37 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Rhubarb to Woolcraft. Bubbles to Adventure Playgrounds.

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If you love wool, weaving, textiles, fiber arts, or animal husbandry, you won’t want to miss the annual Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair! Western MA is full of talented, crafty people, and opportunities to learn or practice your fiber arts skills with them abound throughout the year.

Rhubarb to woolcraft. Bubbles to adventure playgrounds. World music to Shakespeare. 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: Adventure playgrounds invite children to engage with a variety of open-ended, simple materials (think giant cardboard boxes, tubes, fabric, string, bales of hay) to create the play spaces and experiences they desire. Participating an adventure playground not only stimulates the imagination, it encourages collaboration and builds self-esteem. Visit The Play Workshop‘s pop up playground on Saturday, May 28, from noon until 4pm, to try out this fun, different, joyful type of creative free play! 413-588-2208. Community Field Road. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


AgricultureCulinary ArtsFiber ArtsAnimal HusbandryPhysicsEarth SciencePuppetryCareer StudiesNative American StudiesIntergenerationalChildren’s LiteratureLanguage StudiesOrnithologyCitizen ScienceTinkeringTheater ArtsDanceMemorial DayMusic StudiesService-based Learning


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52 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Railroads to Running. Cultural Studies to Coding

Art created by native peoples of the Pacific Northwest offers a vibrant and engaging look into Native cultures, folklore, history, and values. Visit this new exhibit, Finding Raven, at the Berkshire Museum on its opening day, and enjoy special interactive stations to enrich your understanding and appreciation of the techniques, stories, and identities behind the works of art!

Railroads to running. Cultural studies to coding. Gorges to gardening. 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: Storytelling is a highly empathetic process. When you combine the creative empathy involved in storytelling with the therapeutic effects of expressing yourself through pictures, the activity has a profound impact. Comic books and graphic novels do just this; they force artists and writers to think about people’s emotions, and the social impact of characters’ actions on each other. On Saturday, May 21st, 10:30am-1:30pm, The Lee Library is hosting a Comic Jam, a collaborative storytelling adventure for cartoonists of all ages and abilities. This fun-filled event will encourage participants to think critically, empathetically, and creatively. Each artist will contribute to other artists’ comics, resulting in a highly original work which could not be created by a single individual. No prior experience or ability is required. Participants can drop in any time. 413- 243-0385. 100 Main Street, Lee, MA. (FREE)


PlacemakingGamesFitnessEmotional HealthCollaborative ConsumptionNative American StudiesHorticultureFolk DancingIntergenerationalBeekeepingDinosaursPhysicsInventionsCarpentryScrapbookingMusic StudiesGeologyStorytellingImprovPsychologyParenting


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57 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Engineering to Bicycling. Food Security to Fire-building.

Yo-yos have been around for a long time, and their use is documented in many cultures, perhaps as far back as ancient Greece! These toys, along with jump ropes, hula hoops, and others, make up a subset of toys called “skill toys.” Experts, novices, and anyone else interested in this type of toy can participate in a fun skillsharing event this week!

Engineering to bicycling. Food security to fire-building. Canines to quilts. 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: The recent transit of Mercury may have piqued your and your family’s interest about astronomical events! How do astronomers predict events like the transit of Mercury with such accuracy? In short, they use mathematics. Astronomers draw from concepts of physics, and use algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus to make measurements of distances between objects in the sky, the speeds at which they are traveling, and other factors, and then develop predictions of various arrangements of celestial bodies with respect to Earth. You don’t need to know anything about mathematics to appreciate the beauty of the sky, however. Come to the Springfield Museums on Astronomy Day, Saturday, May 14th, from 12pm-4pm, to engage in safe sunspot viewing, and see a collection of meteorites. There will be hands-on activities for all ages, information about how craters are formed on the moon, and a space sensory bin for kids. 413-263-6800, ext. 318. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Under 3 and museum members FREE)


OrnithologyCitizen ScienceCommunity MealService-based LearningBotanyCollaborative ConsumptionLocal HistorySTEAMMakerspaceArchitectureSkillsharingWoodworkingShakespeareLanguage ArtsQuiltingVisual ArtsYouth TheaterMusic StudiesFilm StudiesCultural Studies ♦ Parenting


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52 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Mercury’s Transit to Mother’s Day. Fiber Arts to Food Trucks.

Chocolate lovers! Don't miss a chance to learn about this tasty treat, as well as other culinary delights, this week!

Chocolate lovers! Don’t miss a chance to learn about this tasty treat, as well as other culinary delights, this week!

Mercury’s transit to Mother’s Day. Fiber arts to food trucks. Pride to perennials. 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: Ornithology, the study of birds, encompasses many subtopics. People interested in studying birds may want to learn to identify them by sight or sound, analyze their communication through bird songs and behavior, protect endangered species, or become falconers.You can celebrate the spectrum of bird-related topics at the Valley Bird Festival! The festival begins on Saturday, May 7, with a bird walk at 6:30am, followed by family-friendly activities including a falconry demonstration at 8am. The first half of the festival will take place at Fort River Refuge. For more ornithological activities, head over to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary where the fun continues from 10:30am until 2pm. Play games, visit information tables, and witness live owl demonstrations at 11am and 1pm. For more information, visit the Hitchcock Center for the Environment website. 69 Moody Bridge Road, Hadley, MA, and Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)


GardeningService-based LearningSkillsharingOrnithology ♦ Computer ScienceAstronomyChemistryEcologyCitizen SciencePerforming ArtsSewingFiber ArtsZoologyCultural StudiesSustainabilityCollaborative ConsumptionVisual ArtsLocal HistoryFolkloreLGBTQCommunity EngagementParenting


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51 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Poetry to Potluck. Homesteading to Oceanography.

The self-guided Asparagus Pottery Trail will weave you through the Hilltowns and surrounding areas and allow you to visit with some of Western MA's most talented ceramic artists. Love pottery? Learn more at our post, Discovering History Through Pottery-Based Learning!

The self-guided Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail will weave you through the beautiful springtime landscapes of the Hilltowns and surrounding areas and allow you to visit with some of Western MA’s most talented ceramic artists. Love pottery? Learn more at our post, Discovering History Through Pottery-Based Learning!

Pottery to potluck. Homesteading to oceanography. Civil engineering to a cappella. 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: Living history museums and events provide interesting insight into the ways in which we engage with historical information. Renaissance fairs first emerged in the United States in the 1950s, as part of a larger interest in medieval culture and music. Living history challenges actors and attendees to think about history beyond events, learning about customs, dress, accents and behaviors. On Sunday, May 1st, from 11am-4pm,  The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies hosts its 14th Annual Community Renaissance Festival! Attendees of all ages can learn about jewelry making, pottery, weaving, and woodworking. There will be sword demonstrations, juggling, Tarot reading, dancing, and music. As part of this festival, The Theater Truck will be performing Commedia Grab Bag! in the Big Tent at 11:30. This interactive theatrical performance will allow audience members to determine what scenes and characters are played in a choose-your-own-adventure style performance. The book sale will allow for continued historical learning after the event. The full event schedule can be found on the The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies website. 413-577-3600. 650 E Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)


PlacemakingCollaborative ConsumptionCommunity MealHomesteadingGardeningNutritionArts & CraftsOrnithologyAnimal HusbandrySTEAMNature StudiesCitizen ScienceOceanographyService-based LearningCivil EngineeringRenaissanceMusic StudiesAnimationPerforming ArtsStorytellingPotteryCultural StudiesParenting


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42 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Bikes to Botany. Farming to Financial Literacy.

Love to paddle a canoe, go fishing, or watch wildlife? Learn more about how to enjoy your local riverways!

Love to paddle a canoe, go fishing, or watch wildlife? Learn more about how to enjoy your local riverways!

Bikes to botany. Farming to financial literacy. Earth Day to entomology. 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: Children’s book author and illustrator Grace Lin has said: “Books erase bias, they make the uncommon everyday, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal.” Lin grew up in upstate New York and hers was the only Asian American family in her neighborhood. As a Taiwanese author drawing upon her personal experiences, Lin has enriched the world of children’s literature with greater diversity. Asian American children reading her books have the pleasure of feeling represented, and children of other cultures and backgrounds get to learn about experiences beyond their own. On Saturday, April 23, at 2pm, Lin will be giving a talk, discussing these issues as they relate to her picture books, early readers and middle grade novels, at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 413-559-6315. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. (FREE with museum admission <$)


 Biking ♦ Earth DaySkillsharingCitizen ScienceWildflowersSoil ScienceCommunity GardensVolunteeringAnimal StudiesEvolutionTradesArchaeologyAbolitionBooksClassic StoriesCircus ArtsDiversityStepdancingParenting


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61 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Foraging to Forensics. Recycling to Raptors.

Trilliums are one of many spring ephemerals you can encounter on a springtime hike! Walk slowly and watch where you put your feet to protect these beautiful species.

Trilliums are one of many spring ephemerals you can encounter on a springtime hike! Walk slowly and watch where you put your feet to protect these beautiful species.

Foraging to forensics. Recycling to raptors. Poetry to postcards. 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 highlights this week: Learn sustainable living skills like beekeeping, gardening, and composting, while enjoying live entertainment at the Seventh Annual Amherst Sustainability Festival on Saturday, April 16, 10am-4pm! Visitors can watch demonstrations on how to build a solar oven, how to make natural body-care products, or talk to local climate advocates about green energy and climate change. Hilltown Families will be represented at the festival, at a pop-up open house. Come to our table to find out about our resources for connecting community members of all ages to educational events, workshops, and volunteer opportunities. There will be live animals, face painting, jugglers and stilt walking on the common to keep you entertained as well as informed. Bring items for the Recycling Drive. For more information, visit the event website. 413-259-3149. Town Common, Amherst, MA. (FREE)


Service-based LearningAnimal StudiesOrnithologyPaleontologyJewelry-makingForensicsEngineeringHorticultureSustainabilityU.S. HistoryNative American CultureSouth American StudiesCulinary ArtsPoetryFishingYogaImprovStorytellingPuppetryMagicWorld MusicIntergenerationalParenting


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34 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Stone Art to Electrical Engineering. Indonesian Culture to Invertebrates.

Who knew there was so much math and science at play when we're trying to get a hole-in-one on the mini golf course? Everyone in your family can put these skills to use at the Holyoke Public Library this week!

Who knew there was so much math and science at play when we’re trying to get a hole-in-one on the mini golf course? Everyone in your family can put these skills to use at the Holyoke Public Library this week!

Stone art to electrical engineering. Indonesian culture to invertebrates. Quidditch to food sculpture. 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: Collaborative art brings communities together and provides a visual example of what can be accomplished when people work together. Working in a large group moves creative expression off of any one individual and allows people to simply have fun, be free, and respond to what others have already drawn. The creative process takes on new dimensions and the continually-evolving piece of work is always a delight for all to see! On Saturday, April 9, 12pm-12am, bring your creative, collaborative spirit to the 2nd Annual Hilltown Draw Around at the Conwell Gym, where the space will be transformed into a 4,000 square foot space for collaborative community art. Proceeds benefit ARTeens. 51 Maple St, Shelburne Falls, MA. (DONATION)


EcologyEngineeringMathematicsLocal HistoryHydropowerLocal LandscapesAthleticsCreative WritingCollaborative ArtCircus ArtsPublic ArtPerforming ArtsPuppetryVolunteerismIntergenerationalParenting


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25 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Folklore to farming. Petroglyphs to public works.

Folklore to farming. Petroglyphs to public works. Marionettes to electronica. 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!

red eft

Spring is here, and with it come myriad vernal pools. Explore the rich plant and animal life, like the red eft pictured here, in these ephemeral habitats before they’re gone for the year!

Featured community highlights this week:
What is it like to be an astronaut? What special features are included on flight suits? A visit to the Space Expo at New England Air Museum will help you answer these questions, and give you the opportunity to participate in interactive programs, see a planetarium show, and meet Story Musgrave! Musgrave, native Stockbridge resident, is currently physician and worked for 30 years as a NASA astronaut, flying on six spaceflight missions.He participated in STS-61, a 1993 mission to repair the Hubble Telescope. At this event you will see life-sized droids, examine a Mars spacesuit, build a rocket, touch a space rock and more! All ages welcome. 860-623-3305. 36 Perimeter Rd. Windsor Locks, CT. (Adults $. 4-11<$. Children under 3 FREE)


FarmingLocal FoodNutritionPuppetryCultural StudiesArchaeologyMultimedia ArtImprovisationLocal HabitatsVisual ArtsEarly LiteracyAstronomyBiologyLGBTQIntergenerational


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30 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Service-Based Learning to Acts of Kindness. Bat Houses to Sign Language.

Bread is such a staple of so many diets, such an important food, that it has become synonymous with wealth in the English language. Words like “breadwinner” drive home the necessity of bread. The word “dough has been a slang term for money for centuries now. Join members of your community at the Pioneer Valley Breadhouse in South Hadley on Thursday, March 31, 4pm-6pm and learn how to make this famously important food.

Juice box engineering to bread baking. Bat houses to sign language. Service-based learning to acts of kindness. 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 highlights this week:  Celebrate National Nutrition Month at  Hilltown Families Family Volunteer Day with The Food Bank of Western MA on Saturday, March 26, 9am-11am. Volunteering together teaches children positive values, like kindness, empathy and tolerance, and opens up channels of communication between parent and child. Engaging children in community service can increase their participation as future volunteers, helping to create more resilient and sustainable communities. There will be a number of educational and hands-on activities for children and their caregivers. Register by calling 413-247-9738 x135. 97 North Hatfield Road. Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)


 Family VolunteeringCommunity MealOral HistoryBread BakingBridge EngineeringLocal LandscapesBatsOrnithologyMusic StudiesGender StudiesSign LanguageHistoryCollaborative ConsumptionArts & CraftsPhysicsComputer ScienceWeavingNutritionGrandparentingEaster


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48 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Birdhouses to Woolcraft. English Country Dancing to Stargazing.

Crocuses are poking their heads through the soil and bird songs fill the air. Spring is on its way! Each spring, many Easter and egg- and bunny-related events crop up. Be sure to read our post, Easter Events in Western MA, for an updated list of these seasonal offerings!

Ceramics to Coding. Birdhouses to Woolcraft. English Country Dancing to Stargazing. 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 highlights this week: People all over New England have been celebrating the Spring season by tapping trees and cultivating Maple Syrup. You can go a few steps further than just buying maple syrup to celebrate. On Sunday, March 20, 1pm-7pm, bring your family to Piti Theatre Company’s Syrup Festival! In addition to syrup tasting there will be horse and carriage rides, puppet shows, and at 2pm, Piti Theater’s performance of “Olde Coleraine: a Musical Hilltown History.” This play features a cast of both adults and children. Learn about the history of your area while supporting local actors, young and old. The festival will take place at Memorial Hall. 51 Bridge St. Shelburne Falls, MA. (Adults $. Children >$)


FarmingWildlife RehabilitationUpcyclingFiber ArtsAstronomyIrish CulturePurimFolk Dancing  ♦ OrnithologyPhenology  ♦ Dendrology  ♦ Maple SugaringComputer ScienceSongwritingWomen’s HistoryChildren’s ChorusVisual ArtsCeramic ArtsPuppetryComedy Language ArtsMycologyBakingParenting


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38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Acoustics to Zines. Aviation to Circus Arts.

Great events and self-initiated opportunities this week to support an interest in aviation! Tour the cockpits of historic airplanes, learn about the history of women in aviation, support lessons in math with the art of making paper airplanes and the physics of their flight, and enjoy family music to lead younger kids to even higher levels of the atmosphere… and beyond!

Maple sugaring to ‘zine making. Rock carving to Celtic music. Pi to physics of sound. 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 highlights this week: On  Sunday March 13, 2pm, the Motion Man will be doing what he does best, lifting spirits through physical performance, at the Chesterfield Community Center, and all are welcome. In his performances, the Motion Man uses physical comedy, magic, miming and illusion to entertain audiences of all ages. Bring your family and friends, and enjoy some laughs. The Motion Man may inspire children to learn any one of the many techniques he uses (magic, mime, illusion) and more generally will show them how to blend art forms into something original and captivating. Any questions? Please email Kristen: chesterfieldcoanews@gmail.com. 400 Main Rd. Chesterfield, MA. (FREE)


Maple SugaringLiving HistoryCulinary ArtsPerformance ArtCircus Arts ♦ Musicals  ♦ AviationWomen’s History  ♦ FolkloreGrandparentsPhotographyGraphic Novels  ♦ DancingCommunity MealSingingCeltic HarpSTEMCodingAcousticsLimnology ♦ OrnithologyIrish CulturePolish Culture


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45 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Storytelling to STEM. Folk Music to Astronomy.

It’s time for the annual spring bulb shows happening across the region! Check out the shows at Smith College in Northampton, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, and Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge.

Creative-Free Play to Eclipses! Bulbs to Bookmaking! Makerspaces to Culinary Adventures! 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 highlights this week:  Name any topic you find interesting, and someone has made probably a documentary about it. Environmental documentary is a huge and growing genre spanning several topics and using various methods for sparking political and personal changes in behavior. Audiences learn a great deal from documentaries and few other art forms have a greater impact on personal beliefs and actions. You can expand your knowledge of environmental issues at the 6th annual Project Native film festival at the Tower Theater this Saturday, March 5, 10am-6pm. Saturday’s screening will begin and end with full length documentaries. In between, short films about water and energy will play. 413-533-3456. 19 College St #1, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)


BotanySeed SwapBulb ShowLocal FoodNutritional AnthropologyCulinary Arts  ♦ Environmental ScienceHydropowerFamily MusicUkulele ♦ EngineeringAstronomy ♦ ChemistryRobotics ♦ PuppetryFamily Theater ♦  Teen Arts ExpoMusical TheaterLanguage ArtsPoetryBookmakingIntergenerational LearningVisual ArtsSculptureParentingTracking  ♦ Makerspace


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51 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Herpetology to Carpentry. Community-Building to Cultural Studies.

Young science, nature, and art lovers are invited to the Meekins Library in Williamsburg on Saturday, February 27  to learn about the species of plant life which thrive in winter. Learn to identify moss, lichen, and fungi on a free guided winter walk!

Family Concert to Folk Sing-Along. Hula Hoop to Fishing. Bluebirds to Frogs. Shrek the Musical to Macbeth…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 highlights this week: Build a birdhouse! Birdhouses of all shapes make nice decorations, but if you want to attract specific birds, you need to consider what they are looking for in a home! Bluebird houses are relatively simple and easy to make. They are rectangular with a large roof, and involve protective measures for keeping snakes and other creatures out. Bluebirds were once on the verge of extinction, but efforts to protect and support their habitat and nesting preferences have helped the species bounce back. Learn more, and build your own bluebird house at Great Falls discovery center on Saturday, February 27, 10:30am. Registration is required. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)


Cultural StudiesJapanese FilmMorris DancingBotanyLanguage ArtsGraphic NovelsLitFestTheaterShakespeareAnimal StudiesCarpentryOrnithologyHerpetologyWinter SportsPhysicsSTEMArt StudiesSkillsharingPhotographyFishingMusic StudiesSing-AlongCommunity-BuildingNeurodiversityHistorySwordfightingParenting Support


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41 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Fire & Ice to Cheesemaking. Draft Animals to Abolition.

Winter is a great time to look for signs of wildlife, as animal prints are temporarily preserved in snow. On Saturday, Feb 20 from 10am-12pm, join other nature enthusiasts to look for animal tracks at the Bear Hole Watershed in West Springfield.

Polymers to Draft Animals. Owls to Abolition. Fire & Ice to Cheesemaking.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: Amherst’s annual WinterFest (rescheduled from Feb 6) will bring much excitement to the otherwise quiet wintry golf course landscape on Saturday, February 20, 1pm-6pm. WinterFest offers fun in many forms, including sledding and cross-country skiing. A cardboard sled race happens too, combining creativity, engineering, and daring for an exciting competition. Families can also use the event as an opportunity to learn how to engage with their natural surroundings during wintertime – bird watching walks will be lead, teaching participants how to watch for winter birds common to the hills and forests of western Massachusetts. All ages. Cherry Hill Golf Course. 325 Montague Rd, Amherst, MA. (VARIES; FREE, < $, & DONATIONS)


AthleticsSports HistorySTEMChemistryAstronomyNature StudiesDendrologyDraft AnimalsPhotographyAnimal StudiesHistoryCivil WarAbolitionWinter FestivalsLanguage ArtsSkillsharingSeed SavingCheesemakingFiber ArtsBlack History MonthMusic Studies


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47 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Bald Eagles to Bobcats. Makerspace to Meteorology.

Nordic skiing is a unique was to enjoy your local landscape in the winter months. During school vacation week, Notchview in Windsor offers instruction for children under age 14 Both classical and skating instruction are being offered and ski rentals are available. Call ahead!

Bald Eagles to Bobcats. Makerspace to Meteorology. Seed Swap to Chocolate. 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 weekSaturday Morning Music Party: Sat., Feb 13, 10am-12noon in Easthampton! Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, families can craft handmade valentine’s with the Easthampton Family Center while enjoying a new performance with our special guests, Scotty Swan Puppet Co. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon!” Save on the babysitter and shake off the winter blues with a Morning Music Dance Party! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FUNDRAISER)


Birds of PreyOrnithologyCitizen ScienceTrackingCynologyAnimal StudiesWinter FestivalsMakerspaceAviationChemistryPhysicsArt StudiesArt HistoryMuseum AdventuresCollaborative ConsumptionSeed SwapFood HistoryIce HarvestingCivil WarSportsDance StudiesService-Based LearningFood SecurityFilm StudiesMusic StudiesCreative-Free Play


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40 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Caramelization to Lunar New Year. Mardi Gras to Hip Hop.

Have you ever wondered what makes  caramel chewy? Chemistry! This chewy consistency is due to a chemical reaction that occurs when milk is added to hot sugar syrup. Now, can you identify which molecules of milk (protein? fat?) or why sugar and not salt contribute to this chemical reaction? Support an interest in chemistry, pastry arts and food science by learning the basics of caramelization from chef and author Bill Collins in the Learner’s Lab at the Berkshire Museum this weekend. Go curious and ask questions! And then make plans to cook up some chewy caramel covered pastries when you get home… making your kitchen your very own chemistry lab!

Caramelization to Food Swap. Lunar New Year to Theater Shorts. Cougars to Crows. Mardi Gras to Black History Month. Acapella to Hip Hop. .. 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: The town of Greenfield‘s 94th Annual Winter Carnival brings indoor and outdoor fun to locations across town, Friday, February 5 – Sunday, February 7! A tradition for nearly a century, Winter Carnival includes everything from traditional winter activities like the Cardboard Classic sled race and ice carving to a chili cook-off and a road race for the hardiest of runners. The event begins on Friday, February 5th with ice carving downtown, the annual Parade of Lights, and a fireworks display! Ongoing weekend events at Beacon Field include skating, sledding, the creation of a snowman village, a snow sculpture contest, a winter-themed story walk, and marshmallow roasting by the warming fire. 413-772-1553. 20 Sanderson Street, Greenfield, MA. (<$ SUGGESTED DONATION)


Mardi GrasWinter CarnivalIce ArtComputer ScienceHackathonFilmFood ScienceTrackingLocal FoodFood SwapChinese New YearLocal HistoryScience HistoryIce HarvestingSTEMTheaterAnimal StudiesOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresBlack History MonthArt StudiesMusic StudiesParenting WorkshopsParents’ Night Out


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42 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Canines to Insects. Trains to Timber. Russian Folktales to Winter Camping.

Model railroad fans from throughout New England and beyond come together this weekend to share their passion for trains of all sizes at the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show at the Eastern States Exposition. A great intergenerational hobby, model trains can support a variety of interests, from history to carpentry to economics to set design. Come curious and ask questions! West Springfield, MA. ($-$$)

Canines to Insects. Trains to Timber. Russian Folktales to Winter Camping… 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 highlights this week:  Kicking off winter festival season is The Art Garden’s outdoor Winter Celebration on Saturday, January 30, 4pm-8pm. A celebration of local art and the collective experiences of winter (both literally and metaphorically), this special event includes both indoor and outdoor elements. In the rail yard just outside The Art Garden, families will find creative winter-inspired installations and participatory art pieces, as well as (weather permitting) a fire around which to gather and bask in the contrast between the light of fire and the chill of winter. Indoors, the Winter Celebration brings an opening reception for Winter, a community exhibit centered around its namesake and offering families the opportunity to explore the many different creative representations and interpretations of winter. 413-625-2782. 14 Depot Street, Suite 2, Shelburne Falls, MA.


Museums AdventuresCynologyEntomologyTrainsSocial Emotional LearningCreative-Free PlayColonial HistoryHistorical TradesIce HarvestingStorytellingOutdoor AdventuresIce FishingSports HistoryWorld StudiesDance StudiesWinter CelebrationsMusic StudiesCulture StudiesParenting SkillsWomen’s StudiesTextile ArtsRefugee StudiesPaleontologyInclusion


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45 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ice Harvesting to Quantum Physics. MakerSpace to Ballet.

Animal Adaptations to Phenology. Shakespeare to Paddington Bear. Classical Piano to Hip Hop.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 highlights this weekArtZoo opens at the Berkshire Museum this weekend. Set out on an adventure at this family-friendly exhibition that explores a magnificent menagerie of creatures portrayed in photograph, painting, sculpture, ceramic, video, and more! Grouped by species, as in a real zoo, ArtZoo at the Berkshire Museum features wild animals from every corner of the world. Scientific specimens – a pair of real sea turtles, a life-size ostrich skeleton, and enormous 10-inch eggs – provide an unmatched visual and educational experience. Interactive activities like Animal Yoga, a live monitor lizard, games, and a zoo quest are also included. Visitors of all ages will marvel at the variety of ways artists have chosen to portray animals. Since many of the objects are from the Museum’s permanent collection, ArtZoo provides a fun and unique opportunity to view some of these rarely seen items. The exhibit begins on January 23, 2016 and will be on display through May 1, 2016 at the Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE W/ADMISSION)


Animal StudiesNature StudiesHikingDendrologySnow SportsAdaptive SportsSocial JusticeCanadian StudiesColonial HistoryIce HarvestingLocal HistoryHuman StudiesWorld HistoryBalletMakerSpaceQuantum PhysicsComputer CodingMusic StudiesUpcyclingQuiltingLiteracyPhilosophyCommunity ConnectionsCommunity MealParenting SkillsTheater StudiesOpera


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31 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ghandi to Martin Luther King. Cultural Traditions to Adaptive Activities.

Decomposition is an essential part of the cycle of matter on Earth. Often viewed as unpleasant or unattractive, it truly deserves positive attention! Artist Jan Ruby-Crystal appreciates the decomposition process, as evidenced in her current exhibition running January 20 through February 27, 2016 in Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Literary Adaptation to Philosophy in Literature. Moose to Bears. Ghandi to Martin Luther King. Coding to Robotics. Baking to Canning. Book Making to Sewing.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 highlights this weekMoose, the largest member of the deer family, survive winter by browsing on twigs. It’s a hard existence, and wading through deep snow makes it even more challenging. How do they do it? Dr. John E. McDonald, assistant professor of environmental science at Westfield State University, will discuss the ecology of these unusual-looking animals on a hike at the Hilltown Land Trust‘s Stevens Property, sponsored by the Trustees of Reservations.on Saturday, January 16, 10am-12noon. Wear warm clothes and appropriate footwear for walking in the snow. Alternative date in case of bad weather: 1/26. RSVP required. 413-628-4485, ext.4. Pisgah Road, Huntington, MA. (FREE)

Collaborative ConsumptionFood SwapFilm StudiesAnimal StudiesVisual ArtsBotanyOrnithologyCivil RightsMartin Luther King, Jr. DaySTEMCulinary ArtsNutritionCommunity MealPhilosophyClassic LiteratureCultural TraditionsTu B’ShevatArts & CraftsSkillsharingOutdoor AdventuresAdaptive ActivitiesParenting SkillsADHD


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32 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Owls to Rabbits. O’Keeffe to Guggenheim.

Berkshire Now: Peter Gordon at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, now through Feb 21, 2016

Owls to Rabbits. O’Keeffe to Guggenheim. LEGOs to Yo-Yos. Swimming to Tracking. Cooking to Sewing… 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 highlights this week:  With winter truly upon us here in western Massachusetts, families are gearing up for ski season! Take advantage of the many properties and trail systems catering to crosscountry skiing during the winter months. Families can find lessons, equipment rentals, and opportunities to explore the wintry landscape by tapping into local resources for crosscountry skiing! You can learn more about Nordic skiing at our post, Western MA Cross-Country Ski Resources. Make this the year your family enjoys winter outdoors!


Film StudiesOrnithologyVisual ArtArt StudiesSTEMOutdoor AdventuresNordic SkiingPerforming ArtSwimmingAnimal StudiesCulinary ArtsLanguage StudiesSpanishMindfulnessSewingMusic StudiesUS HistoryWritingParent Workshop


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27 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ice Skating to Cross-Country Skiing. West African Textiles to Silk History.

Cross-country skiing opportunities in our area abound! Here’s a starter list, but there are many more, including, perhaps, some of the fields near your own home!

Ice Skating to Cross-Country Skiing. American Art to Storytelling Arts. West African Textiles to Silk History… 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 highlights this week:  People have been skating on ice for many hundreds of years, although this “early” skating was pragmatic rather than recreational. “Skate” is derived from the Dutch word “schaats,” which means leg bone, as the first skates were simply lengths of animal bone strapped to the bottom of boots. When wood, and then iron, blades were introduced as a replacement to bone, skaters gained more control and speed, and skating for sport and fun began to rise. Our local skating culture traces its roots to Scottish immigrants, who brought skates with them when they resettled in the U.S.  Whether you like to skate slow or fast, practice turns or hold onto the wall as you go, there’s fun to be had on an ice skating rink for all.


Local FoodIce SkatingNordic SkiingWinter SportsArt StudiesEarly LiteracyStorytelling ArtsTextile ArtsCultural TraditionsSTEAMFamily Films


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26 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Physiology to Physics. Marionettes to Guided Hikes.

Dance Party to Fairy Tales. Marionettes to Guided Hikes. Physiology to Physics. 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:  Are you someone who always picks a horse on the inside of the carousel, or do you ride one on the outside? All merry-go-round horses make one complete circle in the same amount of time, but the interior horses travel a much shorter distance in that time than the outer ones do, resulting in very different linear speeds. And what happens when you choose a stationary horse versus one that gallops up and down? Experience the fun of physics by bringing your kids, or grandkids, for a ride on the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round. Known as “Holyoke’s Happiness Machine,” the antique carousel with brightly painted wooden animals and calliope music is a sensory treat for young and old. It was once part of Mountain Park, an amusement park on the side of Mt. Tom, and was moved to Holyoke Heritage Park when Mountain Park closed in 1987. It will be open during school vacation week, Monday-Wednesday 12pm-4pm and Thursday 10am-4pm. 413-538-9838. 221 Appleton Street, Holyoke, MA. (<$)


Science FictionBird StudiesPuppetsOutdoor AdventuresFirst Day HikesFilm StudiesChoral MusicContemporary ArtPhysicsIce SkatingCarouselMagicMuseum AdventuresPhysiologyArts & CraftsMusic StudiesDance Party


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29 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Christmas Bird Count to Winter Solstice. Ballet to Bucket Drumming.

Since mid-June, our minutes of daily sunlight have been steadily decreasing, leading us towards the winter solstice, the “shortest” day of the year. The winter solstice marks an important seasonal transition, when we begin to add minutes of daylight back into our lives and offers an opportunity to reflect on embracing inevitable changes. Celebrate this year’s solstice with these highlighted Winter Solstice community events.

Christmas Bird Count to Chocolate History. Emily Dickinson to Charles Dickens. Ballet to Bucket Drumming… 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 highlights this week:  Put away your electronic devices and try your skill at some colonial games at Historic Deerfield on Saturday, December 19 & Sunday, December 20 from 10am-4:30pm. Learn to play checkers, fox and geese, merelles, table-top nine pins, Jacob’s ladder, and ball and cup. Engaging in game play stimulates visual and spatial perception (How do these checkers move around the board?), encourages the making and testing of predictions (If I place my playing piece here, will I block her move?), and enables us to see physics and mathematics at work (At what angle should I roll the ball to knock down the most pins?). Special group games and songs at 11am and 2pm. 413-774-5581. Visitor Center at Hall Tavern, Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)


OrnithologyCitizen ScientistEmpathyHoliday FilmsFolk DancingMYO GiftsWinter Farmers’ MarketsFood HistoryGingerbread HousesCreative-Free PlayCritical Thinking SkillsBoard GamesStorytellingBalletMakerspaceSTEMWinter SolsticeMusic MakingCultural StudiesLos Posadas


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32 Community Highlights: Cryptography to Geocaching. Storytelling to Singing.

From the mid-15th century, when it was invented by Johannes Gutenberg, into the 20th century, the letterpress was the primary means of producing printed material. Type was locked into a bed, inked, and pressed against paper. Carl Darrow learned how to print with a letterpress in high school and has been doing it ever since. He will bring one of his small letterpresses from his shop in Conway to Historic Deerfield to demonstrate this traditional art by printing holiday cards this Saturday. Each visitor may take home one card!

Storytelling to Singing. Yuletide to Hanukkah. Cryptography to Geocaching… 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 highlights this week:  Handmade gifts are special for both the crafter and the recipient. The crafter can spend time thinking about who the gift is for and why they would like to give this person a gift in the first place. Taking time to make something by hand shows care and investment in the relationship, and recipients’ hearts are warmed by the thought and effort behind the gift, reminding us all that gift-giving is less about any particular present than it is about letting someone know they are appreciated. People of all ages are invited to the Montague Common Hall‘s Make and Take Craft Day on Saturday, December 12, 9am-2pm, where you can make beeswax candles, jewelry, spin art, magnets, votives, and more. Homemade breakfast and lunch foods will be available for sale as well, and visitors can also enjoy cozying up by the outdoor fire pit. 34 Main Street, Montague, MA. (FREE admission; < $ for each craft session)


StorytellingPoetryLocal FoodUpcyclingMYO GiftsArtisan SkillsLetterpress PrintingCritical Thinking SkillsGeocachingBoard GamesCeltic FolkloreTrackingBird StudiesCivicsGuided HikesDendrologyComputersSTEMFood HistoryEngineeringSingingA CapellaColonial ChristmasHanukkahMusic Studies


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40 Community Highlights: Gingerbread Houses to Latkes. Hanukkah to Holiday Strolls.

Gingerbread houses first appeared in Germany in the early 1800s, perhaps inspired by the edible house in Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” Even today they are part of our end of the year holiday traditions. Building a gingerbread house is a fantastic way to include creative folks of all ages in creating a delicious, well-engineered work of art, along with skills in architectural design, engineering, communication, and collaboration. Check out the community-based opportunities happening this week!

Gingerbread Houses to Latkes. Kwanzaa to Hanukkah. Holiday Strolls to MYO Gifts… 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 highlights this week:  Celebrate the holidays at Storrowton Village’s Yuletide: Saturday, December 5, 11am-4pm & Sunday, December 6, 11am-4pm! This winter festival brings the community together with traditional Yuletide activities, shopping, and entertainment. There will be traditional music, storytelling, craft demonstrations, ice sculpting, a Sweet Shoppe, kids’ crafts, Santa, and more. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)


Family Volunteer DaySTEMHoliday StrollsSpellingMYO GiftsFood TraditionsBook ArtsPastry ArtsArchitectureColonial HistoryCollaborative ConsumptionFood SwapGuided WalksKwanzaaHanukkahChoral Music


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25 Community Highlights: Evergreen Wreaths to Colonial Crafts. Barbershop Music to Roving Scientists.

Does your family get an evergreen tree to put in your home for the holidays? Visiting a local tree farm, selecting a tree with your children, and in some cases, sawing down the tree together,  offer numerous learning opportunities! What are the different kinds of evergreen trees? What types of climates do they grow in. What is the history behind the tradition of erection evergreens in our homes during the holiday season? Why do we decorate them and how have these decorations evolved and changed over the years with the invention of new materials and electricity? What does the seed of an evergreen look like and what sort of animals and insects do they depend upon to reproduce? Discovering the answers to these questions can help curious kids feel connected to not only your holiday tree, but also to the flora and fauna (and history!) of Western MA!

Evergreen Wreaths to Colonial Crafts. Barbershop Music to Roving Scientists. Landscape Architecture to Activism… 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 highlights this weekOld Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)


Black FridayGiving TuesdayOutdoor AdventuresSocial JusticeClimate MarchPlant StudiesArchitectureMYO GiftsWreathsFilmTextile ArtsSewingColonial HistoryFood HistoryColonial ChristmasParenting/Professional WorkshopsSTEMLEGOsMuseum AdventuresChoral Music


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43 Community Highlights: Classical Guitar to Ragtime. Beaver Moon to Surrealism.

Have you ever prowled for owls? Here’s your chance! Owls are setting up their winter and spring breeding territories and now is a great time to set out at night to find them by their hoots and night calls. On Saturday evening, Nov 21, Dan Ziomek, local birder and naturalist, will lead an Owl Prowl! Learn about the different calls of native owls species and set out to locate them in the autumn night in a variety of habitats!

Classical Guitar to Ragtime. Engineering to Dinosaurs. Beaver Moon to Surrealism… 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 highlights this week: Do you have (or know) a child who loves to tinker and create? Check out the ARPS-Jones Library Makerspace on Saturday, November 21, 2pm-3:30pm, where kids can try out robotics kits, 3D printing, littleBits circuitry components, die-cut shape makers, LEGOs, and an assortment of craft supplies. An adult facilitator will be present to help participants explore new materials, but the session is, by design, very open-ended, and everyone is welcome to pursue her/his own interests and ideas! Intended for ages 8-13. Pre-registration requested. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)


Nature StudiesDance StudiesLocal FoodCreative-Free PlayColonial HistoryMindfulnessParent/Educator WorkshopsLocal HistoryPaleontologyMusic StudiesSTEMNative American StudiesSeed SavingArt StudiesCulinary ArtsRace IssuesTheaterActivismAnimal StudiesFolk DanceThanksgiving DayBlack Friday


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41 Community Highlights: Fossils to Minerals. Bubbles to Yo-Yos

Did you know there are more than 1,000 moose in Massachusetts? Come to the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center on Wednesday, November 18 at 7pm to find out about them at “Moose: Life History, Ecology and Current Research.” For ages 12 and older. 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road, Northfield, MA. (FREE)

Fossils to Minerals. Sawmill Hills to Berkshire Cottages. Bubbles to Yo-Yos… 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 highlights this week: 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, November 14 from 9-11am for Thanksgiving in Hatfield while supporting food security in the region! 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


Service-Based LearningCollege SamplerGeologyLocal HistoryMedicineSTEMFlora & FaunaArtLiteracyTheaterParenting WorkshopsLEGOsNew England HistoryCommercial-Free HolidaysOpen Studios


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39 Community Highlights: Grebes to Rattlesnakes. Wool to Chrysanthemums.

Fall is a great time to look for migrating waterfowl, including wood ducks, geese, and grebes, and Fitzgerald Lake in Northampton is a prime stopover for many species. On Saturday morning, November 7, join Bob Zimmerman and David Pritchard at 8am on a free waterfowl walk sponsored by the Broad Brook Coalition. Some spotting scopes and binoculars available for use. Species likely to be seen include Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, and ring-necked ducks. Other possibilities are pied-billed grebes, hooded and common mergansers, ruddy ducks, northern pintails, and even snow geese. 413-268-3668. Meet at the North Farms Road parking lot.

Grebes to Rattlesnakes. Wool to Chrysanthemums. Make Faire to Skillfair… 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 highlights this week:  Maker labs, tinker spaces, and STEAM labs are cropping up all over! These are spaces that allow people to explore their ideas in an open-ended, creative manner using a variety of materials and tools. This weekend, the Mini Maker Faire hosted by Barnes & Noble invites folks to watch demonstrations of 3D printing, robotics, coding, and programming, and to try these technologies out for themselves. If your child ends up having his or her interest piqued by this fun activity, you can seek out some of the other great maker space offerings happening in our local libraries. 413-584-2558. Mountain Farms, 335 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)


Bird StudiesNatural HistoryNew England CultureSheep & WoolColonial HistoryMYO Holiday GiftsZentangleOrigamiChrysanthemumsStoryWalkHealth & WellnessParent CafeMeditationMaker FaireIce HockeyService-Based LearningPhysicsSkillshareArt StudiesLocal HistoryFashionVictorian HistoryMilitary HistoryTheaterFood StudiesMusic StudiesSing-AlongUkuleleFlash MobIndian Culture


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