30 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Service-Based Learning to Placemaking. Pride Parade to Bird Festival.

Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary is kicking off a week of intergenerational birding activities, starting on Saturday, May 6 from 9am-2pm with a Bird Festival! Individual adults and families can take guided walks of the grounds and learn about bird banding through demonstrations. “Bird banding” refers to the process of catching birds, marking them with an identifying band, and setting them free again. The data gathered from this process can assist in ornithological and biological research and can be part of tracking reproductive success and population rates. All day during the festival, you can learn how to engage in citizen science and get involved helping Neighborhood Nest Watch to band birds. Visit the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary webpage for a full schedule of activities. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Empiricism to Transcendentalism. Activism to Ornithology. Business History to Yoga.  These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week:  Open Street events support placemaking as they bring community members together in an unusual way, by closing the streets to vehicular traffic and encouraging people to get out and about on feet! On Sunday, May 7, 11am-3pm during River Roll and Stroll, traffic will be closed down the Route 116 Bridge between Holyoke and South Hadley. There will be live music, art, and food trucks at this family-friendly event. This event marks the official kickoff of Baystate Bike Week. Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge. Holyoke and South Hadley, MA. (FREE)


PhilosophyScienceParentingTransportation History ♦  BicyclesService-Based LearningArtificial IntelligenceSpring Clean-UpsBird WalksWomen’s HistoryNatured-Based LearningPlacemakingBotanyArt StudiesSocial JusticeLocal HistoryPsychology


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Science

ACTIVISM
SciShow heads to Washington D.C. to join the March for Science and interview people about why they feel science is important to them.”

PARENTING
Saturday, May 6, 10:30am-12pm
Children are born scientists! Whenever your young child asks a “Why?” question about the world, they are demonstrating their natural inquisitiveness about how things work. The Collaborative for Educational Services “Young Scientists” program will give parents the tools to encourage and build upon this natural, scientific curiosity. Childcare will be available during the parent learning session, which will be followed by fun parent-child activities. Register on the Collaborative for Educational Services website. Pelham Elementary School. 45 Amherst Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Saturday, May 6, 12:30pm-2:30pm
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a popular topic in mythology, science fiction, computer science, and philosophy for centuries. In recent decades, AI has come closer and closer to reality, with technological devices who understand basic voice commands and questions. Junior programmers ages ten and up are invited to a Holyoke Codes workshop to experiment with artificial intelligence and create their own personal assistants. Your assistant will be able to ask you questions and understand your voice responses. Participants will create this simple interface using api.ai and the Google Conversation Assistant. Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. 413- 552-4900. 100 Bigelow Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

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Service-Based Learning

SPRING CLEANING
Western Massachusetts is filled with beautiful and well-preserved public natural spaces. With the arrival of spring comes the triumphant return of families to parks, trails, mountains, and rivers, whose unique treasures are easier to enjoy in the absence of snow and ice. In preparation for the exodus from indoors to out, local parks and public lands undergo a bit of spring cleaning, so as to ensure that visitors can explore safely in well-maintained spaces. Spring brings a multitude of opportunities to engage in environmental stewardship and service learning, offering community service projects for volunteers of all ages at a wide variety of local parks, trails, campgrounds, and other public outdoor spaces.  Below are two upcoming opportunities.

URBAN CLEAN-UP DAY
Saturday, May 6, 8am-12pm
Do you care about the town of Easthampton? You can help clean it up by participating in Easthampton Clean Up Day. Volunteer as a family to demonstrate to your children the importance of giving back and contributing to the community. Visit the signup.com registration site for a full list of locations and time slots available. Participants will be picking up trash and weeds from sidewalks, helping to mulch planters, and more across public spaces. This event is a form of placemaking; it encourages community members to meet and work together to beautify shared spaces. Easthampton, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

TRAIL CLEAN-UP
Saturday, May 6, 9am-1pm
Participating in a volunteer day at a local nature center or trail, you can help ensure that the trails are cleared for visitors, and in some cases even help biodiversity by pulling invasive plants! Housatonic Valley Association invites you to their annual spring work party on the Old Mill Trail. Volunteers will help clean up the trail of winter debris, rake portions of the trail of leaves, pick up trash, replace lost markers and hand-pull invasive plants such as garlic mustard, celandine and winged euonymus. Tools, work gloves, and snacks will be provided. Call 413-298-7024 to register. Meet at the trailhead on Old Dalton Road. Hinsdale, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

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Ornithology

BIRD MIGRATION
Springtime is filled with sightings of all kinds of exciting natural wonders. The season’s outdoor appeal makes it a perfect time of year not only for enjoying our natural surroundings, but for learning about conservation and species preservation, too! Springtime is the season for bird sightings as Western Massachusetts becomes filled with a variety of migrating bird species in the early spring months. Read more in our March/Spring Season issue of Learning Ahead. Download your free copy here.

BIRD FESTIVAL
Saturday, May 6, 9am-2pm
Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary is kicking off a week of intergenerational birding activities, starting on May 6 with a Bird Festival! Individual adults and families can take guided walks of the grounds and learn about bird banding through demonstrations. “Bird banding” refers to the process of catching birds, marking them with an identifying band, and setting them free again. The data gathered from this process can assist in ornithological and biological research and can be part of tracking reproductive success and population rates. All day during the festival, you can learn how to engage in citizen science and get involved helping Neighborhood Nest Watch to band birds. Visit the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary webpage for a full schedule of activities. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

GUIDED BIRD WALK
Sunday, May 7, 7am-9:30am
Guided bird walks can help you learn about ecology as you notice the changes in scenery and species over the course of varying seasons. All are welcome to explore the new accessible birding and nature trail at Fort River National Wildlife Refuge, on a guided bird walk sponsored by the Hitchcock Center. The accessible trail is one mile long. Participants will be looking and listening for songbirds returning from the tropics for their spring nesting season. Bring binoculars and dress for the weather. Heavy rain cancels. 69 Moody Bridge Road. Hadley, MA. (FREE)

GUIDED BIRD WALK
Wednesday, May 10, 7am-9am
Spring and fall are the best times of year for birdwatching if you want to learn about migratory birds. Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary’s caretaker Jonathan Pierce will be offering a spring bird watching guided walk for adults on Wednesdays in May. Participants will walk past beaver wetlands and through the woods to identify warblers, tanagers, orioles, and other species. Beginners are welcome. Bring binoculars. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

GUIDED BIRD WALK
Friday, May 12, 7am-9am
Nature lovers can add the fun puzzle of species identification to their nature walks by learning about ornithology. You can find out how to identify the beautiful wood-warblers, orioles, thrushes, and more on spring birding walks at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary. Sanctuary Volunteer and Hoffmann Bird Club leader Noreen Mole will guide participants past wetlands and through meadows and woodlands, observing changes in ecology and bird species each week. Bring binoculars; beginners welcome. 413-637-0320. Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

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Nature-Based Learning

GUIDED NATURE HIKE
Saturday, May 6, 11am-1pm
Waterfalls are formed through the erosion of bedrock, often near the upper course of a river. Waterfalls are beautiful sights and can teach us about geology and river ecology. You can discover a beautiful, hidden waterfall by participating in a guided hike to the Sanderson Brook Falls in the Chester Blandford State Forest. Hikers will meet at the trailhead in the parking lot. For more information, visit the Western Mass Hilltown Hikers Facebook page. Chester, MA. (FREE)

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Placemaking

PRIDE PARADE
Saturday, May 6, 12pm-5pm
Northampton held its first liberation pride parade in 1981, a time when there were no legal protections for non-heterosexual employees. Community members marched with paper bags on their heads to draw attention to the fact that they could be fired because of their sexual orientation. Northampton Pride 2017 will kick off at noon with the parade, marching up Old South Street to Main Street and arriving at the Pride Event site, the 3 County Fairgrounds. Check the Northampton Pride website for a full schedule of speakers and performances. This event will be interpreted in American Sign Language. 54 Fair Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

RIVER ROLL & STROLL
Sunday, May 7, 11am-3pm
Open Street events support placemaking as they bring community members together in an unusual way, by closing the streets to vehicular traffic and encouraging people to get out and about on feet! During River Roll and Stroll, traffic will be closed down the Route 116 Bridge between Holyoke and South Hadley. There will be live music, art, and food trucks at this family-friendly event. This event marks the official kickoff of Baystate Bike Week. Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge. Holyoke and South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

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Philosophy

EMPIRICISM
[In this episode of Crash Course, Hank Green answers] “skeptics like Descartes with empiricism. Hank explains John Locke’s primary and secondary qualities and why George Berkeley doesn’t think that distinction works — leaving us with literally nothing but our minds, ideas, and perceptions.” – CrashCourse

LITERATURE/TRANSCENDENTALISM
Friday, May 12, 7pm
Author and naturalist Henry David Thoreau is best known for a famous act of civil disobedience, his intentional nonpayment of the state poll tax, as well as his life at Walden pond. Thoreau’s essays and books from the 19th century are still widely read and discussed today. His “transcendentalist” philosophy and his love of nature helped inspire a movement of people experimenting with time spent alone in the woods. The 1969 film, My Side of the Mountain (rated G), tells the story of a twelve-year-old Thoreau reader who travels to the California woods in the name of self-reliance. You can celebrate Thoreau’s 200th birthday by screening this family-friendly movie at the Ashfield Public Library. 413-628-4414. 344 Main Street. Ashfield, MA. (FREE)

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Botany

WILDFLOWERS
Saturday, May 6, 10am-12pm
One of the most beautiful harbingers of spring is the emergence of wildflowers. New England’s natural habitats such as forests, meadows, wetlands, alpine summits, and coastal environments, are home to many species of spring-flowering plants. In this lecture, “Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers of the Northeast,” Ted Elliman will talk about the wildflowers that you are likely to find in bloom in the forests and meadows of the Berkshires. Attendees are also invited, after the presentation, to hike the trails of the Ice Glen and identify plants along the mossy ravine. Berkshire Botanical Garden. 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road. Stockbridge, MA. ($)

MYCOLOGY
Sunday, May 7, 1pm-3pm
Mycology is a branch of biology concerning the study of fungi. Cultivating mushrooms is a great way to learn about the fungi life cycle while harvesting an edible product. Notchview is offering a mushroom cultivation workshop to teach participants about log inoculation, incubation, fruiting, harvesting and growing wine caps on wood chips. All materials are included in the fee. Register by calling 413-532-1631 x 3110. 83 Old Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($$)

PLANT SALE
Tuesday, May 9, 11am
Tending to a family garden or even just watering house plants can teach kids about responsibility and various branches science at the same time! Plant sales offer the opportunity to support local horticulturalists as well. Bringing your child along to a plant sale, he or she will learn about habitat and ecology as you pick out plants that will thrive in the conditions of your home and yard. To read more about the benefits of plant sales and potential family activities surrounding gardening, read our post Plants Sales Support Multidisciplinary Learning in Your Backyard. Greenfield Community College’s annual plant sale will benefit the GCC food pantry. You can find flowers as well as vegetables grown locally at the GCC greenhouse. Call 413-775-1220 for more information. The sale will take place at the Core of the Main Building on the Main Campus. One College Drive. Greenfield, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

PERMACULTURE
Tuesday, May 9, 6:30pm-8pm
Landscapers and gardeners who want to learn about permaculture have the chance to do so in a free workshop at River Valley Co Op. Permaculture is a design system and horticultural approach based on natural laws. Permaculture is also a kind of ethical philosophy which asks individuals to examine and refine their relationships within an ecosystem. Utilizing permaculture methods can help us restore healthy relationships between ourselves, our communities, and our ecosystems. Ashley Schenk will be running a workshop on how these methods can be used in gardening and landscaping. Registration is required. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Art Studies

PAINTING
Saturday, May 6, 1:30pm
Painting demonstrations are great for art lovers who want to gain a better understanding of the creative process. Illustrator and painter Dan Howe will be offering a painting demonstration and discussion to illuminate the artistic process of famous artist Norman Rockwell. This program is included with admission to the Norman Rockwell Museum. Artists may be interested to try out the techniques they see demonstrated. 413-298-4100. 9 Glendale Road. Stockbridge, MA. ($. College students with ID <$. Ages 6-18 <$. Under 5 and museum members FREE)

EN PLEIN PAINTING
Sunday, May 7, 10am-5pm
Clark Art Institute’s final First Sundays Free program of the season with feature en plein painting on the Fernández Terrace, and a hike up to Stone Hill. Artists have always been inspired by nature, and outdoor painting allows artists to enjoy the landscape as you capture it on the canvas. Visitors are also welcome to join gallery talks in the Impressionist gallery at 11am and 2pm. Painting activities are weather dependent. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

FIBER ARTS
Friday, May 12, 4pm-8pm
Weaving is an ancient form of textile production typically involving a loom. In Europe and the Americas, weaving has historically been an industry tied to farming and the domestication of animals, as many textiles are produced from shearing. Weaving is also a form of fiber art! Come to the Smith College Museum of Art Free Second Friday on May 12 to learn about the art of weaving in the villas of Oplontis and create your own beautiful textile. At 6pm, enjoy a guided talk. All ages are welcome. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Bicycle

WOMEN’S HISTORY

PLACEMAKING/INTERGENERATIONAL
Sunday, May 7, 11am-3pm
Open Street events support placemaking as they bring community members together in an unusual way, by closing the streets to vehicular traffic and encouraging people to get out and about on feet! During River Roll and Stroll, traffic will be closed down the Route 116 Bridge between Holyoke and South Hadley. There will be live music, art, and food trucks at this family-friendly event. This event marks the official kickoff of Baystate Bike Week. Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge. Holyoke and South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW BICYCLE EPISODE

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Social Justice

SOCIAL JUSTICE
Sunday, May 7, 2pm-4pm
Want to do something about islamophobia and antisemitism? The first step to tackling a problem is fully understanding it. Community members are invited to discuss these complex social issues through a panel discussion at the Berkshire Museum. Panelists will be discussing phenomena such as the rise of hate crimes across the United States and the targeting of Jewish and Muslim communities. Spiritual leaders and academic experts will be exploring all sides of these issues. Visit the Berkshire Museum website for more information. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Route 7. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

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History

LOCAL HISTORY
Saturday, May 6, 10am-2pm
Visiting a historical society is a great way to connect to your town- both past and present. The Historical Society of Greenfield is housed in a building built in 1852 and showcases collections of photographs, local antiques, books, maps, paintings, memorabilia, and artifacts about local and county history. All are invited to visit the historical society, explore the newly restored Benton Hall, and view a sampling of the many items that help tell the story of Greenfield. Email hsgreenfield1907@gmail.com for more information. 43 Church Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

LIVING HISTORY/RENAISSANCE STUDIES
Sunday, May 7, 11am-4pm
Living history and open-air museums and events provide interesting insight into the ways in which we engage with historical information. Renaissance fairs first emerged in the United States in the 1950s, as part of a larger interest in medieval culture and music, resulting is placemaking events that support learning through engagement. Living history challenges actors and attendees to think about history beyond events, learning about customs, dress, accents and behaviors. Vendors sometimes sell foods and items traditional for the time period. Living history, unlike historical texts or documentaries, is hands-on and interactive. Some renaissance and other living history events provide demonstrations of skills such as blacksmithing, and early printing methods. People of all ages who enjoy dressing up can feel like a more active participant by donning their renaissance wear along with the actors. The 15th Annual Community Renaissance Festival hosted by The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies will be highly entertaining and educational. Costumes encouraged. Fun for the whole family. Rain or shine. Theater, music, falconry, juggling, sword demonstrations from Phoenix Swords, Renaissance games, artisans, dancing, and more! Free parking. Food for sale from UMass concessions. 650 E. Pleasant St. Amherst, MA

BUSINESS HISTORY/SOCIAL HISTORY
Sunday, May 7, 2pm
Julius Rosenwald, co-founder of Sears-Roebuck, was one of the most prominent business people of his time. He was also the son of Jewish-German immigrants and succeeded greatly in spite of never having graduated high school. He went on to support an array of social causes including the establishment of more than 5,300 schools in African-American communities. The Yiddish Book Center will be screening the 2015 documentary Rosenwald, followed by a question-and-answer session with director Aviva Kempner. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE).

LOCAL HISTORY
Sunday, May 7, 4pm-7pm
Historical societies hold a wealth of knowledge to educate community members about their town’s place in history. In the case of the Shelburne Historical Society, the building itself is a piece of history offering opportunities for learning about historical architecture. The society is housed in the former Arms Academy, a classic building of its era, built in 1880. The collection housed there includes locally manufactured items, household furnishings, and extensive photographs illustrating a small manufacturing village and surrounding farms. You can explore artifacts, paintings, maps, and papers from the 1800-1900s by attending the society’s Open House. Refreshments will be served. For more information call 413-625-6150. 33 Severance Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (FREE

FOOD HISTORY
Wednesday, May 10, 7pm
Today, in New England and beyond, pie is a staple dessert during the winter holidays. In early American cuisine, sweet and savory pies were an integral part of diet year-round. Pilgrims brought to America their practice of pie making and developed their recipes with newly available ingredients. Robert Cox, author of New England Pie: History Under A Crust can tell you a great deal more about pie at this free lecture, to take place at the Hadley Historical Society. 413-587-2623. 12 Middle Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)

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Psychology

YOGA/INTERGENERATIONAL
Monday, May 8, 9:30am-10:15am
Practicing yoga at any age can connect you to your body and help you to be more mindful of the present moment. Starting young, kids can discover that yoga is a lot of fun and will possibly develop a lifelong love of the activity. Watch the video above and learn about the relationship between yoga and psychology. The Community Network for Children 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, May 8, May 15, and May 22. Registration is required. Call 978-544-5157. Sessions take place at the Leverett Library. 75 Montague Road. Leverett, MA. (FREE)

PARENTING
Tuesday, May 9, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Parenting is an intellectual as well as a physical and emotional challenge. Understanding what motivates your child’s behavior can help your create positive solutions to problematic habits. The Collaborative for Educational Services “Positive Solutions” program will help parents examine and understand their children’s behaviors. Parents will be given tips on how to make expectations clear for children and develop effective ways of teaching household rules. This is the third session of this program. Register on the Collaborative for Educational Services website. This program which will take place at Easthampton High School. 413-586-4900. 70 Williston Avenue. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

NEUROSCIENCE
Wednesday, May 10, 8pm-9pm
Traumatic experiences in childhood can have adverse effects on the victim’s health across a lifetime. The documentary Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope approaches violence and trauma as a community issue, chronicling a movement among professionals towards the disruption of violence, addiction, and disease. The film discusses cutting-edge neuroscience and the role this knowledge plays in creating change for individuals, families, and communities. Amherst Cinema will be showing the film, followed by a panel discussion with local experts in the medical field. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)

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[Photo credit: (cc) Andy Morffew]


Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Belchertown, Buckland, Chicopee, Colrain, Cummington, Gill, Hadley, New Salem, Plainfield, Shelburne, Westhampton, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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