Suggested Events for February 11th – 17th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Just wanted to let you know that my two sons have really enjoyed the Valentine Swap! They are delighted each day to run to the mailbox and find a little surprise waiting for them! We made a Valentine tree and put all of the valentines from our new friends on it! They also loved creating their own valentines, so much so that they chose to forgo the usual store bought ones in favor of making their own for their school parties! Thanks so much for including us! This was a wonderful community outreach project!” – The Allen Family

“Just wanted to let you know that my two sons have really enjoyed the Valentine Swap! They are delighted each day to run to the mailbox and find a little surprise waiting for them! We made a Valentine tree and put all of the valentines from our new friends on it! They also loved creating their own valentines, so much so that they chose to forgo the usual store bought ones in favor of making their own for their school parties! Thanks so much for including us! This was a wonderful community outreach project!” – The Allen Family

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.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after-school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Feb 19-26

As part of its Four Sundays in February Series, the Northampton Arts Council presents Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child (2/19 @ 2pm), the nationally syndicated radio show for kids and their adults, live on stage featuring Grammy Award Winner Dan Zanes plus other special guests; KidsBestFest & YouthFilm (2/20-24 @1:30pm), a weeklong FREE kids film festival; and The Really Big Show (2/26, 2pm), the Pioneer Valley’s own variety show showcasing local talent. All events take place at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Mass. More info and tickets at hamparts.org.

Feb 20-24th

February school vacation week activities at New England Air Museum! Monday, February 20th through Friday February 24th, in Windsor Locks, CT . Explore three giant exhibit hangars filled with over sixty historic aircraft, and experience the wonders of flight through hands-on activities including hands-on Build & Fly Challenges, interactive Flight Science Demonstrations, computerized Flight Simulators, and Open Cockpit Experiences in historic aircraft. Visitors can also take to the skies at the museum’s Virtual Flight Center using advanced, three screen yoke and pedal flight simulators. The Virtual Flight Center is open to visitors ages 10 and older. For updated information and more special events, visit: www.neam.org.

Feb 10

Montessori Comes to Forbes Library: On Friday, February 10, at 11am, bring your child to a visit with Montessori School of Northampton educator Laura Frogameni. The hour will include time to explore Montessori materials, circle time and a story. The Forbes Library is located at 20 West Street in Northampton. Free; all families of children 0-6 are invited to attend. For more information, call Laura at 413-586-4538 x103 or visit www.northamptonmontessori.org.

Feb 20-24

February vacation at Amherst Archery! Picture spending all day at the archery range immersed in a wide variety of kid and teen-accessible archery activities! Besides Olympic-style target archery and plenty of archery games, kids will also engage in archery art projects, make their own arm guards from recycled materials, explore archery history, anatomy of archery, and even learn some fun physics through hands-on archery experiences. Each day will provide different surprises. All archery and art supplies provided. Families provide lunch and snacks. The now famous “ARTchery” project will be included! Programs taught by certified USA Archery coaches at the range in Florence. Enroll for the entire week or by the day. Ages 7 and up. www.amherstarchery.com.

Accepting applications for fall 2017. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 210 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org.

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating. Students graduate to their Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE. Use promo code HTF201617 and receive $10 OFF your entire purchase of any instructional program!

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.

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Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

What are your child’s interests? What are your interests? This fall there are a number of after-school, homeschool, evening, and weekend classes to choose from to supplement and support the interests of your family! Check out our growing list of classes, programs, open houses and even auditions for this fall in our dedicated post, 2017 Winter & Spring Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA, and find the perfect activity for your child, teen, and even lifelong learners! — Have a class you’d like to add to this list? Click here to find out how to have your class, lessons, program, auditions, and open house included.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 11th-17th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
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Suggest an Event | Cultural 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, February 11th, 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. Join us this week for the Hilltown Family Variety Show’s Valentine’s Day Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn. 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, February 11, 8am-5pm
PLACEMAKING/WINTERFEST
Connect with Easthampton of the past and present at the fourth annual Easthampton Winterfest! Among many other activities, there will be opportunities to learn about New England history through an ice harvesting demonstration. You can also learn about local history by attending a film screening of The Story of Nashawannuck Pond. Other activities include wagon rides, a craft and vendor fair, community meals, a nature hike, a bonfire and much more. Meet local families with ties to Easthampton and ward off the winter blues! Visit the Nashawannuck Pond website for a full schedule and other details. Various locations. Easthampton, MA. (FREE – $$)

Saturday, February 11, 9am-12pm
COMMUNITY MEAL/VALENTINE’S DAY
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with all your loved ones Community Action Family Center! They will be hosting a community breakfast for families. The event will also include a craft activity, and strawberries dipped in chocolate! There will be games for children of all ages. 413-475-1555. 90 Federal Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 10am
FILM STUDIES/FAMILY FILM
The family-friendly romantic comedy The Princess Bride (rated PG) has been entertaining audiences since it first came out in 1987. This film, based on the 1973 novel of the same name by William Goldman, has humorous elements which appeal to both parents and children. Older kids and adults can compare this film to the original book, or think about how the story functions as a “frame narrative” (a story within a story). The film is also educational in that the famous sword fighting scene contains accurate references to historical sword fighting techniques. Screening this film can be a fun introduction to the history of sword fighting, with references to significant fencers such as Rocco Bonetti, Agrippa, and Capo Ferro. Screen this film at Amherst Cinema as part of the Family First series. 413- 253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, February 11, 10am
ART STUDIES/PASTELS
 Do you like working with pastels? Unlike paint, pastel is mixed and blended on the canvas. There are more than a dozen different artistic techniques for using pastels. You can improve your pastel artwork, or try it out for the first time, by attending a step-by-step workshop run by the classically trained artist Greg Maichack. Maichack will be running this workshop at the Grace Hall Memorial Library. Register by calling the library prior to February 8. 413-862-3894. 161 Main Road. Montgomery, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 10am-11am
STEM/CHEMISTRY
Snow opens up a world of scientific learning for kids. Studying snow and snowflakes is a fun way of learning about chemistry, meteorology, and geometry. Snowflakes are a beautiful form of crystals, each one showing off a microscopic symmetrical design of spears, points, indents, and cutouts. As part of the Second Saturday Science program at the Hitchcock Center, children and their parents are invited to learn more about the science of snow! Other nature science topics will be explored on the second Saturday of the month through June 10. 413-256-6006. 845 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 10am-12pm
MYCOLOGY/WILD EDIBLE PLANTS
Mushrooms are a fascinating type of fungi. Some are poisonous, some are delicious! Learning to identify mushrooms can teach you about local ecology, while giving you the practical ability to forage food. Paul Lagreze, owner of New England Wild Edibles, will be running a workshop: “Getting to Know Your Local Mushrooms: Where, Why, and How They Grow,” at Green Fields Market. The workshop will cover mushroom cultivation and shiitake inoculation.144 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (DONATION)

Saturday, February 11, 10am-12pm
ANIMAL TRACKING/CONSERVATION
 Animal tracking is essential to assessing the status of certain species and habitats. Tracking helps naturalists and zoologists to focus their conservation efforts. You can learn more about both animal tracking and conservation at Bullitt Reservation. Join Laura Marx from the Nature Conservancy for a talk, followed by a guided outdoor tracking walk to apply what you’ve learned. Registration required: email Tamsin Flanders at hltlandsteward@thetrustees.org or call 413-628-4485 ex 4 and leave a message with your name, phone number, email address, and the number in your party. Bullitt Road. Ashfield, MA. (Members <$; Non members $; children under 13 FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 10am-12pm
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP/NATURE STUDIES
“Leave No Trace” is a term referring to a set of principles for conserving natural lands. Nature lovers can use these principles to learn how they can spend time outdoors without negatively impacting the environment. Some basic tenets include taking your trash with you and minimizing the impact of campfires. You can introduce the next generation to these important principles by bringing your elementary school aged children to a workshop at Sheep Hill farm. For more information, please email: ruraland@wrlf.org. 413-458-2494. 671 Cold Spring Road. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 10am-12pm
GUIDED NATURE HIKE/TRACKING
Do you like solving riddles, puzzles, or mysteries? You might enjoy tracking wildlife! Come to Canoe Meadows 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. Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA. (<$)

Saturday, February 11, 10am-3pm
NORDIC SKIING
 Winter Trails is a national annual event that offers children and adults new to snowshoeing and nordic skiing the chance to try out snowshoes and cross-country skis on local trails while showcasing the health benefits of these two outdoor winter activities. These low-impact aerobic sports incorporate strength and endurance training, and can help people stay active and healthy throughout the winter months when other sports are more difficult to pursue. Notchview will be participating, offing half priced and free 2-hour snowshoe & ski equipment rentals on a first-come, first-served basis. 413-684-0148 . 83 Old Route 9. Windsor, MA. (<$)

Saturday, February 11, 10am-3pm
VALENTINE’S DAY
The Five Love Languages is a theory proposed by author Gary Chapman, in his 1995 book of the same name. In the book he outlines five different ways that people can demonstrate their love for another person: gift giving, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion), and physical touch (The Five Love Languages Wikipedia page. Whether you are naturally a gift-giver or not, making Valentine’s Day cards or crafts is a simple and inexpensive way to show someone you care. Bring your kids to the Goodwin Memorial Library to make Valentine’s cards with other community members. Drop in anytime. 413-584-7451. 50 Middle Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 10am-9pm
PLACEMAKING/WINTERFEST
Does the winter weather have you feeling down? “WinterFest” at Mill 180 Park is a twist on your typical winter festival. The Mill 180 indoor park, complete with plants, turf grass, and games of cornhole, invites you to “Summer in the City!” There will be summer-themed food, beverages, sports, and movies all day at this indoor green space. Meet other local families and play summer-themed games. 413-203-1259. 180 Pleasant Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 10:30am-11:30am
STEM/HORTICULTURE
 Red Gate Farm is teaming up with local libraries to provide programs to get young children interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. On February 11, participants will be learning the science of seeds! Children up to age seven will be investigating seeds at the Buckland Public Library. Planting seeds at home can help kids become interested in plant and soil science and horticulture by watching their seeds grow into beautiful plants. Teaching kids about horticulture can also help instill important values by teaching them about sources of healthy, local foods. 413-625-9412. 30 Upper Street. Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 10:30am-12pm
VALENTINE’S DAY/STEAM
 At the Meekins Library, you can drop by to celebrate Valentine’s Day and have fun with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). Participants will build heart structures, learn about chemistry by dissolving candy hearts, and have fun with physics by playing with magnetic hearts. There will be other craft and science activities. Drop in anytime during the event. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 11am
VALENTINE’S DAY/CRAFTS
The Granby Library will be providing stampers, stickers, laces, ribbons and flowers for all your Valentine making needs! Kids of all ages are invited to make Valentine’s Day cards for friends, grandparents and other loved ones. What a simple way to show someone you care! Registration is required. Call the library during open hours: (T,W,F 10:30am-5:30pm, Th. 1-8pm, Sat.10:30am.-1:30pm). 413-467-3320. 297 East State Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 12pm-2pm
FASHION DESIGN/SCREEN PRINTING
Learning how to print your own designs on clothing is a creative activity which can also connect you to learning about the history and chemistry of the printing process. The process of screen printing is both an art and a science (learn in this article: Ink Chemistry). Springfield residents ages fourteen to nineteen can learn every step of the screen printing process from conceptualization to printing, at a Make It Springfield workshop. Participants must register and commit to attending all 4 workshops in the series: February 11th, February 18, February 25, March 4.. The workshop will take place at the Paper City Clothing Company. 358 Dwight Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 1pm-2pm
ANIMAL STUDIES/ZOOLOGY
You don’t have to look further than your own backyard to study animals in their habitats. The Creature Teachers will teach you how, in their presentation: Nature of My Backyard at Great Falls Discovery Center. A lot can be learned about biology and ecology by studying the animals we encounter every day, such as porcupines, gray foxes, woodchucks, flying squirrels, snapping turtles, milk snakes, and more. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 1pm-2:30pm
ANIMAL STUDIES/CRAFTS
By putting a bat house on your property, you are helping bats who may not have a safe place to live due to deforestation. Attracting bats near your home also allows you to observe them. In this workshop at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary you will be taught how to build a bat box and where to put it in order to attract bats. You will also learn about various species in your area and their natural history. Ages five and up. Bat houses may be donated to Mass Audubon if you don’t have a suitable location. All materials and equipment are included in the program fee. Call 413-637-0320 to register. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. (Adult $$; Child FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 1pm-6pm
PLACEMAKING/WINTERFEST
Winter is the time of year to connect with your community through the sharing of warm meals and winter activities. You can find both, and much more, at WinterFest Amherst! Physical activities include mountain bike rides, baseball toss, sledding, and disc golf. The whole family can enjoy community meals, performances, demonstrations, and wagon rides while connecting with local businesses and community members of Amherst. Cherry Hill Golf Course. 325 Montague Road. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, February 11, 4pm-7pm
PUPPETRY/COMMUNITY MEAL
The Northampton Parents Center provides programs and services to children birth through kindergarten age and their families and caregivers. The parents center invites these families, as well as siblings and alumni, to playtime and a family puppet show with Tom Knight Puppets. There will also be an optional potluck supper prior to the puppet show. Puppetry performances appeal to children’s love of stories, and their desire to animate objects, bringing the world around them to life. If your kids love these puppet shows, they may want to create puppets of their own. Puppets can be very open ended and offer children of all ages the opportunity to re-create favorite stories and often inspire new tales. Read more in our post, Let’s Play: Puppets and Creative Free Play. 297 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 4pm-8pm
PLACEMAKING/ICE SKATING
 The earliest form of ice skating is thought to date back to about 3,000 years ago in Finland. The original skates used were constructed with lengths of animal bone strapped to the bottom of boots. Bring your skates to “Fire and Ice,” a community skating party, or simply enjoy the bonfire and games. There will be music and s’mores! For full details visit the Burgy Ice Rink Facebook page. To learn more about the history of this sport and locations of rinks near you, check out our post Ice Skating in Western MA. Helen E. James Building Lawn. 16 Main Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 6pm-8pm
OUTDOOR ADVENTURES/SNOWSHOE
 Did you know that snowshoeing was practiced 6,000 years ago? The world’s oldest known snowshoe was discovered in September 2016 at an altitude of 10,280 ft on the Gurgler Eisjoch glacier close to the Italian-Austrian border. Learn more by reading our post, History of Snowshoeing. You can engage in this 6,000-year-old sport, and learn about ornithology, by participating in a guided hike at Notchview. Participants will learn to look for the sights and sounds of owls, and enjoy pizza in the visitor’s center after the hike. Registration is required. Bring your own snowshoes! Snowshoe rentals available on first come first served basis. For more information call The Trustees at 413-628-4485 x3. 83 Old Route 9. Windsor, MA. (Member <$; Non member $)

Saturday, February 11, 7pm
GUIDED NATURE HIKE
 Get some exercise and time spent outdoors for your weekend by joining a group for a guided hike. All are welcome to a moonlight hike through the woodland property of Phil and Diane Merritt. The route begins at Big View trailhead. There will be a campfire for roasting marshmallows and relaxed conversation after the hike. Carpool if possible as parking is limited. Bring snowshoes if you prefer, as well as a water bottle and a flashlight. In the event of inclement weather the event will be cancelled. Check Williamsburg Woodland Trails website for cancellation information. Call 413-268-3372 with questions. Unquomonk Road. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 11, 7pm
FOLK MUSIC
 Pete Seeger was an influential American folk singer as well as an important social and political activist. You can celebrate his music and introduce your children to classic folk songs at the Pete Seeger sing-along! All are invited to the Ashfield Congregational Church to sing some favorite tunes, or hear them for the first time. This is also an opportunity to get together with other fans of folk music, and teach your children about the connection between American folk music and political activism. Wheelchair accessible from the front door. For more information call 413-625-2355. 429 Main Street. Ashfield, MA. (FREE/DONATION optional)

Saturday, February 11, 7pm-10pm
PLACEMAKING/WINTERFEST
Puppetry isn’t just for kids! The 2017 Holyoke Winter Festival continues on February 11 with the Paper City Puppet Slam, featuring performers from all over New England. This puppet show for grown-ups won’t shy away from complex topics, but will approach them through the fun and entertaining art of puppetry (7pm-8:30pm). Following the puppet show, the art celebration continues with a lip-sync contest! Check the Gateway City Arts website for a full schedule of programs and performances taking place through February 12. 413-650-2670. Race Street. Holyoke, MA. ($)

Saturday, February 11, 7:30pm
MUSIC STUDIES/CHAMBER CHOIR
For four years, the Illuminati Vocal Arts ensemble has been performing under the direction of Dr. Tony Thornton. Composer Clifton Noble Jr. has said of this group: “Performances at the level of Illuminati’s give the listener a clear window into the composer’s soul.” Get a glimpse into the souls of composers such as Gjeilo, Brahms, Ešenvalds, Handel, and Hella Johnson, at this choral concert “Luminous Night.” Helen Hills Hills Chapel. 123 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. ($; Student <$)

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Sunday, February 12th, 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, to hear a rebroadcast of a favorite Valentine’s Day episode with Guest DJ Charity Kahn. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime – click here to see over 9 years of archived shows.

Sunday, February 12, 11am-2pm
VALENTINE’S DAY/ANIMAL STUDIES
This year for Valentine’s Day show your love…for wildlife! Great Falls Discovery Center invites families and community members of all ages to the Great Hall to make Valentines. Make one for yourself, give one to a friend or family member, or give to your favorite wildlife biologist in honor of your favorite animal. Participants are invited to learn about their favorite animals and how they can help to protect wildlife. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 12, 2pm
JEWISH CULTURE/FILM STUDIES
Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815-97) was a groundbreaking American photographer and artist. He studied portrait photography with the daguerreotype method. He was also an observant Sephardic Jew. Learn more about this artistic figure, and the real-life western adventure story of his life, by viewing the 2015 film Carvalho’s Journey at the Yiddish Book Center. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 12, 2pm
ECOLOGY/HYDROLOGY
Western Massachusetts is home to one of the largest man-made, public water supplies in the country: the beautiful Quabbin Reservoir. The reservoir is also a rich local resource for learning about ecology and habitat. All ages are welcome to an educational presentation on water sources: “The Influence of Weather Patterns, Forest Ecosystems, and Human Use on Water Supplies.” Call 413-323-7221 for more information. Quabbin Visitor’s Center. 485 Ware Road. Ware, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 12, 2pm-4pm
PLANT AND SOIL SCIENCE/BIOLOGY
This year, you can make Valentine’s Day a learning opportunity. Expand your biological knowledge by learning about plant reproduction, in this talk at Bartholomew’s Cobble. Plants differ greatly in their reproduction, from asexual plants to self-pollinating ones. For more information please call 413-298-3239 ex 3013. 117 Cooper Hill Road. Sheffield, MA. (Members <$; Non members $)

Sunday, February 12, 2pm-4:30pm
THEATER/COMEDY
Acting and improvisation and two impressive feats, one involving the memorization of specific lines and stage directions, the other requiring creative, on-the-spot thinking. New Century Theater and Happier Valley Comedy will be incorporating both acting and improvisation in their performance, Making Up Love (Rated PG-13). New Century Theater actors will provide the scripted acting, while Happier Valley Comedy will mix things up with their unscripted whimsy. Celebrate Valentine’s Day early by seeing the show at the Academy of Music Theatre. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (General admission $$; Senior/child/veteran <$)

Sunday, February 12, 5:30pm-7pm
COMMUNITY SING
 It’s no secret that music is good for your brain. In addition to the learning-based benefits of playing or reading music, singing has the added benefit of warding off chemicals that can cause depression and loneliness. The act of singing increases the natural production of endorphins and oxytocin (a chemical that decreases stress and anxiety). Parents may be interested in these findings. A singing child is likely to be calm and happy more often than not thanks to the chemicals that choral singing helps to release in their bodies. You and your family can participating in a casual, community sing at Earthdance. The group will sing tunes such as “Honey in the Rock,” “Don’t Give Up,” Deep Peace,” “When Love had No Road We Built It,” plus some love-themed songs in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Bring a dish to share and stick around after the sing for a potluck supper. 413-634-5678. 252 Prospect Street. Plainfield, MA. (FREE)

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Monday, February 13th, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

Monday, February 13, 10am
THEATER/SHAKESPEARE
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a great introductory play for students beginning to learn about Shakespeare. This comedy has a relatively simple plot compared to other Shakespeare plays and as a comedy, it has a happy ending. More advanced students can use this play to contrast a Shakespearean comedy with one of his tragedies, such as the also popular Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare permanently reshaped the English language as we know it today, inventing hundreds of words and phrases in his writing which are now commonly used. Young actors and fans of literature are invited to a performance of Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare and Company. This performance is for student audiences. Homeschooled parents are invited to bring their homeschoolers. Performances run for 90 minutes, and are followed by an optional 15-minute talkback with the actors. 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street. Lenox, MA. (Student <$; Chaperone FREE)

Monday, February 13, 3pm-3:45pm
MINDFULNESS/CLIMATE ACTION
It can be a difficult balance to be politically aware and active while not allowing global concerns to take an unnecessary toll on your mind. Mindfulness teaches people to be aware and present moment-to-moment. Practicing mindfulness can help you to be active in the moment, without letting your activism spiral into anxiety about the future. As part of a climate change event series, “Talking Truth: Finding Your Voice Around the Climate Crisis,” you are invited to participate in a Mindful Climate Action workshop every Monday through May 8th. Attendees will be guided through a thirty minute mindfulness practice, followed by a discuss on resources, action-based opportunities, and ideas. W.E.B. DuBois Library at UMass Amherst. Room 1638. 154 Hicks Way. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Monday, February 13, 7pm
FILM STUDIES/FRENCH STUDIES
The 2015 drama La Belle Saison (Summertime) (not rated) paints a picture of rural France in 1971, and tells the story of a young woman’s struggle against homophobia and class divisions. The main character Delphine moves from her family’s farm in Limousin, to Paris, where she falls in love with political activist, Carole. She returns to home a changed woman, and brings Carole with her. This authentic love story provides educational insight into the feminist movement in France, while carefully depicting the powerful dramas which occur within the family dynamic. You can screen this film at Images Cinema as part of Williams College’s ongoing series, “School Stories: Diversity and Adversity in New French Film.” 50 Spring Street. 413-458-5612. Williamstown, MA. (<$)

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Tuesday, February 14th, 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, February 14, 10am-11am
PARENTING/CULTURAL STUDIES
Early childhood is the best time to introduce languages to your child. As part of their Puzzle of Parenting series, the Collaborative for Educational Services is providing a bilingual story, music, and games session for families. Participants will engage their children with both English and Spanish, and learn about Spanish and Latin American culture. This could be a great way to connect your child to their own heritage, or to introduce other cultures for a more global understanding. This program is intended for children ages birth to five years, and their caregivers. Register on the Collaborative for Educational Services website. For more information, call the Collaborative at 413-586-4900. Choose the location best for you. This session will take place at the South Hadley Family Center. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, February 14, 11:30am-1:30pm
ICE SKATING
One benefit to homeschooling your children is that the schedule can sometimes allow greater flexibility for your child to explore their interests during school hours. The Mullins Center at UMass Amherst invites homeschooling families to skate at discounted prices. All children school age and younger are invited. Adults must be accompanied by children. Parents receive free admission and skate rental when accompanying children. Cash only. Commonwealth Avenue. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Tuesday, February 14, 4pm
POETRY
The term “poetry” comes from the Greek term, “poiesis,” which translates to “making.” How do you make poetry? Typically by applying literary techniques such as rhythm and rhyme to your writing. Some scholars argue that poetry actually predates the written word. Due to the often rhythmic and rhyming nature of poems, poetry can be easier to remember than prose, and poetry can be used as a mnemonic device. If you’re interested in learning more about poetry, keep in mind that it is a deeply historic and global art form. You can hear poetry from a Kenyan writer, Wambui Mwangi and South African poet, Malika Ndlovu in this reading at the Smith College Poetry Center. Wright Hall. 5 Chapin Drive. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, February 14, 7pm-9pm
VALENTINE’S DAY/PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT
 Snowshoes, Beer and Chocolate – Oh my! Spend the holiday at
Notchview and enjoy a night time self-guided snowshoe on the beautiful woodland trails. Snowshoeing will be followed by a cozy evening in the warmth of the visitor center, with a tasting of beer and chocolate! There will be a chocolate fountain too! Registration is preferred. Snowshoe rentals available on a first come, first served basis. Bring a headlamp! For more information: acaluori@thetrustees.org or call 413-684-0148. 83 Old Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($)

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Wednesday, February 15th, 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, Wednesday, February 15, 10am-11am
PARENTING/CULTURAL STUDIES
Early childhood is the best time to introduce languages to your child. As part of their Puzzle of Parenting series, the Collaborative for Educational Services is providing a bilingual story, music, and games session for families. Participants will engage their children with both English and Spanish, and learn about Spanish and Latin American culture. This could be a great way to connect your child to their own heritage, or to introduce other cultures for a more global understanding. This program is intended for children ages birth to five years, and their caregivers. Register on the Collaborative for Educational Services website. For more information, call the Collaborative at 413-586-4900. Choose the location best for you. This session will take place at the Amherst Family Center. 1200 N Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, February 15, 10am-5pm
STEM/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Science fairs ask young people to demonstrate their scientific knowledge through practically applying it in a creative way. Science projects can encourage outside-the-box, innovative thinking. The Berkshire Museum brings top-notch, high school science projects to the public at their annual Science and Innovation Fair, featuring approximately 100 students from Pittsfield’s public high schools. Teens will likely be inspired by the work of their peers. People of all ages can use this fair as inspiration for their own scientific ideas. Museum admission is free for the day of the science fair. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Route 7. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, February 15, 6pm-9pm
WRITING/ZINE MAKING
You don’t need a publisher to get your stories, poems, or drawings out to be the public. If you want to share your work with the community, you can always make a zine. Zines are small magazines, made inexpensively and often distributed for free. Since zines don’t usually travel far in their distribution, zine collections can give you an idea about the culture of your community and connect you with local writers. Zine making is also a great way to collaborate with other artists. Come to the Forbes Library Zine Club to talk about and creat zines. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, February 15, 6:30pm-8pm
CULINARY ARTS/NUTRITION
When you eat locally sourced foods you support local farmers while supplying your diet with fresh foods. Leslie Cerier, of The Organic Gourmet will be at River Valley Co Op teaching people how to eat like “localvores.” She’ll teach you about seasonal veggies great for snacking, discuss local, seasonal produce and dairy, and tell you about recipes for meals such as hot soups, risottos, salads, and casseroles. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Thursday, February 16th, 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 16, 12:15pm-1pm
OPERA/HISTORY
Leontyne Price is one of the most respected Soprano opera singers worldwide. She studied at Berkshire Music Center and the Julliard School, and was the first African American to perform with New York City’s Metropolitan Opera. Fans of opera and history- come to the Springfield Museums to learn more about this pivotal American musician. You are welcome to bring a lunch to enjoy during the discussion and lecture. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (<$)

Thursday, February 16, 2pm-8pm
PLACEMAKING/ART STUDIES
Pittsfield’s 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival offers ten days of community-based cultural events that showcase music, theater, art, local food, play and creativity. This annual event celebrates the rich arts and culture found in the communities of the Berkshires. Theatrical performances include the New Play Festival, showcasing ten new, ten-minute plays with small ensembles of just six actors (7:30pm). There will be educational learning opportunities in the form of art lectures and discussions. Visit the festival website for a full schedule of events. Various locations. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE – $$)

Thursday, February 16, 5pm
LITERACY/WOMEN’S STUDIES
How would you describe your relationship with money? Between 2009 and 2014, author Christian McEwen interviewed more than fifty women in an attempt to answer that question, eliciting a wide range of money-themed stories and information. This research culminated in a play entitled: Legal Tender: Women and the Secret Life of Money. McEwen will be discussing this research process and his discoveries in a talk at Smith College. Poetry Center. Wright Hall. 5 Chapin Drive. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, February 16, 5:30pm
IMMIGRATION STUDIES/REFUGEES
The first step towards political involvement and social transformation is education. You can become more informed about the current, global refugee crisis, and gain an understanding of current immigration issues in the United States at an educational forum. Norman Rockwell Museum‘s Four Freedoms Forum speakers will include: Asma Abbas, Associate Professor of Politics and Philosophy at Bard College at Simon’s Rock; Hilary Greene, Director of Berkshire Immigrant Center; and Dr. Charles Park, Director of Berkshire Immigrant Stories Project. Come with questions and ideas to contribute, or simply listen. 413-298-4100. 9 Glendale Road. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, February 16, 6pm-7pm
ORNITHOLOGY/CRAFT
Making birdfeeders for your backyard can help attract feathered friends for you to study and observe. Birdfeeders can also be a big help to birds in the difficult winter months. Participants ages three and up, and their caregivers, will be making nut-free pinecone birdfeeders at the Hubbard Memorial Library. Attendees will also have the opportunity to learn about the Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen science opportunity to help researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. All supplies will be provided. Please register on the library website or by calling the children’s department: 413-583-3408. 24 Center Street. Ludlow, MA.

Thursday, February 16, 6:30pm
LINGUISTICS/ANTHROPOLOGY
 Did you know that many Native American languages are endangered or have gone extinct? For example, of the 170,000 Lakota tribal members, only 6,000 of them speak Lakota today. With the average age of a Lakota speaker being 70, effort is needed in order to save this dying language. Culture is interwoven with language in countless ways; language preservation is therefore crucial for cultural preservation. Learn more at the Meekins Library by screening the film, Rising Voices/Hótȟaŋiŋpi, followed by a discussion. This film, which was five years in the making, documents the ongoing efforts of Language Conservancy to preserve endangered languages. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, February 16, 7pm
BIODIVERSITY/EARTH SCIENCE
Did you know that 98% of all the species that have ever lived are extinct?! Our planet has experienced 5 mass extinctions, including the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event (think dinosaurs). So what is the sixth extinction? As author Elizabeth Kolbert writes, the sixth extinction is our current biodiversity crisis and startlingly, it is man-made. In this book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Kolbert outlines the species who have been extinguished as a direct result of human behaviors and inventions. What can you do to make a positive impact on biodiversity? The first step is education. You are invited to join others in a discussion of this book, led by a Jones Library librarian and an environmental educator from the Hitchcock Center. Jones Library. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, February 16, 7pm
DANCE STUDIES/FILM STUDIES
Are you inspired by the flexibility, strength, and poise of dancers? The 2016 documentary film Storyboard P: A Stranger In Sweden follows an amazing and talented dancer who has yet to achieve his big break. At this special screening of the film, the documentary subject Storyboard P will be present at Amherst Cinema! Learn about the day-to-day life of a talented, contemporary dancer. 413- 253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, February 16, 7pm
IMMIGRATION STUDIES/FILM STUDIES
In the United States, unless you are a Native American, you are a descendant of immigrants. Immigration is a political issue which affects all communities in various seen and unseen ways. José Antonio Vargas is a journalist whose life story exemplifies this fact. He lived and worked in the United States for some time before revealing his status as an undocumented person. After revealing this fact, he was on the cover of Time magazine and continued to work and live here. Come to the Jones Library to view his TedX talk: “Actions are Illegal, Never People,” followed by a discussion. The post-screening discussion will include information about local anti-racism action projects. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

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Friday, February 17th, 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 17, 10:30am-11:30am
ANIMAL STUDIES
Children who come to understand and value nature often carry that perspective into adulthood. Give the children in your life a strong, early connection to the world around them through activities like Kidleidoscope Tuesdays at the Great Falls Discovery Center! Children ages 3-6 and their caregivers are invited to visit for a story, game, and craft related to the natural world. Today’s topic will be porcupines! Siblings and friends welcome. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Friday, February 17, 11:30am-1:30pm
ICE SKATING
One benefit to homeschooling your children is that the schedule can sometimes allow greater flexibility for your child to explore their interests during school hours. The Mullins Center at UMass Amherst invites homeschooling families to skate at discounted prices. All children school age and younger are invited. Adults must be accompanied by children. Parents receive free admission and skate rental when accompanying children. Cash only. Commonwealth Avenue. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Friday, February 17, 5:30pm-7:30pm
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Play is the work of childhood. Creative, self-directed play teaches children physical, mental, social, and emotional skills- all while they’re having a great time. Ten Days of Play at the Berkshire Museum encourages youth to experiment, improvise, create, and learn while they play. Friday, February 17, the event kicks off with Free Community Night. Visit the brand new Curiosity Incubator, as well as a LEGO® station, Tegu magnetic block station, and the Imagination Playground. These open-ended, child-directed stations are bound to bring out your child’s natural instinct for creative free play. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Route 7. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, February 17, 6:30pm-8:30pm
PHYSICS/PLAY
The yo-yo has enjoyed consistent use in hundreds of cultures for nearly three millennia. Seemingly moved by magic, the yo-yo is a toy as well as a well-designed tool for demonstrating basic principles of physics. Yo-Yo-ers of all ages can trade tricks and show off their skills at Mill 180 Park. Players from the A2Z Science & Learning Store will be running this informal Yo-Yo session. 413-203-1259. 180 Pleasant Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, February 17, 7pm
MUSIC STUDIES/AFRICAN DRUMMING
Music generated in Sub Saharan Africa is highly influenced by rhythm and percussive sounds. Many percussion instruments now used across cultures were originally invented in Africa, including the jembe, the shekere (shaker), and the marimba. Learning about African drumming can connect you to music history and anthropology, while participating in African drumming can expand your musical abilities- and dance skills! All are welcome to see and hear the WOFA African Drum and Company Show perform “Kakilambé in the Harvest!” at Pioneer Valley Performing Arts. All tickets will be sold at the door. 413-552-1580. 15 Mulligan Drive. South Hadley, MA. (<$)

Friday, February 17, 8pm
ASTRONOMY
Astronomy is a natural science which applies mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Astronomers use various mathematical and scientific methods to answer questions such as the distance between celestial bodies, their physical movements, and even their origins. Studying astronomy formally can appeal to people with strong mathematical and scientific inclinations. At the same time, nearly anyone can appreciate the beauty and wonder of the night sky. Whether your interest is scientific, artistic, or spiritual in nature, you can learn about astronomy by attending free shows for the public held at the Milham Planetarium, located inside the Old Hopkins Observatory at Williams College. Astronomy students will use the Zeiss Skymaster to demonstrate phenomena such as retrograde motions of planets, phases of the moon, and locations of neighboring galaxies. They will teach audiences about mythological figures and zodiacal signs ascribed to constellations, artificial satellites, and much more. Shows run Fridays through through May 12, with the exception of March 17, 24, and 31. Call 413-597-2188 for reservations. 829 Main Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

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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, Shutesbury, Springfield, Ware, and Warwick Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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