Suggested Events for March 28th-April 3rd, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

”Hilltown Families has benefited us in so many ways… expanding our abilities to attend family events around the area, be it in nature, music, dance, art. Our child has grown and learned so much (and will continue to) by being able to expand his horizons in so many ways… more than we could have ever imagined. Thank you HILLTOWN FAMILIES! YOU ROCK!” – Erin Long (Easthampton, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Check out our featured post, 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Mar 28

Valley Vegfest, Saturday, March 28, 10-4, at JFK Middle School, Bridge Road in Northampton. Featuring passionate speakers, vegan food vendors, veg-friendly products, and non-profit organizations dedicated to animal welfare, healthy living, and the environment. Learn about and sample delicious healthy foods. Join in discussions and demonstrations. Enjoy entertainment and activities for kids. Speakers include Kathy Stevens, founder and director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary; Reed Mangels, nutritionist and author, Pattrice Jones, co-founder of VINE Sanctuary; Tim Van Orden, vegan athlete and raw food proponent; and Mary Lawrence, author and vegan chef. Admission is free– donations welcomed. Details at www.valleyveg.org

Mar 28

Independent Middle School Fair. An opportunity for families to learn about seven local schools with middle-school programs. Meet representatives from The Academy at Charlemont, Academy Hill School, The Bement School, The Center School, Four Winds School, The Hartsbrook School, and Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School. Saturday, March 28, 2-4pm, at Four Winds School, 54 French King Highway (Route 2), in Gill, MA. More information at www.fourwindsschool.info or call 413-863-8055.

Mar 28 & 29

Pioneer Valley Ballet’s original performance of Aladdin and his Magic Lamp performs March 28 & 29 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. The colorful characters and spell-binding choreography of Aladdin and his Magic Lamp takes audience members on a magical ride through a land brimming with genies, dreams, love, and adventure. A perfect spring adventure for the whole family! Tickets: pioneervalleyballet.tix.com

Mar 29

New England Air Museum will hold its annual Space Expo on Sunday, March 29th from 10am-4pm. This is your opportunity to experience aerospace science and technology as well as meet pioneers from the aerospace industry. More than 15 exhibitors from across New England will participate in the event including demonstrations and hands-on activities. Visitors can meet an astronaut, try on a space suit, pilot a space craft simulator, touch a meteorite, learn about the atmosphere of Mars, build a rocket, and much more. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT. For more info call 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org.

Apr 4

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “Here Comes The Sun!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own local heroes The Nields! The Nields are celebrating the release of their seventeenth album with a benefit for Sunnyside. Come Sing and Dance with us! Join Sunnyside on Saturday, April 4th from 10:30am–12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids with the second in our series happening on Saturday, April 18 from 10am-12noon. Mark your calendars and make plans to ome enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Apr 23

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Thursday, April 23rd, 6-8pm, celebrating National Volunteer Month. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER) (Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden)

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, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.mps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
March 28th-April 3rd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Lenox Peeps Show Diorama Contest Presents Creative History Learning Opportunity

Let Your Puns Run Wild!

Peep through a history book or two in order to get ready for what might be the punniest contest of the year – the Lenox Peeps Show Diorama Contest calls for entrants to create dioramas featuring Peeps of any species as miniature mannequins in important moments in history. The most creative of dioramas not only dramatically display a piece of history, but use puns either in their title or within the diorama itself (think Declaration of Indepeepdence or the Leaning Tower of Peepsa). Read the rest of this entry »

Independent Bookshop Hosts Annual Youth Writing Contest in Pioneer Valley

Inspring Young People to Write

Writing Poetry

Young authors have a competitive outlet for their creativity this spring – Odyssey Bookshop’s 22nd annual Children’s Writing Contest is happening now! While the contest deadline isn’t until Friday, April 24th, now is the time to begin crafting an original story and, perhaps, an accompanying illustration. The contest is open to writers in first through fifth grade, and authors are expected to complete their submission on their own. Read the rest of this entry »

Become A Citizen Scientist & Get to Know Your Local Dragonfly!

Community-Based Education Right In Your Back Yard

Families can join in on an important citizen science project called Dragonfly Pond Watch.

While a season filled with winged insects may seem months away, now is the time to begin learning how to be on the lookout for seasonal indicator species! Certain creatures who migrate to warmer climes during Massachusetts’ winter can help to make the start of warmer weather with their presence. Just as returning robins dotting late-winter feeders mean that spring is near and the emergence of salamanders marks spring’s first good rain, the appearance of dragonflies can serve as an important seasonal indicator, too! Read the rest of this entry »

Coming to Pioneer Valley: The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum

Museum Honoring Dr. Seuss to Open in Pioneer Valley

Conceptual design for City Zoo Interactive Display, Amazing World of Dr. Seuss, Courtesy of Springfield Museums.

Given the worldwide impact of Dr. Seuss’ work, it’s hard to believe that there is no museum in his honor. That is set to change in 2016, when the Springfield Museums will open the first museum dedicated to celebrating the life and legacy of Springfield native Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Plans are now underway for the creation of The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, which will feature a highly interactive literacy-based exhibition featuring beloved Seuss characters, as well as exhibits to honor Geisel himself and the community which fostered his early development and creative genius. The museum will be housed in the William Pynchon Memorial building on the Springfield Museums campus in downtown Springfield, MA.  Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for March 21st-27th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I always check out your Facebook page and check the weekly events. Your website provides us with information about all the great events at museums and elsewhere.” – Lyza Fennell (Southampton, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Check out our featured post, 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Mar 21

Piti Theatre Co. presents their 6th annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls, MA, on Saturday, March 21, featuring the high-flying cirque show RUCKUS! by Nimble Arts, an award-winning troupe with Cirque de Soleil veterans at 5pm. Blending live music and magic, Piti Theatre presents the world premiere of “Innocenzo” a play for all ages about a clown who gets sick from electrosmog and then starts to heal at 3pm. SYRUP celebrates spring with syrup tasting, free pickles, a raffle, maple treats around the village and door prizes in a historic venue. Circus workshops for ages 7+ on Sunday, March 22 at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary (2pm: aerial silks, 3pm: juggling). Info and tickets: www.ptco.org/syrup

Mar 22

Celebrate spring with The Very Hungry Caterpillar on Sunday, March 22 from 12noon to 4pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. Guests can dance a Wiggle Jiggle down the Great Hall with the beloved Caterpillar, make found object caterpillars in the Art Studio, taste Very Yummy Smoothies from Whole Foods, enjoy special storytimes, and search for the Caterpillar’s favorite foods in a museum-wide scavenger hunt. Help welcome The Carle’s new custom Volkswagon Bug and have your picture taken in it. Plus, free apples and Caterpillar Cookies! For more information and a schedule of activities, please visit www.carlemuseum.org or call 413-658-1126. All activities free with Museum Admission!

Mar 28

Valley Vegfest, Saturday, March 28, 10-4, at JFK Middle School, Bridge Road in Northampton. Featuring passionate speakers, vegan food vendors, veg-friendly products, and non-profit organizations dedicated to animal welfare, healthy living, and the environment. Learn about and sample delicious healthy foods. Join in discussions and demonstrations. Enjoy entertainment and activities for kids. Speakers include Kathy Stevens, founder and director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary; Reed Mangels, nutritionist and author, Pattrice Jones, co-founder of VINE Sanctuary; Tim Van Orden, vegan athlete and raw food proponent; and Mary Lawrence, author and vegan chef. Admission is free– donations welcomed. Details at www.valleyveg.org

Mar 28

Independent Middle School Fair. An opportunity for families to learn about seven local schools with middle-school programs. Meet representatives from The Academy at Charlemont, Academy Hill School, The Bement School, The Center School, Four Winds School, The Hartsbrook School, and Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School. Saturday, March 28, 2-4pm, at Four Winds School, 54 French King Highway (Route 2), in Gill, MA. More information at www.fourwindsschool.info or call 413-863-8055.

Mar 29

New England Air Museum will hold its annual Space Expo on Sunday, March 29th from 10am-4pm. This is your opportunity to experience aerospace science and technology as well as meet pioneers from the aerospace industry. More than 15 exhibitors from across New England will participate in the event including demonstrations and hands-on activities. Visitors can meet an astronaut, try on a space suit, pilot a space craft simulator, touch a meteorite, learn about the atmosphere of Mars, build a rocket, and much more. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT. For more info call 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org.

Farm Hands Preschool at Town Farm in downtown Northampton has several openings in their toddler room (18 to 33 months) for the coming school year (summer start dates are possible too)! Farm Hands Preschool is a small, loving, real-work-and-play-based community that trusts children to know themselves best. Teachers work as researchers and guides, providing support, materials, time, and space to meet individual and group needs. What are they up to these days? Tapping trees, planning their gardens, and still sledding every day down the dike! Find more information at www.thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or by emailing alya@thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or calling 413-695-4645.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21st, 9-11:30am. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER) (Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden)

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids with the second in our series happening on Saturday, April 18 from 10am-12noon. Mark your calendars and make plans to ome enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

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, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.mps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
March 21st-27th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Performing Arts Festival Comes to the Hilltowns

Sugar season is upon us, and coming with it is Piti Theater Company’s sweetest performances this weekend, co-sponsored by Hilltown Families! SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival brings locally created original theater and exciting performances from special guests to Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls for two days of performances, workshops, and sweet entertainment all around!

This year, Piti Theater Company will use the festival to launch a local tour of their new show, Innocenzo, which addresses concerns about electromagnetic pollution. Designed to be watched, appreciated, and understood by children, the show tells the story of a clown who falls sick with a mysterious illness, only to find out that he is being affected by electromagnetic pollution. The show does have a happy ending, but shares important information about the affects of a somewhat new (and rarely publicly addressed) concern. True to Piti’s theatrical style, the show is both educational and eye-opening, yet blends this with original music and clowning for a well-rounded and captivating show. Read the rest of this entry »

2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for March 14th & 15th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for March 14th-20th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 26 Community Highlights: Cupcake Chemistry to Maple Celebrations. Upcycling to Family Dancing., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

March 14th-20th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Maple Syrup CelebrationPlant StudiesSt. Patrick’s DayUpcyclingSpring MusicalsArt WalkEnvironmental StudiesPerformancesSTEM Parent WorkshopsCulinary Arts Museum Adventures

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Let Them Grow: Four Steps to Support Toddler Art
  2. 7 Children’s Books that Embody Peace
  3. Seasons at Our Table: Maple Sugar
  4. HFVS Family Band Episode with Guest DJ, Michael Napolitano (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Bedside Reading: A Collection of Five

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for March 14th-20th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Big cousins are coming to visit- what should we do with them? I know! Let’s look on Hilltown Families! There’s always an amazing list of ideas that I’d never think of otherwise.” – 
Brita Dempsey (
Holyoke, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Hilltown Families’ Events

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21st, 9-11:30am. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER) (Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden)

Bulletin Board

Mar 13

Odyssey Bookshop hosts a RED launch: Friday, March 13, 7pm. Bring your tweens & teens and embrace the RED! Hailed from our very own East Longmeadow comes debut author Victoria Aveyard with the most anticipated young adult novel of 2015. A little bit, Hunger Games and a little bit Divergent, Red Queen will not disappoint. Discover the world of revolutionaries, powers and more, this March as you dress your best in RED, gorge on RED velvet cupcakes and drink RED sparkling juice for this epic event. Join the Odyssey Bookshop for an author reading, signing and RED costume competition! Ages 12+ Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307

Mar 14

Chirping Storytime with Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple: Saturday, March 14, 3pm. A launch party for the little bird in your life! Soar down to the Odyssey Bookshop for a fun-filled celebration! Storytelling greats, Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple will join for the launch of their much-anticipated picture book You Nest Here With Me. Combining their poetic writing and their love of birding, mother and daughter Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple have written what is sure to become a bedtime classic. Learn how this lovely story came to be with a bird call demonstration, peck at cupcakes, and make a nest of your own at our craft table! Perfect for ages 2+. Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, 413-534-7307

Mar 14

The Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company is excited to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day with a performance at the Academy of Music Theatre in downtown Northampton on Saturday, March 14th at 7pm! Their vibrant modern take on the traditional style of step dancing has entertained sold out crowds in the Pioneer Valley and beyond for many years. Joined by local Celtic musical group ‘Four Sisters & the Farmhands’ this is sure to be a show that has something for everyone. Come join in the fun of the jigs and reels this season with your family! Tickets can be purchased via the web at www.AcademyOfMusicTheatre.com or by phone at 413-584-9032 x105. Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and children.

Mar 21

Piti Theatre Co. presents their 6th annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls, MA, on Saturday, March 21, featuring the high-flying cirque show RUCKUS! by Nimble Arts, an award-winning troupe with Cirque de Soleil veterans at 5pm. Blending live music and magic, Piti Theatre presents the world premiere of “Innocenzo” a play for all ages about a clown who gets sick from electrosmog and then starts to heal at 3pm. SYRUP celebrates spring with syrup tasting, free pickles, a raffle, maple treats around the village and door prizes in a historic venue. Circus workshops for ages 7+ on Sunday, March 22 at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary (2pm: aerial silks, 3pm: juggling). Info and tickets: www.ptco.org/syrup

Farm Hands Preschool at Town Farm in downtown Northampton has several openings in their toddler room (18 to 33 months) for the coming school year (summer start dates are possible too)! Farm Hands Preschool is a small, loving, real-work-and-play-based community that trusts children to know themselves best. Teachers work as researchers and guides, providing support, materials, time, and space to meet individual and group needs. What are they up to these days? Tapping trees, planning their gardens, and still sledding every day down the dike! Find more information at www.thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or by emailing alya@thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or calling 413-695-4645.

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.org

Jul 6-10

Journey Camp returns to Cummington for Hilltown families this summer. The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12,June 29-July 3, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill, Deerfield. Hilltown Journey Camp, boys & girls, 7-12, July 6-10, 8:45-4, Taproot Common Farm, Cummington. Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, 11-18, July 27-July 30, two overnights & campfires, Woolman Hill. Girls Week, 7-13, Aug. 3-7 & Aug. 10-14, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

Now available

Crimson & Clover Farm is happy to announce that 2015 CSA Shares are now available! Located at the Northampton Community Farm, near downtown Florence, Crimson & Clover Farm raises a wide variety of delicious, beautiful, and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables for our 20 week CSA program. As a community based farm, they offer a welcoming environment where their members and their families can come and enjoy this amazing community resource as well as receive nutritious locally grown food. In addition to vegetables, they also offer a variety of locally produced products for sale through their farm store, as well as a bountiful PYO garden. For more info about the CSA and how to become a member of the farm, visit crimsonandcloverfarm.com.

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, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
March 14th-20th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel Arts Collective

Photographs: A Lens for Learning About the Past

Photographs as Primary Source Tools to Support Integrated Learning

Pictures are worth a thousand words, and are essentially invaluable in studies of history! Families can take advantage of a local exhibit and online archives in order to use the power of observation to learn about life in the past, both in western Massachusetts and across the country.

Though a bit cliché, the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is entirely true – especially when it comes to using photographs as an educational tool. The power of observation alone can reveal a lot of information, making historic images an especially useful primary source resource for learning about the way people lived and looked in eras past. Available only since the mid-1800’s, photographs show real humans living within a very real – yet presently physically inaccessible – context, allowing us to visually access the time period in which they lived.

Utilizing online resources, families can support studies of the past by using the power of observation to gather information about life in a particular era or within a particular context. Whether examining photographs of Civil War soldiers in a Union encampment to imagine life as a 19th century soldier or inspecting a landscape photograph of a familiar location for signs of human-driven change over time, families have much to learn from the hundreds of thousands of photographs available online.  Read the rest of this entry »

Nutrition Month Reminds Us What Eating “Well” Truly Means

Nutrition plays active role in supporting the community

Join us to honor National Nutrition Month. The Food Bank and Hilltown Families are holding a very special Family Volunteer Day at our Hatfield facility on Saturday, March 21. In addition to learning about hunger in our region and helping to prepare food for distribution, the event will also focus on healthy eating habits by providing a fun cooking demonstration. Click here to learn more about this event and how your family can participate.

March is National Nutrition Month — a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of making informed choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. It highlights the value of adopting eating and physical activity plans  focused on consuming fewer calories and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.

Hunger is not just about lack of food. It’s also about lack of nutritious food. That’s why, at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, we are dedicated to providing our neighbors in need with the healthiest foods possible. Every year, our farm in Hadley provides 100,000 pounds of fresh, chemical-free produce for us to distribute to our member agencies (including pantries, meal sites and shelters). We also work closely with many local farmers, who generously donated more than 266,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables in 2014. In the past year, our Mobile Food Bank has provided hundreds of thousands of pounds of produce directly to families in areas when they may not otherwise have access. Read the rest of this entry »

Hopkins Memorial Forest’s annual Maplefest in the Berkshires

Hopkins Forest to Host Annual Maplefest

Traditionally, March is the busiest time for syrup producers in New England. As the days begin to warm, sugar-rich sap starts to flow upward from its winter storage in the trees’ roots to the twigs and buds; it is this sap that has been harvested for generations to produce maple products throughout the region. Sugaring has been going on in Hopkins Forest since the mid-80s when Williams College students constructed a sugar house in an existing maple grove.

With the moderating weather, maple sugaring season has arrived just in time for Hopkins Memorial Forest’s annual Maplefest celebration on Saturday, March 14, from 11am-2pm. This annual event, which exalts the time-honored Yankee tradition of producing home grown sweeteners from local maple trees, will enable people to observe and take part in the process of producing maple syrup, from the tree to the bottle.

Participants will be able to visit a working sugar house; to observe the finishing and bottling of the final product; to try their hands at tapping a tree and gathering sap; and to taste homemade syrup on pancakes and “sugar on snow.” In addition, there will be demonstrations of old-time evaporating methods—going back to the pre-colonial era—children’s activities, videos and more.  Read the rest of this entry »

Maple Harvest Day in the Pioneer Valley

The Sweet Taste of Spring Will Bring Communities Out & Together

Celebrate this year’s maple season at Storrowton Village’s annual Maple Harvest Day! Families can learn about maple harvests of the past in the historic village, and celebrate the coming of spring as well!

Today, the beginning of maple sugaring season involves lots of tubing, tanks, and trucks for transport, as well as efficient and well-engineered industrial size evaporators. Despite the modernity of most large-scale syrup-producing operations, some of the vestiges of old time New England sugaring still remain. While it’s rare these days to find a maple harvest being boiled down in a kettle over a camp fire, many small-scale producers still tap trees with individual buckets and collect the sap by hand on a regular basis – just as western Massachusetts’ residents did centuries ago, forming the foundation upon which the industry was built.

Celebrate this year’s maple harvest at Storrowton Village’s annual Maple Harvest Day! The annual celebration of the local maple tradition will be held on Sunday, March 15th from 11am-3pm in the Big E’s historic New England village. Families can explore the village and step back in time to the days when sugaring season was entirely tube-free, and can learn about the early technologies that allowed industrious New Englanders to have a successful harvest year after year. Read the rest of this entry »

EEC Provides Resources for Early Learning

Lesson Plans & On-line Activities Address Critical Learning Period For Children

Families with young children and early childhood educators will discover an abundance of online educational resources at the Massachusetts Department of Early Education’s Resources for Early Learning! Lesson plans and activity suggestions offer support for encouraging young learners to develop essential skills.

During the very earliest days of a child’s life – from birth until they’re five – the learning that takes place will look very different from the learning done throughout the rest of their life. While learning eventually evolves into something that a child can reflect on and communicate about, early childhood learning happens in tiny baby steps (literally) that, after accumulating over time, provide the solid foundation upon which they will build the rest of their lives.

While the basics of educational activities for children may seem simple (read stories, play peek-a-boo, count everything), in order to truly pinpoint a very young child’s developmental needs, attention to detail is necessary. Using the Massachusetts Department of Early Education’s (EEC) online tool Resources for Early Learning, parents and educators can learn about the many different ways to support young children in developing skills in language, numeracy, and movement, while also teaching them how to explore, observe, and become curious about the world around them. Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for March 7th & 8th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for March 7th-13th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 39 Community Highlights: Bark to Bulbs. Hairspray to Godspell., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

March 7th-13th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Women’s HistorySTEMAnimal StudiesCollege SamplerPlant StudiesMusic StudiesSpring MusicalsHistoryStorytellingOutdoor AdventuresFilm Studies/Sci FiParent WorkshopsCommunity Meals

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Teach with Movies: Pairing Films with Learning Guides & Lesson Plans
  2. HFVS Pioneers of Sound Episode with Guest DJ, Elska (Radio Show/Podcast)
  3. Let’s Play: Mix and Match Creatures
  4. Oak & Acorn: Maple Glazed Squash Rings
  5. 5 Late Winter Family Gardening Tips

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for March 7th-13th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

The Smith College Botanic Garden's annual Spring Bulb Show runs from March 7-22!

“Thank you for keeping the isolation at bay in the Hilltowns! You do so much to support local businesses, families, moms, dads, kids, pets, and the earth. Heartfelt thanks for your efforts!” – Jennifer Drumm Schmitt (Williamsburg, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Hilltown Families’ Events

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Bulletin Board

Mar 7

Shake off the cold at Nonotuck Community School’s 4th annual Winter Family Dance Party! Bring the whole family for a morning of dancing, face painting, and arts & crafts! Come build your own tambourines and shakers and try your luck in the 50-50 raffle. Enjoy delicious pizza by Hillside Pizza! Tickets are just $5 per person and $15 per family! Happening on Saturday, March 7th from 10am-12pm at the Jackson Street School Gym (120 Jackson Street) in Northampton. All proceeds will benefit the Nonotuck Community School. Sponsored by Florence Bank.

Mar 7

Does your child love to learn? Is your child respected, nurtured and inspired? Come warm up at The Hartsbrook School’s open house and experience the warmth of their child-centered approach. Their multi-disciplinary curriculum blends academics, art, music and craftsmanship for a lifetime of creative and critical thinking. Sip hot chocolate, speak with current families, participate in a hand-on activity, see student work and meet early childhood, grades and high school teachers. Join them on Saturday, March 7, from 10am to 12noon at 193 Bay Road in Hadley. All ages welcome! www.hartsbrook.org

Mar 7

Join the Springfield Museums on Saturday, March 7 for their annual Dr. Seuss Birthday celebration! The fun runs from 10am-5pm, and features the annual Seuss Cake Contest plus two performances of the Comedy Magic Show by Ed Popielarczyk plus The Teacher Creatures presenting Animals Around the World. And be on the lookout for the Cat in the Hat himself, who will be prowling the museum grounds! All this plus great hands-on art and science activities throughout the day, all included with Museum admission. For information, visit www.SpringfieldMuseums.org.

Mar 13

Odyssey Bookshop hosts a RED launch: Friday, March 13, 7pm. Bring your tweens & teens and embrace the RED! Hailed from our very own East Longmeadow comes debut author Victoria Aveyard with the most anticipated young adult novel of 2015. A little bit, Hunger Games and a little bit Divergent, Red Queen will not disappoint. Discover the world of revolutionaries, powers and more, this March as you dress your best in RED, gorge on RED velvet cupcakes and drink RED sparkling juice for this epic event. Join the Odyssey Bookshop for an author reading, signing and RED costume competition! Ages 12+ Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307

Mar 14

Chirping Storytime with Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple: Saturday, March 14, 3pm. A launch party for the little bird in your life! Soar down to the Odyssey Bookshop for a fun-filled celebration! Storytelling greats, Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple will join for the launch of their much-anticipated picture book You Nest Here With Me. Combining their poetic writing and their love of birding, mother and daughter Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple have written what is sure to become a bedtime classic. Learn how this lovely story came to be with a bird call demonstration, peck at cupcakes, and make a nest of your own at our craft table! Perfect for ages 2+. Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, 413-534-7307

Mar 14

The Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company is excited to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day with a performance at the Academy of Music Theatre in downtown Northampton on Saturday, March 14th at 7pm! Their vibrant modern take on the traditional style of step dancing has entertained sold out crowds in the Pioneer Valley and beyond for many years. Joined by local Celtic musical group ‘Four Sisters & the Farmhands’ this is sure to be a show that has something for everyone. Come join in the fun of the jigs and reels this season with your family! Tickets can be purchased via the web at www.AcademyOfMusicTheatre.com or by phone at 413-584-9032 x105. Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and children.

Begins Mar 20

The Center in Amherst is offering a new class for toddlers! Enroll now for an 8 week spring session, starting Friday, March 20th. In this 45 minute class for kids aged 2-5, students will leap, twirl and spin their way into the world of children’s literature. Using picture books, nursery rhymes and songs as inspiration, children will be introduced to the fundamentals of creative movement in a fun, nurturing environment. Whether they’re soaring like the red bird that brown bear saw, leaping and pouncing at the Wild Rumpus, or dancing the alphabet, kids will love this interactive class that honors the reader, and storyteller, in all of us. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com.

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.org

Jul 6-10

Journey Camp returns to Cummington for Hilltown families this summer. The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12,June 29-July 3, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill, Deerfield. Hilltown Journey Camp, boys & girls, 7-12, July 6-10, 8:45-4, Taproot Common Farm, Cummington. Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, 11-18, July 27-July 30, two overnights & campfires, Woolman Hill. Girls Week, 7-13, Aug. 3-7 & Aug. 10-14, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

Now available

Crimson & Clover Farm is happy to announce that 2015 CSA Shares are now available! Located at the Northampton Community Farm, near downtown Florence, Crimson & Clover Farm raises a wide variety of delicious, beautiful, and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables for our 20 week CSA program. As a community based farm, they offer a welcoming environment where their members and their families can come and enjoy this amazing community resource as well as receive nutritious locally grown food. In addition to vegetables, they also offer a variety of locally produced products for sale through their farm store, as well as a bountiful PYO garden. For more info about the CSA and how to become a member of the farm, visit crimsonandcloverfarm.com.

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, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
March 7th-13th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

International Women’s Day Gives Us Pause on the Issue of Human Rights

March 8th Provides Educational Opportunity Along with Celebrating Womanhood

Celebrated as a national holiday in some countries, International Women’s Day sheds light on women’s role in societies around the world – past and present. In addition to the learning opportunities that the event presents, families can attend a celebration in Northampton in order to engage in community-based learning about the importance of women’s voices.

On Sunday, March 8th, communities from all over the world will celebrate International Women’s Day – an event that honors the economic, political, and social achievements past and present, and brings light to the continuing efforts to achieve worldwide gender equality. Recognized as a national holiday in some countries, International Women’s Day presents opportunities not only to celebrate and honor womanhood, but to learn about important women in history and their achievements.

Using online resources, families can explore the meaning of International Women’s Day. Videos showing everything from international political leaders discussing the importance of the holiday to documentary-style looks at women’s lives in many cultures to women’s role in history can help families to learn about the past, present, and future of women’s role in society worldwide. Comparing and contrasting women’s lives in the United States and in other countries can help to provide perspective on the differing role of women in cultures around the world. Additionally, an exploration of the history of International Women’ Day can help families to learn about the history of women’s rights in the United States, and internationally!  Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Enclaves Flourish in Easthampton

Easthampton City Arts Enriches Cultural Life of Western Mass Community

Art Walk EasthamptonWestern Massachusetts’ beauty has allowed the area to become somewhat of a haven for artists. The area is chock-full of painters, photographers, sculptors, potters, performers, and other creative types, their work saturating our communities with artistic expression in a wide variety of mediums. Connecting these artists and their work to the the rest of the community are arts organizations, which serve as valuable resources for connecting families with events and community-based learning opportunities. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting to Know Somebody on Fakebook

Building Fictional and Historical Bios- Great Exercise In Banking Knowledge

While Facebook isn’t a great place for children to spend time online, imposter site Fakebook totally is! Instead of being centered around a profile that reflects the user’s true self, Fakebook is meant to be used for creating profiles based upon historical figures or fictional characters – people who either no longer exist, or who have never existed (except within the pages of a book). Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Maple Sugar Season

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: February Segment
Maple Sugar Season in New England

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts, Ashley Kohl and Seth Stutman, to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Thursday, February 26, 2015, highlighting community-based resources and events that use the Maple sugar season as a catalyst for learning, celebrating local culture and building community. Sienna shares three community-based resources and two community events, highlighting two types of events:

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 28th & March 1st, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 28th-March 6th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 27 Community Highlights: Family Concerts to Purim. Pancakes to Seeds., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

February 28th-March 6th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

STE(A)MSustainabilitySocial JusticeSpring MusicalsCommunity MealNature/Animal StudiesPuppetryLiterature/WritingPurimSocial StudiesHistoryFamily Concerts

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Parenting Green: It’s Not What We Say, It’s What We Do!
  2. Collaborative Consumption: Learning How to be Resilient Supports Community-Based Education
  3. 6 Ways Community Can Support Family Dinners
  4. HFVS Purim Episode with Guest DJ, Mama Doni (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. TED-Ed Clubs: Supporting Students & Their Big Ideas!

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for February 28th-March 6th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Thanks to Hilltown Families, our source for so many good things – this weekend we’ll be tapping some of our own trees, then using your list of sugar shacks to find one to sample.” – Carrie Cuthbert (Whately, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Feb 28

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “February Fiesta!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Grammy-Nominated Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. Come dance, decorate a maraca, and eat pizza with your friends! Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 28th from 10:30am-12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Mar 7

Shake off the cold at Nonotuck Community School’s 4th annual Winter Family Dance Party! Bring the whole family for a morning of dancing, face painting, and arts & crafts! Come build your own tambourines and shakers and try your luck in the 50-50 raffle. Enjoy delicious pizza by Hillside Pizza! Tickets are just $5 per person and $15 per family! Happening on Saturday, March 7th from 10am-12pm at the Jackson Street School Gym (120 Jackson Street) in Northampton. All proceeds will benefit the Nonotuck Community School. Sponsored by Florence Bank.

Mar 14 & Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Begins Mar 20

The Center in Amherst is offering a new class for toddlers! Enroll now for an 8 week spring session, starting Friday, March 20th. In this 45 minute class for kids aged 2-5, students will leap, twirl and spin their way into the world of children’s literature. Using picture books, nursery rhymes and songs as inspiration, children will be introduced to the fundamentals of creative movement in a fun, nurturing environment. Whether they’re soaring like the red bird that brown bear saw, leaping and pouncing at the Wild Rumpus, or dancing the alphabet, kids will love this interactive class that honors the reader, and storyteller, in all of us. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com.

Mar 21

March Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21 from 9-11:30am.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21st, 9-11:30am. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.org

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 28th-March 6th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Maple Days in Western MA

Learning through the Lens of Maple Sugar Season

How sweet the end of winter is here in western Massachusetts – and not just because the snow is beginning to melt! Warmer temperatures signal the start of sap flow in sugar maples, whose frozen and sleepy roots and limbs come alive when the landscape begins to thaw. Maple sugaring is a centuries-old tradition in New England, and the seasonal industry remains an important part of the foundation upon which local agricultural is built. Additionally, maple sugaring brings opportunities for families to engage in intergenerational community-based learning through visits to farms, community meals, living history, and experiential hands-on activities.  Read the rest of this entry »

Amherst Cinema’s Family Film Series- A Blend of Entertainment & Learning

Innovative Cinema Continues  to Give Great Consideration to Clever Programming

Amherst Cinema’s Family Films series showcases a handful of fantastic family movies. Not only are the films entertaining and engaging for viewers of all ages, many of them are historically or artistically significant as well – making the series both fun and educational!

Films for young audiences are far more than a way to keep kiddos quiet and entertained for a few hours. The best of such films include plots that are not only engaging for children, but that can be enjoyed by adults as well. And, in addition to engaging plots, the best of children’s film is artistic and creative to boot!

Families can enjoy some of the best of films for young audiences during Amherst Cinema’s Family Films Series. The series is an ongoing endeavor and features a varied collection of wonderful films that can be enjoyed by folks of all ages. Covering a wide rage of themes and styles of cinematography, the Family Films Series is not only entertaining but educational as well!  Here’s what they have coming up next month: Read the rest of this entry »

Mixing Conservation with Art Releases Creativity

Junior Duck Program Motivates Kids to Study Nature with an Artistic Eye

Combining artistic expression and conservation, the annual Junior Duck Stamp Program gives children the opportunity to study local waterfowl and practice using their artistic skills to portray them in their native habitat. The competition even provides curriculum materials to support families and educators in expanding children’s learning as they participate!

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the commonwealth of Massachusetts has been a leader in the study of waterfowl species and their habitat. In keeping with this scientific tradition and commitment, children of almost any age are invited to participate in this year’s Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp Program! An annual art contest that pairs the study of waterfowl with artistic expression, the Junior Duck Stamp Program provides a platform for learning about conservation, the environment, species identification, and artistic expression!

Open to children in grades K-12 (or of the age equivalent to grades K-12), participation in the Junior Duck Stamp Program requires young scientists and artists to create original pieces of artwork that showcase a species of waterfowl native to Massachusetts. Children may use visual aids in order to create their pieces, so as to ensure that the shape, size, coloration, and surroundings that they create are accurate, but all works of art should be entirely original, rather than drawn or painted as a copy of a photograph, drawing, or other representation of a bird. Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for February 21st-27th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“The connections we’ve made with other families through Hilltown Families over the years keeps us going over these winter months! There is always somebody out there to join us sledding at the golf course, skating on the lake, or cross-country skiing in the yard! Thanks for helping us build community in what could be a very isolating geographical area one email at a time!” – Kara Kitchen of Plainfield, MA

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Feb 14-28

Share the Love this Valentine’s Day! Oak Meadow is offering 10% off enrollment and 15% off materials in their Bookstore from February 14 to 28. Their student-centered, nature-based homeschooling curriculum for students in K-12 allows families to set their own natural rhythm of learning and encourages creativity, critical thinking, and intellectual development through hands-on activities and interdisciplinary projects. Use their curriculum independently or enroll in their fully accredited distance learning school.

Feb 28

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “February Fiesta!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Grammy-Nominated Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. Come dance, decorate a maraca, and eat pizza with your friends! Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 28th from 10:30am-12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Accepting applications for fall 2015. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 220 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, our upcoming Kindergarten Screenings, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org

Mar 14 & Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Mar 21

March Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21 from 9-11:30am.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21st, 9-11:30am. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.org

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 21st-27th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

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Building A Sharing Creative Community through Artist Trading Cards

Artist Trading Cards Promote the Spirit of Community

Does your family love to make and share art? Join ATCs for All in order to be part of an online community of artists, the purpose of which is to inspire creativity, and to collect and share artwork! Families can learn about the many different forms that art can take, while experimenting with new materials and connecting with other creative folks!

Following in the wake of Hilltown Families’ Annual Handmade Valentine Swap, the creative, collaborative, and community-building possibilities offered by ATCs for All share a common thread with Hilltown Families’ annual swap – the purpose of the organization is to make and share art with willing, eager, and inspired participants everywhere! ATCs for All (the ATCs being short for Artist Trading Cards) is a community-run group that utilizes a website in order to facilitate art sharing of all kinds!

Originally started in order to give creative folks a venue through which to share hand-crafted trading cards and mail art, ATCs for All now encompasses a wide variety of art forms, including (but not limited to!) stamping, painting, collage, fabric art, book-art, and altered art. While making and trading artist trading cards is still an important part of what ATCs for All offers, it’s not the only way to participate in art sharing!  Read the rest of this entry »

Holyoke Codes Empowers Youth with Free Workshops

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