your child to a visit with Montessori School of Northampton educator Laura Frogameni. The hour will include time to explore Montessori materials, circle time and a story. The Forbes Library is located at 20 West Street in Northampton. Free; all families of children 0-6 are invited to attend. For more information, call Laura at 413-586-4538 x103 or visit www.northamptonmontessori.org.

Apr 14-15

Huge used music, DVD and children’s book sale at Roundabout Books in Greenfield, April 14 & 15. $1 sale: Saturday 10am-5pm. $2 pre-sale day: Friday, April 14, 12-7pm. Roundabout Books, member ABA and SNEAB, presents our huge Spring CD, DVD, and book sale. Of special interest to Hilltown Families will be Roundabout’s large collection of children’s picture and chapter books. All inventory is used, in excellent condition, with a focus on classic children’s books and series books. Roundabout is a large, open, child-friendly space. Delight in shopping for all ages, as well. $1 DVDs and DVD sets; $1 CDs and CD sets; $1 All children’s books (over 1000 to choose from); $1 All Sci-Fi and Fantasy; $1 audiobooks; 20% off all other books. www.roundaboutbookstore.com.

Apr 16

The Blue Heron Restaurant will celebrate the arrival of spring with their annual farm-to-table Easter brunch buffet on Sunday, April 16, 2017. Seatings are available every half hour from 11am to 4pm. An abundant hors d’oeuvres station, a breakfast buffet, a carving station, and vegetarian and vegan guests will find many options (additional items can be modified to be vegan upon request). Most of the menu items are naturally gluten free. The buffet is $48 per adult and $20 per child ages 4-10; children under four eat free. The full menu is available at www.blueherondining.com/special-events. Reservations are required and by calling 413-665-2102 or info@blueherondining.com. The Blue Heron is located at 112 North Main Street in Sunderland.

Apr 17-21

Celebrate the arrival of spring with two weeks of school vacation week programming at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Explore three giant exhibit hangars filled with over sixty historic aircraft and experience the wonders of flight through daily hands-on activities including: Hands-on Build & Fly Challenges, interactive Flight Science Demonstrations, open cockpit experiences in historic aircraft, computerized Flight Simulators. Monday, April 17, Delta Dart Model Building Workshop 10am-2pm. April 18, Constellation Viewer Make & Take Workshop, 10am-2pm. April 19, Pinwheel Props Make & Take Workshop, 10am-2pm. April 20, Rocket Balloons, 10am-2pm. Friday, April 21, LEGO Flying Machine Contests, 10am-2pm. www.neam.org.

Apr 21-24

Experience the awakening of spring in Conway, MA. Wilderness Survival Vacation Program at Earthwork Programs, 4/21-4/24, 9am-3pm. Ages 7+. While spending lots of time outdoors, the group will notice new growth all around while learning about edible and medicinal plants. By practicing nature awareness, looking deeper becomes possible, and through tracking skills and the ability to be quiet in the forest, young wildlife may be seen. During April Vacation, children can wander and learn what to do if lost. They can even learn basic wilderness living skills, like shelter making, fire making, cordage, and knife safety. $276-$300 for 4 days (or 2-day minimum @$75/day). #OptOutside. 413-340-1161. earthworkprograms.com.

May 7

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, Peppa’s theatre tour will visit Springfield’s Symphony Hall on Sunday, May 7, at 2pm. In Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, the nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it quickly. They set up a fair to raise money so Mr. Bull can do the repairs. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, Danny Dog, Pedro Pony and Suzy Sheep organize an exciting day out complete with a Champion Puddle Jumping Competition judged by Mr. Potato, where everyone gets wet! An interactive experience full of singing, dancing, games, and muddy puddles, it’s a blast for the whole family. The fun-filled show gives families the opportunity to engage in an unforgettable first live theater experience. $29 and up. www.peppapigliveus.com.

Jun 26-Aug 11

Join Journey Camp at Woolman Hill, Deerfield and at Open View Farm, Conway this summer! The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music, and crafts. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Farm Week Session for All ages 7-12, June 26-30,8:45-4pm, Conway; Session One for All ages 7-12, July 3-7, 8:45-4, Deerfield; Moonseed Teen Leadership Camp for ages 12-18, July 17-20, two overnights & campfires, Deerfield; Girls Weeks, ages 7-12, July 31-Aug 4 & Aug 7-11, 8:45-4, Deerfield. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399; marsha.journey@gmail.com.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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, 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 Sales & Marketing Manger, Merricka Breuer at mbreuer@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 Program Manager, Courtney Supple at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 15th-21st, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

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Studies of Birds and Insects Illuminate Interconnectedness in Nature

Studies of Birds and Insects Illuminate Interconnectedness in Nature

Though the relationships between the two are generally predator-prey, studying the ways in which birds and insects depend on each other can offer insight into the inner workings of the local landscape. By learning to identify insects and birds, families can explore the who-eats-who of their surroundings!

Read more in our post, Interconnections Between the Birds & the Bees.


[Photo credit: (cc) Chris Devers]

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Learning Ahead: Spring Traditions & Celebrations

Exploring Culture through Food, History & Art:
Easter & Passover

The reemergence of flora and fauna in the outdoor world gives cause for celebration as the months turn warmer and new life abounds. For many, it is a time of celebration linked to spring’s seasonality as reflected in the types of food prepared in holiday celebrations, including Easter and PassoverRead the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Ann M. Martin’s “Rain Reign”

Literary Guide for Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign

Download literary guide for Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign.

Appropriately titled with a homonym pair, Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign is told through the eyes of a young girl on the Autism spectrum whose two loves in life are homonyms and rules. Rose’s love of these things, unfortunately, often stands in the way of her ability to connect with those around her – including her father, a single parent with little patience for Rose’s needs. Through Rose’s narration, readers learn about the thoughts that drive her mind and the compulsions that fuel the behaviors that those around her cannot seem to understand.

Rose learns how to forge a deep connection when her father brings her home a dog, who she names Rain due to the very special triple homonym nature of the word (it matches both reign and rein). Rose cares for Rain herself, taking her responsibilities as a pet owner very seriously. But when a hurricane hits Rose’s home in upstate New York, Rain is lost in the storm. With homes destroyed, power lines downed, and roads (such as Rose’s) washed out, it’s nearly impossible for Rose to search for Rain. Showing incredible resilience and determination as a result of her intense love, Rose pushes herself to search long and hard for Rain – encountering new opportunities and challenges she couldn’t have imagined.  Read the rest of this entry »

Recommended Fiction Titles with Autistic Characters

Weekdays in Western MA: April 10-14, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
April 10 – 14, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Weekdays in Western MA!

HFVS Spring Forward with Guest DJ, Lucy Kalantari (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Spring Forward with Guest DJ, Lucy Kalantari

Celebrate spring with HFVS Guest DJ Lucy Kalantari. Butterflies, botany, banana splits, and rainbows, this playlist covers the many beautiful colors and facets of spring. Featuring Red Pants Band, KB Whirly, Dog on Fleas, Laura Doherty and much more! — www.LucyKalantari.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
April 8th & 9th, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: “Our Garden” – Lucy Kalantari


New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts Subscribe to Podcast
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Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

 

  • Karen K – “Spring Day” [Blue Bike Chronicles]
  • Grin Brigade – “It’s Spring” [Crazy With Happiness]
  • Key Wilde And Mr. Clarke – “Katy Caterpillar” [Animal Tales]
  • Laura Doherty – “Butterfly” [In a Heartbeat]
  • Dog on Fleas – “Grow Grow Grow” [Recipes]
  • 123 Andrés – “La Semilla” [Arriba Abajo]
  • Lucy Kalantari – “Our Garden” [Big Things]
  • Jon Samson – “Fruits or Vegetables” [A New Kids Album]
  • Danny Weinkauf – “Botany” [Red Pants Band]
  • Lucy Kalantari – “Close the Loop” [Big Things]
  • Frances England – “See What We Can See” [Explorer Of The World]
  • Tom Proutt and Emily Gary – “The Song of the Tiny Cat” [A Celebration of the Seasons: Goodnight Songs]
  • Lard Dog & the Band of Shy – “I Like” [Single]
  • Ella Fitzgerald – “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall” [Ella & Friends]
  • Louis Prima – “Banana Split For My Baby” [Capitol Collectors Series]
  • KB Whirly – “The Littlest Worm” [Camp Songs Vol.1]
  • Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – “Somewhere Over The Rainbow & What A Wonderful World” [Facing Future]
  • Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower featuring Simi Stone – “Changes” [Let All The Children Boogie: A Tribute to David Bowie]

 

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for April 8th & 9th, 2017

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for April 8th-14th, 2017 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also, check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 32 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Pompeii to Blackout Poetry. Kora to Pinwheels., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our Summer Camp and Preschool directories.

 

April 8th-14th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Teen HistoryVernal PoolsStringed InstrumentsAfrican MusicScientific ProcessPinwheelsPlacemakingAstronomyLiteracyWorld StudiesPhilosophyRomeCommunity ArtTeen ShowcaseHistoryEcologyService-Based LearningMusic StudiesParentingWorld LanguageFiber ArtsOrnithologyGuided HikePhysicsCosmologyPoetryFarming

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Building Community One Poem at a Time!
  2. Recommended Fiction Titles with Autistic Characters
  3. RiverCulture: Another Success Story in the Western MA Arts Scene
  4. Over 25 Walking Tours Support Community-Based Education in Western MA
  5. Poem-Mobiles: Bizarre Cars & Humorous Rhymes

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32 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Pompeii to Blackout Poetry. Kora to Pinwheels.

Community art projects encourage intergenerational learning, self-expression, and creative free play! The 3rd Annual Hilltown Draw-Around invites people of all ages to help create a giant mandala, or add self-portraits to the community gallery. On Saturday, April 8, 12pm-12am, come get inspired by other artistic community members, and participate in workshops! There will be storytelling and live music as well during this 12-hour event. Participants will have 4,000 square feet of drawing space to work with. All proceeds support ARTeens, a pay-what-you-can after-school program of the Shelburne Falls Art Garden. All activities will take place in the Cowell Community Gym. 413-625-2782. 51 Maple Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (FREE)

Teen History to Vernal Pools. Stringed Instruments to African Music. Scientific Process to Pinwheels. These are just a few of the community-based 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:  Art is inextricably tied to culture; therefore, historic art can teach us a great deal about historic cultures. The Smith College Museum of Art is offering a Free Community Day full of learning about Ancient Rome on Saturday, April 8, 11:30am-3:30pm. Visitors can explore the exhibition, Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii, enjoy a storytime, taste olive oil and explore a sensory recreation of a Roman Garden! Studying the city of Pompeii also ties into learning about geology and archaeology. At the event Smith College geoscientists will explain the science behind volcanic rocks and archaeology students will demonstrate what it’s like to excavate a site like Oplontis. All ages are welcome. Visit the Smith College Museum of Art website for more details. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


PlacemakingAstronomyLiteracyWorld StudiesPhilosophyRomeCommunity ArtTeen ShowcaseHistoryEcologyService-Based LearningMusic StudiesParentingWorld LanguageFiber ArtsOrnithologyGuided HikePhysicsCosmologyPoetryFarming


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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Suggested Events for April 8th-14th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I check in weekly with Hilltown Families to plan our weekend adventures… greatest places and activities on your site!” – Liz B. (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! Click HERE to find out more.

Summer Camp Directory

Our summer camp guide is up! Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Apr 8

Immerse yourself in the world of Ancient Rome, at the Smith College Museum of Art’s Free Community Day, inspired by the exhibition Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii, Saturday, April 8, from 11:30 am–3:30 pm. All ages welcome! The day’s events include: Story time with Forbes Library; fresco painting with Associate Director for Museum Services David Dempsey; a collaborative performance with Enchanted Circle Theater and the Springfield Conservatory of the Arts middle school; olive oil tasting by Ellie’s Oils; exploration of volcanic rocks with Smith College geoscientists, jewelry-making, and more! Also, visit the Great Garbanzo food truck outside the museum!

Apr 8-30

Bring the whole family to downtown Amherst and celebrate Daffodil Days! Town bursts with daffodils and fun. Sunday April 9 & 23 come to The Games on the Common where community joins college athletes to play bocce, badminton and croquet. A festival honors international students on April 8 on the common. On April 22, The Dessert Crawl benefit for non-profit Reader to Reader offers a chance to try 10 desserts for $10. The Sustainability Festival on the Common has music, demonstrations, and presentations on sustainable strategies. Amherst ChalkWalk on April 29 offers the chance to decorate the sidewalks to win special gift prizes. The annual Daffodil Run on April 30 has special awards for silly costumes and a cookout follows at Kendrick Park. www.amherstdowntown.com.

Apr 9

On April 9th, American Liberty Ballet presents “Sylvia ou la Nymphe de Diane,” an original 3 act ballet choreographed by Valerie Mae Browne. Since 1876 only 12 choreographers have ever tackled this difficult ballet: taking stage at the Academy of Music. Set to the romantic score of Léo Delibes, Sylvia is a classical ballet set in an Arcadian forest, where a shepherd boy falls in love with a huntress nymph loyal to the goddess Diana. When arrows and hearts go awry, deities intervene to save Sylvia, in this captivating mythological love story. Sylvia is played by Bolshoi trained ballerina Natasha Sheptalova. American Liberty Ballet is comprised of 15 highly skilled classically trained dancers from all over the world. For tickets: americanlibertyballet.com.

Open House: Apr 12 & 22

Oasis Camp offers specialty programs for children from 3 years old to 6th grade! With amazing facilities at Smith College, Oasis features mature staff with low camper/staff ratio and a warm environment where kids can participate in activities tailored to their interests! The Early Start camp for kids 3 years to Kindergarten offers sports, daily Red Cross swim, arts, dance, theater and a Ready for September enrichment program. The Traditional Camp (1st- 6th graders) is designed to provide campers with sports crafts, theater, dance and Red Cross Instructional and Recreational Swim to further develop skills and confidence. Contact: 800-317-1392, www.oasischildren.com. Open House: April 12 at 5:30pm & April 22 at 10:30am, at Smith College Seeley Hall Rm. 101.

Apr 14-15

Huge used music, DVD and children’s book sale at Roundabout Books in Greenfield, April 14 & 15. $1 sale: Saturday 10am-5pm. $2 pre-sale day: Friday, April 14, 12-7pm. Roundabout Books, member ABA and SNEAB, presents our huge Spring CD, DVD, and book sale. Of special interest to Hilltown Families will be Roundabout’s large collection of children’s picture and chapter books. All inventory is used, in excellent condition, with a focus on classic children’s books and series books. Roundabout is a large, open, child-friendly space. Delight in shopping for all ages, as well. $1 DVDs and DVD sets; $1 CDs and CD sets; $1 All children’s books (over 1000 to choose from); $1 All Sci-Fi and Fantasy; $1 audiobooks; 20% off all other books. www.roundaboutbookstore.com.

Apr 16

The Blue Heron Restaurant will celebrate the arrival of spring with their annual farm-to-table Easter brunch buffet on Sunday, April 16, 2017. Seatings are available every half hour from 11am to 4pm. An abundant hors d’oeuvres station, a breakfast buffet, a carving station, and vegetarian and vegan guests will find many options (additional items can be modified to be vegan upon request). Most of the menu items are naturally gluten free. The buffet is $48 per adult and $20 per child ages 4-10; children under four eat free. The full menu is available at www.blueherondining.com/special-events. Reservations are required and by calling 413-665-2102 or info@blueherondining.com. The Blue Heron is located at 112 North Main Street in Sunderland.

July 17-28

Hampshire College Summer Academic Programs is accepting applications for summer 2017. Students who will be high school juniors and seniors in fall 2017 are encouraged to apply and experience Hampshire College, located in Amherst, while still in high school. Get a sense of Hampshire’s innovative approach to learning and what life is like on Hampshire’s campus and in the classroom during the two-week precollege programs. This summer’s precollege program offerings are: Inside the Cell: Immersion into the Biology Laboratory, Meet the World of Metalworking, Young Feminist Collaborative, Citizens United. Apply by Friday, April 14, 2017 to receive a 10% tuition discount! Learn more and apply at precollege.hampshire.edu or email summer@hampshire.edu.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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, 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 Sales & Marketing Manger, Merricka Breuer at mbreuer@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 Program Manager, Courtney Supple at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 8th-14th, 2017

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Vision Boards: Creative Tool for Supporting Children with Accomplishing Goals

Vision Boards Can Support Youth with Goals

Vision boards – a tool for supporting children in keeping goals in mind – can serve as a powerful visual reminder of the importance of hard work and responsibility. When displayed in an important place at home, vision boards can help children to keep their goals in mind every day!

Almost all children hold firmly the belief that wishes really do come true, no matter what you ask for. Young folks often sincerely believe that shooting stars bring ponies and that wishing wells turn up time machines. Generally, though, children grow out of this belief at a certain point, as developmental shifts take place and their understanding of the world becomes more grounded in reality. However, believing in wishes doesn’t necessarily have to be something that children let go of entirely as they get older. While they must, of course, learn to stop expecting unicorns and superheroes, they can be supported in learning to wish for reasonable things and to work towards making that wish come true on their own.  Read the rest of this entry »

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