Suggested Events for February 18th – 24th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families always offers such a complete listing of fun and educational events in the area for all ages… One of the great resources that make living in Western MA so family friendly. Thanks!” – Freja Joslin (Northampton, MA)

“Hilltown Families always offers such a complete listing of fun and educational events in the area for all ages… One of the great resources that make living in Western MA so family friendly. Thanks!” – Freja Joslin (Northampton, 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.

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.

Summer Camp

advertise with Hilltown FamiliesMARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Wednesday, March 8th, 2017, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

Bulletin Board

Feb 25

Meet Curious George and others at the WGBY Love for Learning PBS Kids fan fair Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10am to 3pm at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. It’s like a comic book convention for PBS Kids (ages 2–8). Children are encouraged to dress up as a favorite character. Enjoy show-themed activity stations, tabletop fun from community partners, and live demos from children’s book authors and illustrators. Plus, meet live characters, including Curious George, Buddy from Dinosaur Train, The Cat in the Hat, and others. The event is free (with suggested donation in support of public television). Event details and registration available at wgby.org/fanfair. Questions? Contact Marie Waechter at mwaechter@wgby.org.

Feb 26

Mister G February Fiesta! Presented by Sunnyside Child Care Center (one of the area’s longest running early childhood centers, offering quality care for children ages 18 months through five years). Come hear Latin Grammy winner Mister G perform songs in English and Spanish for kids from 1-100! Crafts, pizza, popcorn, and fun for all. Sunday, February 26, 10am-noon, at the Florence Civic Center, 140 Pine St., Florence. $8/per person or $25 for the family! www.sunnysidekids.org.

Open House: Mar 4

Sunnyside Child Care Center in Northampton is holding an Open House on Saturday, March 4, 9:30-11am. They are enrolling now for Fall 2017. Sunnyside provides play-based programs with an emergent curriculum for ages 18 months-5 years on 8 wooded acres between Northampton and Easthampton. Sunnyside values and promotes diversity, and offers flexible scheduling and a sliding scale tuition to make their high-quality childcare more accessible. Visit them at the open house, or call to schedule a tour. Sunnyside, 557 Easthampton Rd., Northampton. 413-727-3665. www.sunnysidekids.org.

Mar 4

The Common School: Community, collaboration, social justice, intrinsic motivation, deep understanding, diversity, inclusivity, environmental education- Come learn how these words are put into action at their Nursery Open House, Saturday, March 4, from 10am-12noon. Featuring: Teaching Creatures at 11:30am with their special program: Amazing Mammals. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, and chat with current parents. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

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.

2017 Preschool Directory for 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 25th – March 3rd, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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 25th, 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 Animals & Adventures Episode with Guest DJ, Stephen Michael Schwartz. 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 25, 8am-9pm
PLACEMAKING/ART STUDIES
10×20 Upstreet Arts Festival consists of ten days of community-based cultural events that showcase music, theater, art, local food, play and creativity and celebrate the rich arts and culture found in the communities of the Berkshires! This annual winter celebration features daily performances and activities to connect you to your area and to other community members. The festival continues on February 25 with a 1-10 mile community run, mini golf at the Berkshire Athenaeum, plays, fireworks and much more. Visit the Discover Pittsfield website for a full schedule of events. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE – $$)

Saturday, February 25, 9am-5pm
BOTANY/ORCHIDS
How many orchids can you identify? There are thousands of floral species in the orchid family, making it one of the largest families of flowering plants. Orchids are often very colorful and fragrant, making them a nice addition to a garden or home. The Amherst Orchid Society, and organization of orchid growers, invites you to their annual orchid show at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. Celebrate the coming warm months by exploring many floral species. 413-584-1414. 80 Locust Street. Northampton, MA. (<$)

Saturday, February 25, 10am
FILM STUDIES/MUSICAL
The classic and much-loved 1965 musical The Sound of Music (rated G) offers children and adults several launching points for learning about history. While young children can enjoy and appreciate the beautiful music, older youth and adults can use this film as an opportunity to learn about German and Austrian relations before World War II. The film follows the singing von Trapp family, their flight from Nazis, and their personal struggles as a family. Beyond the specific historical context of events leading up to World War II, this movie also provides an entertaining depiction of early 20th century life. You can screen this film at Amherst Cinema as part of their Family Films Series. 413- 253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, February 25, 10am-12pm
NATURE-BASED LEARNING/GUIDED HIKE
Do you like solving riddles, puzzles, or mysteries? You might enjoy tracking wildlife! Come to Pleasant Valley 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. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. (<$)

Saturday, February 25, 10am-12pm
STEM/ROBOTICS
The joy of coding lies in creative problem solving, and being able to watch things work just the way you planned. Sometimes this process involves lots of trial and error, thus programming can teach you resilience and persistence. Lots of amazing careers involve programming skills. If your child enjoys learning about cause and effect, figuring out how things work, and general tinkering, he or she may have a knack for programming and robotics. Youth ages ten and up are invited to Holyoke Codes to try their hand at building a SumoBot, a small robotic sumo wrestler designed to compete in a ring. Participants will build these robots, program them, and compete with them! 413-552-4900. Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. 100 Bigelow Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 25, 10am-1pm
NORDIC SKIING
 Racing in all forms can push you to your athletic limits. You may be faster than you think! Notchview’s annual Bread and Jam Classic is a fun, informal race series the goal of which is to generate excitement around nordic skiing and improve community fitness. There will be Classic 2, 5, 10KM races, with great prizes. The race includes Bill Koch Youth Ski League age group. Get moving and cheer others on! For more information call The Trustees at 413-628-4485 ex 3 or email acaluori@thetrustees.org. 83 Old Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($)

Saturday, February 25, 10am-3pm
LITERACY
Meet Curious George and others at the WGBY Love for Learning PBS Kids fan fair at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. It’s like a comic book convention for PBS Kids (ages 2–8). Children are encouraged to dress up as a favorite character. Enjoy show-themed activity stations, tabletop fun from community partners, and live demos from children’s book authors and illustrators. Plus, meet live characters, including Curious George, Buddy from Dinosaur Train, The Cat in the Hat, and others. The event is free (with suggested donation in support of public television). Event details and registration available at wgby.org/fanfair. Questions? Contact Marie Waechter at mwaechter@wgby.org. 877-446-6752. 1000 Hall of Fame Avenue. Springfield, MA. (DONATION)

Saturday, February 25, 10am-4pm
ZOOLOGY
This February school vacation week, keep the learning going by visiting a nature center!
Great Falls Discovery Center invites visitors engage in self-directed learning through the beautiful and realistic interpretive displays detailing the natural, cultural, and industrial history of the Connecticut River watershed. Saturday, February 18 through Sunday, February 26 the center will be expanding their hours and providing investigation stations on various topics. Friday, February 24 through Sunday, February 26, learn all about dinosaurs! 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 25, 10:30am
ANTHROPOLOGY/MULTICULTURALISM
Travel the world without leaving Massachusetts! At “Our Big World Culture Fair,” you and your children can learn about other cultures and nations through listening to personal narratives, playing games, sampling foods, and engaging with lots of hands-on, educational activities. Past performances at this annual event have included African dancing and drumming, and stories in different languages. This event can help foster in your children an understanding that in this country and across the world, people live differently, and yet share important similarities. Call 413-664-4821 with any questions. Haskins Gym. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA (FREE)

Saturday, February 25, 11am
FAMILY MUSIC
Children’s musicians often are inspired to write music directly for the children in their lives. Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam was founded by parents Jason and Amy, as they began to make music for their four-year-old daughter. Now your family can enjoy their Parents’ Choice Seal of Approval award-winning music in this concert at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam’s performances are high energy, interactive, and educational. Bring the whole family! Proceeds will support further musical development as funds benefit the Northampton Community Music Center Scholarship Fund. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. (<$; infants 0-12 months FREE)

Saturday, February 25, 11am-3pm
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. 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. Ten Days of Play activities are included with regular Museum admission and will be available daily from 11am-3pm daily, and 12pm-3pm on Sundays through February 26, in connection with Pittsfield’s 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Route 7. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 25, 11:30am-1pm
ARCHITECTURE/TINY HOUSES
Tiny houses are growing in popularity across the country. These structures have many advantages including their relative low price compared to large homes and the fact that individuals can be involved in the process of building their own homes. Tiny house communities have the potential to foster strong ties with neighbors and reshape our neighborhoods. For those who want to learn more and possibly build their own tiny house, how do you get started? Where do you get materials? How do you draw up a floor plan and what does your plan need? Local resident Lia Douillet will be answering these and other questions in a talk at the Ramsdell Library. She will also be talking about the philosophy behind minimalism, and how you can apply these ideas to your life and home even if you do not intend to build a tiny house. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 25, 1pm-2:30pm
ORNITHOLOGY
Putting a nest box on your property can help protect vulnerable species while teaching you about wildlife. This Kestrel & Wood Duck Nest Box Building Workshop at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary will teach participants about the natural history of these birds and help them identify an ideal location for a nest box. All materials and equipment are included in the program fee and no experience is necessary. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. ($$; child FREE)

Saturday, February 25, 1pm-3pm
FAMILY FILM/JAPANESE FILM
Hayao Miyazaki is a highly respected Japanese director, screenwriter, author, and animator. Many of his films explore feminist themes and star powerful heroines. Prior to the 1990s, all of his films featured freehand drawn artwork without computer graphics. The 1986 film Castle in the Sky follows a young girl as she searches for a floating island in the sky. Families are invited to view this enchanting film at the Goodwin Memorial Library. Please arrive before 1pm; the showing will start promptly. Popcorn will be served! 413-584-7451. 50 Middle Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 25, 2pm
LOCAL HISTORY/PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIES
Come see what Florence was like at the beginning of the 20th Century. Steve Strimer will present a selection of images of Florence in a slideshow. The slides come from a donation by Ann Goodwin of over 300 glass-plate negatives to the Florence History Museum. These early “snapshots,” taken around 1900, document the growth of the village of Florence, with early images of Lilly Library, The Hill Institute, Florence Manufacturing Company and other structures. Many of the photographs are of high artistic quality. This is an excellent opportunity to visually experience the Pioneer Valley from over 100 years ago. Historic Northampton. 46 Bridge Street. Northampton, MA (FREE)

Saturday, February 25, 2pm
CULINARY ARTS
Cooking is a life skill that everyone needs in order to survive. Unfortunately, culinary classes have largely been removed from high school offerings. As is the case with many essential life skills, the pressure is now on parents to teach their children how to cook. But this can be fun! You can involve even young children in the cooking process, and teens can have a great time learning with their friends. Iron Chef for Teens at the Sunderland Public Library encourages teens to get creative with various ingredients. This week, the secret ingredient is chocolate! Exploring culinary arts in a fun, low pressure situation can help teens build positive associations with the act of preparing foods. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 25, 2pm and 7:30pm
THEATER
Set in the 1980s, Heathers:The Musical is based on the 1988 cult classic which explores the power of manipulation and pressures which weigh on teenagers in their high school years. The Musical Theatre Guild, formed in 1976, will be performing an entirely student-run performance of Heathers: The Musical at Westfield State University. Dever Stage in Parenzo Hall. Westfield State University. 413-572-5300. 577 Western Avenue. Westfield, MA. (<$)

Saturday, February 25, 2:30pm
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)

Saturday, February 25, 8pm
MUSIC STUDIES
Come support youth musicians! The Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestra will be performing in collaboration with the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra in the Abbey Memorial Chapel. The groups will be playing pieces including Mikhail Glinka’s “Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla,” Ernest Chausson’s “Poeme,” and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No.1 “Titan.” Mount Holyoke College. 50 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 25, 7:30pm
MUSIC STUDIES/CHORAL MUSIC
In the Pioneer Valley, proximity to five major colleges and many other academic institutions creates a thriving community of scientists, philosophers, artists, and musicians. The Five College Choral Festival will bring you the best performances by choirs from Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. These groups will also come together for a combined performance of “Oseh Shalom” by Elaine Broad Ginsberg, conducted by Stephen Paparo. Come out to support and connect with these local singers. John M. Greene Hall. 60 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Sunday, February 26th, 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 26, 10am-12pm
ANIMAL TRACKING/GUIDED NATURE HIKE
 With a careful eye you can find evidence of moose, bobcats, foxes, coyotes and more in our local forests. Your nature hikes will soon be opportunities to track local wildlife and learn about ecology. Expert naturalist John Body will be teaching a workshop at Notchview to teach participants the skills of animal tracking. After a guided nature hike, attendees will settle indoors with cocoa to see footage from Body’s wildlife camera. For more information call The Trustees at 413.628.4485 ex3. 83 Old Route 9. Windsor, MA. (<$)

Sunday, February 26, 10am-12pm
FAMILY MUSIC
Latin Grammy winner Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer) is an Amherst College graduate who spent twenty years as a singer-songwriter of adult music before transitioning to become an award-winning children’s music artist. He is a former teacher with a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Smith College. He writes educational and sometimes bilingual songs for the whole family to enjoy. You can hear him perform while enjoying crafts and pizza at Sunnyside‘s winter concert. For more family music, check out Hilltown Families Variety Show. Florence Community Center. Park Street. Florence, MA. (<$)

Sunday, February 26, 10am-4pm
ZOOLOGY
This February school vacation week, keep the learning going by visiting a nature center!
Great Falls Discovery Center invites visitors engage in self-directed learning through the beautiful and realistic interpretive displays detailing the natural, cultural, and industrial history of the Connecticut River watershed. Saturday, February 18 through Sunday, February 26 the center will be expanding their hours and providing investigation stations on various topics. Friday, February 24 through Sunday, February 26, learn all about dinosaurs! 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 26, 10am-4pm
BOTANY
How many orchids can you identify? There are thousands of floral species in the orchid family, making it one of the largest families of flowering plants. Orchids are often very colorful and fragrant, making them a nice addition to a garden or home. The Amherst Orchid Society, and organization of orchid growers, invites you to their annual orchid show at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. Celebrate the coming warm months by exploring many floral species. 413-584-1414. 80 Locust Street. Northampton, MA. (<$)

Sunday, February 26, 12pm-3pm
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. 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. Ten Days of Play activities are included with regular Museum admission and will be available daily from 11am-3pm daily, and 12pm-3pm on Sundays through February 26, in connection with Pittsfield’s 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Route 7. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 26, 10am-4pm
PLACEMAKING/ART STUDIES
10×20 Upstreet Arts Festival consists of ten days of community-based cultural events that showcase music, theater, art, local food, play and creativity and celebrate the rich arts and culture found in the communities of the Berkshires! This annual winter celebration features daily performances and activities to connect you to your area and to other community members. The festival wraps up on February 26 with creative free play, theatre, and a contemporary dance performance. Visit the Discover Pittsfield website for a full schedule of events. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE – $$)

Sunday, February 26, 1pm-4pm
SKILLSHARE/SEWING
Learn how to sew and help reduce waste by participating in a Bagshare event! This event will provide bags for Cornucopia Foods in Northampton. If you don’t like to sew, you can also help out by cutting fabric. No experience is necessary. This event will take place in the Eastworks building, space #330. 413-527-1000. 116 Pleasant Street. Easthampton, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Sunday, February 26, 1:30pm-3:30pm
FILM STUDIES/JAPANESE CULTURE
The first color film was made in 1932. Even in the 1940s and 1950s, color film was a relatively new art form and filmmakers were experimenting with the visual effect of color on their movies. The 1958 film Equinox Flower (unrated) was director Yasujiro Ozu’s first film in color, released seven years after the first Japanese color film. You can screen this film at the Clark Art Institute, thinking about the role of color and cinematography play on your experience on the film. This film is presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Family Collection, on view through April 2. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 26, 2pm
NEW ENGLAND HISTORY
The Townshend Acts placed taxes on items such as glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea in America, the revenue of which benefited English rule. Most people are familiar with the rebellions which ensued, including the Boston Massacre. Historic Deerfield is hosting a winter lecture series to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Townshend Acts through an exploration of the politics of tea, consumer culture, and resistance. This second lecture, “‘Renounce the Baneful Herb:’ Colonial Boycotts and the Invention of Liberty Tea,” will be presented by Nancy Siegel, Professor of Art History at Towson University. 413-774-5581. 80 Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 26, 2pm
MUSIC STUDIES/FOLK MUSIC
Bob Dylan is one of the most influential American folk musicians of all time. His lyrics have been praised for their poetic value. He was even awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, a surprising accolade for someone primarily known for his music. Dylan grew up in Hibbing, Minnesota. His family was part of a tight-knit Jewish community. In the 2015 documentary Tangled Up in Blue, writer and painter Natalie Goldberg pays a visit to Dylan’s hometown to explore the effect his roots may have had on him. What role does our sense of home play in shaping our lives, our work, our personalities? Learn more by screening this film at the Yiddish Book Center. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 26, 2pm
MUSIC STUDIES/CHAMBER MUSIC
Instruments are inventions which rely on the physical principles of sound in order to produce musical tones. Instruments vary greatly in their design. Double reed instruments are wind instruments which create sound through the vibration of two reeds, or canes, against each other. The oboe, oboe d’amore, English Horn, and bassoon are all examples of double reeds, and you can hear each of them at “A Double Reed Extravaganza!” a Five College faculty concert. Larry Schipull will provide accompaniment on harpsichord. McCulloch Auditorium. Mount Holyoke College. College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 26, 2pm
LOCAL TALENT/THEATER
Where can you see modern dance, comedy, music, living history (in the form of an Elvis impersonator) drama and World Championship Yo-Yo performances in a single afternoon? At the Really Big Gong Show! This annual event at the Academy of Music Theatre showcases a wide variety of local talent in friendly competition for prizes. It is a crash course in the theatrical and performative culture of the Pioneer Valley. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (Advance tickets, seniors, kids 12 and under <$; Adult ticket at door $)

Sunday, February 26, 2pm-3pm
NATURE STUDIES
Exploring nature through hiking, camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities reminds us of our inseparable connection to the Earth. Photographing nature and the wildlife who reside there allows you to preserve pleasant memories and capture images for further consideration.Jim Morelly hiked 2100 miles within the Quabbin and will be sharing his experiences and his photographs at the Quabbin Visitor Center. 413-323-7221. 485 Ware Road. Belchertown, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 26, 4:30pm-6:30pm
FILM STUDIES/NEURODIVERSITY
Whole Children’s Sprout Film Festival aims to support diversity and inclusion in film, by bringing a collection of films featuring people with developmental and intellectual disabilities to the big screen. Representation and visibility in film helps people with disabilities through the presentation of narratives they can relate to. These films also help educate people about neurodiversity. Screenings will take place at Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, followed by a discussion. Contact Whole Children with questions 413-585-8010. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. (<$)

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Monday, February 27th, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

Monday, February 27, 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 27, 4:30pm
HISTORY/RACIAL JUSTICE
Travel is a mind-expanding experience, opening the traveler up to new ways of living, different beliefs, and the vast diversity of the human race. Historically, though, the right to travel freely has been a privilege strictly reserved for white citizens. In Colored Travelers: Mobility and the Fight for Citizenship Before the Civil War, author Jessica Marie Johnson relays the history of African Americans who fought for the freedom of mobility, relying on steamships, stagecoaches, and railroads. Johnson is an assistant professor of history at Michigan State University. Hear her discuss her work in this lecture held at Smith College. Neilson Library Browsing Room. 7 Neilson Drive. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Monday, February 27, 5:30pm-8pm
PHOTOGRAPHY/PORTRAITURE
People have long been a popular subject for paintings. Since the invention of photography, photographic portraits have grown into a thriving industry all over the world. You can learn the basics of photographic portraits by attending a free, interactive seminar at the Lee Library. Photographer Thad Kubis will discuss technical decisions about lighting, depth of field, and selecting the correct focal length. He will also discuss techniques used for candid, studio, and street portraits. 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street. Lee, MA. (FREE)

Monday, February 27, 7pm
FILM STUDIES/FRENCH FILM
In American culture, it is well known and understood that artists of all kinds struggle financially. We sometimes convey this through the phrase “starving artist.” Is this the case in other cultures? In the 2014 film Qu’Allah bénisse la France! (May Allah Bless France!), French rapper and novelist Abd Al Malik draws upon his own experiences as a struggling artist. The film’s main character, Régis, uses petty crime to fund his music, before eventually fingin salvation in literature and Islam. You can learn about contemporary French film, culture, and music, as well as Islamic religion, by viewing this film at Images Cinema. This screening is the final event in Williams College’s series, “School Stories: Diversity and Adversity in New French Film.” 50 Spring Street. 413-458-5612. Williamstown, MA. (<$)

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Tuesday, February 28th, 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 28, 4:30pm
PSYCHOLOGY/NEUROSCIENCE
Researchers continue to make vast discoveries into the mystery of the human brain. Robert Kegan is a psychologist who researches adult development and adult learning, making connections to how this research could impact the professional world of work. In his prize-winning book, An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, he wrote about innovative organizations and workplaces which found ways to support new discoveries in adult learning, professional development, and adult education. Hear him discuss his findings in a lecture at Smith College, as part of their Presidential Colloquium. Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall. 5 Chapin Drive. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, February 28, 5:30pm
ART STUDIES/THEATER STUDIES
Within the realm of theater, set design is an art form in its own right. You can learn about the art of set design, and how people created ideas about space through painting and other means, at this lecture: “The Painted Stage: Drama in Pictures and Pictures in Drama at Rome.” Clark/Oakley Fellow Marden Nichols will be discussing the Roman concept of theater as pictures-in-motion at the Clark Art Institute, kicking off a seven-part lecture series. Marden Nichols is assistant professor of classics at Georgetown University. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, February 28, 5:30pm-7pm
COMMUNITY MEAL/CULINARY
 Winter is a great time to learn new recipes, and cook warm comfort foods for friends and family. Bring your favorite soup to the Buckland Public Library for Winter Soup night! The library will be invites people of all ages to this social, community meal program. Guests may bring bread, cheese and other tidbits. If you would like to bring soup on any of the nights, please call 413-625-8541. 30 Upper Street. Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, February 28, 6pm
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. Interested community members are invited to a special reception with Elizabeth Kolbert and the Friends of the Jones Library, at the Amherst Regional Middle School Library. Following the reception, at 7pm, Kolbert will give a talk at the Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium. 170 Chestnut Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, February 28, 6:30pm
STEM/INTERGENERATIONAL
 Family Code Night will take the intimidation away from computer coding for kids as well as parents! Children ages five and up, and their caregivers, are invited to learn the basics of computer coding through fun puzzles. No experience is necessary for this introductory STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program. Registration is required. Register in person at the Westhampton library or on the Westhampton Public Library website. Registration will be limited to 50 participants. You are encouraged to bring one device for every two participants, if possible. Laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets will all work as long as they are able to connect to WiFi. There will be a limited number of laptops available for use. The event will take place at the Hampshire Regional High School library. Questions? Call the library at 413-527-5386 or email westhampton@cwmars.org. 19 Stage Road Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, February 28, 6:30pm-8pm
CULINARY ARTS/BEVERAGES
Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from green or black tea. Water kefir is a probiotic beverage made from grains. River Valley Co Op is offering a free workshop to teach participants how to make both kombucha and water kefir. You will gain the skills to brew and flavor these beverages at your own home. Registration is required. Call 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Wednesday, March 1st, 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, March 1, 4:30pm
EDUCATION/CRITICAL RACE THEORY
Topics such as racism often elicit strong emotional responses from students when discussed in a classroom. Smith College trustee and former psychology professor at Mount Holyoke College, Beverly Daniel Tatum, is a race-relations expert working to create greater inclusivity in classrooms. In her work and writing she discusses the difficulty of bringing race to the forefront of academic curricula effectively in light of the strong emotions this topic brings about. Tatum has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and M.A. in religious studies, and is author of “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity. All are welcome to her lecture at Smith College. Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall. 5 Chapin Drive. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, March 1, 5pm
ANTHROPOLOGY/RELIGIOUS STUDIES
The Five College Center for East Asian Studies connects students as well as community members with educational opportunities for learning about East Asian cultures. Dr. Yifa has received her PhD in religious studies from Yale University and has been a nun at Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Taiwan since 1979. She will be bringing her vast knowledge and experience to a public lecture, “Buddhism in Current China,” at Hampshire College. Franklin Patterson Hall. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, March 1, 6pm
FILM STUDIES/CULTURE STUDIES
Screening foreign films is an entertaining way to gain insight into a culture different from your own. The animated drama Only Yesterday was the highest grossing film in Japan when it was released in 1991. This animated film was targeted to adults, rather than children, but with its PG rating and animated style children may also be interested in seeing it. Only Yesterday tells the story of 27-year-old Taeko as she wrestles with her career and romantic life, with frequent flashbacks to her childhood in the late 1960s and 1970s. This film is being screened at the Clark Art Institute as part of “Anime Wednesdays,” a series celebrating the art of contemporary Japanese animation. All ages are welcome. 413-458-1039. 50 Spring Street. Williamstown, MA. (<$)

Wednesday, March 1, 7pm-8:45pm
NATURE STUDIES
Nature is universally connected to humanity, but affects individuals differently. How might race, ethnicity, gender, or class impact how we perceive the natural environment? This talk at the Forbes Library will explore the intersection of history and politics with environment, featuring poet essayist Mistinguette Smith, award-winning writer Lauret Edith Savoy, and journalist and naturalist Naila Moirera. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Thursday, March 2nd, 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, March 2, 10am
THEATER/SHAKESPEARE
Romeo and Juliet, the story of “star-crossed” lovers from dueling families, remains a popular play to read and to perform today, more than four hundred years after Shakespeare wrote it. 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)

Thursday, March 2, 10:30am-11:30am
LITERACY
Reading and comprehension of language are essential skills for functioning; these skills also open up a world of enjoyment through reading for pleasure. Parents can do a lot to encourage literacy in their children. Talking, singing, playing and reading with your child all build early reading skills. This program from the Collaborative for Educational Services will teach parents of children ages birth to five years fun activities to encourage literacy. Registration is required through the Collaborative for Educational Services website. For more information, call the Collaborative at 413-586-4900. Palmer/Monson Family Network. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, March 2, 4:30pm
POLITICAL SCIENCE/CURRENT EVENTS
There is a strong movement of women and LGBTQ community members seeking justice in Israel, fighting for marginalized groups and for environmental change. Tamar Zandberg is a leader of this movement of opposition in parliament. She will be giving a lecture, “Israel: A Vision for Peace and Justice from the Opposition,” explaining these issues. Neilson Library Browsing Room. Smith College. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, March 2, 5pm-6:30pm
PHYSICS
Neutrinos are elementary particles with a very small mass and neutral electric charge. Boris Kayser is a particle physicist and expert in neutrino physics. He will be giving a talk explaining the science and meaning of neutrinos, also exploring aspects of theoretical physics, at Smith College. You will learn the impact that neutrinos have had on our scientific understanding of reality. Seelye 106. Smith College. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, March 2, 6pm-8pm
IMMIGRATION STUDIES/CULTURAL PRESERVATION
Immigration stories are integral to the history and present culture of our communities. If you have an immigration story to share, The Berkshire Immigrant Stories Project will be offering assistance with the process of digitizing a chosen object and narrating a personal story. These narratives and artifacts will be shared on the “Your Story, Our Story” website. This workshop at the Berkshire Athenaeum is the second in a series of three. Laptops, scanners, digital cameras will be provided, as well as food and drink. There will be writing and translation assistance available. The workshop is open to all. For more information on participating in the project or volunteering: call 413-236-4607. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE/VOLUNTEER)

Thursday, March 2, 6:30pm
THEATER/FAMILY MUSICAL
Seeing young actors on stage can be highly inspirational for children. Youth performances also offer families the chance to enjoy theater together! Academy Youth Production will be performing an adaptation of “Singin in the Rain,” called “Singin’ in the Rain Jr.” for an audience of all ages at the Academy of Music Theatre. This musical utilizes snappy dialogue and lots of hilarious situations to amuse audiences young and old. Main characters Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are silent movies actors forced to adjust to the emerging “talking pictures.” Will Lina’s squeaky voice ruin her acting career? Come to the show to find out! Purchase tickets on the Academy website or by calling 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (<$)

Thursday, March 2, 7:30pm-9:30pm
FAMILY THEATER/MUSICAL
 Anything Goes,, a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, has been entertaining audiences since 1934. Hampshire Regional High School students will be performing their rendition of this high energy, big tap show as their winter musical! There are three chances to see it on March 2, 3, and 4. Come out to support young actors as they hone their craft and bring their own flare to a classic show. HRHS Auditorium. 413-527-7680. 19 Stage Road. Westhampton, MA ($)

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Friday, March 3rd, 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, March 3, 9:30am-4pm
NEW ENGLAND HISTORY
Maple sugaring is a centuries-old tradition in New England, and the seasonal industry remains an important part of the foundation upon which local agricultural is built. Additionally, maple sugaring brings opportunities for families to engage in intergenerational community-based learning through visits to farms, community meals, living history, and experiential hands-on activities. Old Sturbridge Village will be hosting a day of maple sugaring and other historic New England traditions, just for homeschoolers! Activities include Open Hearth Cooking: Tunbridge Cakes, Make a Wooden Spoon, Stencil a Tin Tray, Textiles, and Maple Quilted Teapot Mat. Register on the Old Sturbridge Village website. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. (Child admission $; Adult admission $$; activity fee <$)

Friday, March 3, 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)

Friday, March 3, 6pm-8pm
DANCE STUDIES/CIRCLE DANCE
 Circle Dance at the West Cummington Parish House draws upon the traditional dances of many different cultures. Sacred Circle Dance was founded by the members of Findhorn Community in Scotland. The dances have a range of pace and style, slow and meditative to playful and lively. No experience or dance partner is necessary. Every dance will be explained and demonstrated, so this is a great opportunity to learn something new while getting exercise and meeting new people. Donations requested but no one will be turned away. Call 413 634-0132 for more information. 27 West Main Street. West Cummington, MA. (DONATION)

Friday, March 3, 6pm-9pm
CITIZEN SCIENCE/AMPHIBIANS
Not long from now, local ponds, wetlands, and vernal pools will be teeming with life. Teetering somewhere between ice-crusted and mucky as of late, these aquatic habitats are home to a variety of fascinating species – including many types of frogs! The emergence of frogs in late winter and early Spring offers families lots of educational, citizen science opportunities, through learning to identify species, exploring the life cycle of amphibians, and helping to track and protect species. FrogWatch USA is a citizen science organization helping families do just that. Frog Watch Citizen Science Evening at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary is an educational evening geared toward adults, but there will be information on how you can conduct citizen science projects with your family in the coming warmer months. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. (Members <$; Non members $)

Friday, March 3, 6:30pm
THEATER/FAMILY MUSICAL
Seeing young actors on stage can be highly inspirational for children. Youth performances also offer families the chance to enjoy theater together! Academy Youth Production will be performing an adaptation of “Singin in the Rain,” called “Singin’ in the Rain Jr.” for an audience of all ages at the Academy of Music Theatre. This musical utilizes snappy dialogue and lots of hilarious situations to amuse audiences young and old. Main characters Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are silent movies actors forced to adjust to the emerging “talking pictures.” Will Lina’s squeaky voice ruin her acting career? Come to the show to find out! Purchase tickets on the Academy website or by calling 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (<$)

Friday, March 3, 7:30pm
BOTANY
Did you know that plants move? In addition to sensitive plants which react noticeably to their environment, plants do make rapid movements, so fast you would not necessarily notice it. In the Smith College Bulb Show Opening Lecture, “Botanical Explosions: The Evolutionary Impact of Ultra-fast Plants,” botanist Joan Edwards will discuss her research on this topic. Edwards studies the biomechanics of fast plant movements using high-speed video, and teaches courses in Ecology, Plant Systematics and Conservation Biology at Williams College. A reception at the Lyman Plant House will follow her talk. Campus Center Carroll Room. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, March 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. (<$)

Friday, March 3, 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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