Suggested Events for January 28 – February 3, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“[Last year] was the first year my three year old participated in the Valentine’s Day swap & we had a blast making and receiving our cards in the mail. This site truly enhances what western Massachusetts is all about community and our great state!” – Summer Mikaitis (Pittsfield, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

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Hilltown Families Events

It’s that time of the year again for the Hilltown Families Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! For the past nine years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. JOIN US! It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts! Last year our community generated over 1,550 handmade valentines! Let’s do it again! Deadline to sign-up is Wed. Feb 1st!

Saturday, February 4, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the Saturday Morning Music Party series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing, and diversions for kids! During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, you can craft handmade Valentines with the Easthampton Parents Center. Then we’ll enjoy special guests, DandyLions Garden, a musical act for kids and inner children alike. We’ll round out the morning with DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon!” This is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. For more information, email info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Bulletin Board

Open House:Jan 28

The Common School: Community, collaboration, creativity, social justice, inclusivity, environmental education – Come learn how these words are put into action at their winter Open House on Saturday, January 28, from 10am-12noon in Amherst. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, chat with current parents, and tour their beautiful campus situated amongst 140 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

Open House: Jan 29

Cloverdale Cooperative Preschool invites new parents to an Open House on Sunday, January 29th, from 2:30-4pm. Cloverdale is located in back of the First Congregational Church on 130 Pine Street in Florence and is a half-day preschool with the option of STEAM focused extended day hours. Come find out about their new expanded hours starting next fall while spending time playing with your children in their engaging learning environment. Meet the teachers and some parents who will answer your questions about their program. For more information, visit www.cloverdalepreschool.com or call 413-586-1106 after 12:30pm.

Open House: Jan 29

Sunday, January 29th: Open House from 2-3:30pm at Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education (Fort Hill). Visit welcoming classroom environments, chat with teachers, and find out more about the Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum. Providing engaging, intentional early experiences that support children in becoming lifelong learners, joyful investigators, and thoughtful citizens of the world. Fort Hill has dedicated visual arts and music teachers and studios, an emphasis on natural materials, and classroom experiences that nurture joy, curiosity, deep thinking, and imagination. Consider joining the Fort Hill family! Actively accepting applications for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers for 2017-2018. Contact forthill@smith.edu for information.

Open House: Feb 4

The Campus School at Smith College. Prospective kindergarten through grade 6 students and their parents are invited to an open house on Saturday, February 4, from 9:30am-11:30 am at the school on Prospect Street. Tour the school. Meet teachers, staff, and parents. For more information, contact the admission office at 413-585-3270 or visit their website, www.smith.edu/sccs.

Open House: Feb 5

Sunday, Feb. 5th: The Center School Admissions Open House, 2pm-4pm. The Center School is a preschool through 8th grade progressive school, serving Hampshire and Franklin counties. Prospective families are invited to explore the school on Sunday, Feb. 5th for a Birds-of-Prey themed Admissions Open House. Come early to enjoy a live Birds of Prey presentation with raptor rehabilitator Tom Ricardi from 1pm-2pm. Then, classrooms will be open and teachers will be offer bird-related activities for kids of all ages. Light refreshments will be available. The Center School has been offering rigorous education for deep thinkers and creative spirits for 35 years and is currently accepting applications for all ages, for fall of 2017. centerschool.net

Feb 20-24

Looking for something fun and creative for your kids during the February break? Check out Valley Performance Playground’s February Vacation Camp with Sarah Marcus and Felicia Sloin! This 1-week camp runs Monday, February 20 – Friday, February 24 from 9am-3pm and will feature theater games, singing, drumming, movement, and fun times with creative friends for students ages 7-11. Valley Performance Playground’s February Vacation Camp takes place at the Northampton Karate Studio, 320 Riverside Drive, in Florence. Cost: $250. Registration Deadline Feb 1. For more information, email sarahlaurenmarcus@gmail.com or visit online at www.facebook.com/valleyperformanceplayground.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 28 – February 3, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an EventCultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. This week, Little Miss Ann, a former Chicago School Teacher, first generation Filipina American, and decade long kids musician, has created a playlist with the theme “Yes I Can!” She chose songs to inspire and empower kids to recognize their strengths, be themselves, and try new things. This special playlist includes artists like Cat Stevens, Charlie Hope, Dean Jones, and Frances England. Encore of Saturday’s broadcast airs Sunday morning from 7-8am and podcast is posted here on Hilltown Families immediately following Sunday’s broadcast. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcasts anytime. Click here to choose from over 9 years!

Saturday, January 28, 10am-12pm
OPEN HOUSE
The Common School: Community, collaboration, creativity, social justice, inclusivity, environmental education – Come learn how these words are put into action at their winter Open House on Saturday, January 28, from 10am-12noon. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, chat with current parents, and tour their beautiful campus situated amongst 140 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

Saturday, January 28, 10am-12pm
GUIDED NATURE HIKE/TRACKING
Do you like solving riddles, puzzles, or mysteries? You might enjoy tracking wildlife! Come to Lime Kiln Wildlife Sanctuary for a two hour adventure outdoors and learn how to look for visual clues of animal behavior. This event is suitable for ages six and up. Time spent in nature is an opportunity to learn through observation, once you know what to look for. Dress warmly and in layers. Snowshoes will be provided if the conditions warrant. Registration is not required. Call 413-637-0320 for more information. Silver Street. Sheffield, MA. (<$)

Saturday, January 28, 10am-2pm
WINTER FESTIVAL/PLACEMAKING
It can be tempting to spend much of the winter months indoors, sheltered from frigid temperatures. But fresh air, sunlight, and community with your neighbors will likely help you enjoy and appreciate this time of year. The first annual Winter Carnival at Look Park invites families and community members to get outside and play in the snow! There will be an outdoor skating rink, carnival games and a bonfire. Bring your sled! Weather date is Sunday 1/29/17. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (Vehicle entry fee <$)

Saturday, January 28, 10am-4pm
SOCIAL JUSTICE/COMMUNITY CONVERSATION
Racial discrimination affects every aspect of life, including housing, employment, education, relationships, and individual health (both physical and mental). Cooley Dickinson Health Care and the United Way of Hampshire County will be facilitating a community dialogue about race, addressing both local and national race-related incidents. You can help your community to identify and combat racism by participating in this dialogue. Attendance is limited; participants must register and attend both days- January 28 and 29. When registering, people will be asked their name, the organization they represent, if any, and their race/ethnicity. Organizers are asking about race/ethnicity as they have a goal of 50 percent participation from people of color. Lunch will be provided. The events will be held at the Amherst Survival Center. Call 888-554-4234. to register. 138 Sunderland Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, January 28, 10:30am-11:30am
ECOLOGY
 Some kids love to play in the dirt! Did you know that they can also learn from the dirt, too? Soil and compost can teach us about ecology and entomology. Kids are invited to dig in the dirt and dissect a rotting log to look for bugs, at this STEM story hour at the Belding Memorial Library. Encourage your child’s natural, scientific curiosity about the world around them. All children up to age seven, and their caregivers, are welcome. 413-628-4414. 344 Main Street. Ashfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, January 28, 12:30pm-4:30pm
SNOWSHOE/ANIMAL TRACKING
Snowshoes allow you to more easily move into snowy terrain and observe the beauty of winter wildlife. On this guided snowshoe hike of the Rose Ledge trail at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center, you will learn how to track both predators and prey animals who make their home there. Participants will snowshoe for two miles over moderately hilly terrain, though no prior snowshoeing experience is required. Bring water, a trail snack, wear light-weight waterproof pants, warm socks and dress in warm layers. Warm footwear is essential.The program is appropriate for ages 16 and older. Free, $18 with snowshoe rentals. Registration is required by calling 1-800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA. (FREE; snowshoe rental $)

Saturday, January 28, 1pm-2pm
OUTDOOR ADVENTURES/ANIMAL TRACKING
For young children, animal tracking engages their natural curiosity and can teach them basic scientific principles of investigation. Searching for signs of wildlife in the form of tracks and scat, kids can learn about the species which share our local habitat, as well as their seasonal survival strategies. Children ages three to six are invited, with a caregiver, for a storytime, craft, and tracking adventure at Great Falls Discovery Center. Friends and siblings are welcome. Dress for the outdoors. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, January 28, 1pm-2pm
MUSIC STUDIES/UKULELE
With only four strings, and at a relatively inexpensive cost, the ukulele can be the perfect first instrument for a child who wants to play music. Lots of chords are very simple to play on the ukulele, so players can focus on practicing strumming patterns or possibly writing lyrics to their own songs. Tweens and teens with or without experience are invited to the Jones Library for a ukulele strum. Please bring your own ukulele if you have one. Participants can also borrow a ukulele on a first-come first-served basis. Registration is required. Call 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, January 28, 1pm-2:30pm
ORNITHOLOGY/LITERACY
 Nature journaling is one way to combine an interest in ecology with creative expression. A nature journal can be a place to keep sketches, photography, poems, observations of animal behavior, or any other thoughts inspired by the natural world. People of all ages are invited to “Rare bird books and birdwatching” at Bullitt Reservation, where they will learn about ornithology through historic texts as well as a guided walk. Avid birder Pete McLean and librarian Mike Kelly will show participants rare books and historic publications from Amherst College’s Archives and Special Collections, then guide them on a walk of the property to observe birds and try nature journaling. Reservations are requested. Call 413-628-4485 ext 4.332 Bullitt Road. Ashfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, January 28, 2pm
AMERICAN HISTORY/WWII
The bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy” according to then president Franklin D. Roosevelt, is an event which directly led to United States involvement in World War II. This tragic event changed the course of world history, and this year marks its 75th anniversary. Even history buffs will likely gain some new insight from viewing the film Pearl Harbor, Surprise and Remembrance, a documentary which incorporates newsreels, censored photographs, radio broadcasts, propaganda films, and other primary source archival material to commemorate and analyze this historic event. You can expand your historic knowledge by watching this film at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site. 413-734-8551. One Armory Square. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, January 28, 3pm
ART HISTORY/FILM
Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch renaissance painter of the late 1400s. He painted at least sixteen triptychs, which are a type of art involving three paneled sections. Bosh is known for his detailed landscapes and religious symbolic imagery. You can learn more about his work by attending a screening of the documentary, The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch at the Clark Art Institute. Tickets can be purchased on the Clark website or by calling 413-458-0524. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (Members <$; Non members $)

Saturday, January 28, 3pm
STORYTELLING/ECONOMICS
Story time isn’t just for kids! The Sunderland Public Library’s Short Story Series invites adults and teens to listen as local actors read short stories. On January 28, the program will revolve around the theme of economics. This event may appeal to people interested in short story writing, economics, or acting. Court Dorsey will read “Assembly Line,” by the German/Mexican writer B. Traven. Alice Grendon will read “Pricing Green Beans,” by local author and activist, the late Juanita Nelson of Deerfield. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, January 28, 3pm and 8pm
DANCE STUDIES/BALLET
Does your child like to dance? Get them inspired by taking them to a youth dance performance by 16-20 year-old international students of the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company. You will see two premiers of never-before-seen pieces, as well as a performance of Antony Tudor’s 1979 show, “The Leaves are Fading.” Witness choreography from past and present at Mount Holyoke College’s Kendall Hall Studio Theatre. 50 College Street. South Hadley, MA. ($; Students and seniors <$)

Saturday, January 28, 6pm
PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT/THEATER
Dinner, theatrics, comedy, mystery, and wine! You’ll get all of the above at “Don’t Wine If You Are Murdered!” a dinner theater performance at Ventfort Hall. Helena Handbasket invites you to her wine-tasting, where the audience will be called upon to help solve the mystery of who murdered world-famous Wine Connoisseur U. Paul McCork! The Comical Mystery Theater Tour ensemble has appeared at Ventfort Hall to sold-out audiences and has been performing for over two decades. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($$)

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores of the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. commercial-free family radio. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime – click here to see nearly 10 years of archived shows.

Sunday, January 29, 6am-2pm
OUTDOOR ADVENTURES/ICE FISHING
Ice fishing is practiced all over the world in areas where bodies of water freeze. Ice fishing has different cultural purposes in different areas. In Finland, for example, ice fishing is typically a solitary sport, with contemplation a signature aspect of the experience. In New England, in contrast, ice fishing is often a social activity, sometimes involving contests. You can attend one such contest, the 22nd Annual Ice Fishing Derby in Belchertown. Come take part in this intergenerational, New England tradition. Enter at the boat ramp off Bay Road and Poole Road. For questions about cancellations, call 413-336-4998 for a message on the morning of the derby, or check Facebook: Friends of the Tri-Lakes. Belchertown, MA. (Adult; Child <$)

Sunday, January 29, 9:30am and 11am
LITERACY/CRAFTS
Literacy is not just about pronunciation. Comprehension of written or read text also involves emotional awareness, inference, and problem solving. Two upcoming classes at The Colonial Theatre have been designed to address a range of literacy skills. In the 9:30am class, children will hear a reading of The Missing Mitten Mystery by Stephen Kellogg, and create a yarn snowman. At the 11am class, children will hear a reading of The Mitten by Jan Brett and create snow globe magnets. These programs are best suited for ages 3-5 (although toddlers through age 7 are welcome). To register email pittsfieldhappimess@gmail.com or call/text 413-822-7902 stating how many kids will be attending and what class. 111 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (parents free; children <$)

Sunday, January 29, 10am-4pm
SOCIAL JUSTICE
Racial discrimination affects every aspect of life, including housing, employment, education, relationships, and individual health (both physical and mental). Cooley Dickinson Health Care and the United Way of Hampshire County will be facilitating a community dialogue about race, addressing both local and national race-related incidents. You can help your community to identify and combat racism by participating in this dialogue. Attendance is limited; participants must register and attend both days- January 28 and 29. When registering, people will be asked their name, the organization they represent, if any, and their race/ethnicity. Organizers are asking about race/ethnicity as they have a goal of 50 percent participation from people of color. Lunch will be provided. The events will be held at the Amherst Survival Center. Call 888-554-4234. to register. 138 Sunderland Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, January 29, 12pm
THEATER/PSYCHOLOGY
It’s no great revelation that many Americans worry about their weight and their appearance. According to IBISWorld, weight loss services are a three billion dollar a year industry. Dissatisfaction with one’s body image is a mental as well as a physical health issue, and it affects even young children. Parents can help their children by modeling healthy eating habits and a positive self-image (but this is easier said than done!). Susan Cummings’s one-woman show, “Adventures in Liking My Looks: ‘Normal’ Must Be So Boring!” provides humorous and poignant commentary on the journey to achieve a positive body image. Catch her performance at the Bernardston Unitarian Church. 49 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, January 29, 1:30pm
FILM STUDIES/JAPANESE CULTURE
The 1953 film, Gate of Hell (rated PG), which depicts a romance between an imperial warrior and a married lady-in-waiting, won Academy Awards for best foreign film and best costume design. Find out what the critics admired at the film by screening it at the Clark Art Institute. This event is part of the series, “Colors of Japan: Cinematic Impressions,” providing local art fans with the chance to explore Japanese culture through a variety of Japanese films. The film series is occurring in conjunction with the exhibition Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints. Check out both the film and the exhibit for a crash course in Japanese artistic expression. All films are in Japanese with English subtitles. Additional films in the series include Kwaidan (February 5) and Equinox Flower (February 26). 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, January 29, 2pm-3pm
MUSIC STUDIES/A CAPELLA
Community concerts held in libraries are a great way for parents and children to enjoy music together, and discover new, often local musicians. As part of the Rotunda Rhythms monthly musical series, hosted by the Springfield City Library Central branch, provides this opportunity to citizens of Springfield and beyond. This month, hear a capella group Time Was bring their love of music to the library. Each concert in this series includes a free attendance raffle for the audience. 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, January 29, 2:30pm-3:30pm
PARENTING/EDUCATION
Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education (Fort Hill) is holding an open house from 2:30pm – 3:30pm on Sunday, January 29th. Visit welcoming classroom environments, chat with teachers, and find out more about the Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum. Providing engaging, intentional early experiences that support children in becoming lifelong learners, joyful investigators, and thoughtful citizens of the world. Fort Hill has dedicated visual arts and music teachers and studios, an emphasis on natural materials, and classroom experiences that nurture joy, curiosity, deep thinking, and imagination. Consider joining the Fort Hill family! Actively accepting applications for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers for 2017-2018. Contact forthill@smith.edu for information.

Sunday, January 29, 2:30pm-4pm
PARENTING/EDUCATION
Cloverdale Cooperative Preschool invites new parents to an Open House! Cloverdale is a half-day preschool with the option of STEAM focused extended day hours. Come find out about their new expanded hours starting next fall while spending time playing with your children in their engaging learning environment. Meet the teachers and some parents who will answer your questions about their program. For more information, call 413-586-1106 after 12:30pm. Cloverdale located in back of the First Congregational Church. 130 Pine Street. Florence, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, January 29, 4pm
ART STUDIES/PERFORMANCE ART
Come see the Exploded View group perform at the Pushkin Gallery and you will view a range of sculpture, installation, collage and digital works combined with movement and text. Each artist in the group has created their own piece of visual art and accompanying poetic text which explores the theme of points of view. Specifically, the theme of “Exploded View” includes topics such as love, violence, loss, hopelessness, place, the power of finding voice, and the power of collaboration itself. Come get inspired by a group of artistic collaborators and build your network of local art lovers. 413-774-0150. 289 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (DONATION)

Sunday, January 29, 6pm
ANIMAL STUDIES/CANIDS
You’ve heard of “canines,” a word which can be used to refer to man’s furry best friend, the domestic dog, or to refer to the sharp teeth we both have. “Canid” is a biological family of carnivorous mammals, including dogs, wolves, foxes and coyotes. Wildlife tracker Sue Morse will be teaching people about these species in her talk, “Wild Cousins of Our Best Friends: Wolves, Coyotes and Foxes.” Her talk will include photographs of her expeditions observing canid species in varied habitats, from the northeast United States, to the Arctic, to Canada. For more information, call Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) at 413-429-6416. The talk will take place at Mt. Everett High School. Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

Monday, January 30, 4:30pm
MUSIC STUDIES/ELECTROACOUSTIC
Electroacoustic music is created using electronic technology. The emergence of electroacoustic musical techniques in the early 1900s was both an artistic and scientific innovation. You can learn about the historic development of this branch of music by attending PdD candidate Yvette Jackson’s talk, “Radio Drama as a Model for Electroacoustic Composition.” Jackson is a composer, sound designer, and installation artist. She will argue that radio drama helped pioneer techniques of electroacoustic music and should be included in the electroacoustic repertoire. This talk is open to the public and will take place in the Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Frost Library. Amherst College. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Monday, January 30, 5:30pm-6:30pm
COMMUNITY MEAL/PARENTING
Why should moms have all the fun? At Dad and Me Playtime and Pizza at the Family Center of Northern Berkshire County, fathers can bond with their kids and each other over pizza and activities. Kids will enjoy active playtime, songs and a story. 413-664-4821. Haskins Center Gym, 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Belchertown, Cheshire, Easthampton, Florence, Gill, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hatfiled, Huntington, Lanesborough, Lee, Ludlow, New Salem, North Adams, Sheffield, Sunderland, Turners Falls, Ware & West Springfield.

Tuesday, January 31, 3:30pm-3:40pm
FIBER ARTS/KNITTING
Knitting is a relaxing craft and knitted items make great, thoughtful gifts for loved ones. Did you know that knitting can also connect you to mathematical and historical learning? Knitting is interwoven with other New England traditional skills such as sheep shearing. The math involved in knitting somewhat basic, but exposure to its use can help to solidify young knitters’ understanding of unit conversations, scale, and area. Learn more by reading our post, Knitting Supports Explorations of History, Agriculture & Mathematics. Youth ages nine through twelve who want to get started knitting, or practice this skill, are invited to a new weekly knitting group at the West Springfield Public Library. 413-736-4561. 200 Park Street. West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, January 31, 5pm
MUSIC STUDIES/MUSICOLOGY
Caroline Shaw is a Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy Award-winning composer, singer, and violinist. In 2013 she became the youngest winner of the Pulitzer Prize in music, for her composition Partita for 8 Voices. She will be joining musicologist Micaela Baranello at Smith College. Musicology, the study of music, is an academic subject of the humanities. The subject of music branches into several subtopics and can be used as a lens for studying the science of sound, recording technology, history, psychology, philosophy and more. Join these two music experts for a broad discussion about life in music. Earle Recital Hall. Sage Hall. 144 Green Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, January 31, 5pm-7pm
CREATIVE WRITING/TEENS
Does your teen like to write? Creative writing can help us process emotions and express our opinions. Your teen can gain inspiration and meet fellow young writers at a showcase of writing. This group of Northern Berkshire teens meet each week to work on their fiction and poetry. Check out the next generation of writers. They will be reading some of their favorite pieces at the MCLA Gallery 51. 51 Main Street. All are welcome. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, January 31, 6pm-8:30pm
ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES/CONSERVATION
Land conservation is a battle against many outside threats, from climate change to deforestation. Land conservationists seek to keep natural lands intact so that forests and farms can thrive. In addition to providing food and resources, natural lands are centers for scientific learning. Author and ecologist David Foster will be giving a talk, “New England Conservation in an Era of Global Change,” at the Beneski Museum of Natural History. Learn how you can get involved and protect the lands you love. 413-524-2000. Amherst College. 11 Barrett Hill Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, January 31, 7pm
CLIMATE CHANGE/RIVERS
Scientists and citizens are having vital conversations about sea level rise due to climate change. But what is going to happen to rivers? University of Massachusetts Amherst professor Richard Palmer will be discussing the future of stream-flows in the Connecticut River basin in his talk, “Climate Change and the Connecticut River: What Unexpected Events We Should Begin to Expect.” This event at the Jones Library is being held in conjunction with a community read of the book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. Connect with your community by reading and discussing this book with others in town, and learning the ways in which climate change will directly affect areas of Western Massachusetts. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Athol, Becket, Belchertown, Bernardston, Cummington, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Erving, Granby, Greenfield, Huntington, Leverett, Monson, New Marlborough, North Adams, Northampton, Sheffield, Shelburne Falls, South Deerfield, Springfield, Turners Falls, Wendell, West Springfield, and Williamsburg.

Wednesday, February 1
KINDNESS/NON-COMMERCIAL
A handmade valentine swap gives local families an opportunity to be creative together while connecting with other families in Western Massachusetts. Through the swap, participants mail out handmade Valentines to 10 assigned addresses, and in return, each participant receives handmade Valentines from 10 other participants. The swap is intergenerational and cards can be handmade by any combination of child and adult, so if kids aren’t completely up to the task, or if an adult would like to make their own design, there’s flexibility. The deadline to sign up is Wednesday February 1st. On Thursday (02/02/17) participants will be emailed their assigned names/address of families to mail their handmade Valentines to. Everyone is kindly requested to mail their Valentines off by Feb. 7th. Signing up to participate in the swap is free and open to all families in Western MA. To sign up visit out 9th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap post. Western MA. (FREE/VOLUNTEER)

Wednesday, February 1, 12:30pm
MUSIC STUDIES/WIND INSTRUMENTS
Enjoy music during your lunch hour! This Smith College concert performance will feature a wind quartet: flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon. The group will be performing compositions by Malcolm Arnold and Gordon Jacob. Free, professional music performances are one of the benefits of proximity to local colleges. Meet local fans of classical music. Sweeney Concert Hall. Sage Hall. 144 Green Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, February 1, 2pm-4pm
LIFELONG LEARNING/HISTORY
Slave narratives are essential to understanding the history of this country, locally and nationally. It is important to learn about and preserve the perspectives of individual slaves, which can be difficult due to the illegality of literacy and education for many slaves. Slavery was widespread in the Connecticut Valley during colonial times. Physicist and historian Robert H. Romer will relay the stories of five enslaved people in the Valley. This Senior Symposia class is offered to ages people ages 50 and older. Visit the Greenfield Community College Lifelong Learning Guide for more information. All classes take place at GCC’s downtown building. 270 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (<$)

Wednesday, February 1, 6pm
LITERACY/ROMANCE
Valentine’s Day is around the corner and, whether single or taken, you can celebrate with romance novels. Romance writing is a billion dollar industry making up about 13% of sales for the adult fiction industry (Romance Writers of America). Bestselling, award winning author Barbara Wallace has published over twenty titles and will be discussing her romance writing at the Greenfield Public Library. Her talk, “Enduring Love: Romance Novels and What Makes Them Popular,” will explore facets of the genre and give tips for aspiring writers. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, February 1, 6:30pm
AROMACOLOGY/HORTICULTURE
Essential oils are steam-distilled pure concentrates of the natural oils present in plants, flowers, roots, and trees. Essential oils can be used as perfume, aromatherapy, and even as an insect repellent. You can learn more uses of essential oils, as well as the historic origins, in this program at the Storrs Library. No prior knowledge or experience is necessary to attend this introductory workshop. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Athol, Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Florence, Gill, Greenfield, Hatfield, Huntington, Lee, Lenox, Millers Falls, Montague, Northampton, Sheffield, South Hadley, and Turners Falls.

Thursday, February 2, 12:15pm-1pm
ART STUDIES/HISTORY
How much does the modern day depiction of a samurai have in common with the Japanese samurai of the 12th century? Find out in a lunchtime lecture at the Springfield Museums. See items from the new collection of original artwork in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Julia Courtney, Curator of Art, and Maggie North, Curatorial Assistant, will compare and contrast this contemporary work, with traditional Japanese prints of samurai warriors and warrior weapons from the Springfield Museums’ collection. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (<$)

Thursday, February 2, 5pm-8pm
PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Join Springfield Museums for Culture & Cocktails: Indulgence – An Evening of Wine and Chocolate, and shake up the museum experience with an eclectic mix of culinary treats and cultural entertainment! Sample rose and sparkling wines and enjoy chocolate hors d’oeuvres as dancers from the Pioneer Valley Ballet interpret the artwork. Preview the upcoming special exhibition Jeweled Objects of Desire, featuring select items from the vaults of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and by artist and jeweler-to-the-stars Sidney Mobell. Ages 21 and up. Advance purchase suggested. Call 413-314-6479. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (<$ Members; $ Non members)

Thursday, February 2, 5:30pm-7:30pm
PARENTING
Parenting is a unique experience- profound, life-changing, beautiful, and frustrating- which can only be fully understood by others who are parents themselves. Come to a Parent Cafe for stories, commiseration, advice, and support from other parents. Childcare and a supper will be provided. Attendees will discuss topics such as transitions, sleeping, eating and mealtimes, social-emotional learning, and more. This event is open to parents with young children. Call the Early Childhood Office at 413-587-1471 for information and to register. Leeds Elementary School. 20 Florence Street. Leeds, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, February 2, 6pm-7pm
LITERACY/INTERGENERATIONAL
Young adult books feature teenage characters, and young adult authors generally write with a teenage audience in mind. Plenty of adults enjoy reading young adult books, however. Parents and educators may want to read the books that teens in their lives are reading. Or you might simply enjoy coming-of-age stories. The Young Adult Book Club for Adults invites older teens as well as adults to discuss a different book each month at the Jones Library. February’s book is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Visit the reference desk to obtain a copy the book. Call 413-259-3090 for more information. Anyone ages sixteen and up is welcome. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, February 2, 7pm
CLIMATE CHANGE
How can we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels? Can people be motivated to fundamentally change their behavior, or can we come up with a technological solution? These are questions to think about while screening the short film, From Hurricane to Climate Change, which documents ways in which the Monadnock region of New Hampshire is adapting to new norms of climate change and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. You are invited to view this film and listen to a panel discussion with the film’s director and editor Doug Challenger as well as local experts. The screening will take place at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment. 413-256-6006. 845 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Belchertown, Cummington, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Florence, Granby, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hadley, Housatonic, Longmeadow, Monson, Northampton, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Stockbridge, and Sunderland.

Friday, February 3, 8am-4pm
WINTER FESTIVAL/PLACEMAKING
Winter brings with it the opportunity for lots of sun family activities like sledding and enjoying warm meals of comfort food. The Greenfield Winter Carnival welcomes the entire community to celebrate the season by enjoying or participating in ice carving, the cardboard sled race, a chili cook-off, cribbage tournament and more. Admire the parade of lights on Main Street and fireworks over Poet Seat Tower. Visit the Greenfield Recreation website for more details. Various locations. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, February 3, 10am-4pm
STEM/LIFELONG LEARNING
It’s never too late to develop a new interest or expand your knowledge of a subject you love. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will be at the Berkshire Museum providing science courses for lifelong learners. On February 3, there will be three sessions on three scientific topics: Science Conversations at 10am, Advances in Medicine at 12:30pm, and A Picture is Worth More Than a Thousand Words – Understanding Visual Perceptual Phenomena from 2:30pm-4pm. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Route 7. Pittsfield, MA. (<$)

Friday, February 3, 6pm-7:30pm
ANIMAL STUDIES/CANIDS
You’ve heard of “canines,” a word which can be used to refer to man’s furry best friend, the domestic dog, or to refer to the sharp teeth we both have. “Canid” is a biological family of carnivorous mammals, including dogs, wolves, foxes and coyotes. Wildlife tracker Sue Morse will be teaching people about these species in her talk, “Wild Cousins of Our Best Friends: Wolves, Coyotes and Foxes.” Her talk will include photographs of her expeditions observing canid species in varied habitats, from the northeast United States, to the Arctic, to Canada. For more information, call Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) at 413-429-6416. This presentation is open to the public and will take place at The Boland Theater on Berkshire Community College’s main campus. 1350 West Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, February 3, 7pm
ART STUDIES/JAPANESE CULTURE
The museum is even more fun after hours! Come to an evening of creativity, live jazz, and gallery talks after hours at the Clark Art Institute and peruse the exhibition, Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Family Collection. This event will evoke the feeling of a Setsubun, a Japanese celebration of changing seasons, signifying good luck to come in the Spring, attendees will gather for conversation and contribute to a kintsugi collage wall hanging. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (Members <$; Non members $)

Friday, February 3, 7:30pm-9:30pm
ASTRONOMY
An interest in studying astronomy can develop from an interest in mathematical calculation, or a simple appreciation for the beauty of the sky. Families can share their interest in astronomy with one another by attending a Stars Over Springfield night at the Springfield Museums. These programs are are best suited for families with children ages 8 and older, however younger children are also welcome. If it is cloudy, a planetarium show will be presented in place of telescope viewing. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (<$)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Weekly Suggested Events is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Erving, Holyoke, Montague, Pelham, Rowe, Russell, Ware, and Warwick Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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