21 Community Highlights: Tap Dance to Folklore. Tulips to Trees.

Edible Book to Dr. Seuss Birthday. Wind Turbines to Hydrodynamics. Black Holes to Hubble Telescope. Food Systems to Sugaring

These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week: Just when you think you can’t stand winter for one minute longer, the spring flower shows open up at area colleges offering smells and colors of spring! Both the Smith College Botanical Garden and the Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden will show off their extensive collections of flowering bulbs in their greenhouses starting this Saturday, March 1. Smith College’s annual Spring Bulb Show will take place at the Lyman Conservatory in Northampton, and The Spring Flower Show at Mt. Holyoke will be held in the college’s Talcott Greenhouse in South Hadley. A visit to these free shows can support or inspire a love for flowers and learning about botany and plant habitat. Why is it, children might wonder, that the bulbs are blooming even though nothing else in nature seems to have woken up? What is it about greenhouses that allows plants to bloom when there is still snow on the ground? Ask questions and learn what makes a greenhouse different from outdoors to better understand the different needs that species of plants have.


Literacy/ArtLocal History  ♦ Performing ArtFolkloreHuman StudiesBotanyDendrologyFood StudiesScience & SustainabilityMaple HistoryAstronomyParent WorkshopsEngineering


Literacy/Art

The Forbes and Lilly Libraries are holding their Edible Book event on Sunday, April 6, an annual event that crosses culinary arts and language arts with creative free play! This Saturday morning, March 1st from 11am-12:30pm, the Forbes Library will host “How to Make an Edible Book” in their community room in Northampton. There will be a slideshow introduction to edible books with a panel presentation from you to adults who have made edible books.

Many of Seuss’ beloved characters, in addition to creative anatomy and goofy personalities, sport headgear the likes of which have never been seen before – until now. For the first time ever, Dr. Seuss’ personal hat collection will be on view! Northampton’s R. Michelson Galleries will host Hats off to Dr. Seuss, a nationally touring exhibition that includes not only Seuss’ collection of head fashions but selected works from a secret art collection – all of which have been adapted from Seuss originals.  The exhibition will be on view at the galleries through March 8, and fans of all ages and sizes can enjoy a special event in honor of what would’ve been Dr. Seuss’ 110th birthday (held a day early!) on Saturday evening, March 1. The hat-tastic birthday celebration will include a gallery talk and a prize will be awarded to the attendee who sports the most Seussian hat! Younger children for whom a gallery visit may not be appropriate can celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday at the Springfield Museums on the same day.

Local History

Enchanted Circle Theater presents, “Between the Canals: The Evolution of a Mill Town” at Holyoke Community College on Tuesday afternoon, March 4, and Holyoke Council on Aging on Thursday afternoon, March 6. Holyoke comes alive in this free production as the audience is transported back in time from the present day to the mid-1800′s. Witness the building of the 1,000 foot dam across the Connecticut River, French-Canadian children leaving their family farm to work in the mills, Irish and Canadian children working 14 hours a day in a textile mill, a Labor Union meeting where they draft a resolution to improve working conditions, and Susan B. Anthony speaking from the steps of the new Holyoke City Hall. Students interested in immigration, the Industrial Revolution, unions and child labor and the Suffragist Movement will enjoy this production as it as as a catalyst for discussion in the areas of interest.

Katherine Anderson, author of Hidden Histories: Behind the Walls, Vol. 2, will visit the Agawam Library on Tuesday evening, March 4, to introduce her book which is a follow-up to Behind the Walls: Shadows of New England’s Asylums. This second volume includes updated information on the redevelopment, preservation and demolition of a number of landmark institutions, including both Northampton State Hospital and Belchertown State School. Interviews with former residents, staff and professionals has created a very personal aspect to this photographic and textual history. Anderson is an Agawam native and graduate of Elms College. She is a Special Education teacher and mental health historian, specializing in the history of institutions for the insane and developmentally disabled. Free.

Discover an interesting bit of local history at a Holyoke Public Library History Room guest lecture by Charlie Lotspeich, entitled “John B. McCormick and the Hercules Turbine Water Wheel” on Wednesday evening, March 5. Lotspeich will discuss McCormick’s two late 19th-century inventions, the Hercules Turbine and the Holyoke Turbine, both of which were developed at the Holyoke Machine Company and at J&W Jolly, and how they ushered in a “new era in hydrodynamics.” This free talk would be interesting to older students studying technology, engineering, or local history.

William Hosley will be hosted by the Hatfield Historical Society on Thursday evening, March 6, to present his lecture, “The Great River: Art and Society of the Connecticut Valley.” He will discuss many fascinating aspects of regional history, as told through gravestones, architecture, household furnishings, industry, and more. Older students interested in local history will enjoy this talk. Free.

Performing Art

Come to the North Adams Public Library for “Tap and Blues: An Interactive Presentation,” with Delta blues artist Robin O’Herin and rhythm tap dancer Stefanie Weber on Thursday evening, March 6. This is a fun chance to get out of the house during the cold winter months and learn about blues and tap dance! Free.

Folklore

The Pioneer Valley Folklore Society’s Song and Story Swap happens on Saturday evening, March 1 at the Nacal Center in Amherst. The Swap is centered on a theme, then everyone introduces themselves and shares a song or story relating to the theme (it’s also okay to just listen!). After this warm-up round, the performer – this month it is Doug Schmolze – plays a 30-minute set, which is followed by another song and story share. The Song and Story Swap is an intergenerational opportunity to hear stories and meet new people.

Human Studies

The Human Library Project was founded in Denmark in 2001 as a way to promote human rights and create understanding between people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. People can check out human “books” in order to learn about different topics at the Williams College Paresky Student Center on Friday & Saturday afternoons, February 28 & March 1 in Williamstown. One can check out “books” on topics like “Growing Up in the Jim Crow South,” “Interracial Marriage,” “Olympic Athlete,” “Gay College Student,” and many more. People of all ages can come to the Human Library and learn about each person’s backgrounds, stories, lives, and what sorts of challenges they have faced. This is an excellent way to forge connections with people of all ages. Free.

Botany

Just when you think you can’t stand winter for one minute longer, the spring flower shows open up at area colleges offering smells and colors of spring! Both the Smith College Botanical Garden and the Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden will show off their extensive collections of flowering bulbs in their greenhouses starting this Saturday, March 1. Smith College’s annual Spring Bulb Show will take place at the Lyman Conservatory in Northampton, and The Spring Flower Show at Mt. Holyoke will be held in the college’s Talcott Greenhouse in South Hadley. A visit to these free shows can support or inspire a love for flowers and learning about botany and plant habitat. Why is it, children might wonder, that the bulbs are blooming even though nothing else in nature seems to have woken up? What is it about greenhouses that allows plants to bloom when there is still snow on the ground? Ask questions and learn what makes a greenhouse different from outdoors to better understand the different needs that species of plants have.

Dendrology

If you enjoy identifying wild flowers in the summer, why not learn how to identify trees in winter? The Pioneer Valley Institute is offering a winter walk focused on identifying trees based on bark and habitat clues on Saturday morning, March 1 in South Deerfield. Led by Nancy Goodman, the workshop will help you become familiar with the characteristic bark of different tree species in different habitats and at different stages of growth. Best for older students and adults interested in learning about the different ways to can identify trees in the winter.

Food Studies

Images Cinema’s “Fresh Fest” will host a live stream of “TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat” at Williams College’s Wege Auditorium in Williamstown on Saturday, March 1st. TEDx Talks are created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading.”  At the TEDxManhattan Talk, speakers will discuss topics related to food, food security, food justice, and sustainability. Explore the food system and what we are doing to shift to a more sustainable way of eating and farming. Older students interested in food studies will enjoy these TEDx Talks.

Science & Sustainability

The Pioneer Valley Science and Sustainability Expo takes place on Saturday, March 1, in the Greenfield Community College dining common. Over 100 local students in grades 3-12 will be at the Expo presenting their projects and displays in the fields of science and sustainability. There will also be a demonstration by the UMass Chemistry Club and a chance to meet kids who are participating in the KidWind Challenge, for which students made model wind turbines. Kids (and adults!) can learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as it relates to the environment.

Maple History

Celebrate the start of Spring at Old Sturbridge Village’s Maple Days this weekend! On Saturday & Sunday, March 1 & 2, visitors to the Village will see how maple sugaring was done in early 19th-century rural New England. You can see the entire process, from tapping the trees to “sugaring off,” and you can learn about how each step of the process has changed over time. There will also be cooking demonstrations using maple syrup. This is a fun way to learn about the interesting history of this delicious New England tradition.

Astronomy

The UMass Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Department presents OEB Science Cafes at Esselon Cafe each month in Hadley. This month’s talk takes place on Monday evening, March 3, and is by Dr. Daniel Wang, who will present “Dietary Habits of Black Holes,” which focuses on the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. Science Cafes are oriented towards adults without a science background, but are interesting to those with science backgrounds as well! Older students interested in science would enjoy the Science Cafes.

Join the Springfield Museums for “Stars Over Springfield,” an introductory astronomy talk and star viewing at the Science Museum’s observatory on Friday evening, March 7. This week, Paul Cardone will present a talk titled, “Hubble: A Quarter Century of Discovery” The event is recommended for kids 8 and up, but younger children are welcome. If it is cloudy or rainy, a planetarium show will be presented in place of the live star viewing.

Parent Workshops

Why is anxiety on the rise among our children? How can you tell if this is just a passing phase or a serious concern? Whether it is school, social or separation anxiety more and more children are exhibiting signs of anxiety at home and school. Come hear Behavioral Health Network’s Alice Barber discuss the factors contributing to anxiety in child and identify tools that can help you support your child at the Agawam Public Library on Monday evening, March 3. Free.

The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering “Positive Solutions for Families,” a free workshop for parents of children 3-5 years old on Wednesday evening, March 5 at the Easthampton High School. The workshop aims to help parents explore their child’s social and emotional development and how best to nurture that development by connecting with their child through play, communication, relationship building, and healthy limit setting. This workshop is four parts and it is recommended that you attend all four sessions.

Engineering

Is your daughter interested in technology or engineering? Did you know that women account for only 13.4% of the engineering workforce? Smith College is holding “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” on Saturday, March 8 from 9am-12noon and 2pm-5pm, to help get girls in grades 6-8 interested in the historically male-dominated fields of science and engineering. This program offers girls a chance to explore the fields of civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering by doing projects related to each, like designing and building a house, designing and modifying a hydraulic arm, and programming LEGO Mindstorm Robots. Participants will work with Smith College engineering students to gain hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This program is free, but registration is required. Please register ASAP, as this program has been very popular in the past.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and many 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.


Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Charlemont/Hawley, Chesterfield, Conway, Heath, Leyden, Montague, Montgomery, South Hadley and Shutesbury Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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