Suggested Events for April 1st-7th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I SO appreciate being able to go through your eNewsletter each Thursday evening to find the kinds of events & activities that appeal to me & my family! The format allows me to first scan the outdoor, educational and/or service opportunities, and then fine-tooth search through the day-by-day ‘suggested events.’ I usually check out at least a post or two as well – and I often email a link to the eNewsletter to a friend whom I think will be interested. I rely on Hilltown Families more & more as my son gets older – especially since we started home-schooling. Thanks very much for your excellent work, folks!” Susan M. (Amherst, 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 Directory

Our summer camp guide is up! Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Apr 1

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the classic, Cinderella! Join Cinderella as she struggles with her evil family for independence, and travel through the enchanted forest as she is magically changed to appear at the masquerade ball where she meets her prince. Featuring guest artists from The North Atlantic Ballet and Ballet X. Live on stage April 1, 2017, at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.ticketlfy.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.

Apr 8

Immerse yourself in the world of Ancient Rome, at the Smith College Museum of Art’s Free Community Day, inspired by the exhibition Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii, Saturday, April 8, from 11:30 am–3:30 pm. All ages welcome! The day’s events include: Story time with Forbes Library; fresco painting with Associate Director for Museum Services David Dempsey; a collaborative performance with Enchanted Circle Theater and the Springfield Conservatory of the Arts middle school; olive oil tasting by Ellie’s Oils; exploration of volcanic rocks with Smith College geoscientists, jewelry-making, and more! Also, visit the Great Garbanzo food truck outside the museum!

Apr 8-15

Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold Easter Bunny Fun Days on April 8th, 9th, 14th & 15th. The Easter Bunny will be roaming the grounds and posing for pictures from 11am-3pm. Each child will receive an Easter egg with a surprise inside when they complete an Easter Scavenger Hunt. Additionally, there will be face painting from 11am-3pm and a Make & Take art craft. Take as many trolley rides as you would like operated by period dressed motormen. Inside the Visitor Center, you will find more static trolley cars and artifacts, a theater showing a short film about trolleys and a gift shop to buy that ‘special’ souvenir. Entrance into the Connecticut Fire Museum complete with antique fire trucks and apparatus is included with admission price. www.ct-trolley.org.

Apr 9

On April 9th, American Liberty Ballet presents “Sylvia ou la Nymphe de Diane,” an original 3 act ballet choreographed by Valerie Mae Browne. Since 1876 only 12 choreographers have ever tackled this difficult ballet: taking the stage at the Academy of Music. Set to the romantic score of Léo Delibes, Sylvia is a classical ballet set in an Arcadian forest, where a shepherd boy falls in love with a huntress nymph loyal to the goddess Diana. When arrows and hearts go awry, deities intervene to save Sylvia, in this captivating mythological love story. Sylvia is played by Bolshoi trained ballerina Natasha Sheptalova. American Liberty Ballet is comprised of 15 highly skilled classically trained dancers from all over the world. For tickets: americanlibertyballet.com.

Spring

Enrolling now! At The Center, an innovative dance studio in Amherst, children spin stories from movement using classical and contemporary dance techniques. Directors Ashley and Caddy Carlisle combine their years of dance training with a special teaching approach that gets kids reading, writing and dancing; connecting, collaborating and creating. It’s a holistic approach to dance. Collaborative dance-making creates community, fosters respectful, constructive communication, builds compassion, effects a recognition of shared humanity and promotes dialogue and connection across difference. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com. 321 Main Street. Amherst, MA. 413-687-7953.

July 17-28

Hampshire College Summer Academic Programs is accepting applications for summer 2017. Students who will be high school juniors and seniors in fall 2017 are encouraged to apply and experience Hampshire College, located in Amherst, while still in high school. Get a sense of Hampshire’s innovative approach to learning and what life is like on Hampshire’s campus and in the classroom during the two-week precollege programs. This summer’s precollege program offerings are: Inside the Cell: Immersion into the Biology Laboratory, Meet the World of Metalworking, Young Feminist Collaborative, Citizens United. Apply by Friday, April 14, 2017, to receive a 10% tuition discount! Learn more and apply at precollege.hampshire.edu or email summer@hampshire.edu.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: 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.

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 Sales & Marketing Manger, Merricka Breuer at mbreuer@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 Program Manager, Courtney Supple at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 1st-7th, 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, April 1, 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. Randy Kaplan returns to the Hilltown airwaves as HFVS Guest DJ with a set of twofers and threefers: short mini-segments of two or three related songs——songs by the same group, in the same style, or whose themes or subject matter connect in some way. You’ll hear blues, folk, country, calypso, a few off-the-beaten-path numbers, and even a show tune lullaby sung by Randy‘s wife, Julie May Kaplan…and, of course, a few trademark Randy songs as well! An 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 nearly 10 years!

Saturday, April 1, 9:30am-4pm
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
What can you do to become politically engaged on the local or national level? Running for local office, helping someone else run, calling your legislators, canvassing, using social media, and simply engaging in political conversations are all tangible ways you can help causes you care about. The Four Freedoms Coalition, in partnership with Berkshire Community College, is offering a full day of workshops on civic participation basics.  1350 West Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 1, 10am-12pm
ART STUDIES/HUMANITIES
Do you  want to support art and humanities work in our community? The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, two organizations which provide funding to a wide range of innovative projects, are currently under political threat. You can do your part to save the NEH and NEA by attending the Democratic Platform Hearing for our region. Your participation could help shape the state platform on these issues. The hearing will take place at the Norris School. If you (and/or friends) can come please RSVP Janet Cain at southamptonmadems@gmail.com. 34 Pomeroy Meadow Road. Southampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 1, 10am-12:30pm
FIBER ARTS/SEWING
Want to learn how to sew or practice your sewing in a group, social setting? “Sew-In Saturday” at the library will be bringing together fiber artists of all levels. Beginners can learn from experts at the Storrs Library and leave with a library book bag. More experienced sewers can make a simple basket out of fabric scraps. If you have your own project you want to work on, bring it. Register online at the Storrs Library website or call 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 1, 10am-4pm
AVIATION/AEROSPACE
Is your child fascinated by planes or helicopters? How about spaceships? Aviation is an interest which can intersect with engineering and history, and possibly evolve into a potential career! Space Expo at the New England Air Museum will offer the chance to meet a real astronaut, view planetarium shows, fly a Space Shuttle simulator, touch a space rock, participate in experiments and science demonstrations, build rockets, and much more! Meet NASA Astronaut Rick Mastracchio and learn about the realities of an aerospace career. 860-623-330. 36 Perimeter Road. Windsor Locks, CT. (FREE)

Saturday, April 1, 11am
ANIMAL STUDIES/ZOOLOGY
The United States Coast guard is a branch of the military which enforces maritime law. They also save lives- and not just human lives. Come to the Granby Library to see a heartwarming 15 minute film which documents how the coast guard saved the life of Inky, the beautiful Pygmy Sperm Whale. It took over one hundred people to rescue, rehabilitate and return the young whale. This short, straightforward film will be entertaining and educational for both adults and young children. There will also be coloring pages and activities for kids. 413-467-3320. 297 East State Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 1, 11am-3pm
TRANSPORTATION/SAFETY
The Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold their Opening Day Celebration on April 1st, with trolley rides, child safety demonstrations, appearances of Star Wars characters. performances from “New Earth” and “Just Jeanie” throughout the day. NY Life will be facilitating their child identification program and the Shaker Pines Fire Department will provide Child Safety Passenger Technicians to properly install car seats. The celebration includes beer, wine and cocktail sampling from Broad Brook Brewery, Cold Creek Brewery, Lost Acres Vineyard and Joe’s Fine Wine and Spirits. All activities and Fire Truck Museum are included with admission. 413-627-6540. 58 North Road. East Windsor, CT. ($; 3 and under <$)

Saturday, April 1, 12:30pm
THEATER STUDIES
You can see live theater performed in London’s National Theater without leaving Massachusetts! Amherst Cinema will be screening a performance of the classic 1891 play Hedda Gabler. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, April 1, 1pm & 4pm
DANCE STUDIES/BALLET
Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the classic, Cinderella live on stage at the Academy of Music. Join Cinderella as she struggles with her evil family for independence, and travel through the enchanted forest as she is magically changed to appear at the masquerade ball where she meets her prince. Featuring guest artists from The North Atlantic Ballet and Ballet X. Academy of Music. Northampton, MA ($)

Saturday, April 1, 2pm-3pm
ECOLOGY
Rivers are like the blood vessels of the Earth, and the health of these rivers impacts the entire ecosystem around them. Citizens have a greater impact on the health of local rivers than you may realize. “Be River Smart” month at the Berkshire Athenaeum will help educate community members to become more knowledgeable about river ecology, and better stewards of our rivers. The program kicks off on April 1 with a presentation by Alison Dixon of the Housatonic Valley Association. The presentation will give practical tips on how you can be “River Smart.” Chris Laney will give an introduction to building your own composting bin. (To better understand the connection between rivers and the human circulatory system, check out our post The Ripple: Stewards of Our Rivers!) 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 1, 4pm
LITERACY
Sometimes the line between fiction and nonfiction is blurry. Memory is not perfect so the stories we tell about our lives are not always completely accurate. Similarly, fiction is often drawn from real life experiences. Hampshire College Professor Q.M. Zhang’s book Accomplice to Memory is part memoir, part novel, part historical documentary. In the book, Zhang tells the story of her father’s escape from China during the two decades of civil and world war. You can hear Zhang speak at Odyssey Bookshop to learn more about memoir writing and history. 413-534-7307. 9 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 1, 4pm-5pm
SUSTAINABILITY/WRITING
Climate change is a global problem, affecting each and every human being. It is something we each much grapple with individually. Reflecting on this issue can cause feelings of guilt over waste and consumption, fear about the future for young family members and loved ones, but also hope and innovation. Attendees at the W.E.B Du Bois Library spring Sustainability Showcase are invited to process these thoughts and feelings through a reflective writing exercise. Participants can also enjoy speakers and refreshments. This event will take place in the Lower Level of the UMass Amherst library. 413-545-0150. 154 Hicks Way. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 1, 5:30pm-7:30pm
MUSIC STUDIES
When live bands cover another group’s songs, they have the potential to either get the crowd moving with a familiar tune or introduce them to a song they’ve never heard. This can be a great way to sing along to your favorite music or discover new bands you like. After Ours Duo performs eclectic covers, lending their own new sound to recognizable artists such as Fleetwood Mac or Sara Barellis. You can hear them perform while you enjoy a meal at Bread Euphoria. Check the Bread Euphoria Facebook page for more musical events in the future. 413-268-7757. 206 Main Street. Haydenville, MA. (<$ – $)

Saturday, April 1, 5:30pm-9pm
ECOLOGY
Vernal pools, by definition a temporary habitat, provide the perfect breeding ground for spotted salamanders, wood frogs, tiny mussels, fairy shrimp, and many other creatures. Families can learn more about vernal pools and their inhabitants through humorous skits at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary’s “Big Night.” Guided tours will leave the nature center every 15 minutes to travel a 45-minute forest trail where you will meet costumed characters. There will also be games and presentations. This event is best suited for youth ages 4 through 16 and their caregivers. Call 413-584-3009 to register. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. (<$)

Saturday, April 1, 6:30pm
FAMILY THEATER/LITERACY
Performing in plays can help kids learn to articulate and project their voices, think about how emotions are expressed and have a great time entertaining the audience. You can support a group of junior actors by attending Westhampton Elementary School’s performance of Really Rosie. This play is an adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s children’s book, with music by Carole King. Rosie is a young girl with a big imagination who wants to cure the boredom of the kids on Avenue P. Tickets are available by calling the Westhampton Elementary School at 413 527-0561. 37 Kings Highway. Westhampton, MA. (<$; children 2 and under FREE)

Saturday, April 1, 7pm-9pm
STORYTELLING/POETRY
No Fools Slam at the Berkshire Museum offers an educational and enlightening evening for community members who enjoy spoken word performances. The slam will feature poetry and spoken-word storytelling from performers between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four. These heartfelt and unfiltered stories may involve content challenging for young children. The performances could foster productive conversations between parents and mature teens, or the event could be a unique activity for a parents’ night out. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Route 7. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 1, 7pm
MUSIC STUDIES/SOCIAL JUSTICE
Hear local music while supporting the Greater Springfield NAACP and Arise for Social Justice, at the “Justice for All” concert! The show will feature Lea Gilmore, Peter Blood and Annie Patterson, and the Amherst Area Gospel Choir. Lea Gilmore is a singer and activist, performing in a wide range of musical genres including blues, jazz, and gospel. Peter Blood and Annie Patterson are two local musicians who promote hope and change through their performances. Annie and Peter have compiled two songbooks, Rise Up Singing, and Rise Again. Through these songbooks they aimed to bring the joy of learning and playing music with others, making it easier for musicians to learn over six hundred songs. This performance at the First Congregational Church of Amherst is sure to inspire your musical side while also getting community members together to think about and support social justice initiatives. 413-253-3456. 165 Main Street. Amherst, MA. ($; under 18 <$)

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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores of the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. commercial-free family radio. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime – click here to see over 9 years of archived shows.

Sunday, April 2, 10am
PASSOVER
Spring Shabloom! A Joyful Musical Celebration. Welcome spring and prepare for Passover with a joyful musical celebration led by Felicia Sloin and Amy Meltzer. Followed by flower planting and outdoor play on Abundance Farm. Lander Grinspoon Academ.y 253 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA. (>$)

Sunday, April 2, 12pm-4pm
INTERGENERATIONAL/PLACEMAKING
Spring has sprung! As the weather gets warmer there are more and more opportunities to engage in games as a family. Games on The Common on April 2, 9, and 23 will get families out, moving, and playing together. There will be games for all ages including bocce, badminton, and croquet. Bring a favorite game from home or learn a new one with your kids, on the Amherst town common. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, April 2, 1pm-4pm
ART STUDIES
In sculpture, artists often utilize a metal framework called an armature, around which they build their piece. Armatures are also used in stop-motion animation films. The Clark Art Institute’s First Sundays Free program will focus on sculpture and decorative arts. Family art-making activities in the open studio space will include making armature and sculpture. Admission to the galleries is free all day (1am-5pm). Gallery talks take place at 1:30pm and 3pm. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, April 2, 2pm
FASHION/HISTORY
Today, hats are typically worn either for the practical purpose of keeping your head warm in winter, or perhaps to denote loyalty to a particular sports team. At earlier points in United States history, however, both men and women donned varying styles of hats regularly as a fashion statement. High crown versus low crown, broad versus narrow brim, feathers and trim, these choices had meanings which Margaret Bruzelius will explain in her illustrated talk: “The Final Flourish: the Rhetoric of the Hat, at Historic Northampton. Margaret Bruzelius is the dean of the senior class and associate dean of Smith College. 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, April 2, 3pm
MUSIC STUDIES
How many stringed instruments can you name? There are guitars, lutes, ukuleles, mandolins, violins, the list goes on. These instruments vary in all sorts of ways including their pitch, their size, and their tuning. Instruments in the violin family are held along one arm, or placed upright between the legs, as opposed to guitars, ukuleles, and mandolins. Even pianos are string instruments; hitting the keys causes a hammer to strike a string. The next South Berkshire Concert at Bard College at Simon’s Rock will feature Stephanie Griffin on viola and Cheryl Seltzer on piano. The program includes works by Schubert, Wolpe, Babbitt, Mamlok, Griffin, and a new viola sonata by Roberto Sierra. Kellogg Music Center. 413-644-4400. 84 Alford Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, April 2, 3pm-4pm
IMMIGRATION 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. “Immigration: A Gathering” at Double Edge Theater will bring community members together to discuss immigration questions relating to our area, for example through conversations about how rural Hilltowns can respond to the changing political climate. The event will be led by acclaimed author Ilan Stavans, with special local guest contributors. 413-628-0277. 948 Conway Road. Ashfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, April 2, 3pm-4pm
LOCAL HISTORY
Have you ever heard of Prescott Massachusetts? Prescott is one of four towns in Massachusetts, along with Dana, Enfield, and Greenwich, that were disincorporated and flooded through the building of the Quabbin Reservoir. Residents were given a hard deadline to pack up their things and move out so the reservoir could be created. Learn more about this fascinating chapter in Massachusetts History at Jon Melick’s presentation, “Quabbin Time Travel Trip To Prescott.” He will show and tell attendees what the town of Prescott was like before it was lost to history. This program will be held at the Belchertown Senior Center. 60 State Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, April 2, 4pm
MUSIC STUDIES/CHORUS
The Amandla Chorus of Greenfield has been performing for almost thirty years with the aim of strengthening community. The name Amandla comes from the Zulu word for “power.” People of all ages are invited to hear them sing powerful songs of inspiration, respect, and justice at their concert. The group will be performing music from around the world as well as original tunes. This concert will benefit the Center for New Americans. The concert will take place at the Shea Theater Arts Center. A second concert will take place at the same venue at 7pm, with themes more suited for adults. 71 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (<$)

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

Monday, April 3, 4:30pm
STEM/TECHNOLOGY
Crowdsourcing is an information gathering technique which draws data from “crowds” of individuals on the Internet. Crowdsourcing is often used to gather innovative ideas. Crowdsourcing is not without its negatives, however. As a new work model without many regulations there is potential for abuse of employees. Lilly Iranim, assistant professor of communication and science studies at UCSD, is a co-founder of Turkopticon, a labor activist platform which helps individuals working as part of a crowdsourcing “crowd,” to ensure they are being paid fairly. Hear her speak about this platform and her other work in communication and science studies, at Smith College. Graham Auditorium. Hillyer. Brown Fine Arts Center. Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Monday, April 3, 7pm
HISTORY/FILM STUDIES
Joan of Arc is a fascinating figure who changed the course of history through her involvement in the Hundred Years’ War. She believed she was receiving visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to assist in the recovery of France from the English. She was later put on trial and famously burned at the stake, becoming a martyr for her cause. George Bernard Shaw’s 1920s play Saint Joan follows Joan of Arc’s life as a young country girl, a Protestant, a nationalist, and an unlikely military leader. You can see a film screening of this play broadcast live from the Donmar Warehouse (located in London), at Amherst Cinema. This one-time, international film program should appeal to those interested in French history or contemporary theater. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Monday, April 3, 7pm
POETRY
The term “poetry” comes from the Greek term, “poiesis,” which translates to “making.” How do you make poetry? Typically by applying your choice of poetic techniques such as rhythm, rhyme, line breaks, repetition, puns, alliteration, or others, to your writing. Whether you make poetry yourself, or simply enjoy reading it, you can enrich your study of poetry by meeting other community members who enjoy this literary art form. The Forbes Library Poetry Discussion Group will be analyzing the work of Ocean Vuong, award-winning poet and essayist and author of the best-selling, Night Sky with Exit Wounds. This ongoing group will continue to meet weekly through through Monday, May 15. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

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

Tuesday, April 4, 5:30pm
GAME DEVELOPMENT
Game development is a growing, innovative career path. Game development requires a team of talent writers, artists, computer programmers, and more. Lee Sheldon is a world-class game designer as well as an author and Professor of Practice in the Interactive Media & Game Development Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is not working on his 43rd game! You can hear him speak about writing and game development at the Stockbridge Library. 413-298-5501. 46 Main Street. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, April 4, 5:30pm-7pm
SERVICE-BASED LEARNING/ECOLOGY
Adventures in or along local rivers offer the opportunity to learn about ecology. The Housatonic River is one of Western Massachusetts’ many amazing bodies of water. You can become familiar with the Housatonic river by attending a Stream Team Training, and learning how to complete river assessments. Volunteers will walk or paddle a 1 – 2 mile segment of the river and record observations. This training session at the Mason Library will give you all the necessary knowledge and skills to volunteer. Call the Housatonic Valley Association at 413-298-7024 to register. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, April 4, 6pm-7:30pm
PARENTING
Want to feel supported and understood as a parent? Join a parenting discussion! Parents of children ages birth through eight are invited to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee to take a break and discuss the joys and challenges of parenting. This group will have three sessions on March 28, April 4 and 11. Registration is required via the Collaborative for Educational Services website. For more information call 413-586-4900 x 5568. This session will take place at the Ware Family Center. 49 Church Street. Ware, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, April 4, 6:30pm
CURRENT EVENTS/NEWS LITERACY
How do you judge whether a news source is accurate or biased? In order to be politically active, you must first be up-to-date on political issues and truly understand them. This presentation, News Literacy with UMass Amherst Journalism Professor Steve Fox, is designed to help attendees do just that. Fox will discuss the changing landscape of news media over the past two decades as well as more recent changes. There are more news sources today than there ever have been. Attend this presentation at the Storrs Library to become a more informed judge of information sources. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, April 4, 6:30pm-8pm
YOGA
Yoga has many purposes and benefits, relaxation being among them. Instructor Beth Tascione will be offering a 90 minute yoga workshop. She will also discuss ways in which combining reiki, meditation, and journaling, you can re-center yourself to become more focused and energized. This free workshop will take place at River Valley Co-Op. Bring your own yoga mat. Registration is required and space is limited. Call 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, April 4, 7pm
FILM STUDIES/FRENCH STUDIES
The 2014 drama My Friend Victoria offers a subtle, contemplative depiction of contemporary French society and race relations in France. The main character, Victoria, is taken in as a child by a wealthy, white family. Although the encounter only lasts a single night, the impression it has shapes Victoria’s life as she is haunted by this glimpse of privilege which she finds impossible to attain for herself. As an adult, an encounter with the family’s youngest son shapes her life even more drastically. You can view this film at Amherst Cinema as part of the Tournées French Film Festival in collaboration with Holyoke Community College. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Tuesday, April 4, 7:30pm
POETRY/DEAF STUDIES
Poems can be written and spoken. They can also be signed! Poetry can be translated into American Sign Language, or it can be written specifically in ASL. ASL poems will sometimes use words with similar visual appearance as a “rhyme” within the poem. Even hearing individuals with no knowledge of ASL can appreciate the visual beauty of an ASL poem. Award-winning poet Meg Day is a scholar of Disability Poetics who has written several ASL poems and aims to bring the work of Deaf poets to a wider audience. She will be reading, performing, and discussing her poetry at Smith College. Neilson Browsing Room. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Wednesday, April 5, 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, April 5, 8am-10am
ORNITHOLOGY/GUIDED NATURE HIKE
Spring is in the air…and so are migratory birds! Beginner and expert bird watchers alike are invited to Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary to look for species of wood warblers, orioles, thrushes, and more, who make their temporary homes here in the warm months. Participants will walk through wetlands, meadows, and woodlands. During this weekly event, participants will see how the ecology changes and different birds arrive over time. Please bring binoculars. This program is for adults and will be instructed by Pleasant Valley’s caretaker. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 5, 10am-1pm
GUIDED NATURE HIKE/NATURAL HISTORY
Learn about local, natural history on a scenic walk along the river! A naturalist will be guiding participants on an easy hike on the Old Mill Trail. Participants can admire the beautiful Housatonic River while learning about the history of the mill. This three-mile hike will be taken at an easy pace. Attendees should bring a lunch and dress warmly in layers. From the center of Dalton: take Route 8 south to the Hinsdale line. From the town line, continue 4/10 miles to a left on Old Dalton Road. The trailhead parking is the first, immediate left. Email mleavitt@bnrc.org with any questions. Dalton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 5, 10am-3pm
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/LITERACY
Wordplay requires intelligence and creativity. To tell or even merely to understand a pun requires communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain (Scientific American). The 2017 Lenox Peeps Show invites people of all ages to create a diorama combines humor (in the form of puns), literacy, and visual creativity. This year participants will be creating dioramas using peeps to depict their favorite story or book, with extra credit given to those who use puns in their concept or title. All entries must be delivered to Ventfort Hall before 3:00pm on Wednesday, April 5th. Visit the Ventfort Hall website for full details. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 5, 12:30pm-1pm
DENDROLOGY/MUSIC STUDIES
“Smith’s Special Trees: A Musical Tribute” is a unique event which will combine information about dendrology (the scientific study of trees), classical music, and architectural history. Smith College’s campus was designed by the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who incorporated four state champion trees and other distinguished species. Smith College’s Tree Committee will provide information about the trees, and a duo of musical performers will honor the trees through music. They will play pieces by George Frideric Handel, Jean Sibelius, Edvard Grieg, Kaeza Fearn, as well as a new composition written for the Dawn Redwood by Gregory W. Brown. Sweeney Concert Hall. Sage Hall. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 5, 1pm-2pm
YOGA
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice which dates back to the fifth century BC and originates in India. Why has yoga become such a globally widespread, popular activity? Yoga can help you build your physical strength and flexibility, connect you to the present moment, and relieve stress. No matter what you wish to get out of your yoga practice, attending a beginner’s course is a great way to get started. The Storrs Library is offering a beginner’s yoga class on Wednesdays April 5, 12, and 19. These classes will get you started with basic poses and also teach you how to use the online lesson streaming service Hoopla so you can continue this practice from home. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 5, 6pm
PSYCHOLOGY/SELF HELP
Some of us are pack rats who see the value in objects and like to keep them just in case, while others are minimalists who like to have a lot of clean, open space at home. Neither is the right or the wrong way to live, but if you are a pack rat who wishes to de-clutter, there are steps you can take towards doing so. Dave Downs will be speaking at the Greenfield Public Library, offering his unique approach towards purging unwanted items and organizing spaces. He uses colorful, entertaining stories to make his points. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 5, 7pm-8:30pm
ORNITHOLOGY
Courtship displays, in which animals attempt to attract mates through a set of behaviors, can take the form of dances, songs, or displays or strength. These displays are more commonly executed by males, or done mutually, though there are a small number of species whose females execute courtship displays. The courtship display of the American woodcock is executed by males, and it is both a dance and a song, designed to both attract a mate and mark territory. Wet meadows and fields in early Spring set the stage for the woodcock dance. Lifelong birder Dale Abrams will be helping community members look and listen for the American woodcock at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary. This event is suitable for children six and up. 413-637-0320. Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA. (<$)

Wednesday, April 5, 7pm-9pm
AGRICULTURE/SEED SAVING
Do you know where your food comes from? Agriculture is a business which affects all of us, whether we realize it or not, and it is a business currently undergoing drastic changes in conjunction with political and cultural shifts. The 2016 film, Seed: The Untold Story, tells the story of the seed keepers who are protecting a 12,000-year-old food legacy. Over the course of the last century, nearly 100 varieties of seeds have disappeared as a result of large agricultural companies who control the majority of the global seed market. You can view the film at Grow Food Northampton’s office in the Arts & Industry Building to find out more about this agricultural issue, and learn what can be done. Locally-grown popcorn will be served! 221 Pine Street. Suite 349. Florence, MA. (DONATION)

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Thursday, April 6, 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, April 6, 12:15pm
BOTANY
Flowers are the reproductive structure in floral plants. Flowers co-evolved along with insects, developing colors, shapes, and scents which are particularly attractive to pollinating birds or bees. In human culture, these beautiful, attractive elements have made flowers an object of admiration for artists. Flowers have made their way into human symbolism and rituals. The Festival of Flowers at the Springfield Museums celebrates this connection between humans and plants. The festival will feature four dozen objects from the art, history and science collections and creative interpretation by local florists, designers, and garden club members. The festival kicks off with a lecture, “Archives of American Gardens: Capturing Garden History” by Cynthia Brown. In this lecture, Brown will explain how Smithsonian Gardens is conserving American garden history with over 100,000 photographs and documents, and how you can get involved by adding your own garden story to the Community of Gardens project. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (<$)

Thursday, April 6, 12:15pm -2:15pm
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 will include writing and translation service, as well as the availability of laptops, scanners, and digital cameras. Food and drink will be provided. 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, April 6, 6:30-7:30pm
HISTORY
One hundred years ago, over 5,000 Springfield Armory employees manufactured weapons for 3.5 millions soldiers who fought in Europe during World War I. The Armory is commemorating the US involvement in the World War with “Push the Green Hand Ahead: Springfield Armory in WWI”, a special exhibit at Springfield Armory National Historic Site. Join the Armory Curator for an introduction to the exhibit and learn about its curious title. The building is wheelchair accessible. There is ample free parking. For more information call 413-734-8551. One Armory Square. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, April 6, 6:30pm-8pm
PARENTING/SUPPORT
Supportive and understanding parents can make a world of difference in transgender child’s life. “Transforming Parents” is a support group for parents of transgender, gender nonconforming or questioning children, teenagers, and adults. The group meets on the first Thursday of each month in Northampton. The next meeting is April 6. Please contact transformingparents@gmail.com for more information. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, April 6, 6:30pm-8:30pm
PARENTING
In her book Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne discusses the difficulty of parenting in today’s busy society full of choices and scheduled time. Payne will be leading a parenting discussion, “Being at your Best when Your Kids are at their Worst,” at the Anne T Dunphy School. In this lecture, parents will explore the factors that keep them from parenting at their best, how to find their own parenting voice and ways to feel seen and valued by the family. The lecture will culminate with a simple and moving visualization exercise which parents can use to regulate their emotions under the stress of parenting. Free childcare and refreshments available. For more info, contact 413-268-8421. 1 Petticoat Road. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, April 6, 7pm
MEDICAL STUDIES
Individuals who are HIV positive deal with significant stigma and misunderstanding due to vast misconceptions about the disease. Peter Staley is an AIDS activist who was diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and became involved in ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), helping to push for medical research and lower treatment costs. He will be giving a talk reflecting on this experience, at Williams College, followed by a screening of the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary, How to Survive a Plague. Paresky Auditorium. 880 Main Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

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Friday, April 7, 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, April 7, 8am-10am
ORNITHOLOGY
Spring is in the air…and so are migratory birds! Beginner and expert bird watchers alike are invited to Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary to look for species of wood warblers, orioles, thrushes, and more, who make their temporary homes here in the warm months. Participants will walk through wetlands, meadows, and woodlands. During this weekly event, participants will see how the ecology changes and different birds arrive over time. Please bring binoculars. This program is for adults and will be instructed by Noreen Mole – Sanctuary Volunteer and Hoffmann Bird Club leader. 413-637-0320. Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, April 7, 11:30 to 1:20pm
ICE SKATING
Ice skating, whether indoors or outdoors, is a fun physical activity for kids and adults. Families are invited to skate at the Mullins Center at UMass Amherst on Fridays in March and April. Check the Mullins Center website for a full calendar and details. To learn about the 3,000-year old practice of ice skating as well as other local resources, read our post, Ice Skating in Western MA. The Mullins Center rink accepts cash or check only. Governors Drive. Amherst, MA. (Child <$)

Friday, April 7, 2pm
BOTANY
Flowers are the reproductive structure in floral plants. Flowers co-evolved along with insects, developing colors, shapes, and scents which are particularly attractive to pollinating birds or bees. In human culture, these beautiful, attractive elements have made flowers an object of admiration for artists. Flowers have made their way into human symbolism and rituals. The Festival of Flowers at the Springfield Museums celebrates this connection between humans and plants. The festival will feature four dozen objects from the art, history and science collections and creative interpretation by local florists, designers, and garden club members. A new feature to this annual event is the offering of Afternoon Teas on April 7 and April 8. Enjoy handcrafted teas among the colorful floral arrangements in the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)

Friday, April 7, 6pm-8pm
CULTURAL 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, but no experience 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. Call 413-634-0132 for more information. 27 West Main Street. West Cummington, MA. (DONATION)

Friday, April 7, 7pm
ART STUDIES
MASS MoCA’s annual Teen Invitational is designed to bring the artwork of local students to the public in a fun and friendly environment. The exhibition organized in collaboration with high school art teachers and artists in the Berkshires. The goal of the exhibit is to reach all students who are engaged in the art world and who have done excellent work in various mediums. This display gives young people the opportunity to support and experience the emerging talents of other students and peers in their community. Come to the opening reception and award ceremony for the 7th annual Teen Invitational to be inspired by young artistic talent and drive. 413-662-2111. 1040 Mass MoCA Way. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Friday, April 7, 7pm
EDUCATION/WOMEN’S STUDIES
Millions of girls worldwide are not offered opportunities for education. The 2013 documentary Girl Rising uses storytelling to inspire action that gets girls into classrooms. Deerfield Senior Girl Scout Troop 11240 will be offering two screening of the film, on Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8. The April 7 viewing is intended for parents to have the opportunity to preview the film before bringing their children. The film is rated PG-13, with no violent or graphic scenes, however, film may not be appropriate for all children. Frontier Regional Auditorium. 113 North Main Street. South Deerfield, MA. (<$)

Friday, April 7, 8pm
ASTRONOMY
An interest in studying astronomy can develop from an interest in mathematical calculation, or a simple appreciation for the beauty of the sky. Planetarium shows at the Hopkins Observatory feature demonstrations of a range of phenomena including retrograde motions of the planets, phases of the moon, the varying temperatures/colors of stars, locations of neighboring galaxies, the mythological figures and zodiacal signs ascribed to constellations, and much more. They will be offering free shows on Friday evenings through running through May 12. Call 413-597-2188 for more information. Williams College. 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, Ashfield, Bernardston, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Erving, Heath, Holyoke, Ludlow, Montague, Montgomery, Pelham, Rowe, Russell, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Ware, and Warwick Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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