31 Community Highlights: Bird Festival to Strawberry Supper. Paddle Trip to Yo-Yos.

Physics! The Massachusetts State Yo-Yo Contest happens on Saturday May 30, 10am-5:30pm, at the Academy of Music! Come to compete, watch, or learn and enjoy all the talented yo-yoers in the state! The competition is split up into divisions, and beginners are welcome to compete. The contest is not only fun to watch, but is a great place to see how cool yo-yoing is – discover the physics behind it and all the amazing tricks that are possible! 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. 

Bird Festival to Farm Festival. Strawberry Supper to Architecture. History of Medicine to Paddle Trip… 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:  Discover some of Massachusetts’ most beautiful and notable historic homes at The Trustees of Reservations’ Home Sweet Home Days at locations all around Massachusetts on Sunday, May 31, 10am-5pm. Visiting these historic homes can teach visitors about local history, architecture, genealogy, gardening, and so much more. Home Sweet Home Days gives families the opportunity to visit western MA historic homes like Naumkeag, the William Cullen Bryant Homestead, the Mission House, the Folly at Field Farm, and others in western Massachusetts for free. Feel like going for a drive? Trustees properties in Eastern and Central Massachusetts are also open for Home Sweet Home Days – this could be a great chance to take the family on a day trip to towns like New Bedford, Concord, Ipswich, and others. Berkshires & Hilltowns (FREE)


OrnithologyLanguage ArtsArchitecturePlant StudiesOutdoor AdventuresHistory of MedicineMusic StudiesSTEMCultural StudiesCulinary ArtsSportsTextile HistoryFarm-Based LearningAutismCommunity MealsPreschool HighlightsLawn Concerts


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Ornithology

Saturday, May 30, 8am-2:30pm: BIRD FESTIVAL: Families can learn all about birds at the first-ever Valley Family Bird Festival. Start off the day at the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Hadley (69 Moody Bridge Road) from 8am-10am, where there will be bird walks, a bird banding demonstration, a falconry program, a chance to see kestrels up close, and more. Families can then head over to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton (127 Combs Road) from 10am-2:30pm for bird walks, games, and activities for all ages. There will also be two live owl shows at 11am and 1pm at Arcadia, where you can learn about owls from New England and beyond and see these different owl species up close. The Valley Family Bird Festival is jam-packed with tons of great bird-related activities for family members of all ages – don’t miss out on this fun, free opportunity to learn all about birds in western Massachusetts! Hadley & Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, May 30, 8am-6pm: BOBO-THON: Families can enjoy a fun day of birding with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council at Hollow Fields Reserve. The BNRC’s Bobo-thon is a day filled with birding and live music by the Easy Ridin’ Papas. Spend the day relaxing at Hollow Fields on a picnic blanket or chair watching and listening as the bobolinks perform their amazing song. Learn from expert birders about these fascinating birds and other species you see. There will also be guided hikes at 9:30am, 11:30am, and 1:30pm. Spend the whole day or stop by to learn about bobolinks and see them in the wild performing their song! Great for students interested in birds and nature. Call BNRC at 413-499-0596 for more information. Perry’s Peak Road. Richmond, MA (>$)

Saturday, May 30, 6am-10am – BIRD WALK: Join The Trustees of Reservations at Notchview for an early morning bird walk. Search for interesting birds and listen to their calls at this program. 413-532-1631 x10. Route 9. Windsor, MA. (>$)

Language Arts

WRITING CONTEST: Young writers ages 5-18 can participate in the Berkshire Athenaeum’s 37th Annual Short Story Writing Contest for Children and Young Adults this spring and summer. The contest is divided up into five age groups – ages 5-6, ages 7-8, ages 9-10, ages 11-14, and ages 15-18, and winning authors will be awarded cash prizes. Entries are due by 4pm on July 2, and more information can be found on the Berkshire Athenaeum website. The writing contest is a great opportunity for kids of all ages to try their hand at short story writing and to develop their writing style and appeal, write original stories, and improve spelling and grammar. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

Architecture

Sunday, May 31, 10am-5pm: LOCAL HISTORY/ARCHITECTURE: Discover some of Massachusetts’ most beautiful and notable historic homes at The Trustees of Reservations’ Home Sweet Home Days at locations all around Massachusetts. Visiting these historic homes can teach visitors about local history, architecture, genealogy, gardening, and so much more. Home Sweet Home Days gives families the opportunity to visit historic homes like Naumkeag, the William Cullen Bryant Homestead, the Mission House, the Folly at Field Farm, and others in western Massachusetts for free. Feel like going for a drive? Trustees properties in Eastern and Central Massachusetts are also open for Home Sweet Home Days – this could be a great chance to take the family on a day trip to towns like New Bedford, Concord, Ipswich, and others. Berkshires & Hilltowns (FREE)

Plant Studies

Sunday, May 31, 4pm: INVASIVE SPECIES: Invasive plants and animals are a big problem in New England – they threaten many native species because they both compete for the same resources. Learn about invasive plants and animals at “Weeds Gone Wild: Invasive Plants (And Animals) in Stockbridge” at the First Congregational Church of Stockbridge. Frank Lowenstein, director of the New England Forestry Foundation, and Jess Toro, of Native Habitat Restoration, will present this talk, which focuses on invasive species in Stockbridge, how they threaten biodiversity, and more. Older students interested in ecology and conservation can learn a great deal from this talk. Come with questions for Lowenstein and Toro and leave the talk with a deeper understanding of native species in the Berkshires. Call the Stockbridge Library for more info on the talk at 413-298-5501. 4 Main Street. Stockbridge, MA (>$)

Saturday, May 30, 9am-11am – WILD FLOWERS: Join the Kestrel Land Trust and Karen Searcy for a wildflower program in the Mount Holyoke Range on May 30. Best for older students and adults. RSVP for location. 413-549-1097. Amherst, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION >$)

Saturday, May 30, 12noon-1pm – PLANT WALK: Learn about medicinal plants on a plant walk around Milk and Honey Herbs at their Open Farm and Plant Sale Day. Best for self-directed students interested in plants. 413-253-8076. 163 Leverett Road. Shutesbury, MA.

Outdoor Adventures

Saturday, May 30, 9am-1pm – PADDLE TRIP: Families with kids ages 10 and up can join the Housatonic Valley Association for an easy 5-mile paddle trip along the Housatonic River in Stockbridge. Families can explore the river and learn about birds and nature. All equipment provided. Call to pre-register. 413-394-9796. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

History of Medicine

Saturday, May 30, 9:30am-5pm – HISTORY/MEDICINE: “Pound of Cure: 19th Century Wisdom Meets 21st Century Medicine” is a special day-long event at Old Sturbridge Village, all about what health and medicine was like in the past. Some of the day’s activities and events include costumed interpreters depicting medical professionals of the time, the preparation of home remedies, and more, including OSV’s regular daily activities. There will also be opportunities to learn about modern medicine – fitness training, blood pressure screenings, and the UMass LifeFlight helicopter will base its operations out of OSV all weekend. There is something for all ages to learn at this event! 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

Music Studies

Sunday, May 31, 7pm – BRASS BAND: The Fanfare Brass Ensemble will perform at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead on May 31. The brass band features trumpets, french horn, and tuba and they will play several different styles of music. 780 Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, June 2, 7pm – IMPROVISATION: Joel Meginsky will perform Music from Marengo at the Agawam Public Library. The performance features improvisation based on jazz, blues, country, gospel, and classical music, and will be performed on Hawaiian steel guitar, clarinet, mandolin, ukulele, and fiddle. Families will love this fun sing-along concert! Call to register. 413-789-1550 x4. 750 Cooper Street. Agawam, MA. (FREE)

STEM

Saturday, May 30, 10am-5:30pm – PHYSICS/YO-YO: The Massachusetts State Yo-Yo Contest is May 30 at the Academy of Music! Come to compete, watch, or learn and enjoy all the talented yo-yoers in the state! The competition is split up into divisions, and beginners are welcome to compete. The contest is not only fun to watch, but is a great place to see how cool yo-yoing is – see the physics behind it and all the amazing tricks that are possible! 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA.

Saturday, May 30, 11am-12noon – STEAM/LEGOS: Preschool-aged children can have fun with LEGOs and Duplos at the Erving Public Library as part of a series of programs focusing on science, technology, engineering, art, and math. This is a great chance to introduce young kids to STEAM topics! Call to register. 413-423-3348. 17 Moore Street. Erving, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, May 30, 11am-2pm – PHYSICS/CRAFTS: Kids ages 5-11 can visit the Meekins Library for a STEAM craft activity – make a balloon-powered car or wind-powered pinwheel! Come learn about the power of wind, renewable energy, and sustainability. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Cultural Studies

Saturday, May 30, 12noon-6pm – NATIVE AMERICA: Celebrate opening day at Bascom Lodge with a Native American teepee raising, drumming, mountain blessing, and music. This family-friendly event is a great way to kick off summer! 413-743-1591. 30 Rockwell Road. Lanesborough, MA.

Saturday, May 30, 2pm – SHAKER: Hancock Shaker Village‘s newest exhibition, Modern Wings and Shaker Roots, opens on May 30. The exhibit features work by contemporary sculptors who use found and recycled materials to reimagine the Shaker aesthetic. Artist Christina La Sala will present a talk on the exhibition, which would appeal to older students interested in art and sculpture. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, May 30, 2pm-3pm – EAST ASIA: In conjunction with their exhibition, Immortal Present: Art and East Asia, the Berkshire Museum presents a performance by Dr. Jeff Roberts. Dr. Roberts will perform both traditional and modern pieces on the guqin, a traditional Chinese instrument. Older students interested in music studies would enjoy this performance, which is free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Culinary Arts

Saturday, May 30, 1pm – COOKING CLASS: Gary Weiss, executive chef at Cooley Dickinson, will teach a cooking class for families at Whole Foods Market on May 30. This is a great chance for families to spend time together learning new cooking skills. Proceeds go to Cooley Cares for Kids. Stop by customer service desk to RSVP. 413-586-9932. 327 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (>$)

Sports

Saturday, May 30, 1pm-5pm – BASEBALL/ART: Baseball fans can attend “Home Run! An All American Baseball Day” at the Norman Rockwell Museum on May 30. There will be baseball-related talks and activities, with appearances by former Major League Baseball pitcher at North Adams Steeple Cats manager Jonah Bayliss, Pittsfield Suns players, author Tom Swyers, National Baseball Hall of Fame educator Larry Moore, historian Kevin Larkin, and others. There will also be an art project and baseball items on display. Learn all about baseball at this fun event! 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA. ($$)

Textile History

Saturday, May 30, 3:30pm-5:30pm – Religion Linens & Vestments: Seamstress Elizabeth Morgan will discuss the history of church linens and vestments at Ventfort Hall‘s Tea and Talk. After the discovery of King Richard III’s body several years ago, Morgan was commissioned to make hand embroidered linens for the King’s altar. Older students interested in history, textiles, and making their own clothes would enjoy this program. Tickets available in advance. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($$)

Farm-Based Learning

Sunday, May 31, 10am-3pm – FARM FESTIVAL: Abundance Farm, a food justice farm and outdoor classroom, is holding a festival for all ages. From 10am-12pm, they will have a work party where volunteers will help plant, mulch, weed and build–with jobs for all ages and abilities. From 12-pm, there will be a free lunch for volunteers. From 1-3pm, a party with lots of fun farm-based activities for kids and adults including herbal medicine workshop, seed art, terrarium making, cob oven baking and much more! There will be great live music and local food and drink vendors. 253 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA (FREE)

Autism

Sunday, May 31, 12noon-2pm – TOUCH A TRUCK: Touch a Truck at the Easthampton Public Safety Complex on May 31! Get up close to fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, and more. This event is held in partnership with the REACH program and the Autism Coalition, and is a low sensory event ideal for those who are sensitive to sound and light. 413-626-3064. 32 Payson Avenue. Easthampton, MA.

Community Meal

Sunday, May 31, 5:15pm & 7pm – STRAWBERRY SUPPER: Skip the dishes and have dinner with your neighbors! The Shelburne Falls Kiwanis Club is hosting their annual Strawberry Supper at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center. Enjoy a delicious roast beef dinner with community members of all ages. 413-625-6355. 53 Main Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. ($)

Preschool Highlights

Saturday, May 30, 10am – MUSIC STUDIES: Kids ages 8 and under can attend Two Little Roots Music Program at the Westhampton Public Library. Local musician and educator Annie Stevenson will present this program, which features singing, movement, instruments, a craft, and more. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, June 2, 10:30am-11:30am – NATURE STUDIES: Children ages 3-6 and their parents are invited to the Great Falls Discovery Center’s Kidleidoscope event! Kidleidoscope focuses on teaching young children about the natural world using the theme “we share our home.” Activities include stories, interactive games, and crafts. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Friday, June 5, 11am – MUSIC: Join the Sunderland Public Library for ukulele fun with Julie Stepanek. There will be music, movement, and ukuleles at this program. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Friday, June 5, 11am-12:50pm – ICE SKATING: The Mullins Center is offering Home School Skating Fridays in May and June! Home school students of all ages (accompanied by an adult) can come ice skate and meet other home school students. 200 Commonwealth Avenue. Amherst, MA. (>$)

Friday, June 5, 5:15pm-5:45pm – SHABBAT: Beit Ahavah is hosting a “Tot Shabbat” event for ages 0-6. Families can come for this fun, musical event and enjoy a potluck Shabbat dinner. Open to everyone. 413-587-3770. 130 Pine Street. Florence, MA.

Lawn Concerts

Tuesday, June 2, 6:30pm – LAWN CONCERT: Musical Moments at Amelia’s Garden, the Amelia Park Ice Arena summer concert series, kicks off with a performance by acoustic rock duo CO2. This concert is fun for the whole family – bring lawn chairs, pack a picnic dinner, and enjoy the sunset while listening to great music. 413-568-2503. 21 South Broad Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, June 4, 6pm-8pm – LAWN CONCERT: Coop Concerts Summer Concert Series takes place weekly at Greenfield Energy Park. This week’s show features Devlin Miles, Joe Graveline, and the Pint-sized String Band. Bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic dinner with family and friends while listening to exciting live music. 50 Miles Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

[Photo credit: (cc) Miguel]


Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Buckland, Colrain, Cummington, Deerfield, Hadley, Longmeadow, Montgomery, New Salem, Plainfield, Shelburne, Sunderland, Westhampton, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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