If 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.
Serving 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.
Health & Wellness Directory
We’ve all been there… deep in discussion about our health and wellness with friends and family, around the dining room table and cocktail parties, at a playgroup and on the playground. How often have you found yourself looking for a recommendation or local service that could support the health and wellness of your family? This spring we are pulling together a comprehensive list of services and practitioners that can support the health and wellness of you and your family. If you would like to nominate a local Health & Wellness business or service provider, or would like to be included in this list yourself, reach out to our amazing Sales & Marketing Manager, Merricka Breuer. (Online publish date: Spring 2017)
Bring the whole family to downtown Amherst and celebrate Daffodil Days! Town bursts with daffodils and fun. Sunday, April 23, come to The Games on the Common where community joins college athletes to play bocce, badminton, and croquet. A festival honors international students on April 8 on the common. On April 22, The Dessert Crawl benefit for non-profit Reader to Reader offers a chance to try 10 desserts for $10. The Sustainability Festival on the Common has music, demonstrations, and presentations on sustainable strategies. Amherst ChalkWalk on April 29 offers the chance to decorate the sidewalks to win special gift prizes. The annual Daffodil Run on April 30 has special awards for silly costumes and a cookout follows at Kendrick Park.
Monday, April 24, 2017, 10am-3pm: Soar into spring with Homeschool Day at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Open exclusively for homeschoolers and their families, and featured activities include: hands-on build & fly challenge activities, interactive flight science demonstrations, open cockpit experiences in historic aircraft, aircraft quests, fight simulators, and more! Virtual Flight Center access available for additional $5 per person. Tickets available for purchase on the day of your visit on a first come, first served basis. Preregistration required. Children ages 3 and under admitted free. www.neam.org for an online registration form. Please contact us at 860-623-3305 x313 for questions.
Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, Peppa’s theatre tour will visit Springfield’s Symphony Hall on Sunday, May 7, at 2pm. In Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, the nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it quickly. They set up a fair to raise money so Mr. Bull can do the repairs. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, Danny Dog, Pedro Pony and Suzy Sheep organize an exciting day out complete with a Champion Puddle Jumping Competition judged by Mr. Potato, where everyone gets wet! An interactive experience full of singing, dancing, games, and muddy puddles, it’s a blast for the whole family. The fun-filled show gives families the opportunity to engage in an unforgettable first live theater experience. $29 and up. http://bit.ly/PeppaPigSpringfield.
Wheel throwing classes at CyclePottery in Florence start next week for Kids, Teens & Adults. Teens & Adults, Join master potter Andrew Quient on Thursdays 6-8:30pm or Kathryn on Fridays 11am-1:30pm. Beginners welcome! Spots left in all three kids classes too! Also, check out openings in the summer camps! See www.cyclepottery.net/classes for more information or contact Kathryn: 413-219-9594, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Journey Camp at Woolman Hill, Deerfield and at Open View Farm, Conway this summer! The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music, and crafts. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Farm Week Session for All ages 7-12, June 26-30,8:45-4pm, Conway; Session One for All ages 7-12, July 3-7, 8:45-4, Deerfield; Moonseed Teen Leadership Camp for ages 12-18, July 17-20, two overnights & campfires, Deerfield; Girls Weeks, ages 7-12, July 31-Aug 4 & Aug 7-11, 8:45-4, Deerfield. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399; email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
JOIN 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 email@example.com.
LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 22nd-28th, 2017
Saturday, April 22, 2017
9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Weather Episode! Hilltown Family Variety Show welcomes the highly acclaimed musician Alison Faith Levy as our Guest DJ. Alison has previously toured with The Sippy Cups and is a delight to have as our guest. On this episode of the HFVS, Alison selects songs for an excellent playlist with a distinct weather theme! 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 select from nearly 10 years of shows!
Saturday, April 22, 8am-4pm
Earth Day Yogathon at the UMass Fine Arts Center Plaza will combine the healthy practice of yoga with breast cancer awareness. Sadly, many everyday products contain carcinogenic toxins. Protect Our Breasts, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating college students about dangerous chemicals, will be providing education to all visitors for the event. Meanwhile, you can join a day of continuous yoga sessions with special guest instructors. This event is also a fundraiser for Protect Our Breasts. 151 Presidents Drive. Amherst, MA. ($)
Saturday, April 22, 9am-1pm
Mass Audubon nature centers such as Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary are an essential local resource for education. These natural spaces are a shared place for exercise, relaxation, and learning about nature through participation in workshops or in self-directed ways. You can give back to the Mass Audubon by participating in Pleasant Valley Volunteer Day. Help take care of the native gardens, trails/boardwalks, and education spaces. Tools, gloves, and refreshments will be provided. Register online on the Mass Audubon website. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. (VOLUNTEER)
Saturday, April 22, 10am-12pm
GUIDED NATURE HIKE
Earth Day has been celebrated since 1970. Today, all over the globe, people celebrate Earth Day by engaging with environmental protection causes and generally showing appreciation for the natural world. This Earth Day, you can engage with a global cause and also connect with your local community, at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead. The homestead will be offering a guided hike of the old growth forest in celebration of the the 200th anniversary of Bryant’s poem “Thanatopsis,” and Henry David Thoreau’s birthday! Hike leaders will read quotes from Thoreau and Bryant, adding literary appreciation to this multi-faceted, educational event. 413-532-1631 x 3110. 207 Bryant Road. Cummington, MA. (<$)
Saturday, April 22, 10am-2pm
Many library lovers read more books than they could reasonably afford to buy. The ability to borrow books and spread knowledge through libraries is a benefit for people of all ages. Sometimes, though, owning a book has its advantages. You may want to make notes in it, read it over and over again, or lend it out to your friends and family to read. You can purchase your next round of books, and support programming at the Worthington Library Spring Book Sale. Items for sale will include gently used paperbacks, hardcover books, children’s books, CDs and DVDs. Refreshments will be available. 413-238-5565. 1 Huntington Road. Worthington, MA. (MARKET/SALE)
Saturday, April 22, 10am-4pm
The opening of Hancock Shaker Village to visitors brings many educational opportunities for children and adults. April 15 through April 23 you can meet newborn lambs, piglets, calves, goats, chicks and ducklings! Learn about the biology of these animals and their significance in the context of farming life. In addition to history and biology, many people who visit Shaker Village are interested in the architecture of the Round Stone Barn, built in 1826 as a cow stable. Celebrate spring with agricultural learning and by seeing the baby animals. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street. Pittsfield MA. (Adult $; Ages 13-17 <$; 12 and under FREE)
Saturday, April 22, 10am-4pm
Young people are often very passionate about political issues and personal interests. Teaching your children about sustainability can spark change on a community level. Families are invited to learn and get involved by attending the Amherst Sustainability Festival. There will be stage performances all day. Learn about climate change by talking to advocacy groups and visiting vendors of renewable energy products and sustainable crafts! Visit the Town of Amherst website for a full list of performances, demonstrations, and recycling collections. Town Common. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, April 22, 10am-4pm
This April school vacation week, keep the learning going by visiting a nature center with your kids! Great Falls Discovery Center is a local resource for self-directed learning through the beautiful and realistic interpretive displays detailing the natural, cultural, and industrial history of the Connecticut River watershed. April 15 through April 23, the center will be expanding their hours. Stop by the welcome desk to find Earth Week investigation stations, habitat diorama scavenger hunts, and games to explore the grounds. Bring your bike for the Canalside Rail Trail. On April 22 there will also be an Earth Day Open House from 10am-2pm. Exhibits will pose the questions: “How have people helped or hurt the habitats in our watershed? What will you do to help?” Brainstorm ways you and your children can lead sustainable lifestyles and protect your local habitat. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, April 22, 10:30am-1pm
Are your kids fascinated by bugs and other small creatures? Bring them to the Meekins Library to learn about bees. You and your kids can help protect bees, thus helping to sustain food security by protecting pollinators, by designing a potted pollinator plant. Celebrate Earth Day by making a difference for climate change and learning about STEM topics through a craft activity. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, April 22, 1pm
Eugene Onegin is a Russian opera, based on a verse novel written by Alexander Pushkin. The 1879 opera was written and composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Fans of international opera and Russian history can view an HD screening of the play performed by the Metropolitan Opera, at Clark Art Institute. This film can expose American theater lovers about Russian culture and classical music composition at the same time. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. ($$)
Saturday, April 22, 1pm-2:30pm
Mount Greylock is the highest natural point in Massachusetts. What kinds of wild animals live in the fields and forests there? People of all ages can find out through a music and storytelling performance. Naturalist Mike Whalen, prop-master Meshell Bordeleau, and folk trio Wintergreen will be teaching about zoology using a cast of critters and a few humans as well. Children are encouraged to come early for a fun picture coloring session. Newton Memorial Town Hall Community Room. Main Street (Route 7). Lanesborough, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, April 22, 1pm-3pm
Want to give back to nature this Earth Day? Trustees of Reservations staff and the local chapter of the Appalachian Mount Club (AMC) will be preparing the trails at Chapel Brook for the spring season of hiking. Participants will be filling and carrying bags of mulch- great exercise! All tools will be provided. Bring gloves if you have them as well as water, snacks, and layers. For more information call The Trustees at 413-532-1631 x3121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Williamsburg Road. Ashfield, MA. (VOLUNTEER)
Saturday, April 22, 1pm-3pm
Do you and your teen like art projects? You can engage in some intergenerational art making by attending a pastel painting workshop at the Sunderland Public Library. National award-winning artist and teacher Sharon Morley will demonstrate techniques for you to use to make your own unique piece of art. All supplies will be provided. Registration is required. This event is suitable for teens and adults. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, April 22, 2pm
A love of animals can grow into a focus for all kinds of learning. Spending time with animals can help kids build their empathic skills by understanding the needs of another living thing. Taking care of animals at home (even something as simple as putting feed in a bird feeder) can also teach kids responsibility. And for the scientifically minded, zoology is a topic which leads to learning about biology and ecology. This National Park Week, the Forest Park Zoo is coming to the Springfield Armory! Visit to see a skunk, porcupine, turtle, and other wildlife, and learn about their habitats, behavior, diets, and status in the wild. 413-734-8551. One Armory Square. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, April 22, 3pm
Bringing children to family theater events satisfies their cravings for entertaining narratives, away from the television screen and among their local community of families. Piti Theatre Company will be performing their new, international comedy: Sammy and the Grand Buffet, at the Amherst Sustainability Festival. The play tells the story of an American in Paris struggling to complete all the tasks necessary to prepare the Grand Buffet. This play could open up conversations about culture and the difficulty of fitting in. This outdoor performance also supports placemaking, bringing families together in a commonly shared outdoor space. Amherst Town Common. Amherst, MA. (DONATIONS accepted)
Saturday, April 22, 3pm-4pm
What kinds of wildlife live in the Berkshires….and how can we serve as good neighbors to these animals? Dale Abrams of Massachusetts Audubon will be giving a presentation at the Berkshire Athenaeum informing attendees how they can avoid problems with local wildlife. He will teach teens and adults ways that they can protect animals that live in our local watersheds. Abrams is a lifelong naturalist and has studied ecosystems from California to the Rocky Mountains, as well as throughout New England. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, April 22, 5pm-7:30pm
Potlucks can inspire recipe sharing as well as food sharing, and offer the chance to show off your best recipes. Local food, in particular, connects people with land, community, and seasonal variation. In celebration of Earth Day, potlucks will be held at various gardens, farms, and homes throughout Massachusetts. Visit the NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) website to find a location near you. Colrain, Hatfield, various locations, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, April 22, 5pm-8pm
Difficult problems sometimes lead to creative, inspiring solutions. Nat Turner used his passions and innovations to help restore New Orleans Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina, transforming an abandoned grocery store into a youth education center. You can learn about Nat Turner and others working for food security by attending a screening of the 2015 documentary Reversing the Mississippi. This screening at North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens will also include servings of jambalaya (regular and vegetarian). Discuss the film with others interested in working towards greater food security. 413-582-0193. 45 Amherst Road. Sunderland, MA. (DONATION)
Saturday, April 22, 7pm
In the United States, college is a huge financial investment. The traditional education system is not right for everyone, and eighteen is a young age to make one of the biggest financial and practical decisions of a lifetime. Some people Smith College serves many students of non-traditional age. The Ada Comstock Scholars come to Smith College at the age of 24 or older, bringing added levels of experience, knowledge, and maturity and having a positive impact on the college’s culture. You can learn some of their stories by attending “The Ada Monologues,” a piece written and performed by Ada scholars and modeled structurally after Eve Ensler’s hit play, The Vagina Monologues. The production features humor, music, dance, and more. Graham Auditorium. Hillyer. 20 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (<$)
Sunday, April 23, 2017
7-8am – 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 select from nearly 10 years of archived shows.
Sunday, April 23, 10am-4pm
This April school vacation week, keep the learning going by visiting a nature center with your kids! Great Falls Discovery Center is a local resource for self-directed learning through the beautiful and realistic interpretive displays detailing the natural, cultural, and industrial history of the Connecticut River watershed. April 15 through April 23, the center will be expanding their hours. Stop by the welcome desk to find Earth Week investigation stations, habitat diorama scavenger hunts, and games to explore the grounds. Bring your bike for the Canalside Rail Trail. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)
Sunday, April 23, 11am-4pm
If you give a man a fish, he can eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he can eat for a lifetime…and learn about all sorts of topics! Fishing is a hobby, pastime, or sport which connects the participant to local nature and wildlife. Fishing offers an excuse and opportunity to explore local bodies of water which are an essential element of our habitat. You can learn how to cast a line at the Angler Education Program Display & Casting Program! This educational program at the Springfield Museums is part of the museum’s Earth Day Festival. For more information, call 413-263-6800 x325. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Children under two FREE)
Sunday, April 23, 12pm-5pm
Games bring families together through friendly competition, sharing of knowledge and skills, and fun! Games on the Common in Amherst, part of their Daffodil Days series of family events, adds placemaking to the mix! Try a new game or pick your favorite. There will be croquet, bocce, and badminton among other games. Learn from expert athletes; UMASS Athletics is sending students to join in the intergenerational fun. Amherst South Common. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
Sunday, April 23, 12:30pm-2:30pm
Technological skills are a necessary component of the music industry, and tons of emerging computer softwares have opened up doorways of creativity for the musically inclined. You can make computer generated music without playing an instrument. You can also borrow and manipulate samples of sound for your songs. “Processing” is a prototyping tool used to program motion graphics and data visualization. It can also be used to create and manipulate sounds to use as music samples. You can learn how to create animations that react to sound, using Processing, at this Holyoke Codes workshop. Ages thirteen and up. 413- 552-4900. 100 Bigelow Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
Sunday, April 23, 5:30pm
It’s no secret that music is good for your brain. In addition to the learning-based benefits of playing or reading music, singing has the added benefit of warding off chemicals that can cause depression and loneliness. The act of singing increases the natural production of endorphins and oxytocin (a chemical that decreases stress and anxiety). Parents may be interested in these findings. A singing child is likely to be calm and happy more often than not thanks to the chemicals that choral singing helps to release in their bodies. You and your family can participating in a casual, community sing at Earthdance. Participants will sing rejuvenating songs in celebration of the warmer weather, including “Now the Sun is Rising Up” and “The Peace Round.” 413-634-5678. 252 Prospect Street. Plainfield, MA. (<$; children FREE)
Sunday, April 23, 6pm-7pm
A strong artistic presence is often an integral part of resilient communities. Art museums for example offer safe, educational spaces for community members with an interest in art to come together and gain inspiration from one another. Community art projects offer methods of self expression. Works of art sometimes depict recognizable local scenes and landscapes, offering a fresh perspective and a chance to capture and share what we love about where we live. The Art Salon, an evening of casual conversation about art, offers you the opportunity to learn about local art and artists. There will be presentations given by established and emerging artists in the Pioneer Valley, as well as light refreshments to enjoy. Double Edge Theater. 413-628-0277. 948 Conway Road. Ashfield, MA. (FREE)
Monday, April 24, 2017
Monday, April 24, 10am-3pm
Soar into spring with Homeschool Day at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Open exclusively for homeschoolers and their families, and featured activities include: hands-on build & fly challenge activities, interactive flight science demonstrations, open cockpit experiences in historic aircraft, aircraft quests, fight simulators, and more! Virtual Flight Center access available for additional $5 per person. Tickets available for purchase on the day of your visit on a first come, first served basis. Preregistration required. Children ages 3 and under admitted free. www.neam.org for an online registration form. Please contact us at 860-623-3305 x313 for questions.
Monday, April 24, 9:30am-10:15am
Practicing yoga at any age can connect you to your body and help you be more mindful. Starting young, kids can discover that yoga is a lot of fun and will possibly develop a lifelong love of the activity. The Community Network for Chidlren is offering a family yoga series ideal for kids ages two to five. Baby siblings are also welcome. The class will use music to guide kids through movements and postures while singing familiar songs. Kids will imitate different animals in their poses and complete a fun obstacle course. There will be five sessions, on April 24, May 1, 8, 15, and 22. Registration is required call 978-544-5157. Sessions take place at the Leverett Library. 75 Montague Road. Leverett, MA. (FREE)
Monday, April 24, 10am
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)
Monday, April 24, 6pm
Today’s technologies and innovations have the potential to strongly and positively impact developing nations. How might designing a product for use in another country differ from inventing a product in your own nation? Amos G. Winter’s talk, “Engineering Reverse Innovations,” will explore the ways that engineers can create high-performance global technologies which make money while also creating a positive social impact. Winter is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. All are welcome to attend this Sci Tech Cafe talk. For more information email email@example.com. Union Station. 125 Pleasant Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
Monday, April 24, 6:30pm-8pm
Have you ever heard of “microgreens?” Microgreens are young vegetables with myriad culinary uses. And you can grow them at home all year long! Bryce Comprone will teach you how in his workshop, “Wild for Greens,” at River Valley Co Op. Participants will discuss and view demonstrations on how to plant and grow pea shoots. Harvesting and storing techniques will also be covered and there will be plenty of time for questions. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
Monday, April 24, 7:30pm
Instruments are inventions which rely on the physical principles of sound in order to produce musical tones. Instruments vary greatly in their design. Wind instruments such as the flute or the clarinet rely on the air of their players to make sound. You can connect to other cultures by attending the Wind Ensemble Spring Concert at Smith College. “Around the World in 80 Minutes” will feature music from across the globe played by the wind ensemble. Works include compositions by Balmages, Grainger, Hazo, and others. Conducted by Ellen Redman. Sweeney Concert Hall. Sage Hall. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
Tuesday, April 18, 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, April 25, 10:30am-1pm
PLANT AND SOIL SCIENCE
What sorts of uses are there for herbs? Most people occasionally use herbs in food preparation, but they are also utilized for medicinal purposes and in soaps, beauty products, candles, aromatherapy oils and more. At HerbFest 2017, UMass students of Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants will be showcasing their work to prepare such products using herbs and plants grown in class. There will be demonstrations for you to learn about these students processes. There will also be plenty of samples! These everyday products can be used to facilitate scientific learning. Students, faculty, and community members of all ages are welcome. UMass Amherst Student Union Ballroom. 280 Hicks Way. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
Tuesday, April 25, 5:30pm-7:30pm
The psychology and self-help world has long been abuzz with the power of positive outlooks. The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering a series of Positive Solutions parenting workshops, focusing on the importance of building positive relationships with your children through encouraging words and actions. Children often possess remarkable resilience, confidence, and self-esteem. Your encouragement could help them maintain these qualities into adolescence and adulthood. A light dinner will be provided starting at 5:30pm; the workshop begins at 6:30pm. Registration is required through the Collaborative website. This first session, “Making a Connection,” will take place at the Easthampton High School. 70 Williston Avenue. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
Tuesday, April 25, 6:30pm-8pm
Thanks to environmental activists and concerned citizens, people are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that bee populations have been declining at a dangerous rate for more than a decade. Climate change has caused some plant and animal species to migrate, negatively affecting a once thriving habitat for bees. Why should humans work to prevent threats to bees? Potential endangerment of bee species could be devastating for many species since bees are the main pollinators for many fruits and nuts. One thing you can do to help local pollinators thrive is to attract them to your garden! In this workshop at River Valley Co Op, Ashley Schenk will teach attendees how to choose pollinator plants and shrubs for their yards. She will also provide tips for creating wildflower meadows. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
Tuesday, April 25, 7pm
In the 1800’s, the traditional academic year was quite different in New England. An element of seasonality was incorporated into how the school term was determined. In rural areas, children who helped out on the family farm attended school during the winter and stayed home to assist with the harvest during the summer and fall. In a one-room schoolhouse, grade levels were often mixed and one teacher was responsible for all of the students’ learning. The school teacher assigned tasks to each student depending on the pupil’s age, grade, and level of advancement. You can learn more about New England history through the lens of education by attending Dennis Picard’s talk: “To the Tune of a Hickory Stick: A Look at Education in a One-Room Schoolhouse.” Dennis Picard is Director of Storrowtown Village and Museum. You may be interested to check out our post, One-Room Schoolhouse: Connecting to Place through Literature & History for some background knowledge before attending the talk. 413-323-7377. Pelham Community Hall. Amherst Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE)
Tuesday, April 25, 7pm-9pm
According to a 2015 study from Common Sense Media, teenagers spend an average of almost nine hours per day looking at a screen. Parents have been debating the merits and detrimental effects of television since its inception. Parents today, though, have to make many more decisions about technology in their households. Screens in the form of phones, tablets and computers, are now both portable and often individualized as opposed to a shared television which is easier to monitor. The personalized nature of social media also opens vulnerable teens up to bullying and other interpersonal problems even after they get home from school. The documentary Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age provides parents with useful information on teen technology use, as well as resources and tips for navigating this parenting issue. Parents are invited to a screening of the film at Northampton High School. 380 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
Tuesday, April 25, 7:30pm
Poet Robert Pinsky, 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, has worked to bring the power of poetry to the masses as an integral part of American life. He initiated the Favorite Poem Project, a series of videos documenting Americans reading and discussing poems which have had a strong impact on their lives. He will be reading his poetry and speaking at Smith College. Regardless of your level of poetic knowledge, Pinsky’s talk will illuminate the power of poetry to enrich our lives. Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
Tuesday, April 25, 7:30pm-9:30pm
WORLD MUSIC/AFRICAN MUSIC
Benin is a country in West Africa which has played an important role in the West African music scene, featuring a wide range of genres including traditional folk, French cabaret, American rock, funk and soul, and rumba among others (Wikipedia: Music of Benin). Two Beninese musicians, Jomion and the Uklos, will be joining forces with the Five-College West African Music Ensemble for an evening of music, song, and and dance. All ages are welcome. McCulloch Auditorium, Pratt Hall. Mount Holyoke College. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)
Wednesday, April 26, 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 26, 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 26, 10:30am-11:30am
Early childhood is the best time to introduce languages to your child. As part of their Puzzle of Parenting series, the Collaborative for Educational Services is providing a bilingual story, music, and games session for families. Participants will engage their children with both English and Spanish, and learn about Spanish and Latin American culture. This could be a great way to connect your child to their own heritage, or to introduce other cultures for a more global understanding. This program is intended for children ages birth to five years, and their caregivers. Registration is required through the Collaborative for Educational Services website. For more information, call the Collaborative at 413-586-4900. This program will take place at the Southampton Library. 30 East Street. Southampton, MA. (FREE)
Wednesday, April 26, 10:30am-12pm
There are innumerable reasons why music has a positive effect on individuals with dementia (Read more on the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America website). All kinds of music can lift our moods, and familiar music can stir up positive associations. Sharon Lazerson is leader of “The Off Key Chorale,” a daily singing group for people with dementia and their friends and companions. She will be bringing the joy of music to the Mason Library with show tunes, great American standards, classic folk songs, and anything else participants might choose. Please register. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
Wednesday, April 26, 5:30pm-6:30pm
“Klezmer” refers to a genre of traditional Jewish music which originated in Eastern Europe and continues to evolve today. Klezmer is deeply tied to the historical and current experience of Jewish people. Adrianne Greenbaum will be directing a Klezmer Bash at Mount Holyoke College, inviting attendees to learn traditional dances such as the hora, the sher, and bulgar as they listen to this upbeat traditional music. All are welcome. Warbeke Room, Pratt Hall. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)
Wednesday, April 26, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Salamanders are amphibians, relying on both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Some species of salamander share our local habitat. In early spring, you can find local woodland salamanders under logs, stones, and other objects, venturing out only in the cool moist of evenings. Experts Gayle Tardif-Raser and Dale Abrahams will be leading nature explorers around Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary to look for salamanders! Get acquainted with these fascinating creatures. This event is suitable for ages five and up. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. (<$)
Wednesday, April 26, 6:30pm
Theater, poetry, music, visual arts- all can help young people find a voice for their experiences. Youth Truth 2017 is a multi-genre youth performance meant to leadership skills in youth experiencing foster care and adoption. This performance can hopefully spark discussions and awareness of youth experiences in the foster care system, while empowering and celebrating young performers. Parents may want to bring their teens to broaden their perspectives and teach them about this important issue. Holyoke High School. 500 Beech Street. Holyoke, MA. (DONATION)
Wednesday, April 26, 8pm
Gamelan is a type of traditional ensemble music from Indonesia. Featuring many percussion instruments such as xylophones, metallophones, and hand drums, gamelan is an important aspect of Indonesian culture commonly played during formal ceremonies. Contemporary, popular music in Indonesia has also been influenced by traditional music. You can become acquainted with this important musical genre by attending the Galelan Spring Concert at Smith College. The Gamelan ensemble will play traditional music from central Java, directed by Maho Ishiguro. Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
Thursday, April 27, 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 27, 12pm-1:30pm
Poetry often utilizes strong sensory details to help the reader to imagine a given scene or idea. Writing poetry can help you connect to the present moment and to the sometimes overlooked sensory details of life. Do you like to write poetry, or want to start writing but aren’t sure how? In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Renaissance Arts Center is offering an adult poetry writing workshop with guided prompts. Kateri Kosek will teach. 413-528-9600. 420 Stockbridge Road #11. Great Barrington, MA. ($$)
Thursday, April 27, 12pm-8pm
Many library lovers read more books than they could reasonably afford to buy. The ability to borrow books and spread knowledge through libraries is a benefit for people of all ages. Sometimes, though, owning a book has its advantages. You may want to make notes in it, read it over and over again, or lend it out to your friends and family to read. You can purchase your next round of books, and support programming at the Westfield Athenaeum, at their Annual Spring Book Sale. 413-568-7833. 20 Broad Street. Westfield, MA. (MARKET/SALE)
Thursday, April 27, 12:15pm-1pm
Religion and spirituality have a strong impact on every human civilization. Cultures vary greatly in their beliefs, rituals, and ceremonies. This lunchtime lecture at the Springfield Museums, “West Africa: Voodoo & Villages,” will teach you about the spiritual practices of four West African Countries. Global traveler and photographer Amy S. Dane will teach about the indigenous beliefs held by people in Ghana, Togo, Benin and Ivory Coast. Learn about these cultures through their funerary rites and rituals, ceremonies, and festivals. There will be video clips to showcase the music, dance, and movement of these ceremonies. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (<$)
Thursday, April 27, 2:30pm-3:45pm
Historical fiction novels can help readers to imagine, relate to, and care about time periods they did not live through. Weeping Under This Same Moon by Jana Laiz is a historical novel about two teenage girls, one American and one Vietnamese, whose paths cross in a way which alters both of their lives. This book can educate readers about the Vietnam War through two different teenage perspectives. Jana Laiz will be discussing her work at the Jonathan Edwards Library. This event is part of the Berkshire Immigrant Stories Project. Berkshire Community College. 413-236-2103. 1350 West Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)
Thursday, April 27, 6pm-8:30pm
Frances Crowe is Northampton’s most well-known activist for peace and social justice. She protested the use of nuclear weapons following the 1945 bombings in Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. During the Vietnam War she worked to help men apply for conscientious objector status. Social activism is risky, difficult work; Crowe experienced arrests, trials, and imprisonment as a result of her participation in protests. She will be discussing her own experiences, and the history of social activism in the Pioneer Valley, at Historic Northampton. Reservations are required. Proceeds will benefit Historic Northampton and its programming. 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street. Northampton, MA. ($$)
Friday, April 28, 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 28, 8am-10am
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 28, 10:30am-11:30am
A love of animals can grow into a focus for all kinds of learning. Spending time with animals can help kids build their empathic skills by understanding the needs of another living thing. Taking care of animals at home (even something as simple as putting feed in a bird feeder) can also teach kids responsibility. And for the scientifically minded, zoology is a topic which leads to learning about biology and ecology. You can encourage your children’s interest in animals by bringing them to animal focused “Kidleidoscope” programs at Great Falls Discovery Center. These programs are best suited for ages three to six, but siblings and friends are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The April 28 program will introduce children to the topic of frogs through stories and interactive games. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)
Friday, April 28, 11:30 to 1:20pm
Ice skating is a 3,000 year old sport and a New England family tradition! Whether indoors or outdoors, ice skating 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. The Mullins Center rink accepts cash or check only. Governors Drive. Amherst, MA. (Child <$)
Friday, April 28, 12pm-8pm
Many library lovers read more books than they could reasonably afford to buy. The ability to borrow books and spread knowledge through libraries is a benefit for people of all ages. Sometimes, though, owning a book has its advantages. You may want to make notes in it, read it over and over again, or lend it out to your friends and family to read. You can purchase your next round of books, and support programming at the Westfield Athenaeum, at their Annual Spring Book Sale
413-568-7833. 20 Broad Street. Westfield, MA. (MARKET/SALE)
Friday, April 28, 7:30pm-9pm
Are you families with the composers Danny Elfman, Benny Goodman, Henry Mancini, Alan Menken, or Phil Collins? You may not know them by name, but if you are a fan of cartoons/anime in television and film you may recognize their music. The Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke (Big Band, Chamber and Vocal Jazz) will be playing your favorite cartoon soundtrack tunes. All are welcome to attend. McCulloch Auditorium, Pratt Hall. Mount Holyoke College. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)
Friday, April 28, 8pm
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)
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.