30 Community Highlights: Bald Eagles to Bats. Opulent Banquets to Trolley Lines. Teen Open Mic to Nurturing Your Baby… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play!
MARTIN LUTHER KING, Jr.
Celebrate and honor Martin Luther King, Jr. at the 29th annual MLK Community Breakfast on Saturday morning, January 19th. An Amherst tradition, the event includes performances from the Amherst Regional High School jazz band, the Hope Community Church Choir, and the Common School Chorus, and will feature main speaker Dr. John Higginson, UMass history professor. Along with breakfast, music, and celebration of civil rights and Dr. King’s life, the event will include the distribution of community awards.
Six more ways to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day take place on Monday, January 21st.
- Join community members in Northampton for the 29th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration
- Volunteer for MLK Day of Service with MassAudubon in Easthampton.
- Old Sturbridge Village is open with special programs celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Sturbridge
- The Community Music School of Springfield presents their annual musical celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the 4th Annual Interfaith Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Great Barrington
- Learn about the powerful images that Norman Rockwell created during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s during a guide tour of Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbrigde
Find out about all of the events in 6 Ways to Observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Western MA.
The Quabbin Reservoir, a man-made body of water, is home to numerous species and provides a vast amount of habitat to these creatures. Visit the reservoir on Saturday, January 19th to learn about the nearly 30 bald eagles that call the reservoir home! Mass Audubon hosts the event, which will include a visit to the visitor’s center in Belchertown to learn about the reservoir’s interesting history, a drive around the reservoir to visit lookout points and search for eagles, and a trek through the woods to search for other feathered wildlife.
Eagles are the only bird of prey being highlighted this week… families can also learn all about the many types of owls found in Western MA at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton on Saturday evening. Come see a puppet show of local author Jane Yolen’s picture book, Owl Moon! After the puppet show, take a walk in the sanctuary’s woods to listen for owl calls and search for signs of owls.
Long ago, animal tracking was essential to survival – now, it’s a way to learn what other creatures call the woods home, and to learn about the biodiversity of the area in which you live. Visit Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton on Saturday morning to learn about many different types of animal tracks and signs, and explore outside to find and identify some!
The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield is coming alive with creatures of the night – the museum’s newest exhibit is all about bats, Bats: Creatures of the Night. The exhibit opens on Saturday and there will be fun family activities all afternoon, including a scavenger hunt, echolocation experiments, and wing-making. The museum is also offering a lecture on bats later in the afternoon.
Two libraries are welcoming live animals to their stacks on Saturday to meet their youth patrons, and to be petted and read too! In the morning, kids can meet a real live llama at the Ramsdell Library in Housatonic, and in the afternoon, specially trained therapy dogs will be available as reading buddies at the Westfield Athenaeum. Both events are free.
Visit the Great Falls Discovery Center for a bear-themed Discovery Hour on Friday morning, January 25th in Turners Falls! Though the real bears are hibernating, there’s still lots to be learned about them during this free event.
Want to learn about the history of the Mount Greylock Ski Club? Join the the Williamstown Historical Society on Saturday morning, January 19th at the Milne Library in Williamstown. Club member Mary Merselis (who joined in 1965) will share nearly 75 years worth of local history, including the club’s role in building Greylock’s Thunderbolt Trail and in creating the National Ski Patrol.
Beginning Sunday afternoon, January 20th in Williamstown, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute will present a four-part lecture series, “A Feast for the Eyes: Food, Porcelain, Silver, and Luxury Fabrics.” Darra Goldstein, professor of Russian at Williams College, will present the first lecture in the series, “Artful Dining: The Orchestration of the Meal.” Goldstein will explore feasts, from the ribald gatherings of the European Middle Ages through the opulent banquets of the Renaissance and on to the excesses of America’s Gilded Age. Older students can get a unique view into European history.
In Springfield on Thursday, January 24th, the Mason Square Library hosts, “Circle in the Square,” an ongoing community discussion of local history and community memories. This free afternoon meeting will focus on researching local history, and special guest Ed Lonergan (librarian and neighborhood resident) will help attendees learn ways to find out history about their own homes that they may not have known! Great for students interested in researching their community – learning about local history can help students put national history into a local context that they can relate to.
In its heyday, Holyoke was a bustling hub of industry, drawing workers from all over New England, and even Canada and Europe. The Connecticut River powered the city’s many factories, and there was even a trolley line! On Thursday afternoon, January 24th at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, local author Bob McMaster will read from his new novel Trolley Days, a coming-of-age story about two young boys growing up in early 20th century Holyoke. Best for older students, this free reading puts an exciting, fictional spin on local history and can help students to learn more about the rise and fall of local industry and life in Holyoke past.
ASTRONOMY & ART STUDIES
On Saturday afternoon, January 19th learn all about Mars at Western Gateway Heritage State Park in North Adams, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of Mars Attacks.
Artist, educator and author of “Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America,” Phyllis Kornfeld, will present a slide talk on the art of inmates at the Stockbridge Library on Friday afternoon, January 25th. This presentation will be paired with a discussion of their work, common types of art produced, and its place amongst mainstream American artwork. Older students can attend the event to learn about prison culture, the universality of human artistic expression, outsider art in America, and other topics related to art, psychology, and criminal justice.
JUST FOR TEENS
The Belchertown Teen Center is holding an Open House at the center on Saturday morning, January 19th. The center is open Tuesdays-Wednesdays afternoon every week, and offers activities, sports, homework help, and a safe place to socialize in a semi-supervised environment.
Northfield Mountain is offering a free snowshoeing workshop for women ages 16+ on Saturday afternoon! Have a mother-daughter day of learning all about the winter sport, or teens can go with their BFF! Learn everything from the specifics of snowshoeing gear, the history of the sport, and the best types of trails for snowshoeing!
Teens, make yourself heard at the Barrington Stage Company’s first ever youth open mic on Saturday evening, in Pittsfield! The free event is open to youth ages 19 and younger who are interested in sharing performance of any kind. Each performer will get a 10-minute time slot to share music, poetry, performance art, and any other creative performance! The event will take place at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret, in the lower level of the Barrington Stage Company.
Teens can dance the night away in their most elegant attire at the Hartsbrook School’s annual Viennese Ball at the Northampton Center for the Arts on Saturday evening! The event is open to youth ages 12yo+ and parents/guardians, and includes dessert & dancing.
On Wednesday evening, January 23rd, teens can sing their hearts out with Berkshire Sings!, a community singing group at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center in Great Barrington. Singers of all abilities welcomed (adults, too) to sing pop, jazz, folk, showtunes, and more.
Teens can make a masterpiece out of food at the Forest Park Branch Library in Springfield on Thursday afternoon, January 24th! Use everyday food items as materials in what could possibly be the messiest but most beautiful art you’ll make this week. There will be prizes for the least amount of food used, most amount of food used, most colorful, most creative, and other limits.
JUST FOR PARENTS
Do you know how to survive an emergency situation? On Sunday afternoon, January 20th, Earthworks Programs in Ashfield is offering a workshop for adults that will share information and teach skills for surviving everything from a power outage to being lost in the woods
A free workshop series for parents of infants (babies 0-12 months) begins Wednesday, January 23rd at the Gateway Family Center in Huntington. Titled, “Nurturing Your Baby,” the series will teach parents about infant development, sleep strategies, infant massage, and other methods of caring for your baby.
The Collaborative for Educational Services hosts, “Why Do They Do That? Challenging Behaviors and Effective Responses,” at the Ware Family Center on Wednesday evening, January 23rd. The free workshop will teach parents of toddlers and pre-school aged children about the causes of common challenging behaviors and some strategies for dealing with them effectively.
On Thursday morning, January 24th, Baystate Health in Springfield is offering a free workshop for parents on the physical and emotional changes that kids go through during puberty, and will teach ways to effectively communicate and provide emotional support throughout childrens’ transition. “Family Matters! Encouraging Healthy Choices by Promoting Positive Self-Esteem.”
Find out about these events and over 100 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. All of our listed events are “suggested.” Please take a moment to confirm that these events are happening as scheduled, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.
[Photo credit: (ccl) Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs]