24 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Mother’s Day to Bike Week. Edible Flowers to Switchel.

An important aspect of culinary arts is learning how to pair flavors which complement each other. This is a skill and an art form, similar to an artist’s knowledge of color palettes. You can learn about, and sample, ideal pairings of tea and chocolate at the Sunderland Public Library on Saturday, May 13, 2pm-3:30pm. In this program, attendees will also learn about the history and health benefits of both chocolate and tea! Please register in advance at the library. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland,

Multidisciplinary Learning to Food History. Glassblowing to Neuroscience. Edible Flowers to Earth Science. 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:  Did you know that before inventing the world’s the first successful airplane, Orville and Wilbur Wright owned a bicycle shop? Bike maintenance has the potential to teach kids all kinds of subjects and skills including math, science, reading, writing, problem-solving, and working toward a goal. You can learn about how the Holyoke Urban Bike School supports this type of learning, and join in a leisurely, family-friendly community bike ride in Holyoke on Wednesday, May 17, 5pm-6:30pm! The ride will last about forty-five minutes and afterward, participants are invited to check out the HUBS space and learn about their work. Steady rain cancels the event.Holyoke Urban Bike School. 160 Beech St. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


PhilosophyService-Based LearningPlant SalesPoetryLocal HistoryNatural HistoryCulinary ArtsArt StudiesMindfulnessLabyrinthsMuseum StudiesBicyclingCollaborative ConsumptionSTEMOrnithologyBird WalksCommunity MealsCivil War


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Service-Based Learning

STEWARDSHIP
Saturday, May 13, 9am-12pm
Participating in a volunteer day at a local nature center or trail, you can help ensure that the trails are cleared for visitors, and help biodiversity by pulling invasive plants! Stewardship Day and Volunteer Open House at William Cullen Bryant Homestead offers many opportunities for people of all ages to engage in service-based learning. Volunteer as an individual or as a family. Ecologist Julie Richburg will teach participants the basics of removing garlic mustard, an invasive plant. Bring gloves and hand tools in you have them. Some tools provided. Bring water, snacks, layers and tick protection. Be prepared to go off trail. Stick around from noon to 1pm to learn about becoming a tour guide. 413-532-1631 ex 3119. 207 Bryant Road. Cummington, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

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Multidisciplinary Learning

PLANT SALES & SWAPS
Plant
sales & swaps happen all over western Massachusetts this time of year. From big to small events, many raising funds for valuable community resources, plant sales are an excellent opportunity for sourcing your plants (and gardening knowledge) locally. They are terrific community events for learning tips on plants and gardening from both home gardeners and experts in the field! Bring your family to a plant sale this weekend and unearth the embedded learning they hold for the entire family! Read more in our post: Community Plant Sales & Swap Support Local Causes & Embedded Learning

PLANT SALE
Saturday, May 13, 9am-12pm
Starting a backyard garden can help your children forge a connection to place…especially if you buy the plants locally! Plant sales connect botanists, horticulturalists, gardeners, and general nature lovers as they exchange their knowledge and their wares. The Gardeners’ Annual Plant Sale at Wistariahurst also supports historical learning as the proceeds will benefit ongoing care and maintenance of the historically-inspired Wistariahurst grounds and garden. Arrive early as many plants sell out quickly. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

PLANT SALE
Friday, May 19, 11am-5pm
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. The Berkshire Botanical Garden’s annual plant sale will provide thousands of woody and herbaceous plants for purchase. The plants will be displayed by habitat and include plants for sunny areas, beds and borders, dry areas, plants for the woodland edge, and woodland plants, as well as annuals, tropicals, and vines. 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road. Stockbridge, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

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Poetry

ECOPOETRY
Western Massachusetts has been home to many poets and writers who were inspired by this region’s remarkable landscape. April was National Poetry Month, a trend of honoring poetry that can continue all year long! As nature begins to come to life in blossoms and buds, poetry is the perfect catalyst for exploring the outdoor spaces and places that inspired great writers of the past and present through some of the many local trails found in the region. Read more about local poets and discover the trails that inspired them in our March/April Season issue of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts.

POETRY WALK
Saturday, May 13, 10:30am-11:30am
Emily Dickinson is a well-known and well-loved poet, whose life and work help us connect to nature, history, and place. The Emily Dickinson Museum’s annual Poetry Walk marks the anniversary of the poet’s death (on May 15, 1886) with readings of her poetry at historic sites in Amherst. Learn about Emily Dickinson’s life in Amherst by visiting sites that were significant to her, while listening to her poetry read aloud. The Poetry Walk will begin in the Homestead garden and proceeds through Amherst, concluding at the poet’s grave in West Cemetery. 413-542-2947. 280 Main Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

MOTHER’S DAY/POETRY
Sunday, May 14, 11am-1pm, 2pm-4pm
Looking for something nice to do with mom on Mother’s Day? Mothers’ Day Tea and Poetry at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead will include a proper afternoon tea in the parlor, complete with pastries, scones, and sandwiches. There will also take guided tours of the historic house. Bryant’s poetry will be read aloud in the library. Visiting the homestead could be the perfect mother’s day for moms and families interested in local history, poetry, and tea! 413-532-1631. 207 Bryant Road. Cummington, MA. ($$ – $$$)

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Neuroscience

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Local History

CIVIL WAR
Saturday, May 13, 2pm
Twenty black soldiers from Amherst fought for the Union during the Civil War. Five of those soldiers (two of whom gave their lives in the war) were from the same family, the Thompsons. One such soldier, Christopher Thompson, survived the war and later died in 1898. He was buried in Amherst West Cemetery, but there was no gravestone. The Amherst Historical Commission has created the “Christopher Thompson Memorial Stone” and the public is invited to witness the installation of this monument. Several of Christopher’s descendants plan to attend this dedication ceremony. The new monument also serves to acknowledge and honor the twenty black soldiers from Amherst. West Cemetery. Triangle Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

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Nature Studies

NATURAL HISTORY
Saturday, May 13, 2pm
Wildlife and ecology are an integral part of our natural history. Over the past five hundred years, major changes have occurred in Northampton’s wildlife, both in the form of species departing, returning, and newly arriving for the first time. Beaver, bear, and turkeys, for example, once disappeared for decades and are now back in abundance. You can learn about the factors which cause changes in our local biodiversity by attending Laurie Sanders’ talk, Wildlife Changes in Northampton: from Nonotuck to Now, at Historic Northampton. Human attitudes, laws, trade practices, and climate all impact wildlife in fascinating and important ways. 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Culinary Arts

FOOD HISTORY/TEA & CHOCOLATE
Saturday, May 13, 2pm-3:30pm
An important aspect of culinary arts is learning how to pair flavors which complement each other. This is a skill and an art form, similar to an artist’s knowledge of color palettes. You can learn about, and sample, ideal pairings of tea and chocolate at the Sunderland Public Library. In this program, attendees will also learn about the history and health benefits of both chocolate and tea! Please register in advance at the library. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

BEVERAGES
Monday, May 15, 5:30pm-7pm
Soda-like beverages have existed long before the highly processed, sugary drinks we know today. “Switchel” is one example of a once-popular, homemade, American sweet beverage. You can get creative making your own wild sodas with simple ingredients and basic equipment. Trevor Ring will be leading a workshop at the Mason Library, teaching participants how to make wild sodas, as well as kvass, a traditional Russian/Eastern European fermented beverage usually made from stale bread or root veggies like beets. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

FOOD HISTORY/EDIBLE FLOWERS
Monday, May 15, 6:30pm
Studying a particular food item across history can provide great insight into the intertwining concepts of food, habitat, and culture. Flowers can be used as decorations in and outside of the home and, in some cases, eaten. Edible flowers are a particularly fascinating subject because they can be both a food item and an important cultural symbol.The Greeks, Romans, Persians, Ottomans, Mayans, Chinese, and Indians all cooked with flowers for centuries. Mary Newman’s book Edible Flowers: A Global History, provides a fascinating insight into how flowers have been used in cooking, from ancient Greek dishes to the today’s molecular gastronomy and farm-to-table restaurants. You can hear her discuss these topics in a book talk at the Holyoke Public Library. 413-420-8101. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

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Art Studies

Sunday, May 14, 10am-4pm
ART STUDIES/GLASSBLOWING
Glassblowing is a manufacturing and art technique which dates back to the 2nd millennium BC. Glassblowing can be used to create practical items as well as purely artistic pieces. The Clark Art Institute has an impressive collection of Early American Blown Glass and other glass items. On Sunday, May 14 the Clark will open a brand new gallery, The Lauzon Glass Study Gallery. The items in this new collection tell the story of the glass industry in early America, featuring both free-blown glass and pressed glass. The collection includes many forms of glass such as decanters, figured flasks, lighting implements, and objects for the table such as drinking glasses and salt cellars. Visit the new gallery to learn how glass was made in early America and admire the beauty of glass as an artistic medium. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (Adults $; Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID FREE)

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Mindfulness

LABYRINTHS
Monday, May 15, 1pm
In the English language, the word “labyrinth” is often used as a synonym for “maze.” Ancient labyrinths, however, are not mazes. They are typically structures which consist of a single path to the center. Labyrinths have historically been used for walking meditation practices. In his talk, “One Labyrinth. 10,000 Miles of Open Road,” Clive Johnson will discuss his upcoming project. He intends to travel the United States with a portable labyrinth in the hope of building stronger communities and encouraging empathy. He will be discussing his project and his book in this talk at the Holyoke Public Library. 413-420-8101. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

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Museum Studies

MUSEUM PROGRAMS/DIVERSITY
Monday, May 15, 4pm
Museums provide inexpensive and sometimes free education across disciplines and age groups, offering opportunities for intergenerational bonding and interdisciplinary learning outside of the classroom! Museums support brain building for our youngsters and lifelong learning for our elders, all while supporting local artists and makers. If you are interested in museum studies, you can attend the Museums10 Summit Keynote “Inside Out: Transforming Museums Through Collaboration, Community Involvement and Social Action” at Smith College. Mike Murawski, director of education and public programs at the Portland Art Museum will be discussing the ways in which museums and museum programming can bring people together and embrace diversity. Graham Auditorium, Hillyer, Brown Fine Arts Center. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

MUSEUM DAY
Thursday, May 18, 10am-5pm
Taking your children to a museum can be the perfect activity to keep the learning going outside of school. In addition to being educational spaces, museums support the creative economy, build partnerships with school systems, and provide public spaces for community members. You can join in a celebration of the power of museums by visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum on Art Museum Day! There will be guided gallery talks starting at 11am, 12:30pm, and 2:30pm. 413-298-4100. 9 Glendale Road. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

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Philosophy

KNOWLEDGE
“On today’s episode [of Crash Course]…CATS. Also: Hank talks about some philosophy stuff, like a few of the key concepts philosophers use when discussing belief and knowledge, such as what defines an assertion and a proposition, and that belief is a kind of propositional attitude. Hank also discusses forms of justification and the traditional definition of knowledge, which Edmund Gettier just totally messed with, using his Gettier cases.” – CrashCourse

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Bike Riding

COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION
Saturday, May 13, 12pm
It’s Bay State Bike Week! Do you have a bike your child has grown too big for? Or one you aren’t using? You can donate any size of bike to contribute to RAD Springfield’s Earn a Bike Program. All age bike donations will go to RAD Springfield’s Earn a Bike Program. Contact Maggie at 413-748-9891 or margarite.whitten@sphs.com to coordinate donations. Springfield, MA. (DONATION)

SAFETY/BIKING
Tuesday, May 16, 5:30pm-6:30pm
Bicycling has a great positive impact on communities. Biking is a fun exercise, and biking for transportation helps you to decrease your carbon footprint. Bike trips can be a bonding experience for the entire family, but you have to practice bike safety! The Bike Rodeo in Amherst will include a bike and helmet fit check. New bikers will learn to ride, signal, check traffic, and switch gears effectively. There will be a slow bike race. Bring a bike in good repair, a helmet, and closed-toe shoes. Crocker Farm Elementary School. 39 Shays Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

BIKING/STEM
Wednesday, May 17, 5pm-6:30pm
Did you know that before inventing the world’s the first successful airplane, Orville and Wilbur Wright owned a bicycle shop? Bike maintenance has the potential to teach kids all kinds of subjects and skills including math, science, reading, writing, problem-solving, and working toward a goal. You can learn about how the Holyoke Urban Bike School supports this type of learning, and join in a leisurely, family-friendly community bike ride in Holyoke! The ride will last about forty-five minutes and afterward, participants are invited to check out the HUBS space and learn about their work. Steady rain cancels the event.Holyoke Urban Bike School. 160 Beech St. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

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ORNITHOLOGY

GUIDED BIRD WALK
Saturday, May 13, 7am-8:30am
All major mammal groups are known to migrate, usually on a seasonal basis, in order to arrive at a more ideal climate, a better area for mating, or an area of greater food availability. You may notice this phenomenon in the spring, as bird species arrive in the Northeast. Early morning bird walks at Graves Farm Wildlife Sanctuary offer you the chance to hone your bird identification skills during spring migration. This program is open to birders of all levels. Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them. Dress for the weather and be prepared for insects. Heavy rain cancels. 413-584-3009. Adams Road. Haydenville, MA. (Members FREE; Non-members <$)

BIRD IDENTIFICATION
Monday, May 15, 6:30pm
Learning to identify birds by their calls opens up a whole new world of bird identification. Even if they’re cleverly camouflaged or roosted at the top of a tall tree, if you can hear a bird’s song, you’ve got a good shot at determining who is chattering. With his “Songbirds of the Northeast” presentation at the Dalton Free Public Library, naturalist John Root will teach you bird identification techniques through recordings and photographs. Interested attendees will also be able to purchase bluebird boxes and perennials for edible landscaping and attracting wildlife. 413-684-6112. 462 Main Street. Dalton, MA. (FREE)

GUIDED BIRD WALK
Friday, May 19, 7am-9am
Spring and fall are the best times of year for birdwatching if you want to learn about migratory birds. You can learn 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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Community Meal

PANCAKE BREAKFAST
Saturday, May 13, 8am-11am
Community meals are great intergenerational opportunities to sit down with neighbors of all ages, making connections and nurturing relationships across the generations. Participating in a community pancake breakfast does more than filling your belly… it strengthens the social fabric of the community by developing a sense of place in our children! Celebrate the founding of Springfield (May 13, 1636) at the World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast. This event features pancakes and family entertainment and allows families to meet and spend time with community members of all ages. For more information, visit the Spirit of Springfield website. State Street to Bridge Street. Springfield, MA. (<$)

MOTHER’S DAY/BREAKFAST
Sunday, May 14, 8am-11:30am
Celebrate Mother’s Day with a community meal! This holiday honors the importance of a mother’s impact on both the nuclear family and wider society. The Berkshire Lodge of Masons will be offering a breakfast including pancakes, eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, coffee, juice and much more. Celebrate the impact that mother’s have on families across generations. 63 Center Street (The Elks Lodge Building). Adams, MA. (<$)

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Earth Science

The whole world is now in your browser. Fly through landmarks and cities like London, Tokyo and Rome in stunning 3D, then dive in to experience them first hand with Street View. See the world from a new point of view with Voyager, which brings you stories from the BBC, NASA, Sesame Street and more. Start exploring: Google Earth.” (view in Chrome).

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[Photo credit: (cc) Dmitriy]


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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