Learning Ahead: August 17th-21st, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 12 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:


North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens


Berkshire County

Wednesday, August 19. 4:30pm-6pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT
Visit Naumkeag, a Trustees of Reservations property, for Watermelon Wednesdays! Visitors will enjoy juicy watermelon, as well as an entertaining performance by the Nutshell Playhouse. Reservations encouraged. 413-298-8138. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA. ($; FREE for children)

Thursday, August 20. 7pm —POETRY SLAM
Young Berkshire residents will perform spoken word and poetry pieces at the WordxWord: Youth Speak 413 poetry slam at the Berkshire Museum. Come witness the talent of these local word artists and writers! 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, August 20. 7pm — IMMIGRATION
The lives of immigrants who arrived and settled in Pittsfield from 1840-1940 are showcased in rich detail in I Am Pittsfield: The Immigrant Century, a play being performed at Melville’s Arrowhead Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings through August 29th. This realistic interpretation, based on written and oral histories, contains themes of ethnic hostility, poverty, and prejudice, and as such is appropriate for mature teens and adults. Reservations strongly recommended. 413-442-1973. The Red Barn Theater, Melville’s Arrowhead, 780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Friday, August 21. 11am — HERPETOLOGY
Have you encountered snakes in your yard or on your hikes? Were you able to determine which species they were? The rattlesnakes may be among the easiest to identify! Get to know the snakes that inhabit Western Massachusetts at this Berkshire Botanical Garden presentation by Professor Tom Tyning. A few live snakes will be on hand, too! 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road, Stockbridge, MA. ($; FREE for children under 12)

Friday, August 21. 11am-6pm — LITERACY/COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION
Have you ever passed along a favorite book to a friend? Are some of the books in your home ones which were important to others before they came into your life? Books are wonderful items to use and then pass along! To this end, the Lenox Library is hosting its 20th annual Giant “Bargains in Books” Sale August 21-23, comprised almost entirely of books donated by the community. This sort of community sale provides an excellent opportunity for children to practice basic financial skills like budgeting and prioritizing. With book prices starting at fifty cents, a child could learn a great deal navigating the sale with $1 of his or her own to spend! The sale will also include music and artwork, and a special selection of first editions, rare volumes, and the like. All proceeds benefit the library’s educational programs. 413-445-5679. 18 Main Street, Lenox, MA. (DONATION until 2pm; FREE after 2pm)

Franklin County

Thursday, August 20, 6pm-8pm – LAWN CONCERT
Coop Concerts Summer Concert Series takes place weekly at Greenfield Energy Park. Bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic dinner with family and friends while listening to exciting live music. 50 Miles Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

Monday, August 17. 6pm-8pm. – GARDENING/COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION
Is your garden overrun by hostas or lilies? Did you harvest seeds from your garden but end up with far more than you could ever sow? How did you end up with four gardening spades, anyway? Head to the Valley Time Trade plant swap to exchange your plants and other garden-related items for others that will round out your collection. Participants are asked to arrive on time so that each trader can introduce her/himself and the items s/he has brought to trade. 413-587-1011. Forbes Library, 210 Main Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, August 20. 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)

Thursday, August 20. 6:30pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT
Thursday evenings through the summer, the Westhampton Public LIbrary hosts its “Field of Dreams” concert series. Tonight’s concert features the Lonesome Brothers. Rain location is Westhampton Town Hall. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, August 20. 6:30pm – 8pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT
Take your family, a friend, or a neighbor to a concert at the gazebo on South Hadley‘s town common this summer and enjoy a variety of music from local artists. Tonight’s performance features Union Jack. Rain date 8/23. 413-538-5017. Route 47 & Route 116, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, August 20. 6:30pm-8pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT
Old-time Appalachian roots band Moonshine Holler performs the Huntington Summer Music Series concert this week. Bring a lawn chair and partake of the local bake sale goods, too! In case of rain, performance will be held inside Stanton Hall. 413-667-5563. Huntington Gazebo (Routes 20 & 112), Huntington, MA

Hampden County

Friday, August 21. 4pm-11pm — COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
Celebrate Holyoke’s vibrant community through music, art, food, and socializing at a weekend-long festival, Celebrate Holyoke 2015! Learn about the talents of area artisans as you stroll through the arts bazaar, and enjoy a variety of live music all day long. Be sure to bring your appetite for favorite foods and new culinary adventures, too. Dwight Street & Front Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

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