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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Hilltown Families: We Are Interest-Based

Whether its farming, fiber art, creative play or stargazing, Hilltown Families is the go-to resource for supporting the interests of self-directed learners in Western Massachusetts each week right here on our website.  On Valley Gives Day, Tuesday, May 3, 2016 help us continue to promote local interest-based learning with a donation to Hilltown Families: www.bit.ly/WeAreHilltownFamilies

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Suggested Events for April 23rd-29th 2016

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

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

Summer Camps in Western MA

OVER 60 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from with new camps added every week!

Check out our featured post, 2016 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, arts & crafts, wilderness adventures, dance, performance art, farming, rock climbing, STEM, pre-college, sports, theater… to good old traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Apr 22

Celebrate Earth Day with Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem to benefit Kestrel Land Trust! Friday, April 22 at 8pm, at the Unitarian Society of Northampton. The New England based folk quartet’s music and style will leave you humming and hopeful, spirits renewed. For 15 years, they’ve performed across the country from the Newport Folk Festival to the California World Music Festival. All proceeds will benefit Kestrel’s work to conserve and care for the land you love throughout the Pioneer Valley. Tickets $25, available online http://bit.ly/23Hktul or at Broadside Bookstore in Northampton or A.J. Hastings in Amherst. Tickets will be sold at the door if available. Visit kestreltrust.org for more details!

Open House: Apr 30

Considering preschool or kindergarten options? Explore Montessori! Amherst Montessori School will host a Preschool & Kindergarten Open House on Saturday, April 30 at 10am. Tour their beautiful new building and playground, meet teachers and administrators, and learn about the benefits of the mixed-age, child-centered Montessori learning environment. Register online at amherstmontessori.org.

May 1

Sunday May 1, 2016 from 11am-4pm: The Massachusetts Renaissance Center invites you to a day of music, theater, juggling, falconry, dancing and more at the 14th Annual Community Renaissance Festival! Fun for all ages! FREE admission and FREE parking!Phoenix Swords returns with their popular swordsmanship demonstrations that are fun for the whole family! Robie Bones is back to lead music making! Play Renaissance games with Mutton and Mead! See demonstrations by local artisans and try your hand at one of these Renaissance crafts! Interactive theater and commedia dell’arte will add to the merriment! For a complete schedule and parking info visit www.umass.edu/renaissance and click the festival link, or call 413-577-3603.

Apr 29

Calling all young writers to submit to the Odyssey Bookshop’s Annual Children’s Writing Contest! The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 29 at 7pm. You can find the 2016 prompt and entry forms on their webpage: www.odysseybks.com/spring-writing-contest. They award gift certificates to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners for each grade level (1st-5th), whom they will contact by Friday, May 6, and they’ll celebrate these winners at their Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 19 at 6pm. They’ll have sparkling juice, book cookies, and plenty of accolades for our winners, who will share their stories with the audience. Join them for this wonderful celebration of literary talent from the writers of tomorrow, and don’t forget: submit, submit, submit!

Apr 30

Join the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley on Sat, April 30 for Indie Bookstore Day, a FREE, family-friendly, day-long event! They will be celebrating with great kids events: 11am Mo Willems-themed story time & 2pm Horrible Bear-themed story time. They’ll have coloring stations, a “Shelfie” corner to pose with your favorite book, a bookstore love graffiti wall, homemade assorted pastries and lemonade, and exclusive merchandise, including signed copies of Kate DiCamillo’s latest book, Raymie Nightingale, signed prints featuring Tad Hill’s duck & goose characters, a Curious George® plush doll with a READ TO ME t-shirt, a kid-friendly vinyl record companion to the New York Times-bestselling Rad American Women A-Z that features Angela Davis, and more!

Apr 30 May 7

The Odyssey Bookshop and local author/illustrator Anna Alter are looking for the next area artists to submit original artwork for their Sprout Street Neighbors Community Art Contest. They invite all youth to make a piece of art that shows what they think is important about their community to Odyssey Bookshop, attn: Niki Marion by Saturday, April 30. The next Saturday, May 7, at 2pm, they welcome all artists & their families, as well as other members of the community, to join them for a show of all submitted artwork at the Odyssey. Anna will be on hand to read from her books and draw with the kids, and participants may enter a raffle to win a free school visit for their classroom. Prizes for 2nd & 3rd too. Must be present to win any prizes.

Journey Camp returns to Woolman Hill in Deerfield this summer! The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music, and crafts. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12, June 27-July 1, 8:45am-4pm. Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, ages 11-18, July 25-July 28, two overnights & campfires. Girls Week, ages 7-12, Aug. 1-5 & Aug. 8-12, 8:45am-4pm. www.sarahpirtle.com Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 23-29, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

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Earth Day River Festival Builds in the Berkshires

Earth Day River Festival Builds Community for Preservation

Our local rivers keep the landscape alive – celebrate their importance at the first ever Earth Day River Festival honoring the Berkshires’ Housatonic River! Hosted by the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT), the event includes opportunities for community members to learn about and connect with the Housatonic River, and to consider the role that the river plays in their daily lives. Held on Saturday, April 23rd from 11am-1:30pm at Pittsfield’s Fred Garner Park, the Earth Day River Festival brings together environmentally-focused community organizations and offers a rich variety of ways to gain knowledge and skills for conservation and self-sufficiency. Read the rest of this entry »

Lenox Fix-It Fair: Supporting Skillsharing and Sustainable Living

Lenox Fix-It Fair Pools Skills to Reduce Community Impact on Waste Stream

Have a toaster that just won’t toast? Favorite wool socks whose heels have worn through? A lamp whose cord has frayed? Bring fixable items to the Lenox Fix-It Fair, an event pooling community fixing knowledge in order to give life to repairable items. From appliances to toys and everything in between, the Fix-It Fair aims to reduce consumption and waste!

What happens when your toaster breaks, and the cost to have it repaired is more than you paid for it in the first place? In the interest of the earth, it would make sense to have it repaired rather than dumping it and purchasing a new one. However, when repair doesn’t make financial sense, we often end up wasting still-useful items in order to make the most financially sound decision for ourselves. It’s no secret that we are a consumerist society, and even those of us who intend to reduce, reuse, recycle, and extend the life of the things that we own sometimes end up making the choice to trash rather than treasure when we lack the skills or financial resources to maintain or repair.

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Poetry & Place in the Hilltowns

Poetry & Place: Exploring the Hilltown Home of 19th Century Poet William Cullen Bryant

By Andrea Caluori-Rivera
MassLIFT AmeriCorps Member at Hilltown Land Trust & Kestrel Land Trust

Kindred Spirits was commissioned by the merchant-collector Jonathan Sturges as a gift for William Cullen Bryant in gratitude for the nature poet’s moving eulogy to Thomas Cole, who had died suddenly in early 1848. It shows Cole, who had been Jonathan Sturges mentor, standing in a gorge in Catskills in company of a mutual friend William Cullen Bryant. Painting is by artist Asher Brown Durand (1796–1886).

Western Massachusetts has been home to many poets and writers who were inspired by this region’s remarkable landscapes and natural settings. Since April is National Poetry Month, the spring season is a great time to explore some of the homes and writing places of local poets from the past, such as the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, MA.

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was an editor, abolitionist, conservationist and poet. He grew up in Cummington, MA and later purchased his childhood home and converted it to a country house. Known for his poems inspired by nature, Bryant was also well acquainted with prominent Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand. The three of them used their artistic talents in painting and writing to champion the American landscape and helped to inspire the American conservation movement. You can read more about Bryant and his life here: www.poetryfoundation.org.

The William Cullen Bryant Homestead, now a property of The Trustees of Reservations, houses a wonderful collection of items from Bryant’s lifetime as well as interesting objects from later decades left by Bryant’s descendants and those that lived there. The property also boasts an old growth forest and a trail system that follows a rivulet – a water feature Bryant wrote about in 1823 in his poem The Rivulet. Read this poem and his most famous, Thanatopsis.

This spring and summer, The Trustees of Reservations have a variety of activities planned for folks at the homestead where visitors can volunteer, experience history and learn more about this interesting place and its antique objects. These events offer a variety of opportunities to engage your local community through different interests such as community service, local history, poetry, food traditions, and ecology, and hiking.  Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Cleaning Opportunities Promote Environmental Stewardship and Service-Based Learning

Spring Cleaning Opportunities Promote Environmental Stewardship and Service-Based Learning

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

GIVEAWAY: Mothering with Ease: A Mini Retreat for Busy Moms

Enter to Win a Mini Retreat for Busy Moms

Share ways you model self-care to your kids and be entered to win a pass to Mothering with Ease: A Mini Retreat for Busy Moms on Saturday, May 14 from 9am-1pm in Hadley! Deadline to enter to win is 4/2/16 by 11:59pm (EDT). Details on how to enter to win are below.

How do you model self-care to your children? What tools help you take a breather when needed? What do you do to sustain your energy so you can parent another day? How about a mini retreat!

Pain specialist, yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner Ginny Hamilton and her colleague, holistic psychotherapist Laura Pontani, are partnering with Hilltown Families by offering an incentive to our readers to share their stories. Share ways you model self-care to your kids and be entered to win a pass to Mothering with Ease: A Mini Retreat for Busy Moms ($120 value) on Saturday, May 14 from 9am-1pm in Hadley!  Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, May 2, 2016 by 11:59pm (EDT). Details on how to enter to win are below.

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Budding Chemists Celebrate Earth Day through Art & Poetry

Ecology Themed Illustrated Poetry Contest Accepting Submissions

From the yeast and sugar used to rise a loaf of fresh homemade bread, to the microbial life that multiplies around your tea kettle or takes hold of your family during flu season, we have many ecosystems within our own homes (and our own bodies!).

When you think of the word “ecosystem,” does your mind automatically travel outdoors, imagining a nature scene with lots visible life? Sometimes humans forget that our own habitats, our man-made houses, also contain ecosystems of life forms besides ourselves. Drinking unfiltered water contains microbial life. Bacteria thrive in hot water areas such as a tea kettle. In fact, although they don’t pay rent and in fact you can’t even see them. You have several billion microscopic housemates!

There’s no need to overthink these facts or jump to worrisome conclusions. Bacteria is not always harmful and in fact, some of these microscopic beings play helpful roles in our lives. Even though humans have built complex systems of shelter and storage, we are natural beings and we live in a biological world. Your kitchen sink, your computer screen, your bedroom doorknob- each one could potentially be analyzed as an ecosystem.

This year, in honor of Earth Day, the American Chemical Society is challenging young people to rethink their homes as ecosystems, and use this as inspiration for artwork and poetry. What does science have to do with poetry and artwork? A lot, actually. Poets, artists and scientists are all highly inquisitive observers, seeking to make sense of the world around them, whether they do it with words, images, experiments, or some combination of the three. Read the rest of this entry »

The Bicycle: Social Impacts, Past & Present

The Surprising Social Impact of Bicycles
and Local Learning Opportunities

Did you know that before inventing the world’s first successful airplane, Orville and Wilbur Wright owned a bicycle shop? They repaired and rented out bicycles and eventually went on to build their own bicycles and invent small improvements to the machines. In addition to gaining practice in engineering skills, this business funded their aviation experiments.

Simpler and less expensive than cars, bicycles can be a fun tool for tinkering. The fact that the parts of a bicycle are exposed can help people understand the physics driving the machine. Plus, owning a bicycle can give you an immense sense of freedom. Bicycles obviously do not travel as fast as cars (depending on traffic flow!) and can’t take you as far, but at the same time they are affordable to more people and they are driven by human energy. Biking allows you to take a closer look at the world around you and get exercise in a fun way.
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Learning Ahead: April 18th-22nd, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 29 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

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HFVS Things Are Not Always What You Think They Are Episode with Guest DJ, Steven Erdman (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Things Are Not Always What You Think They Are Episode
with Guest DJ, Steven Erdman

Join Lard Dog on a journey of quirky lyrics, melodies, and rhythms that demonstrate the power of music as a conduit for pop art and frivolity. Remember, things don’t always have to make sense to call ‘em your happy place! — www.houseoflard.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
April 16th & 17th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: Beck Black Tambourine


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Ray Charles The Thing [Have A Smile With Me]
  • Jan & Dean Bucket T [All The Hits From Surf City To Drag City]
  • Antonio Jobim & Elis Regina Aguas De Marco – Waters Of March [Ellis & Tom]
  • Bob Dylan Mixed Up Confusion [The Freewheelin’ Sessions Outtakes]
  • Lard Dog & The Band Of Shy Yum Yum Head Gear Co. [Life’s A Real Dream]
  • Captain Beefheart Harry Irene [Shiny Beast]
  • Spike Milligan Q5 Piano Tune [Legends Of The 20th Century]
  • Lard Dog & The Band Of Shy Messed Up People Are Beautiful [Life’s A Real Dream]
  • Pokey LaFarge Central Time [Pokey LaFarge]
  • Johnny Otis Crazy Country Hop [The Capitol Years]
  • Beck Black Tambourine [Guero]
  • STORY SEGMENT “The Chalk Monster” by Steven Erdman
  • Lard Dog & The Band Of Shy Stupendous Holiday Finksten [Life’s A Real Dream]
  • Jerry Lewis I’m A Little Busy Body [The Essential Capitol Collection]
  • Dean Elliot You’re The Top [Zounds What Zounds!]
  • Howlin’ Wolf Wang Dang Doodle [His Best Chess 50th Anniversary Collection]
  • Phil Tanner The Gower Reel [The Gower Nightingale]
  • Lard Dog & The Band Of Shy Listen To The Bob Hope [Life’s A Real Dream]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for April 16th & 17th, 2016

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

MAP

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 60 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose! New camps added every week!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for April 16th-22nd, 2016 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 61 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Foraging to Forensics. Recycling to Raptors., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

April 16-22, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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


Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

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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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Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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Suggested Events for April 16th-22nd, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families helps us to cast a wider net when we are looking for activities during school vacation or on the weekends. Often we find sweet little buried gems that would otherwise have escaped our notice… Thanks for being here.” – Sarah Rankin (Greenfield, MA)

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

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

Hilltown Families Event

Stop by Hilltown Families first ever Pop-Up Open House taking place during the Amherst Sustainability Festival this Saturday, April 16 from 10am-4pm. Come meet some of our board members, staff and volunteers and learn about the work of Hilltown Families and how you can get involved. Look for our tent on the Amherst Town Common while perusing all of the family fun activities this annual sustainability festival has to offer.

Summer Camps in Western MA

60 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from with new camps added every week!

Check out our featured post, 2016 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, arts & crafts, wilderness adventures, dance, performance art, farming, rock climbing, STEM, pre-college, sports, theater… to good old traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Apr 22

Celebrate Earth Day with Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem to benefit Kestrel Land Trust! Friday, April 22 at 8pm, at the Unitarian Society of Northampton. The New England based folk quartet’s music and style will leave you humming and hopeful, spirits renewed. For 15 years, they’ve performed across the country from the Newport Folk Festival to the California World Music Festival. All proceeds will benefit Kestrel’s work to conserve and care for the land you love throughout the Pioneer Valley. Tickets $25, available online http://bit.ly/23Hktul or at Broadside Bookstore in Northampton or A.J. Hastings in Amherst. Tickets will be sold at the door if available. Visit kestreltrust.org for more details!

Open House: Apr 30

Considering preschool or kindergarten options? Explore Montessori! Amherst Montessori School will host a Preschool & Kindergarten Open House on Saturday, April 30 at 10am. Tour their beautiful new building and playground, meet teachers and administrators, and learn about the benefits of the mixed-age, child-centered Montessori learning environment. Register online at amherstmontessori.org.

Apr Vac Week

The New England Air Museum will hold family fun school vacation week programs from April 9-24. Explore three giant hangars filled with over 80 aircraft and experience the wonders of flight. A variety of activities will be offered daily including hands-on build and fly challenges, open cockpit experiences aboard real aircraft, aircraft scavenger hunts, and more! The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will also be open daily between 11am-3pm. The Flight Sim Spot allows visitors to use state-of-the-art simulators using real cockpit controls and suitable for ages 10 and up. In addition, docents will be on hand to interact with the visitors. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT. For more info call 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org.

Apr Vac Week

Enjoy April vacation week at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA! Create boats, airplanes, and cars using found materials in The Art Studio. Celebrate National Poetry Month with author/illustrator Micha Archer as she shares her recent book, Daniel Finds a Poem, and see CactusHead Puppets bring the classic tale The Bremen Town Musicians to life on stage! Next up, find Eric Carle’s hidden messages in our new exhibition The Art of Eric Carle: Hide and Seek. Cap off this fun-filled week of activities, storytimes, films and special guests with author/illustrator Steve Light whose new book, Swap, is a clever tale of friendship and ingenuity. The Museum is open Monday, April 18 for Patriots’ Day. www.carlemuseum.org 413-559-6300.

Apr Vac Week

Earth Day, April School Vacation at Springfield Museums: April 17-22. Spring has sprung at the Springfield Museums! There’s a variety of family-friendly events and activities happening all month long, starting with the 25th annual Earth Day Festival on Sunday, April 17 from 11am-4pm, with music, environmental displays, and live animal demonstrations. The fun continues Monday April 18 through Friday April 22 (10am-5pm each day) with the “Claws, Paws, Scales, and Tales” programs, featuring tons of hands-on activities and family shows like Jungle Jim’s Jedi Knight Training, plus the ongoing exhibit, Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs. For more information, visit springfieldmuseums.org.

Journey Camp at Woolman Hill, Deerfield and at Open View Farm, Conway this summer! The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music, and crafts. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12, June 27-July 1, 8:45-4, Deerfield; Hilltown Session, boys and girls ages 7-12, July 11-15,8:45-4pm, Conway; Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, ages 11-18, July 25-July 28, two overnights & campfires, Deerfield; Girls Week, ages 7-12, Aug. 1-5 & Aug. 8-12, 8:45-4, Deerfield. www.sarahpirtle.com Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 16-22, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families Pop-Up Open House

Stop by our first ever Pop-Up Open House taking place during the Amherst Sustainability Festival this Saturday, April 16 from 10am-4pm.  Come meet some of our board members, staff and volunteers and learn about the work of Hilltown Families and how you can get involvedLook for our tent on the Amherst Town Common while perusing all of the family fun activities this annual sustainability festival has to offer.

Hilltown Families believes in creating resilient and sustainable communities by developing and strengthening a sense of place in our children and citizens through community based education and engagement.  We work to accomplish this by highlighting the embedded learning that is found everywhere in our communities, making the information accessible to families, and giving parents/educators access to opportunities that supports their children’s interests and education while encouraging community engagement. We do this by connecting, collaborating, and creating community building events, community based educational opportunities, and community service learning experiences.

Now a decade old, Hilltown Families is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, serving thousands of families living throughout western Massachusetts. Through an online grassroots communication network, Hilltown Families connects people and organizations in the widespread communities of western Massachusetts by helping area residents share ideas, organize activities, support their children’s education and increase participation in community life.

See this TEDx Talk, Supporting Education Through Community Engagement, where Hilltown Families founder, Sienna Wildfield, shares the story behind the vision and mission of Hilltown Families.  Read the rest of this entry »

In Appreciation: Mindfulness in Action

When Life Gives You Lemons, Be Mindful of Them

Sometimes the greatest mindfulness lesson you can give your children is the one you teach yourself. That’s what happened for me when I finally chose to pay attention to my clumsy struggle to adapt to plans that go awry.

This was going to be a post about basic exercises to teach mindfulness with your children. Then I had a little lesson in mindfulness myself, and decided to write about that instead—because teaching your children about mindfulness sometimes means taking a big dose of your own mindful medicine.

Despite the existential dilemma of it all, I am a big fan of plans. Now plans are fine, but not if they create issues for you whenever things don’t go as planned (and with kids that means plans often don’t go as planned). Other people are able to seamlessly turn the lemons of thwarted plans into lemonade. But me? Not so much.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Through the Lens of Shakespeare and His World

Williams College Chapin Library Displays Exhibition on William Shakespeare

From now until Oct. 11, Williams College’s Chapin Library will host an exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare: “‘While Thy Booke Doth Live’: Shakespeare and His World.”

Amazingly, Shakespeare’s poetry and plays from the 16th and 17th century are still read and analyzed regularly, and appear on required reading lists in high school and beyond. The world seems to agree that he is one of the greatest writers of all time. What makes Shakespeare so universally popular?

Teaching Shakespeare in literature classes opens up possibilities for discussing several other topics. From a literary standpoint, Shakespeare’s plays are narrative and poetic, therefore allowing for analysis of both theater and poetry. The topic can be approached biographically, exploring Shakespeare’s mysterious life and his marriage to a woman eight years his senior. His plays also teach us about history. The plot lines and character’s behaviors represent renaissance values, raising issues of gender, sexuality and family obligation.

In spite of the rigid gender roles of the time, Shakespeare wrote many complex, powerful female characters. A number of those female characters cross-dressed as men in order to usurp power or gather information. In Shakespeare’s time, all parts were played by young boys. This adds another interesting layer, since some of these young boys were playing the parts of adult women dressing as men.

You can learn more about Shakespeare’s life and work at the exhibition, “‘While Thy Booke Doth Live’: Shakespeare and His World.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for April

Nature Table for April

Every month, Hilltown Families features a new nature table whose contents inspire learning along a common theme easily spotted in our surroundings that month. A tradition carried out by teachers, environmental educators, and nature-curious families, nature tables bring a little bit of the outdoors inside for inspection, dissection, identification, creative play, art projects, and lots of other educational activities. The idea behind a nature table is to help open up children’s eyes to the unique attributes of each season, and to help them learn how to see these things in nature for themselves. A nature table can include a variety of items, and is often accompanied by a set of books and/or field guides so that children can take part in further learning at their own will.

With April – and true spring – comes annually the final tug of the landscapes cozy winter blanket. This year, despite the mild winter, the earth has fought its inevitable awakening like a child refusing to rise after a fitful night of sleep. March presented a constant struggle for spring’s arrival: like parent and child tugging blankets and flicking lights on and off, the earth fought its own tilt towards the sun, countering each stretch of warm, sunny days with a return to gray skies and bitter winds. The recent snowstorm, blanketing much of the state with the thickest snow coating since last year, stands as the final showdown in the earth’s reluctant spring awakening: the tired child stomped itself out of bed, flicked off the light switch, and buried itself deep, deep in its cozy blanket nest, knowing full well that such a snuggle would be short lived.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Landscapes: Adapting to Change Through Collective Creativity

Use Creativity and Adapt to Change

We are in the midst of change as spring has sprung. Many people are adapting to this change in the natural landscape by spending more time outside, watching the bees emerge to begin pollinating trees and plants, or perhaps planning or even beginning to plant spring crops. Experienced gardeners often reflect over last spring’s results in order to creatively adjust their plans for this year.

Shouldn’t we do something similar in the learning landscape or even in our personal and social landscapes? With this in mind, how can we use the framework of permaculture, a whole systems thinking framework, to work with our children to consciously and creatively make regenerative learning landscapes that reflect the inherent balance, stability and harmony of nature? How can we use this to help us work with our children to use creativity and adapt to change?  Read the rest of this entry »

Yiddish Language & Culture Celebrated at the Yiddish Book Center

Family Passover Celebration Connects Community to Jewish Culture & Heritage through Yiddish!

Learning about Jewish culture and history often leads parents and children to conversations about their own family’s history, culture, and traditions. In celebration of Passover, families can connect to Jewish culture or personal Jewish heritage by speaking Yiddish!

How do you think? Do your thoughts take the form of words, images, a combination of the two, or something else? In all likelihood, much of your thought processing takes the form of words. Even when you are not thinking in sentences, the syntax of your native language may influence the way you perceive the world around you. The idea that native language structure affects thought is known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.

In English, for example, our sentence structure and patterns of speaking often ascribes an agent for a given action or event. If an object accidentally breaks, we may say something like, “She broke the plate.” In Spanish or Japanese, however, a native speaker may say something more akin to, “The plate broke itself.” (This Wall Street Journal article provides many more examples of linguistic differences and their affects.)

There is a chicken-and-egg problem with the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. Does language really affect the way we think, or does the way we think influence our language?  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: April 11th-15th, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 25 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

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HFVS Book & Story Songs Episode with Guest DJ, Nina Stone (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Book & Story Songs Episode
with Guest DJ, Nina Stone

Guest DJ, Nina Stone (aka Miss Nina) explores the elements of story and song through her show’s theme: Book Songs & Story Songs. This show is a compilation of songs from children’s books, songs inspired by children’s books, or story songs both fiction and non-fiction. It’s an eclectic mix of songs ranging from the 1970s to today, by a varied list of artists such as Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods, Dolly Parton, and Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights! — www.mymissnina.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
April 9th & 10th, 2016
(Original broadcast: October 2013)
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: Photos of the book This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt with Miss Nina’s song “This Jazz Man” from her CD Singing & Dancing Together. mymissnina.com


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Jeanie B! & The Jelly Beans – “When You Open A Book” [Sugar Buzz]
  • Miss Nina – “The Brown Bear Rap” [Sha Doo Be Doop]
  • Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods – “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” [Rockin’ 70s; Vol. 2]
  • Terri Thurman Finck – “Senor Don Gato” [Galliump! Folk Songs and New Favorites]
  • Wrinkle & The Time Machine – “Space Turtle”
  • Miss Nina – “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight” [Sha Doo Be Doop]
  • Alan Alda & Marlo Thomas – “William’s Doll” [Free To Be You And Me]
  • Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights (featuring Secret Agent 23 Skidoo) – “Froggie Went A Courtin'” [What A Zoo]
  • Ivan Ulz – “The Carrot Seed” [Songs From The Old School]
  • Peter, Paul & Mary – “Puff The Magic Dragon” [The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary]
  • The Charlie Daniels’ Band – “Devil Went Down To Georgia” [A Decade of Hits]
  • Miss Nina – “Wild Things” [Sha Doo Be Doop]
  • Dolly Parton – “Coat of Many Colors” [16 Biggest Hits; Dolly Parton]
  • Monty Harper – “Villa Villakula Hula” [Paws Claws Scales & Tales]
  • Miss Nina – “This Jazz Man” [Singing & Dancing Together]
  • Eric Stolz – Snuggle Puppy [Philadelphia Chickens]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for April 2nd & 3rd, 2016

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

MAP

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with over 55 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose! New camps added every week!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for April 9th-15th, 2016 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 34 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Stone Art to Electrical Engineering. Indonesian Culture to Invertebrates., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

April 9th-15th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


EcologyEngineeringMathematicsLocal HistoryHydropowerLocal LandscapesAthleticsCreative WritingCollaborative ArtCircus ArtsPublic ArtPerforming ArtsPuppetryVolunteerismIntergenerationalParenting

Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Recommended Fiction Titles with Autistic Characters
  2. RiverCulture: Another Success Story in the Western MA Arts Scene
  3. Over 25 Walking Tours Support Community-Based Education in Western MA
  4. Poem-Mobiles: Bizarre Cars & Humorous Rhymes
  5. Capture & Record Your Wildlife Encounters for Fun & for Science

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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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


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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Suggested Events for April 9th-15th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

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

Summer Camps in Western MA

Nearly 55 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from with new camps added every week!

Check out our featured post, 2016 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, arts & crafts, wilderness adventures, dance, performance art, farming, rock climbing, STEM, pre-college, sports, theater… to good old traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Apr 9

Montessori School of Northampton to Hold Family Open House on Saturday, April 9 from 10:30am-12noon. All parents of toddler, preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle school students interested in September 2016 admission are encouraged to attend. Families will have an opportunity to tour the school, meet teachers, experience and learn about Montessori math materials, and speak with the Director of Admissions and the Head of School. Applications are currently being accepted for all levels for September 2016, which will begin MSN’s 40th year of fostering independent learners in a welcoming community. The school is located at 51 Bates Street, Northampton, and can be reached at 413-586-4538 or info@northamptonmontessori.org.

Apr 9-24

The New England Air Museum will hold family fun school vacation week programs from April 9-24. Explore three giant hangars filled with over 80 aircraft and experience the wonders of flight. A variety of activities will be offered daily including hands-on build and fly challenges, open cockpit experiences aboard real aircraft, aircraft scavenger hunts, and more! The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will also be open daily between 11am-3pm. The Flight Sim Spot allows visitors to use state-of-the-art simulators using real cockpit controls and suitable for ages 10 and up. In addition, docents will be on hand to interact with the visitors. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT. For more info call 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org.

Apr 18-22

The Spirit of the Heart YES! April Vacation Camp offers an fantastic introduction to martial arts & crafts & outdoor play! This camp and its leaders are committed to instilling robust self esteem in every child through the development of inner and outer awareness, physical strength, people skills, self-expression and personal safety skills. This is a fun, life-enriching experience in a relaxed school vacation atmosphere. Dates and Times: April 18-22, 9am-3pm. Age/Grade Range: 5-12yo. Contact: 413-585-1661. nohokungfu@gmail.com. spiritoftheheart.wordpress.com. Spirit of the Heart is located at 47 Market Street in Northampton, MA.

Apr 17-22

Earth Day, April School Vacation at Springfield Museums: April 17-22. Spring has sprung at the Springfield Museums! There’s a variety of family-friendly events and activities happening all month long, starting with the 25th annual Earth Day Festival on Sunday, April 17 from 11am-4pm, with music, environmental displays, and live animal demonstrations. The fun continues Monday April 18 through Friday April 22 (10am-5pm each day) with the “Claws, Paws, Scales, and Tales” programs, featuring tons of hands-on activities and family shows like Jungle Jim’s Jedi Knight Training, plus the ongoing exhibit, Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs. For more information, visit springfieldmuseums.org.

Crimson & Clover Farm is happy to announce that 2016 CSA Shares are now available! Located at the Northampton Community Farm, right near downtown Florence, Crimson & Clover Farm raises a wide variety of delicious, beautiful, and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables for a 20 week CSA program. As a community-based farm C&C offers a welcoming environment where members and their families come and enjoy this amazing community resource as well as receive nutritious locally grown food. C&C also offers members a variety of locally produced products for sale through the farm store as well as a bountiful PYO garden. For more information about the CSA and how to become a member of the farm please visit their website: crimsonandcloverfarm.com

Open House: Apr 9

R. H. Conwell Preschool in Worthington is hosting an Open House on Saturday, April 9 from 10am-2pm. Come meet the teachers and see their preschool room. Bring your boots and explore their play area and take a walk in their woods. Play games, read some books and even make a craft! Light refreshments will be provided. They offer a nature-based program both outside and inside the classroom. They believe that exploring and playing in the natural world provide children with a foundation of skills necessary for future learning. They are currently accepting applications for immediate enrollment as well as for the fall. Their program is for children 2.9 to 5 years old and is half day or full day. Please call 413-238-5856, if you have any questions.

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 9th-15th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

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Building Community One Poem at a Time!

Spread Poetry and Build Community with Poem in Your Pocket Day

Celebrated annually as part of National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day encourages people to share writing and connect with others by spreading poems throughout their communities. Celebrated by literally carrying poems in pockets or by sharing words through more creative means, the event presents a unique opportunity to share important writing and to connect with others through the thoughts and feelings that great writing can provoke.

In Barbara Cooney’s book Miss Rumphius, the woman lovingly know as the Lupine Lady spreads beauty throughout her community by keeping a pocketful of seeds to distribute – so as to share the joy of nature’s treasures. During National Poetry Month, families can apply the Lupine Lady’s philosophy of life to the written word by participating in Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Begun in New York City in 2002, Poem in Your Pocket Day encourages folks of all ages to celebrate the power of the written word by sharing poetry with others. Participation is fairly easy and is exactly what the name implies – carry a meaningful poem in your pocket, and share it with those around you! However, in order to have as large of an impact as possible, families can employ some creative strategies in order to sow the seed of their chosen words far and wide. Thanks to digital media, poems can be taken from the depths of pockets and shared via e-mail and social networking sites.  Read the rest of this entry »

Lend your Voice to Close the SNAP Gap

Closing the “SNAP Gap” for 570,000 hungry Massachusetts residents

At The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, we have a vision of a region where no one goes hungry, and everyone has access to healthy food. Unfortunately, there are still thousands of our neighbors who are going to bed hungry despite the fact that we provided the equivalent of 9.2 million meals last year. From young children to vulnerable seniors, the overwhelming reach of food insecurity in our community continues to widen.

A recent White House report revealed that the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of the most effective methods of lifting people (especially children) out of poverty. SNAP has a dramatic impact in our region. Last year, SNAP provided vital food assistance to 150,000 people in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties, allowing them to purchase healthy food from local grocery stores, farmers’ markets and farm stands. Not only did SNAP feed so many people, but it also injected nearly $20 million of federal nutrition dollars into our local economy. Read the rest of this entry »

Museum Adventures: Emily Dickinson Museum

Step into Emily Dickinson’s World

Bee! I’m expecting you!
Was saying Yesterday
To Somebody you know
That you were due –

The Frogs got Home last Week –
Are settled, and at work –
Birds mostly back –
The Clover warm and thick –

You’ll get my Letter by
The Seventeenth; Reply
Or better, be with me –
Your’s, Fly.
Fr. 983

This poem by Emily Dickinson was written in 1865 during the most productive period of her writing life. By the time she turned 35 that year, she had produced more than 1,100 of the 1,789 poems we know of today.  Read the rest of this entry »

Intergenerational Drawing Events Support Creative Free Play & Community Connections

Community Drawing Events Inspire Creative Free Play and Self Expression

Creative free play and artistic expression are the focus of two very unique upcoming community events. Using drawing as a central element, these events illuminate the versatility and expressive potential of the art form. Accessible to self-identified artists, reluctant creators, and everyone in between, spring’s artistic opportunities offer rich community-based learning opportunities relating to creativity and self-expression.  Read the rest of this entry »

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