33 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Earth Hour to Modern Art. Puppets to Pottery.

The harp is an ancient stringed instrument which dates back as early as 3500 BC. Harps were popular in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance but fell out of popularity with many types of harps no longer being used. The harp has historically been used across many continents and culture and can be an essential element to certain traditional genres of music. On Saturday, March 25, 7:30pm, James Ruff plays the wire harp in his performances of early opera pieces, contemporary works, as well as early Gaelic and Scottish songs. You can hear the harp live and discover its role in Gaelic and Scottish music by attending his performance at the McCulloch Auditorium. Mount Holyoke College. College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Seed Saving to Spanish. Earth Hour to Modern Art. Astronomy to Technology. Nutritional Anthropology to Philosophy. 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: Kuruma Ningyo or “cart puppets” are a style of Japanese puppetry which draws from classical Japanese literature and religious stories. Unlike many forms of puppetry in the United States, Kuruma Ningyo is entertainment for people of all ages, not associated strongly with children. American puppeteer Tom Lee and Japanese Master Puppeteer Koryu Nishikawa V will be performing this style of puppetry in their show Shank’s Mare at UMass Amherst on Thursday, March 30, 7:30 pm. This multi-media performance combines live music and video production with traditional Japanese puppetry for a unique, cross-cultural experience. Bowker Auditorium. 100 Holdsworth Way. Amherst, MA. ($; Five college students and 17 and under <$)


BotanyPhotographyDendrologyHistoryWorld LanguageEcologyCitizen ScienceBiologyTheaterCriminal JusticeArt StudiesJapanese StudiesPotteryMusic StudiesPaleontologyMindfulnessService-Based LearningCareer DevelopmentSeed SavingSpanishEarth HourModern Art. AstronomyTechnologyNutritional AnthropologyPhilosophy


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16 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Dance Party to Italian Cuisine. Hubble Telescope to Spring Equinox

Is it true a raw egg can only be balanced on end during the equinox? Where did this theory come from and is it fact or fiction? Find out!

Maker Spaces to Italian Cuisine. Bike Repair to Hubble Telescope. Spring Equinox to Saturday Morning Music Party. 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:  Join us, Hilltown Families, in person for a morning of music, dance, and pancakes on Saturday, March 18, 10am-12pm! This Saturday Morning Music Party, co-hosted with Flywheel Arts Collective, is great for both kids and parents who love to dance. In addition to music and food, there will be a performance by The Fuzznogginz Puppet Party! All events in this Morning Music Party series are a fundraiser for both Flywheel and Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. Flywheel Arts Collective, 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. ($)


STE(A)M ♦  Music StudiesWomen’s HistoryTheaterCulinary ArtsMechanicsWorld LanguagesPoetryUnderground RailroadRoboticsU.S. HistoryAstronomy  ♦ OperaSeasons


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25 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Economics to Biology. Saint Patrick to Mozart.

April and May might be filled with the blossoms of spring, but there is no need for flowers when we have sweet maple syrup to enjoy on our pancakes with family and friends! Read more in the March/April issue of Learning Ahead: March & April Cultural Itinerary for Western MA.

Maple Syrup to Apples. Financial Literacy to Molecular Biology. Saint Patrick to Mozart. Sustainability to Criminal Justice. 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 ground is thawing, the snow is melting, and the sap is running for maple season! 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. On Saturday, March 11, 9am-12pm at Chester Hill’s 32nd Annual Maple Fest and Craft Fair, you and your family can witness old time sugaring and enjoy a pancake breakfast with local maple syrup, at the First Congregational Church. Chester, MA. (<$)


 Sugar SeasonPlant StudiesFood HistoryEconomicsAviationWomen’s HistoryPolitical ActivismArt StudiesCulture StudiesLanguage ArtsMusic StudiesNutritionBird StudiesTheaterPolitical Science


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40 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Tulip Mania to Gyoktaku. Purim to Poetry.

“With rapidly rising global temperatures come seasonal changes. As spring comes earlier for some plant species, there are ripple effects throughout the food web. Regina Brinker explains how phenology, or the natural cycles of plants and animals, can be affected by these changes.” – TED-Ed. View full lesson: Phenology and nature’s shifting rhythms – Regina Brinker.

Economics to Engineering. Jazz Music to Japanese Art History. Linguistics to Female Explorers. 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:  Spring comes sooner than you might think, at the Pioneer Valley’s local greenhouses! Spring bulb shows signal the coming end of winter and offer families an opportunity to learn together about habitat, the life cycle of plants, and species identification. A visit to a bulb show can support or inspire a love for flowers and learning about botany, plant and soil science, and possibly even evolutionary biology. You can also discover the beauty of this flower to gain a better understanding in the psychology behind the tulip mania featured in the video above. Charles Darwin, in his study of natural selection, examined the co-evolution of orchids and insect species. Visiting the greenhouse can be an opportunity for you and your children to think about this interrelation of plants and insects. Or you may simply want to see the beautiful sights and smell the fragrant flowers! The Smith College Bulb Show runs from March 4 through March 19. Lyman Conservatory. 16 College Lane. Northampton, MA. (<$)


Plant Studies ♦  PurimIchthyology ♦  STEMMaple HistoryHistory FairArt HistoryWorld Languages  ♦ Theater StudiesMusic HistoryOrnithologySustainabilityAgricultureIce FishingSeed SavingCommunity Meals ♦  PhotographyReligious StudiesGyoktakuHealth & Wellness ♦  Italian CultureHerbalisimWomen’s HistoryNutritionParentingCulture StudiesPoetryCollaborative Consumption


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35 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Tiny Houses to Fermented Foods. Physics to Anthropology.

Local flower societies and college conservatories are community resources that can offer opportunities to learn about habitat, the life cycle of plants, and the structural nuances that differentiate one species from another. Three upcoming annual flower shows featuring orchids, flower bulbs and spring flowers are perfect events to support these interests and to inspire a love for flowers! Read more in our post, Orchids & Tulips: Learning About Botany & Habitat.

Buddhism to World Culture. Citizen Science to Neutrinos. Comics to Anime. Tiny Houses to Fermented Foods. 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:

On Tuesday, February 28, 6:30pm at the Westhampton Public Library, Family Code Night will take the intimidation away from computer coding for kids as well as parents! Children ages five and up, and their caregivers, are invited to learn the basics of computer coding through fun puzzles. No experience is necessary for this introductory STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program. Registration is required. Participants are encouraged to bring one device for every two participants, if possible. Laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets will all work as long as they are able to connect to WiFi. There will be a limited number of laptops available for use. The event will take place at the Hampshire Regional High School library. Questions? Call the library at 413-527-5386 or email westhampton@cwmars.org. 19 Stage Road Westhampton, MA. (FREE)


ReligionBotanyRace IdentityFilm StudiesNature-Based LearningRoboticsNeurodiversityComputer CodingPhysicsAnthropologyArchitectureHistoryRacial JusticeMaple SyrupTheater StudiesMusic StudiesInclusionOrchidsTrackingImmigrationSTEMCulinary Arts


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25 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Philosophy to Silent Film. Musical Petting Zoo to Planetariums.

Family game sessions are one way to get both parents and kids to put aside their work, and their screen-based entertainment, to spend time together. Simple games can challenge young kids to think critically, while harder games can challenge older children through friendly competition. Spice up your family game experience by joining other families at the Meekins Library Game Afternoon on Thursday, February 23, 1pm-3pm. All ages are welcome and there will be snacks! Drop in anytime. Ages five and under must be accompanied by an adult. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Gender Studies to Film Studies. Wild Cats to Natural History Museum. Choreography to Classical Music. 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:  When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. At the Berkshire Museum’s Instrument Petting Zoo on Thursday, February 23, 2pm-3pm, participants will be able to see, listen to, and play lots of different instruments! Picking the right instrument is an important factor for sustaining a lifelong hobby of musicianship. Explore risk-free as part of Ten Days of Play 2017. Included with regular museum admission. Check out a museum pass from your library for free admission. To find out which local library has free museum passes for borrowing, check our Educational Support & Local Resources page. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Route 7. Pittsfield, MA. ($; children under 18 <$; members, ages three and under FREE)


 ArcheryPhilosophyOrnithologyGuided HikeFilm StudiesPaleontologyNature PhotographyArt StudiesIce HarvestingAstronomyPoetryWinter SportsCritical ThinkingDance StudiesZoologyCitizen ScienceAfrican American HistoryMusic StudiesFigure Drawing  ♦ Nature CenterIntergenerationalAviation


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34 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Winter Festivals to Valentine’s Day. Nordic Skiing to Immigration Studies.

Winter Trails is a national annual event that offers families new to snowshoeing and nordic skiing the chance to try out snowshoes and cross-country skis on local trails while showcasing the health benefits of these two outdoor winter activities.  On Saturday, February 11, 10am-3pm Notchview in Windsor will be participating!

Ice to Fungi. Winter Festivals to Puppetry. Valentine’s Day to Nordic Skiing. 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:

Red Gate Farm is teaming up with local libraries to provide programs to get young children interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. On Saturday, February 11, 10:30am-11:30am, participants will be learning the science of seeds! Children up to age seven will be investigating seeds at the Buckland Public Library. Planting seeds at home can help kids become interested in plant and soil science and horticulture by watching their seeds grow into beautiful plants. Teaching kids about horticulture can also help instill important values by teaching them about sources of healthy, local foods. 413-625-9412. 30 Upper Street. Buckland, MA. (FREE)


STEMBotanyFolk MusicLanguage ArtsMusic StudiesCreative-Free PlayLiteratureArt StudiesNature StudiesOutdoor AdventuresPlacemakingPuppetryTheaterCulture StudiesWomen’s StudiesImmigration StudiesAnthropology MycologyHydrologyPoetryOpera  ♦ Guided Hikes  ♦ ShakespeareFinancial Literacy


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29 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Community Sing to Poetry. Gospel to Japanese Culture.

Valentine’s Day is not just for couples! Parents can use this holiday to engage in intergenerational crafts with their children, and teach them concepts of service and kindness. Come to the Meekins Library on Saturday, February 4, until 1:30pm for a morning of Valentine’s Day activities! People of all ages are invited to craft valentines and decorate cookies. Participants are encouraged to donate some of their valentines to the Williamsburg Senior Center. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Permaculture to Teddy Roosevelt. Anime to Hawaiian Culture. Electoral College to Calligraphy. 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:  Saturday, February 4, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the 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, you can craft handmade Valentines with the Easthampton Parents Center. Then we’ll enjoy special guests, DandyLions Garden, a musical act for kids and inner children alike. We’ll round out the morning with DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon!” This is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. For more information, email info@hilltownfamilies.org.


PermacultureMuseum AdventuresAmerican HistoryFiber ArtsFilm StudiesIntergenerationalLanguage ArtsCreative-Free PlayMusic StudiesCulture StudiesClimate ChangeAnthropometryPolitical ScienceReligion StudiesArt StudiesWinter FestivalsWomen’s HistoryTheater Studies


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27 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Peace Movements to Microbiology. Service-Learning to Ecology.

Winter is a great time to learn new recipes, and cook warm comfort foods for friends and family. Bring your favorite soup to the Buckland Public Library for Winter Soup night on Tuesday, January 24, 5:30pm-7pm! Guests may bring bread, cheese and other tidbits. All are welcome. 413-625-8541. 30 Upper Street. Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Celtic Mythology to Microbiology. Sound Waves to Chinese New Year. Peace Movements to Fiber Arts. Tracking to Townshend Acts. 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:  Hilltown Families will be hosting a new Service-Learning Micro-Event Series featuring “Acts of Kindness” volunteer stations for families at multiple locations this winter, beginning on Saturday, January 21, 10am – 2pm! This series is modeled after our larger community-service events, with a shift towards smaller micro-volunteer opportunities through the spring at community events, including winter farmers’ markets, in the hopes that these smaller volunteer opportunities will allow us to engage new audiences with service-learning opportunities! The first Service-Learning Micro-Event will take place at the Amherst Winter’s Farmers’ Market in the Amherst Regional Middle School. Families will have an opportunity to stop by a pop-up volunteer station anytime between 10am-2pm to create handmade valentines to be distributed to seniors in the community. 170 Chestnut Street. Amherst, MA. (VOLUNTEER)


KindnessVolunteeringOrnithologyGuided HikesFilm StudiesMuseum AdventuresSTEMMakerspaceCultural StudiesConstitutional LawCivic EngagementHerpetologyTextilesGamesIntergenerationalMeteorologyDance StudiesNew England HistoryPolitical ScienceLiteracyCommunity MealsArt StudiesArchitecture


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22 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Scutes to Scales. Social History to Music Theory.

Playing music is a physical as well as mental process, encouraging careful listening and focus. Reading musical scores requires us to train our brain to recognize patterns and decode information. We can get our children started with exploring sound, building instruments, and creating music at the Clark Art Institute’s Music Day on Sunday, January 15. 1pm-3:30pm. In conjunction with I/O Fest this day of musical exploration will also feature performances brought to you by the Williams College Department of Music. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (Adults $; Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID FREE)

Reptiles to Shays’ Rebellion. Music Theory to Social History. MLK Day of Service to Nature Studies. Photography History to Racial Equality. 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: Have you ever heard the term “scute?” This biological term refers to an external bodily “plate,” such as a turtle’s shell, crocodile skin, and bird feet. Children and their parents are invited to learn about “Scutes and Scales” at this biologically themed nature event at the Hitchcock Center on Saturday, January 14, 10am-11am. This program is part of an ongoing Saturday Science series for children and their parents to explore natural topics through scientific activities. These events will take pace on the second Saturday of the month, through June. Call ahead to reserve your spot. 413-256-6006. 845 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


ZoologyCivic EngagementTeen AdvisoryRevolutionary WarLocal HistoryMusic StudiesAmerican HistoryCivil RightsService-Based LearningMartin Luther King, Jr.HerpetologyCulture StudiesSkillsharingCommunity MealSocial HistoryPhotographyCulinary ArtsSocial Justice


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25 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Meteorology to Mixed Media. Basketball to Tea.

Learn about Jewish culture through the lens of food by screening three short films at the Yiddish Book Center on Sunday, January 8, 2pm. The center will be showing In The Last Blintz, Life and Hummus, and Bagels in the Blood. These films will explore Jewish food culture from New York, to Israel and Palestine, to Montreal. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tea Ceremony to Sports History. Ornithology to Nutritional Anthropology. Aromachology to Dyslexia. 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:  Card games challenge your logical reasoning abilities, sometimes also involving mathematics and various social skills. Playing games in general is a great way to connect with your kids in a low-tech way, without screen technology. Do you or your kids like to collect card games? Kids and parents are invited to Make It Springfield to meet and play collectible card games on Sunday, January 8, 12pm-2pm. Challenge your brain by learning a new game, while meeting new families with shared interests. 168 Worthington Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)


Winter SportsNordic SkiingMindfulnessJapanese CultureLEGOSSTEMArt StudiesBasketballAnimal StudiesCivic EngagementGamesJewish CultureSleep ScienceParent SupportSkillsharingAromatherapyTheater HistoryLearning DifferencesWomen’s History


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19 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Guided Hikes to First Night. Dance Party to Winter Sports.

There are many ways to remain active and engaged with the outdoors during the winter. Nordic skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing are a sample of activities that allow one to get outside, stay fit, and maintain a healthy lifestyle while exploring the beauty of nature in the winter. Choosing a winter sport is not only spending time outdoors, it’s also participating in the traditions of local culture and history. Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for places to ski, skate and snowshoe in Western MA.

Gregorian Calendar to Engineering. Telescope to Owls. Snow Sports to Sweetgrass.  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: On New Year’s Day, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun!


Calendar HistoryEcologySTEMPlacemakingLiving HistoryOutdoor AdventuresWinter SportsYo-YoPhysicsAstronomyLiteracyPlant StudiesAfrican American HistoryNew Year CelebrationsGuided Hikes Native American StudiesOrnithologyCollaborative Consumption


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27 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Winter Solstice to Dreidel. Holiday Icons to Dance Studies.

This Sunday, December 18 at the Springfield Museums, connect with your Jewish heritage or learn about traditional Hanukkah celebrations. They will be hosting “Illuminating Gallery Activities” including dreidel games, candle rolling, and more. Participants can craft their own Star of David out of frosted paper. Decorate Suf Ganiyot, a round jelly doughnut often eaten in celebration of Hanukkah. What to make your own Suf Ganiyot (pictured here) at home? Here’s a quick and easy recipe.

Technology to Mills & Canals. Animation to Ballet. Christmas Icons to Astronmy. Dreidel to Suf Ganiyot. Psychology to Neuroscience. 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 weekThe Umass Amherst Sunwheel has attracted tens of thousands of visitors who wish to learn about solar and lunar cycles. Sunwheels, circular stone structures, are designed such that the stones line up with the locations on the horizon of the rising and setting Sun during solstices and equinoxes. On Wednesday, December 21, 7am and 3:30pm, you can witness this event during the Winter Solstice, and also learn about the seasons, the phases of the moon, the story behind the building of the sunwheel, and more. Bring questions and dress appropriately. The gatherings last about one hour and are held in all weather except rain or blizzards. Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (DONATION)


STEM ♦  Local HistoryArt StudiesLocal FoodDance StudiesOrnithology ♦  LiteracyNon-CommercialPlacemakingGingerbreadHoliday LightsWinter SolsticeMYO Gifts ♦  HanukkahAnimationCitizen ScienceAstronomyDreidelBakingHoliday IconsPsychologyNeuroscienceMeditation


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18 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Pleasure to Cynicism. Stuffed Animals to British Christmas Traditions.

What’s on your child’s wish list for this holiday season? How about sewing them their very own soft toy? The value of a soft toy incorporates not only non-commercial gift giving and creative-free play, it has psychological implications that support kindness… to themselves! Learn more in this video then engage in a service-based learning event.

Dance Studies to Evolution. Pleasure to Cynicism. Stuffed Animals to British Christmas Traditions.  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:  Add a dose of history to your holiday celebrating! The historic William Cullen Bryant Homestead will be decorated for an old-fashioned hilltown Christmas celebration, complete with carolers in the parlor, a lighting of the Christmas tree, holiday treats, and an artisan gift shop. Christmas themed celebrations will take place Saturday, December 10, 1pm-4pm and 6pm-8pm; Sunday, December 11, 1pm-4pm. For information call The Trustees at 413-628-4485 x3 or email acaluori@thetrustees.org.. 207 Bryant Road. Cummington, MA. (Members <$; Non members $; Children FREE)


Dance Studies ♦  Environmental ScienceMusic HistoryEvolutionPleasureMYO GiftsBallet HistoryBreakfast with SantaBritish ChristmasChristmas TreesLiving HistoryToy ExchangeCommunity MealNew England Christmas HistoryPsychologyGuided WalkToysSewingPastry ArtsCynicismTheaterIrish Dance


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28 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Holiday Lights to Wreath Making. Theater to Singing.

Have you ever thought about why we decorate our Christmas trees with strands of light? Ever think about the origin of this tradition? Find out about the history of Christmas lights, then take in a community tree lighting ceremony and a drive through Forest Park in Springfield or Look Park in Florence for contemporary displays of holiday lights.

Tree Lighting to Wreaths. Consumerism to Holiday Strolls. Pastry Arts to A Christmas Carol. 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:

As the temperature drops and the skies become increasingly more grey, towns across Western Massachusetts are beginning to look more and more festive by the minute!  Leafless trees now don coats of twinkling lights, streetlights are wrapped cozily in strands of deep green garland, and bright red bows decorate wreaths – welcoming both visitors and the holiday season.  Celebrate the holiday season this year by bringing your family to one of the many holiday strolls that happen this month! your family’s holiday season this weekend by visiting one of the holiday strolls being offered!


Literary Adaptation ♦  Singing ♦  Gingerbread Houses ♦  Breakfast with SantaPlacemaking ♦  ConsumerismRadio TheaterPastry Arts  ♦ Gift SwapHoliday StrollsLiving HistoryTransportationCarolingLocomotionWreathsCommunity MealCraftsTree Lighting


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20 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Photography to Food Studies. Non-Commercial to Collaborative Consumption.

How did the small wild cranberry, known as sasumuneash by the Wampanoag People, become the the plump berry we serve up every Thanksgiving? Get curious about the origin of the foods served during Thanksgiving and the traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. Use your Thanksgiving meal as a catalyst for learning about agriculture, culinary arts, history and culture!

Hydrology to Tortellini. Photography to Food Studies. Non-Commercial to Collaborative Consumption. 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:   “Chrysanthemum” is a beautiful word for an equally beautiful family of flowers. The word is derived from the Greek words chrysos (gold) and anthemon (flower), though it refers to many different types of flowers in a range of colors and appearances. Families can explore various chrysanthemums at The Botanic Garden of Smith College’s Fall Chrysanthemum Show. The Fall Mum Show has been a popular college and community tradition since the early 1900s and showcases the hybridizing experiments of the horticulture class. This weekend is the last of this amazing flower show!  The conservatory will be open 10am-4pm daily and have extended hours 10am-8pm on Fridays. 413-585-2740. 16 College Lane. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


Black Friday  ♦ Community Meals  ♦ Computer ProgrammingNative American StudiesCollaborative ConsumptionGardeningBiologyActivismSustainabilityMYO GiftsSTEM  ♦ Culinary ArtsSeed SavingThanksgiving DinnerPhysics Art StudiesLanguage StudiesGuided WalksMusic StudiesPhotographyImmigrationFood Studies


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32 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Mindfulness to Natural History. Día de los Muertos to Jake Shimabukuro.

There is more to the phenomenon of bird chirping than simple mating messages. Bird songs evolve socially. Although species sing the same song, individual birds learn songs from their fathers and dialects develop regionally. Bird songs have also had a great impact on human music, and as a result, culture. On Tuesday, November 15 at 3pm, Professor of Biology David Spector will be discussing bird songs and the interplay between birds and human culture, at the Westhampton Public Library. Attendees will also have the change to sing along as the Beautiful Future Band performs new and familiar songs featuring the sounds of birds! Learn about ornithology and conservation efforts. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Community Meals to Community Sing. Guided Walks to Meditation. Contemporary Dance to Chrysantemum. 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: While it is known internationally, the Day of the Dead originated in Mexico, where it is celebrated as a public holiday. Día de los Muertos honors the deceased through the creation of altars and other traditions and ceremonies such as the creation of sugar skulls and catrina dolls. On Saturday, November 12, 10am-7pm, a Day of The Dead celebration will include art, performances, and workshops on how to create sugar skulls and memory boxes. Workshops will be held at the Flywheel Arts Collective. Music and dance performances will take place at the Brookside Cemetery. Bring a candle. 413-529-1440. Williston Avenue. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)


Mindfulness ♦  YogaNatural History MuseumsCultural StudiesDay of the Dead  SportsIce SkatingTheaterMusic Studies ♦  UkuleleOrnithologyLocal HistoryNatural HistoryComputer ScienceInternetPsychologyArchitectureFood StudiesNutritionDairy Farming ♦  Animal StudiesLiteracyBook Clubs


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Community-Based Educational Highlights: Chrysanthemums to Arrowheads. Evolutionary Biology to Rome.

Seed saving is a fantastic way to practice self sufficiency and resilience, and also helps to preserve plant varieties for years to come. In addition to the cultural and agricultural value of holding onto these plants (and their seeds), practicing seed saving at home is a great way to engage in hands-on science learning – the digging-in-the-dirt kind that leads to some serious discoveries. You can get started and learn about seed saving techniques on Saturday, November 5, 1pm-2:30pm, at Great Falls Discovery Center. You will learn what kind of seeds to buy, how to prevent cross pollination, wet and dry methods of seed saving and proper techniques of drying and storing seeds. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Chrysanthemums to ArrowheadsSusan B Anthony to Thomas Paine. Evolutionary Biology to Rome. 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:  Smith College’s Lyman Conservatory is in bloom this month for the annual Fall Chrysanthemum Show!  Visitors to the greenhouses can learn about genetic diversity amongst plants and plant hybridization while viewing the beautiful flowers, which can be up to eight inches across.  Even the most amateur botanists will love the wide variety of color, pattern, shape, and size seen amongst the blooms. Read more in our post, Fall Chrysanthemum Show at Smith Offers Community-Based Learning.


SustainabilityCollege ResourcesFiber ArtsTechonologyHorticulturePoliticsSeed SavingBotanyNative American HistoryArchitectureMusic StudiesGilded AgeWomen’s SuffrageSTEMLiteracyBiologyNature StudiesCivil WarWorld History


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21 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Chrysanthemums to Dracula. Dia de los Muertos to Halloween.

While it is well known internationally, the Day of the Dead originated in Mexico, where it is celebrated as a public holiday. Dia de los Muertos honors the deceased through the creation of altars and other traditions and ceremonies. You can learn about the significance of this holiday in Latinx culture, and enjoy performances from the Aztec group Xochiquetzal, at Mount Holyoke College on Tuesday, November 1, 7:30pm. Campus Center Lower Level, 100 Elm Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Chrysanthemums to Dracula. Science Fiction to Orchestra. Dia de los Muertos to Halloween.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 autumn weather, the harvest of pumpkins, and local music at Pumpkinfest on Saturday, October 29, 10am-9pm! This all ages event will feature live local music and dance all day long, as well as a pumpkin judging contest. There will also be a pumpkin decorating contest. Live music will include local artists such as Jimmy Just Quit and Curly Fingers Dupree. Visit the Franklin County Pumpkinfest Facebook Page for more information. Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)


PsychologyHauntingsMusic StudiesZoologyLiterary AdaptationFood CultureCemetery StudiesEtymologyService-Based LearningFood SecurityFilm StudiesScience FictionCulture StudiesDay of the DeadLocal HistoryHorticulture


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34 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Music to Medicine. Civic Engagement to Meditation.

Did you know there is a bog in the Hilltowns… home to carnivorous plants like this pitcher plant pictured here?! Hawley Bog stands at an elevation of 1,800 feet, similar to some of the cold bogs of Canada. In an upcoming Mass Audubon program, families can learn about local natural history by visiting this peatland and participating in a guided walk with a local naturalist!

Carnivorous Plants to Service Animals. Political Cartoons to Civic Engagement. Color Theory to Classical Music. 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:   Cider pressing has a long history in New England and beyond. Connect with local culture at the Sukkot Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 23, 10am-1pm! Harvest festivals draw people together for a chance to celebrate the season. This particular harvest festival will have many opportunities for culinary learning and creativity. There will be apple cider pressing, pizza, garlic planting, fire cider making, nature crafts, local food, and live music. Visit the Abundance Farm Facebook page for more information. This event will take place rain or shine. 253 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)


Carnivorous PlantsBogsService AnimalsPet FosteringHikes & WalksArt StudiesPolitical CartoonsLocal HistoryCemetery StudiesOrnithology  ♦ Culinary ArtsFashion HistoryJewish CultureMusic StudiesService-Based LearningNative American StudiesMeditation/MindfulnessYogaSTEMRoboticsMakerspacePhysicsBotanyCivic EngagementMedicine


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26 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Jazz Music to Woodworking. Radio Drama to Pumpkins.

The Ashfield Fall Festival will take place this weekend on both Sat & Sun from 10am-5pm up and down Ashfield’s Main Street. A quintessential New England fall celebration; engaging connects families to their local culture alongside neighbors and friends. Ashfield, MA (FREE)

Jazz Music to Colonial History. Antiques to Woodworking. Stop-Motion Animation to Radio Drama. 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:  Scarecrows are an old and practical invention, used to frighten away birds which harm crops. The history of scarecrows begins in Egypt, where the earliest records of the use of scarecrows have been found. Rather than using models of humans, farmers along the Nile River built wooden frames with nets in their wheat fields, and used their scarecrow-like devices to trap quail who would visit their fields to feast on wheat. So, rather than scaring away birds, these early scarecrow-users actually protected their crops and caught their dinner at the same time!  This practical invention has also made a strong cultural impact and led to people creating scarecrows for decorative purposes, particularly in the spooky fall months. You can engage with this local agricultural history and cultural tradition by attending this Scarecrow Stuffing Party on Saturday, October 8, 12pm-2pm. There will also be a bake sale. Call to reserve your scarecrow. 413-863-2116. Unity Park. 56 First Street. Turners Falls, MA. (<$)


PhotographyHomeschoolingMusic StudiesJazzCivic EngagementSTEMComputer ProgrammingPumpkinsColonial HistoryWorld HistoryTransportationRadio DramaShakespeareComedy HistoryFilm StudiesIce HockeyScarecrowsDendrologyLanguageWoodworkingAntiquesPlacemakingFall Festivals


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25 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Potatoes to Apples. Bridges to Kites.

Autumn is a time for festivals, bringing people together in celebration of beautiful weather and a bountiful fall harvest. Festival of the Hills on Sunday, October 2, 10am-4pm is an annual family-friendly celebration. Rain or shine. Historic Conway Center, Route 116. Conway, MA. (FREE admission and parking)

Kites to Bridges. Symphony to En Plein Air Painting. 3D Printing to Robotics.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:  War reenactments are a highly engaging form of living history. For families interested in history, learning about the role citizens of your town played in various wars is one way of engaging with national history on a local level. You and your family can learn about the Civil War by attending a reenactment in Look Park on Saturday, October 1, 11am-5pm. You can also hear from Shades of Gray, a civil war era camp band. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (FREE)


Guided WalksMakerspaceRoboticsKitesBridgesPotato FestivalApple HistoryCivil War6  ♦ Revolutionary WarLiving HistoryThe ArtsFall FestivalsShaker HistoryHaunted HistoryCemetery WalksAstronomyArchaeology


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38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Animation to Israeli Cuisine. Dragon Boats to Garlic.

If you take your family to a pick-your-own apple orchard this weekend! See how many orchard ladders you can spot and get your kids thinking about their shape and purpose.

Animation to Israeli Cuisine. Dragon Boats to Garlic. One Room Schoolhouses to Textile Mills. 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:  Local, original theater performances can connect community members with each other and with local spaces. Double Edge Theater’s show, The Springfield Spectacular, is a large-scale outdoor performance showcasing youth performers from Springfield Conservatory of the Arts Public School. A performance  on Saturday, September 24, 7pm in Forest Park will incorporate music, and explore many aspects of Latin American culture. 413-787-6440. 200 Trafton Road. Springfield, MA. (FREE)


EntomologyTextile ArtsFilm StudiesArt StudiesParentingVolunteeringIndustrial HistoryHistoric ShoolhousesLiving HistoryArchitecturePlacemakingBotanySeed SavingCulinary ArtsAstronomy


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39 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Autumn Equinox to Rosh Hashanah. Science Fiction to Music Studies.

Grain Mill to Weaving. Freshwater Mussels to BBQ. Poetry to Meditation.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:  Fall is here! The autumnal equinox, the first full day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, is a good time to learn about astronomical concepts such as the seasonal positions of the Earth, Sun and Moon. You are invited to view sunrise and sunset from the standing stones of the UMass Amherst Sunwheel on Thursday, September 22, 6:45am and 6pm. A UMass Amherst astronomer will be present discussing the significance of the solstices and equinoxes, phases of the moon, building of the Sunwheel, and other calendar sites such as the Karnak Temple in Egypt, Stonehenge in the U.K, Chichen Itza in Mexico, and Chankillo in Peru.The UMass Sunwheel is located south of McGuirk Alumni Stadium, just off Rocky Hill Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


Autumn Equinox  ♦ EntomologyMetamorphosisLiving HistoryTheaterLGBTQLocal IndustriesPaddlingCommunity MealsEcologyComedyGuided HikesOrnithologyPhenologyFoliageFood StudiesLanguage ArtsLiteracyMusic StudiesRosh HashanahScience FictionTransportation HistoryStorytellingMindfulness


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29 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Economics to Psychology. Nature Walks to Migration.

Want to organize a Monarch Butterfly tagging effort? Monarch Watch has instructions and kits with tags for tracking.

Economics to Psychology. Fall Foliage to Graveyards. Songbirds to Coding. 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:  You can become a citizen scientist on Wednesday, September 14, 4pm-6pm by helping to tag monarchs before they head south to the overwintering grounds in Mexico. Jennifer Unkles has been tagging monarchs since 1997. She will be teaching participants at the Hitchcock Center about the monarch’s life cycle, their epic annual migration, how the tagging program works, and how to tag any monarchs you’re able to catch and release. Registration is recommended. 413-256-6006. 845 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


Industrial HistoryCutlerySeed SavingService-Based LearningClimate ChangeImmigrationEconomicsGuided HikesFood StudiesWild EdiblesMigrationSTEMOpera1Computer ProgrammingHorticultureBilingualismOrnithologyFood HistoryCulinary ArtsEntomologyCitizen ScienceFinancial LiteracyPsychologyCartographyAncestryCemetery Walk


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30 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Greek Souvlaki to Jewish Literature. Time Zones to Train Rides.

Greek “Glendis” are celebrations, often highlighting Greek culture through traditional food and dance. Every year, St. George’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral hosts a Glendi for thousands of visitors from far and near, providing the best in traditional Greek foods, pastries, music, dancing, and more. Beginning next Friday, all are welcome to this celebration on September 9-11, 2016. Call 413-737-1496 for more information. 22 St George Road. Springfield, MA. (<$)

Raccoons to Rattlesnakes. Greek Souvlaki to Jewish Literature. Time Zones to Train Rides. 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: Youth in grades 3-6 are invited to Smith College for an afternoon of engineering, geology, physics and biology activities on Saturday, September 3, 3pm-5pm! Participants will choose one of four options: Engineering Design with balloon powered cars, Investigating physical properties for rocks and minerals, Exploring electricity and electromagnetism and Investigating food chains and food webs with an owl pellet dissection. Registration is required through the Smith College website. 413-585-3932. Drop off and check in will take place in the lobby of Ford Hall. Green Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


GeologyDendrologyNature-Based LearningGuide WalksArchaeologySunken CitiesIndustrial HistoryMusic StudiesZoologyPhrenologySTEMComputer CodingLocal HistoryCemetery StudiesOrnithologyJewish CultureGreek FoodTransportation HistoryLocomotivesHistory of TimeLifelong LearningRattlesnakesLiterary AdaptationSherlock HolmesArt StudiesActivism


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39 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Circle Dance to Witchcraft. Watercolor Painting to Astronomy.

Nighthawks are impressive creatures which engage in aerial acrobatics, catching insects on their wings! On Tuesday, August 30, 5pm-7:30pm, you can search the sky for migrating nighthawks at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary. Bring binoculars. Registration is not required. 413-637-0320. Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Circle Dance to Witchcraft. Watercolor Painting to Astronomy. STEM to Literacy.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 highlightthis week: On Saturday, August 27, 12:30pm-11pm and Sunday, August 28, 12:30pm-7:30pm you can be a part of Celebrate Holyoke. Enjoy live music, food from local restaurants, and goods from local artists and makers. On the 27th you can hear live music from the following bands: From the Woods, Skarroñeros, Paper City Exiles. Franny O Show, Trailer Park, Pabon Salsa, Eleven, and Brass Attack. Check the Celebrate Holyoke website for a full schedule of events. Holyoke Heritage State Park. 221 Appleton Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


Sports ♦ Art Studies ♦ Watercolor Painting ♦ History ♦ Historic Schoolhouse ♦ Witchcraft ♦ Local Food Culture ♦ Literacy ♦ Astronomy ♦ STEM ♦ Circuitry ♦ Zoology ♦ Entomology ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Circle Dance ♦ Music Studies ♦ Agriculture


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41 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking.

Explore local rivers and ponds at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, and learn about the role beavers play in our local ecosystem. This program is suitable for ages three and up. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA.(<$)

Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking. Writing to Foraging. 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: In honor of the National Parks Service centennial, you can participate in a guided hike on Thursday, August 25, 9:30am-12pm to learn about the history of America’s State and National Parks. Learn about the forces which shaped, protected, and preserved these national resources on a three mile hike. This hike will go over moderate terrain and take approximately three hours. The event is appropriate for ages twelve and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Mount Holyoke Range State ParkMeet at the Notch Visitors Center. Please bring water, bug spray, and sunscreen and wear appropriate clothing and footwear. 413-253-2883. 1500 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


 Agriculture ♦ Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Local History ♦ Woodworking ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Guided Nature Walks ♦ Foraging ♦ Music Studies ♦ Automotive ♦ Car ShowZoology ♦ Bird Language ♦ Opera ♦ Art Studies ♦ Culture Studies


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37 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Entomology to Puppetry. Geology to Jazz Studies.

People of all ages can learn about dragonflies and butterflies at Lime Kiln Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday, August 7, 9am-11am. Bring your favorite field guide and binoculars. Wear sturdy shoes and bring insect repellent. Call 413-637-0320 to register. Silver Street. Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Entomology to Puppetry. Geology to Jazz Studies. Literature to Panoramic Drawing. 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:  You can learn about New England history and local Native American culture at the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival! This all ages event, on Saturday, August 6, 11am-7pm, will include live music, drumming, dancing, storytelling, and native crafts. Spiritual teachings by Native American elders will offer further insight into a fascinating culture. This event is part of the Nolumbeka Project. Unity Park Waterfront. First Street. Turners Falls. (FREE)


Zoology ♦ Entomology ♦ Geology  ♦ Cultural Studies ♦ Music Studies ♦ Jazz Studies ♦ Art Studies ♦ Panoramic Drawing ♦ Architecture ♦ History ♦ Storytelling ♦ Literacy ♦ Puppetry ♦ Agriculture ♦ Outdoor Adventures ♦ Wild Plant Walk 


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37 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Guided Nature Walks to Literacy. Sports to History.

Mr. Vinny: The Bubble Guy will be at the Springfield Museums with his gigantic bubble wants and jokes. This program is free with museum admission. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Children under two FREE)

Guided Nature Walks to Literacy. Sports to History. Sustainability to Music Studies. 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: People of all ages are invited to Wild Woods Walk at Mount Holyoke Range State Park on Sunday, July 31, 2pm-3pm. A park interpreter will teach you about the plants and animals that call the park home. You will learn how to recognize some of them by sight and sound. Meet at the Notch Visitors Center. 413-253-2883. 1500 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


ZoologyChiropterologyGuided Nature WalkArt StudiesEarth ScienceOceanographyCircus ArtsUpcyclingMusic StudiesHistoryWitchcraftSportsLiteracyCreative Free PlaySustainabilityDance Studies


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