Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!
Featured community highlights this week: Smith College’s Lyman Conservatory is in bloom this month for the annual Fall Chrysanthemum Show! Visitors to the greenhouses can learn about genetic diversity amongst plants and plant hybridization while viewing the beautiful flowers, which can be up to eight inches across. Even the most amateur botanists will love the wide variety of color, pattern, shape, and size seen amongst the blooms. Read more in our post, Fall Chrysanthemum Show at Smith Offers Community-Based Learning.
Sustainability ♦ College Resources ♦ Fiber Arts ♦ Techonology ♦ Horticulture ♦ Politics ♦ Seed Saving ♦ Botany ♦ Native American History ♦ Architecture ♦ Music Studies ♦ Gilded Age ♦ Women’s Suffrage ♦ STEM ♦ Literacy ♦ Biology ♦ Nature Studies ♦ Civil War ♦ World History
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Saturday, November 5, 9am-12pm
Sometimes, recycling items brings communities together in a collaborative exchange of needs. It’s also a simple “next step” to bringing about positive change to unsustainable practices. Northampton ReUse is sponsoring a ReUse and Recycling Rally, where they will collect pumpkins, bulky rigid plastic, large chunk Styrofoam, bicycles and secure documents (on-site shredding is available). Reusable rigid plastic will be made available to the public. Fall is a great time for taking inventory of your unused household items. Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. 80 Locust Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, November 5, 12pm-5pm
Another simple “next step” towards positive change can include upcycling and skillsharing. Do you have extra bird seed or other animal feed bags lying around? The Bag Share will be at Eastworks teaching people how to turn them into sturdy, reusable totes! These totes can also make great gifts. All ages are welcome to come and participate. Bring your own clean bird seed or other animal feed bag or use one that is provided. 413-527-1000. 116 Pleasant Street. Easthampton, MA (FREE)
Local colleges and universities are great community-based resources that can support the interests and education of our community, in addition to their student population. Over the years we’ve featured Elms College hosting citizen scientists, Hampshire College welcoming the community into their art gallery, Williams College offering an annual human library, Mt. Holyoke College supporting an interest in chemistry in collaboration with our local libraries, Smith College audio tours of their conservatory, and several others offering sport events for families to learn about women in sports and athleticism. This week we’re featuring two more community events at these local resources that support self-directed and lifelong learning…
Saturday, November 5, 9am-3pm
Amherst Splash offers local middle and high school students the opportunity to learning about subjects from ranging from game theory, to film studies, to a capella! This is a great opportunities for kids and teens to direct their own learning. Classes are taught by college students, providing opportunities for both students and teachers to learn from the experience. Visit the Amherst Splash website for more information and to register for open classes. 102 Keefe Campus Center. Amherst, MA. (<$)
Saturday, November 5, 9am-4pm
Want to learn more about naturalist careers and scientific studies in environmental fields? Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is offering a Berkshire Natural History Conference full of fun and educational presentations by regional naturalists, including Pam Weatherbee, Joan Edwards, and Alyssa Bennet, in addition to local field biologists and naturalists. This conference is targeted toward novice naturalists, and is thus a great opportunity for homeschoolers and self-directed teens. Lunch is included. Registration is required. Call 413-236-2127. Rain date is November 19. 375 Church Street. North Adams, MA. ($$; Students <$)
How is wool commercially made? Find out in this video, along with a few historical facts. Then head over to the Fiber Festival of New England this weekend to learn about the traditional ways wool is been produced and associated fiber arts.
Saturday, November 5, 9am-5pm; Sunday, November 6, 9am-5pm
Fiber arts are an expansive and historic art form, intersecting with agriculture and fashion. The seventh annual Fiber Festival of New England features fiber of all varieties and will host demonstrations, fun activities, and learning opportunities for families. Those interested in expanding their understanding of fiber art and industry can watch demonstrations of spinning and weaving (which will produce a colorful coat by the end of the festival!), or sign up for a fiber art workshops – topics for which include rug hooking for beginners, and creating needle-felted scarves. There will be workshops on felting, spinning, punch needle, Tunisian crochet, rug hooking and more. The event will take place November 5 and 6 at the Mallary Complex at Eastern States Exposition. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (Adults <$; Children under 12 FREE)
“What if instead of going to the store to buy a new toilet brush, all you had to do was walk into your office and print one out? With recent advances in 3D printing, such a scenario might not be as far away as you think.” – SciShow
3D printing, a type of industrial robot which can synthesize three dimensional objects for a variety of purposes, is one of the most exciting technological, scientific, and creative innovations of recent years. Local libraries and other learning centers have begun to support an interest in engineering, technology, and creativity by housing 3D printers and providing demonstrations of the technology. 3D printers can be incorporating into makerspaces (read more in our post, Maker Spaces: Community-Based Opportunities to Think, Make, Do, Learn and Share!) or they can stand alone as a resource.
Saturday, November 5, 10am
3D printing, a type of industrial robot which can synthesize three dimensional objects for a variety of purposes, is one of the most exciting technological, scientific, and creative innovations of recent years. Kids and teens are invited to the Hatfield Public Library to design their own 3D pieces. Call 413-247-9097 to register. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)
Smith College’s Lyman Conservatory is in bloom this month for the annual Fall Chrysanthemum Show! Visitors to the greenhouses can learn about genetic diversity amongst plants and plant hybridization while viewing the beautiful flowers, which can be up to eight inches across. Even the most amateur botanists will love the wide variety of color, pattern, shape, and size seen amongst the blooms. Read more in our post, Fall Chrysanthemum Show at Smith Offers Community-Based Learning.
Saturday, November 5, 10am-4pm
“Chrysanthemum” is a beautiful word for an equally beautiful family of flowers. The word is derived from the Greek words chrysos (gold) and anthemon (flower), though it refers to many different types of flowers in a range of colors and appearances. You can explore various chrysanthemums at Smith College Botanic Garden’s Fall Chrysanthemum Show. The Fall Mum Show has been a popular college and community tradition since the early 1900s and showcases the hybridizing experiments of the horticulture class. The show runs daily through November 20th. The conservatory will be open 10am-4pm daily and have extended hours 10am-8pm on Fridays. 413-585-2740. 16 College Lane. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, November 5, 10:30am-1:30pm
Sometimes, kids and teens don’t find politics interesting, in part because they are not old enough to express their opinions through voting. Kids Vote at the Granby Library invites local youth to make choices and practice the act of voting. Kids will have two tough choices: What pet should be in the White House? What is your favorite ice cream flavor? This is a fun activity for kids who want to vote just like their parents do. This event can be a launching point for discussing the importance of voting! Granby Library 413-467-3320. 297 East State Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, November 5, 2pm
Humor can help us process political concerns. Local author John Sheirer will be discussing the current state of politics in the United States in his presentation, “Making Common Sense Common Again.” Sheirer will provide witty commentary which is compassionate and focused on shared experiences. Sunderland Public Library. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, November 5, 2:30pm
Thomas Paine was a political activist and philosopher whose writing strongly impacted American politics and history. You can learn more about this important figure by attending a screening of the new film, To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine. This 73 minute film of Ian Ruskin’s acclaimed one-man play will be screened at the Jones Library, followed by a discussion. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
By learning to save seeds, children can take an active role in helping beautiful, delicious, and fascinating varieties of fruits and vegetables stick around – in our gardens, on our plates, and in our bellies – for generations to come. And in doing so, they’ll get lots of solid hands-on experience with gardening, plant anatomy, and proper seed (and perhaps food) preservation techniques. A handful of upcoming community events offer valuable opportunities for families to learn about seed saving and to participate in community-based seed saving projects. In attending an event (or two, or three), families are sure to learn skills and information, and will be able to build a foundation of knowledge upon which to begin their own seed saving practices. Additionally, local organizations, Red Gate Farm Seed Bank and Hilltown Seed Savers, are local resources for seeds and seed-saving information, educational programs, and support for beginning seed-savers.
Saturday, November 5, 1pm-2:30pm
Seed saving is a fantastic way to practice self sufficiency and resilience, and also helps to preserve plant varieties for years to come. In addition to the cultural and agricultural value of holding onto these plants (and their seeds), practicing seed saving at home is a great way to engage in hands-on science learning – the digging-in-the-dirt kind that leads to some serious discoveries. You can get started and learn about seed saving techniques at this presentation at Great Falls Discovery Center. You will learn what kind of seeds to buy, how to prevent cross pollination, wet and dry methods of seed saving and proper techniques of drying and storing seeds. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)
NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY
Saturday, November 5, 1pm-2:30pm
You can learn about the history of Northfield through American Indian artifacts housed at the Dickinson Memorial Library. Learn about Squakeag, the “fishing place” where Abenaki and Pocomtuc cultures intermingled. Artifacts such as stone ax heads, arrowheads, pestles and more will be displayed. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
Sunday, November 6, 3pm
You can celebrate local history and music by attending the organ concert at Springfield’s Old First Church. Check out this historic architectural structure which is rarely open for the public to explore. The last public use of the organ was in 2014. Three local organists will be performing at this afternoon concert. Community members with an interest in architecture or organ music should find this an exciting event. Call 413-454-1195 with questions. 50 Elm Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
Monday, November 7, 6:30pm-7:30pm
Historical photographs are an essential tool for envisioning the past of a particular area. Jim Moran of The Longmeadow Historical Society will be giving this presentation, “Through the Lens: Longmeadow 100 Years Ago,” using an interactive photo map programs known as Maps Alive. You will see Longmeadow in its early stages of development as an early 20th century suburb of Springfield. This event will take place at the Storrs Library 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
Friday, November 11, 10am-4pm
Naumkeag, the former home of the Choate family, was built at the height of the Gilded Age and is a local resource for learning about history and architecture. Veterans and their families can visit free on Veterans Day! Enjoy guided house tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Learn about the Choate family who built Naumkeag and hear about what was happening on the farm. 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill. Stockbridge, MA. (Non members $; Members, Veterans and Veterans’ families FREE)
ART STUDIES/WOMEN’S STUDIES
Friday, November 11, 5pm-8pm
Inspired by Historic Northampton’s rich and varied collections as evidence of working women’s lives in the second half of the 19th century, artists Elisa Lanzi and Nancy Meagher created Northampton Unbuttoned, an installation of contemporary artworks of two and three-dimensional design celebrating the Mill Girls. Lanzi’s Victorine series of monotype collage prints are a contemporary take on the colorful plaid textiles and bodice patterns that were popular at the time. You can attend the opening reception at Historic Northampton during Arts Night Out. 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
SUSAN B ANTHONY
Saturday, November 5, 3:30pm
Did you know that when Susan B Anthony was trying to get women a say in government, there were more women who called themselves Anti-suffragists than women who were Suffragists? Join Colleen Janz, Executive Director of the Susan B. Anthony Museum, at Ventfort Hall, for a discussion about what Susan B Anthony had to overcome to change the mindset of so many. For information or reservations call 413-637-3206 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA ($$)
Monday, November 7, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Robotics is a fascinating branch of engineering and computer science which applies these skills in order to create robots. These robots can be made purely for fun, for some practical purpose, and even for artistic purposes. Holyoke Codes robotics labs allow people to experiment with creating their own robots. This robotics lab is open to participants ages 7 and up and will involve LEGO EV3 MINDSTORMS kits. Learn about cause and effect, computer science, and engineering, all the while flexing your creativity. 413-552-4900. Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. 100 Bigelow Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
Tuesday, November 8, 10am-5pm
Science, technology, engineering, art, and math topics can engage children in acts of invention, innovation, problem-solving, and collaboration. The Berkshire Museum’s new space, LAB 102, is designed to encourage collaborative learning for children and families. Science-based activities will be available, as well as art-making projects using recycled materials. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Route 7. Pittsfield, MA. (Adult $; Child <$; Museum members and children age 3 and under FREE)
Wednesday, November 9, 10am-11am
Reading and comprehension of language are essential skills for functioning; these skills also open up a world of enjoyment through reading for pleasure. Parents can do a lot to encourage literacy in their children. Talking, singing, playing and reading with your child all build early reading skills. This program from the Collaborative for Educational Services will teach parents of children ages birth to five years fun activities to encourage literacy. Registration is required through the Collaborative for Educational Services website. For more information, call the Collaborative at 413-586-4900. This program will take place at the Ware Family Center. 49 Church Street. Ware, MA. (FREE)
Thursday, November 10, 6pm
Science Cafe brings science to the community with educational talks which are open to the public. This month, Dr. Brian Umberger will be giving the presentation, “How and Why We Walk Upright: the Evolution of Human Locomotion.” Learn some basic evolutionary biology, focused on motion. Nacul Center. 592 Main Street. Amherst MA. (FREE)
FILM STUDIES/NATURE STUDIES
Friday, November 11, 1pm
Learn about science through film! This Science on Screen film screening at Amherst Cinema will begin will an introduction Brian Adams, author and professor emeritus of environmental studies at Greenfield Community College. The film, Microcosmos, was created with macroscopic photographic techniques in order to capture the life cycle of an ordinary meadow up close in a visually spectacular manner. 413- 253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)
Thursday, November 10, 6:30pm-7:30pm
Living history performances provide historical education from a personal perspective, bringing the facts alive so that they are interesting and relevant. Costumed reenactor Doug Quigley will play a Civil War era union soldier. Find out information on the everyday lives of these soldiers, from what they wore and carried, to what they ate while serving. Children, teens, and adults are all invited to this event at the Springfield City Library Forest Park Branch. 413-263-6828. 380 Belmont Avenue. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
Friday, November 11, 4pm-8pm
Do you and your children enjoy making art? Your entire family can participate in hands-on art projects and attend a guided gallery tour at the Smith College Museum of Art. In this art making program, “Build Rome in a Day,” participants will cardboard models of Roman landmarks. Gather inspiration from the current exhibition, When in Rome: Prints & Photographs, 1550–1900. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
[Photo credit: (cc) Breville USA]
Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Blandford, Bernardston, Chesterfield, Erving, Holyoke, Montague, Montgomery, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Warwick and Williamsburg Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.