43 Community Highlights: Zookeeping to Coding. Orchestra to Lawn Puppets.

A diverse array of native plants surrounds us in Western Massachusetts, yet many of us cannot name, much less identify, most of these species. It’s hard to value something when we don’t even know it exists! On Saturday, July 18 from 9am-12pm, come out to explore the woods at Just Roots‘ Exploring Wild Plants program with naturalist Ted Watt to learn the names, distinctive characteristics, and uses of many of our native plants. Registration required. 413-325-8969. 34 Glenbrook Drive, Greenfield, MA. (< $)

River-Based Learning to Garden-Based Learning. Zookeeping to Coding. Orchestra to Lawn Puppets… 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 highlights this week:

Experience a slice of life from the Civil War era at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead. on Saturday, July 18 from 10am-4pm. This immersive experience will include Civil War reenactors, cooking demos, storytelling, singing, crafts, a quilt show, children’s activities, and more! 413-532-1631 x 10. 207 Bryant Road, Cummington, MA. (< $)

Tanglewood‘s Watch and Play program on Sunday, July 19 at 1pm gives children ages 3-10 the opportunity to listen to and interact with a variety of orchestral instruments and musical arrangements. The setting is casual and welcoming, and children are encouraged to converse with musicians to explore their music-related curiosities. Pre-registration required. 413-637-5180. The Shed at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)


River-Based LearningNaturalistCulture CelebrationsSTEMCulinary ArtsMuseum AdventuresZookeepingGarden-Based LearningFiber ArtsHistoryCircus ArtsShakespeareAstronomyMusic StudiesPuppetryOutdoor ConcertFamily Weekday Performances


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


River-Based Learning

Saturday & Sunday, July 18 & 19. — INVASIVE SPECIES
Water chestnut is an invasive plant that is choking up local waterways and wreaking havoc on native plants and animals. Join folks from the Connecticut River Watershed Council to get out and remove these plants! There are many plants to pull out, but they come out easily. Many hands make light work! Anyone interested in this type of service-based learning is invited to contact the Council for additional dates and locations throughout the summer. Registration requested. Call for time. 413-772-2020. Oxbow, Northampton, MA and Lake Warner, North Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, July 18. 10am – 3pm — CANOEING
What better way to spend a summer day than paddling down a river, taking in stunning views of Western Massachusetts’ hills and farmland and observing native animals? This canoe trip, led by the Housatonic Valley Association, will take you through Great Barrington into Sheffield to see the covered bridge. BYO canoe or use one provided by the HVA. Preregistration required. 413-394-9796. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, July 19. 8:30am-11:30am — NATURAL HISTORY
The Housatonic River and its banks are home to many plant and animal species, but many of these areas are in need of protection and restoration. Learn about the river’s past, present, and future as you explore via canoe the meandering Housatonic via canoe with a knowledgeable guide. Bald eagles may soar overhead, and a variety of landscapes will be visible, too. Paddles, PFDs, and canoes will be provided. Meets at Bartholomew’s Cobble, a Trustees of Reservations property. Registration required. 413-229-8600. 105 Weatogue Road, Sheffield, MA. ($$)

Naturalist

Saturday, July 18. 9am-12pm — WILD PLANTS
A diverse array of native plants surrounds us in Western Massachusetts, yet many of us cannot name, much less identify, most of these species. It’s hard to value something when we don’t even know it exists! Come out to explore the woods at Just Roots‘ Exploring Wild Plants program with naturalist Ted Watt to learn the names, distinctive characteristics, and uses of many of our native plants. Registration required. 413-325-8969. 34 Glenbrook Drive, Greenfield, MA. (< $)

Saturday, July 18. 10am-12pm — NATIVE REPTILES
Explore the forests and fields of Bartholomew’s Cobble, a Trustees of Reservations property, in search of the reptiles that call this region home. A naturalist will lead the exploration, teach participants about reptiles’ life histories, share a plethora of fun facts, and help children hold different animals. Registration required. 413-229-8600. 105 Weatogue Road, Sheffield, MA. (< $)

Culture Celebrations

Saturday, July 18. 9am-5pm — GLASGOW LANDS SCOTTISH FESTIVAL
Whether your family traces its roots to Scotland or not, there is so much to see, learn, and enjoy at the 22nd Annual Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival! Catch a glimpse into Highland society life from 1314-1746, watch competitive Highland games, dances, piping, and drumming events, view sheep herding, and learn about dog obedience. Live bands will play Scottish music throughout the day, and there will be Gaelic song and genealogy workshops as well. Of course, there will be haggis for anyone who wants to partake! Rain or shine. 413-862-8095. Look Park, 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. ($)

Sunday, July 19. 12pm — YIDSTOCK FESTIVAL
The fourth annual Yidstock Festival of New Yiddish Music offers opportunities to enjoy music you might not encounter elsewhere, and to learn about and celebrate Jewish culture. This year’s festival runs July 16-19 at the Yiddish Book Center and features both legendary performers and up-and-coming artists. Sunday’s noon concert features Klezperanto, Sklamberg & the Shepherds take the stage at 3pm, and the Yidstock All-Stars with Frank London close out the festival with a performance at 7:30pm. Those interested in related talks and workshops should view the full schedule of events. Advance ticket purchase recommended. 413-256-4900 x 114. 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA. ($$)

STEM

Saturday, July 18. 9:30am-12:30pm — CODING
Create an interactive machine and program it for a cool exploration of the ways in which coding interfaces with the physical world. In this Scratch/WeDo workshop by Holyoke Codes, participants will use LEGO robotics kits that are programmable using Scratch, a visual programming language. Ages 7 and up; all levels of experience welcome. Registration required. Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, July 18. 10:30am-11:30am — AGRICULTURE
Some call Barstow’s Longview Farm a farm of the future because of its cutting edge, “green” practices and use of technological innovations. Take a wagon tour and see how robots can milk cows and how energy is generated from manure! You can even enjoy some fresh, local food and ice cream for lunch afterwards at Barstow’s own store and bakery. Registration required. Proceeds support Kestrel Land Trust. 413-549-1097. 172 Hockanum Road, Hadley, MA. (< $)

Saturday, July 18. 10:30am-12pm — STEAM
Children from infancy through age 10 can try out the STEAM program hosted by the Pittsfield CFCE at the Berkshire Athenaeum. Activities will focus on hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math activities. 413-499-9480 x 5. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, July 22. 6pm — STEAM
Children ages 3-6 are invited to the Spear Memorial Library for Steamrollin’ Summer fun, a hands-on science/technology/engineering/art/math (STEAM) program. Children should be accompanied by a caregiver and wear clothes that can get messy. 413-259-1213. 10 Cooleyville Road, Shutesbury, MA. (FREE)

Culinary Arts

Saturday, July 18. 11am-2pm– COOKING
Helping make a meal can get a picky eater to try new foods, and kids who are already adventurous eaters benefit from meal preparation as they refine their motor skills, pay attention to details, and practice new procedures. Help your kids get excited about cooking and healthy eating when local author Deanna Cook presents a hands-on workshop to celebrate the release of her new children’s cookbook, Cooking Class. Families will learn to make sushi, spring rolls, and lettuce wraps, and each family will receive a copy of the cookbook to take home. Hosted by the Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, July 18. 3:30pm — ICE CREAM
Ice cream is a tasty summer treat, but all of those cones can add up to a big expense! Why not make your own ice cream instead, and learn about the science behind ice cream making while you’re at it? In this workshop at the Berkshire Co-Op Market, kids will build personalized ice cream makers, then use them to create custom ice cream flavors. Registration required. 413-528-9697 x 10. 42 Bridge Street, Great Barrington, MA. (< $)

Museum Adventures

Saturday, July 18. 10am-1pm — ART
Museum adventures await your family at the  Amherst College‘s Mead Art Museum.  Find out all the adventures they have to offer during “Meet at the Mead,” a family-centered event featuring art-making, scavenger hunts, and more. 413-542-2355. 41 Quadrangle Drive, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, July 18. 1pm – 2pm — ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
Have you ever watched a chipmunk go about its daily activities? Gathering food, dodging hawks and other predators, and creating/maintaining a sheltered space take up almost all of its waking hours! Participants can try their hand at animal survival in today’s “Just Survive” program, in which they will assume the identities of different animals in different habitats and face realistic survival challenges of life in the wild. Hosted by the Springfield Science Museum at the Zoo in Forest Park. 413-733-2251. 302 Sumner Avenue, Springfield, MA. (< $)

Saturday, July 18. 1pm-4pm — STORYTELLING
Comic and graphic novel fans of all ages will enjoy an afternoon of talks and workshops at the Norman Rockwell Museum‘s Comic Connections program. Several noted cartoonists will facilitate the sessions! 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183, Stockbridge, MA. ($)

Saturday, July 18. 2pm — DANCE
Pioneer Valley Ballet’s Flux Choreolab engages audiences with its nontraditional dance performances. View several choreographed works including EIGHTsongs/SIXdances, Into It, and Breed at this special Berkshire Museum performance. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Zookeeping

Tuesday-Friday, July 21-24. 11am – 1pm — ZOOKEEPER WEEK
Celebrate Zookeeper Week at the Zoo in Forest Park this week! Activities will include animal feedings, keeper talks, and encounters with the zoo’s animal ambassadors. 413-733-2251. 302 Sumner Avenue, Springfield, MA. (< $)

Garden-Based Learning

Saturday, July 18. 9:30am-4pm. & Sunday, July 19.11:30am-2:30pm. —SELF-GUIDE TOURS
Garden-based learning doesn’t need to be limited to a garden plot.  Discover the gardens of Pittsfield on a self-guided tour of residents’ garden plots. Now in its 17th year, each tour offers a look at a different selection of gardens, so those who have participated before will still have a lot to discover this time around! Most of the gardens are handicap accessible as well. Event will go on, rain or shine. Tickets available online or at many downtown Pittsfield businesses. 413-443-1832. Pittsfield, MA. ($) — Read more about garden-based learning in our post, Learning through the Lens of Gardens.

Fiber Arts

Saturday, July 18. 10am-2pm — SERVICE-BASED LEARNING
Can you knit, crochet, or sew? Put your skills to a very special and important use at the Eastern States Expo‘s Caps for Kids event. Participants will make hats for children ages 5 to 18 who are attending Camp Rising Sun this summer, and who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy. Some yarn, hooks, and needles will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own supplies. Premade hats will be accepted as well. Rain or shine (indoor area will be available). 413-205-5015. Storrowton Village Green, 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

History

Saturday, July 18. 10am-4pm — COLONIAL HISTORY
Back in the 1700s, were residents of Massachusetts doomed to suffer through hot, humid summers, or did they have ways to escape the heat? What could they do to keep their produce from wilting and rotting in the summer months? Visit Historic Deerfield‘s hourly Hot Weather, Cold Hearth presentations to learn how early New Englanders made the most of their summer months. 413-775-7127. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. ($)

Saturday, July 18. 10am-4pm — CIVIL WAR ERA
Experience a slice of life from the Civil War era at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead. This immersive experience will include Civil War reenactors, cooking demos, storytelling, singing, crafts, a quilt show, children’s activities, and more! 413-532-1631 x 10. 207 Bryant Road, Cummington, MA. (< $)

Circus Arts

Saturday, July 18. 1pm-4pm — CREATURES OF BLISS & MYSTERY
Transport your family back to the 19th century at the Emily Dickinson Museum‘s “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery” children’s circus. Activities include songs and stories with Tim Van Egmond, an imaginary tea party with Emily, a circus parade, and young writer readings from “Writing with Miss Emily” camp! 413-542-2034. 280 Main Street, Amherst, MA. (< $)

Saturday, July 18. 1pm/4pm/7pm — ZOPPE FAMILY CIRCUS
The Zoppe Family Circus, an Italian family circus with roots back to 1842, brings its traditional one-ring circus to town July 17-July 19. The whole performance is organized around a central story, and includes clowning, acrobatics, equestrian showmanship, and audience participation. Arrive early or stay late to experience Circus Alley which features games, food, and a dunk tank. Proceeds benefit the Great Barrington Fairgrounds and the Berkshire South Regional Community Center. 413-528-2810. Great Barrington Fairgrounds, 659 South Main Street, Great Barrington, MA. ($$)

Shakespeare

Saturday & Sunday, July 18 & 19. 7:30pm — MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR
The outdoor grounds at the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies provides an ideal backdrop for Hampshire Shakespeare Company‘s performance of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor! Please arrive early to purchase your ticket and be in your seat by 7:30. In the event of rain, the performance will be moved indoors. 650 East Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. ($)

Saturday, July 18. 8pm — ROMEO AND JULIET
Romeo and Juliet is this year’s production for Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park, and it will be performed in the brand new pavilion at the First Street Common. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and settle in for a night of entertainment under the stars! Runs Thursdays-Sundays through August 2. 413-367-4253. 874 North Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Astronomy

Saturday, July 18. DUSK – ASTRONOMY: Want to learn about astronomy first-hand? Join the Trustees of Reservations and the Arunah Hill Natural Science Center for an evening of stargazing and searching for moons, planets, galaxies, and more at Notchview! Please call to pre-register. 413-532-1631 x10. Route 9. Windsor, MA. (FREE)

Music Studies

Sunday, July 19. 1pm — ORCHESTRA
Tanglewood‘s Watch and Play program gives children ages 3-10 the opportunity to listen to and interact with a variety of orchestral instruments and musical arrangements. The setting is casual and welcoming, and children are encouraged to converse with musicians to explore their music-related curiosities. Pre-registration required. 413-637-5180. The Shed at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, July 19. 5:30pm – 7:30pm — AMERICAN MUSIC FESTIVAL
Music, family, friends, picnic food, a big lawn blanket…what’s not to love about summer’s outdoor concerts? Each Sunday through the remainder of July and August, Chesterwood will be hosting its annual contemporary American music festival series, Chesterfest! The festival kicks off this week with performers Dan Blakeslee and Jonah Sky. Come out and enjoy the beautiful grounds and fabulous tunes! 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge, MA. (Adults = $; 17 & under = FREE)

Puppetry

Sunday, July 19. 8pm-9pm — LAWN PUPPETS
Good theatre allows us to gain a better understanding of ourselves and others. This year’s Ko Festival of Performance centers around the theme “New Homeland: Strangers, Newcomers, & Neighbors in a New America” and offers diverse perspectives on the immigrant experience in America. In Sunday’s performance, the Mettawee River Theatre Company presents scenes and songs from four decades of their productions. Giant puppets, masks, figures, and live music will be included in the performance. No dogs, please. 413-542-3750. Observatory Lawn (off of Snell Street), Amherst College, Amherst, MA. (< $)

Thursday, July 23. 11am — PUPPETRY
The Puppet People will perform The Last Dragon at the Springfield Museums‘ Summer Spectacular family concert series. Their hand-crafted puppets, original scripts, and unique puppetry styles are sure to delight audiences! 413-263-6800 x 322. Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($)

Outdoor Concert

Monday, July 20. 7pm – 7:45pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT
The Tilton Library presents outdoor Monday Night Music performances throughout the summer months, featuring local musicians! This week, multi-instrumentalist Robie Bones will play an impressive array of instruments and invite audience members to participate in a rhythm jam. 413-665-4683. 75 North Main Street, South Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, July 21. 6pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT
Whether you bring your own picnic dinner or plan to partake of the tasty BBQ offerings on site, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to spend an evening on the grounds of the Clark Art Institute, dining and being entertained by some fine live music! This week features Daddy-O!, a band that plays a plethora of rock and roll, doo wop, R&B, and pop tunes that you’re sure to recognize! 413-458-0471. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, July 22. 6:30pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT
Charles Neville and Youssoupha Sidibe will perform at this week’s Wednesday Folk Traditions concert at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum. Those wishing to picnic or secure a preferred seat may arrive as early as 5pm. 413-584-4699. 130 River Drive, Hadley, MA. ($)

Thursday, July 23. 5:30pm – 8pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT
Grab a blanket and some friends and head to a concert at Kendrick Park, sponsored by the Amherst Business Improvement District! Tonight’s performance will feature Abe Loomis & Mike Sweet. 413-345-2945. downtown Amherst, MA. FREE

Thursday, July 23. 6pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT
Every Thursday through the summer, the Angel Park Quiet Reflections Garden will host concerts for all to enjoy on its peaceful grounds. A wide array of talented local musicians will be featured. 413-575-9707. 23 Main Street, Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Friday, July 24. 6:30pm-8pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT
Deerfield Recreation presents its Concerts on the Common series on the South Deerfield Town Common. This week features Wildcat O’Halloran. In case of rain, concert will be held in Deerfield Town Hall. 413-665-1404. Conway Street, South Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Family Weekday Performances

Tuesday, July 21. 10am — CHILDREN’S THEATRE
Every Tuesday morning through the summer, Look Park features children’s shows in the beautiful Pines Theater (or the Garden House Tent in case of rain). Today, the Little Red Wagon theatre tour stops in to entertain children with its clever performances! 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. (< $)

Wednesday, July 22. 10am — OUTDOOR CONCERT
The South Hadley Family Center hosts its annual children’s concert series in Buttery Brook Park through the month of July. This week’s performance will be by Roger Tincknell. Light concessions will be available for purchase, and there will be a raffle, too! In case of rain, the performance will be held in Town Hall. 413-533-7096. 123 Willimansett Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday-Saturday, July 22-25. 10:30am — THEATRE
The Junie B. Jones book series comes to life on stage with a lively performance by NCTKids! Performances will run July 22-July 25. 413-585-3220. Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Green Street, Northampton, MA. ($)

Wednesday-Saturday, July 22-25. 10:30am & 1pm — THEATRE
Paintbox Theatre presents the classic tale, Puss in Boots daily from Wednesday, July 22-Saturday, July 25. Kids will get a kick out of the adventures a boy has as he follows a clever cat on the road from rags to riches. Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street, Northampton, MA. ($)

Wednesday, July 22. 11am — CONCERT
Experience West African music performed by Akwaaba Drum & Dance Ensemble at the Springfield Museums‘ Summer Spectacular family concert series. 413-263-6800 x 322. Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($)

Wednesday, July 22. 2pm & 7pm — THEATRE
The Barrington Stage Company presents a young audiences version of Shrek the Musical Wednesdays through Mondays from July 22-August 9. Children age 3 and up may attend Family Saturday performances; all other performances are for children age 5 and up. 413-443-7171. Berkshire Museum, 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Friday, July 24. 11am — CONCERT
Join Grammy-nominated musician, Mister G, at the Springfield Museums to celebrate the release of his latest album, Los Animales! If you’ve never been to a Mister G show, prepare to be wowed, and to dance and sing all concert long! It’s great fun for parents and kids alike. Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($)


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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