Learn About Local Food & Chemistry through Fermentation

Lessons in Local Food Preservation

Western Mass really drops an abundance of local food into our laps every summer! It’s an incredible bounty that brings with it a possibility of some waste, as storage can prove difficult. Enter Fermentation…a healthy and educational technique to repurpose delicious & healthy food into… delicious & healthy food! Did we mention fermentation is also educational? Involve your kids and they’ll get some experience with cellular biology & chemistry. Read on for some excellent insights in our post, Learn About Local Food & Chemistry through Fermentation.

Learning Ahead: Season of Berries

 Season of Berries

Summer is the season of berry picking and canning! It’s the time of year when pies are baked and fruit is canned to enjoy during the colder months.

During the months of July and August, blueberries become ready for picking. There are many farms in Western MA where you can pick your own berries, or farm stands and markets to purchase local berries to enjoy at home. At http://www.poets.org, read Robert Frost’s poem “Blueberries” before heading out to your nearby blueberry farm to fill your pail. Consider the first and last stanza and how Frost describes the beauty of the ripe blueberry:

“Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!”

As you read the rest the poem, consider how is it structured. As a conversation between two people? What are they discussing? How is the blueberry and berry picking discussed in this poem? Bring the poem with you and read it together amongst a colony of blueberry bushes.  Read the rest of this entry »

Blueberries: How Do They Grow?

The Ripple: River Seasons

Stream Songs

Rivers, as flowing water, can be soothing to the ear, or overpowering with noise, depending on the river’s bed or soundscape. Protruding rocks may be the only visible evidence of what creates the sounds a river or stream makes as water tumbles over and around boulders and pebbles. Sounds of water have long been equated with well-being and are soothing to the human spirit; with recordings, practically anyone can listen to a river or stream and imagine the water flowing right outside one’s window. City plaza fountains around the world add to the well being of city dwellers and draw people to their sounds, providing a gathering place for relaxation and socializing.

As water levels often drop this time of year, during the summer, the sounds of moving water may become softened and even silent, to be restored by rain storms. Even slight waterfalls offer a murmur of sound if enough water flows past the stones. The sounds of flowing water in the mountains have been known to save people’s lives, leading them to safety, or at the least providing them with life-sustaining water. Even in winter, the muted voice of a stream can be heard flowing under the ice, and seldom here in New England does a stream freeze entirely.

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Weekdays in Western MA: July 24-28, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
July 24-28, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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 Weekdays in Western MA!

 

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HFVS Weather Episode with Guest DJ, Alison Faith Levy (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

WEATHER EPISODE
GUEST DJ, ALISON FAITH LEVY

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
July 22nd & 23rd, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

 


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Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Electric Light Orchestra – “Mr. Blue Sky” – [Out of the Blue]
  • Grateful Dead – “Box of Rain” [American Beauty]
  • Allen Clapp – “Scattered Showers” [One Hundred Percent Chance of Rain]
  • Alison Faith Levy – “I Love the Rain” [World of Wonder]
  • The Velvet Underground – “Who Loves the Sun” [Loaded]
  • The Hollies – “Everything is Sunshine” [The Hollies: Epic Anthology]
  • XTC – “Ballet for a Rainy Day” [Skylarking]
  • Jimi Hendrix – “The Wind Cries Mary” [The Ultimate Experience]
  • Beach Boys – “Wind Chimes” [Smile Sessions]
  • Allen Clapp & His Orchestra – “If the Wind is Right” [Mixed Greens]
  • The Three O’Clock – “When Lightning Starts” [Sixteen Tambourines]
  • Led Zeppelin – “The Rain Song” [Houses of the Holy]
  • Neko Case – “This Tornado Loves You” [Middle Cyclone]
  • Alison Faith Levy – “Eye of the Tornado” [World of Wonder]
  • Etta James – “Stormy Weather” [At Last]
  • The Beatles – “Good Day Sunshine” [Revolver]
  • The Beatles – “Here Comes the Sun” [Abbey Road]
  • The Beatles – “Sun King” [Abbey Road]
  • Autumn Leaves – “Stars in the Snow” [The Twilight Hours of the Autumn Leaves]
  • The Sippy Cups – “Drinking from the Sky” [Electric Storyland]
  • The Jayhawks – “Save It For a Rainy Day” [Rainy Day Music]
  • The Kinks – “Waterloo Sunset” [Something Else by The Kinks]

Original broadcast: May 12, 2012.

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 22nd & 23rd, 2017

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 22nd-28th, 2017 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also, check our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our Summer Camp and Preschool directories.

July 22nd-28th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Bucket ListFor more suggestions, check out our Bucket List of 75 recommendations from our readers of things to do and places to see in Western MA in the summer. (Add your own recommendation too!)

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

 

  1. Exploring Ruins Reveals Local History and Culture
  2. Exploring Athletics and Sports History Through Community-Based Resources
  3. Hand Clapping Games: Summer & Schoolyard Creative Free Play that Supports Learning
  4. Invasive Species an Unlikely Catalyst for Community-Based Learning
  5. Summer Supports Interest-Based Learning

 

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Suggested Events for July 22nd-28th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Jul 23

On Sunday July 23rd at Crosier Field in Holyoke, MA the Pioneer Valley Workers Center and Massachusetts Jobs with Justice are hosting their 3rd annual Justice Cup soccer tournament! Come out for a day of family fun for soccer and justice. They have a family division in the tournament so participants can play in safe and kid-friendly games. Also, families with kids too small to play in a game, there will be a children’s tent with activities designed just for them sponsored by A2Z. The suggested donation for registration is $150/team or $20 individual, but everyone is encouraged to pay what they can at registration. No matter what families can give, they want them there to build community and help them win the fight for immigrant and labor justice.

July 28

Join the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, CT for a Lutz Children’s Museum program, “Track that Animal” on July 28th at 11am. If anyone has gone for a walk in the woods, they might have seen a footprint or maybe some fresh scat. Evidence of animal presence teaches people about how animals survive in their habitats. From caves to trees, an animal’s home needs to provide food, water, and shelter for survival. Get two Museums for the price of one! Additional activities include Trolley Rides, Trolley Experiences, Crafting Station, Dress-up Station, Scavenger Hunt, Guided Tours and visiting the Fire Truck Museum on property. The Museum is open from 10am-4:30pm, for more information visit www.ct-trolley.org or call 860-627-6540.

Study

Support Science! Participate in the Children’s Social and Emotional Experiences Study. Amherst College is reaching out to families with children to participate in research studies on social learning and peer relationships this summer on campus at the Merrill Science Building. Children and parents visit the Amherst College campus for one two-hour study visit during the summer. Parents and children complete questionnaires about social relationships and emotions. Children also complete a social interaction task and cognitive measures while their physical response (e.g., heart rate and breathing) is recorded. 2 hour study, $50 compensation. Children 10-12 years, with parents. Call 413-542-5619 or peerstudy@amherst.edu.

Jul 21-23, 26-27

Based on the beloved picture book! Jeremy Jacobs dreams of becoming a pirate, so he joins a pirate crew to learn their ways. By the time the show is done, everyone in the audience will be pirates too! Callum LaFrance is J.J., the captain is Troy David Mercier, and Kelsey Flynn and Myka Plunkett play the rest of the crew. Performances are Fri. July 21 at 7pm and Sat. & Sun. July 22 & 23 at 10:30am & 1pm at Easthampton’s Williston Theatre and Wed. July 26 & Thurs. July 27, 10:30am at Turners Falls’ Shea Theater. Sat. July 22 is Pirate’s Day: activities include a treasure hunt, pirate workshops, and a Pirate Picnic!Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets. Group discounts (12+): $7, call 413-341-0320. PaintBoxTheater.com

Looking for summer options? Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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, 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 at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

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
July 22nd-28th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Science & Folktales of Thunder & Lightening

Science & Folktales of Thunder & Lightening

Western MA has had a fairly substantial helping of thunder this summer. They are intimidating and magnificently unpredictable, carrying with them all manner of science and folktales. They inspire great curiosity in children and by reading on you’ll discover a great way to meet this curiosity in your kids through different types of science learning portals. Read more in our post, Summer Thunderstorms Inspire Folktales and Science Learning.

Learn about the physics of lightening in this SciShow video, Sprites, Jets, and Glowing Balls: The Science of Lightning:

Nature-Based Resource: Clouds

Clouds Connect Us to Place, Science, and Wonder

Connecting easily to language skills, literacy, sense of place, and, of course, all manner of science, clouds offer themselves as rich and vaporous objects of study. Cloud watchers of all ages can learn about everything from descriptive language and cloud types to global weather patterns and satellite imaging just by paying close attention to the sky. Through citizen science projects, fiction and nonfiction literature, and web-based resources, families with scientists of any age can use cloud studies as an entry point for examining a variety of topics and practicing a multitude of skills. Read more in our post, Clouds Connect Learners to the Local Environment & Nature Studies.

Have you ever wondered how clouds got their names or how they are classified? “The study of clouds has always been a daydreamer’s science, aptly founded by a thoughtful young man whose favorite activity was staring out of the window at the sky. Richard Hamblyn tells the history of Luke Howard, the man who classified the clouds and forever changed humanity’s understanding of these changeable, mysterious objects. ” – TED-Ed

View full lesson: How did clouds get their names? – Richard Hamblyn.

Learning Ahead: Summer Storms

 Season of Thunderstorms

While winter in New England brings Nor’easters and blizzards that cover Western Massachusetts in deep snow, summer brings thunderstorms that soak the soil and bring a deep intensity to the summer’s verdant landscape. There is something humbling about a strong thunderstorm as it approaches with it’s dark clouds, bolts of lightning, and claps of thunder that exemplify nature’s unpredictability and larger-than-life personality. Read the rest of this entry »

18 Story Books on Weather for Kids

18 Story Books on Weather for Kids

There’s a riotous energy this time of year: the mad leafing out of plants and trees, crazy bird song at dawn, unruly swarms of biting insects, the palpable freedom of school letting out for summer, and wild weather that can change from snow squalls to thunderstorms within hours. Those first spring storms are greeted with a mixture of excitement and nervousness in our home. Thunder and lightning, rain and the wind, are full of edgy juxtapositions, scary and beautiful, exciting and terrifying, exquisite and destructive.

Nature’s power is clearly evident in weather phenomena and often seems mysterious. But many weather events can be explained in scientific terms, and when packaged with pictures into the safe covers of a book, help kids understand the wild weather that impacts our lives.  Here’s a collection of kids’ books, mostly about riotous forms of stormy weather. I’ve included a short selection of nonfiction titles and a few picture books, starting with brand new work by award-wining children’s book creator, Arthur Geisert…

Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Make Camping with Toddlers Easier with these Tips

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Camping with Toddlers

We, meaning my partner, our almost three year old, and our eight month old, are on a camping adventure. This year to make our vacation easier and more enjoyable with the baby, we ditched the tents for cabins at our Berkshire getaway. Savoy State Forest and Mohawk Trail State Forest are spots places with cabins in the Hilltown. So, when I say “get away,” I mean it!

There is nothing but the lake the trees and the cabins. This are no playgrounds, camp stores, popsicle stands, or hordes of other children. It is just the four of us, surrounded by the crisp morning air, the ripples on the water, squirrels, and a camp fire.

This is what I love about camping. Checking out from the day to day and enjoying my kids and my partner, one on one. While there are no distractions, full-day or multi-day outings can be stressful adventures with toddlers if you are not prepared, relaxed, and ready for the adventure! I love these types of outings and find a sense of pride when I actually have a moment to sit back and watch the kids play engaged and happy without constantly tending to them. What’s my secret? Here are my secret tips for camping with toddler:

Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: July 17-21, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA:
July 17-21, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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 Weekdays in Western MA!

 

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HFVS with Guest DJ Cowboy Andy of The Salamanders (Podcast/Radio Show)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Guest DJ Cowboy Andy of The Salamanders

Cowboy Andy, lead singer and songwriter for the family friendly band The Salamanders, lives on a lavender farm in the mountains of Western Montana. Here he shares a collection of western classics from the 1930s, 40’s and 50’s along with a sampling of a few tunes from his band written to get your toes tapping and family dancing. – www.salamandersmusic.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
July 15th & 16th, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Pirate Cowboy (Live at the Top Hat, New Years Eve 2016)


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Eddy Arnold – “Cattle Call” [Cattle Call]
  • Patsy Montana – “I Wanna Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” [Cowgirl’s Best]
  • The Salamanders – “Pirate Cowboy” [The Salamanders]
  • Foy Willing & The Riders Of The Purple Sage – “Stampede” [Stampede! Western Music’s Late Golden Era]
  • Marty Robbins – “Ghost Riders In The Sky” [The Essential Marty Robbins: 1951-1982]
  • The WhizPops! – “Bison” [Ranger Rick’s Trail Mix Vol. 1]
  • Brian Vogan and His Good Buddies – “Woolly Mammoth” [Lucky 7]
  • Gioacchino Rossini “William Tell Overture” [Three Centuries of The Greatest Hits – London Philharmonic Orchestra]
  • The Salamanders – “Skeleton Rag” [Bubbles]
  • Story – Owl At Home by Arnold Lobel
  • The Salamanders – “Bubbles” [Bubbles]
  • The Sons Of The Pioneers – “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds” [Cool Water]
  • The Salamanders – “Poppy” [Bubbles]
  • Roy Rogers – “Happy Trails” [The Collection ’38-‘50]

 

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 15th & 16th, 2017

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 15-21, 2017 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also, check our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our Summer Camp and Preschool directories.

July 15-21, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

DramaEntomologyCivil RightsAstronomy ♦ Service LearningLocal HistoryCulinary Arts  ♦ TranscendentalismLinguisticsMusic StudiesBears  ♦ Shakespeare ♦ PlacemakingPotteryFilm Studies ♦ EngineeringMakerspace

Bucket ListFor more suggestions, check out our Bucket List of 75 recommendations from our readers of things to do and places to see in Western MA in the summer. (Add your own recommendation too!)

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RECAP MAP SPONSOR


Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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Community-Based Educational Highlights: Rare Books to Grist Mills. Lebanese Mountain Bread to Independent Cinema.

Each year, approximately 2 billion popsicles are sold worldwide. But where did the idea for this tasty treat come from? Find out more in this TED-Ed lesson: How the popsicle was invented by Jessica Oreck.

Rare Books to Grist Mills. Lebanese Mountain Bread to Independent Cinema. These are just a few of the Learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Click on link to view our suggested event or video and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week:  Does your child aspire to be a playwright or actor? Thespians ages eight through twelve are invited to two workshops with the Piti Theatre Company for a crash course in contemporary drama. On Saturday, July 15 from 10am-12pm, a playwriting workshop will lay the groundwork for a complete “Play in a Day” production. The following Saturday, July 22, this play will be rehearsed and performed. Both events will take place at the Greenfield Public Library. Experience all of the excitement of playwriting and acting in just two weekends. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)


DramaEntomologyCivil RightsAstronomy ♦ Service LearningLocal HistoryCulinary Arts  ♦ TranscendentalismLinguisticsMusic StudiesBears  ♦ Shakespeare ♦ PlacemakingPotteryFilm Studies ♦ EngineeringMakerspace


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

[Photo credit: (cc) Annie]


Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Belchertown, Buckland, Chicopee, Colrain, Cummington, Gill, Hadley, New Salem, Plainfield, Shelburne, Westhampton, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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Support Hilltown Families, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, with your tax-deductible donation.

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Suggested Events for July 15-21, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Jul 20

July 20th at Kendrick Park in Amherst: Free concert with Mister G & In the Nick of Time. Headliner Mister G is a Latin Grammy Award winner. A former indie rocker who was awarded the first songwriting scholarship in the history of Berklee College of Music, Mister G (aka Ben Gundersheimer) tours internationally headlining major venues such as Austin City Limits, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and Central Park SummerStage. When was the last time the whole family agreed on something to listen to? With a blend of rock, pop, reggae, jazz & funk, Nick Deysher & In the Nick of Time delivers music for all. His clever lyrics & cheerful tunes will catch your ear & have you tapping your toes & singing along. More info at amherstdowntown.com.

Study

Support Science! Participate in the Children’s Social and Emotional Experiences Study. Amherst College is reaching out to families with children to participate in research studies on social learning and peer relationships this summer on campus at the Merrill Science Building. Children and parents visit the Amherst College campus for one two-hour study visit during the summer. Parents and children complete questionnaires about social relationships and emotions. Children also complete a social interaction task and cognitive measures while their physical response (e.g., heart rate and breathing) is recorded. 2 hour study, $50 compensation. Children 10-12 years, with parents. Call 413-542-5619 or peerstudy@amherst.edu.

Jul 21-23, 26-27

Based on the beloved picture book! Jeremy Jacobs dreams of becoming a pirate, so he joins a pirate crew to learn their ways. By the time the show is done, everyone in the audience will be pirates too! Callum LaFrance is J.J., the captain is Troy David Mercier, and Kelsey Flynn and Myka Plunkett play the rest of the crew. Performances are Fri. July 21 at 7pm and Sat. & Sun. July 22 & 23 at 10:30am & 1pm at Easthampton’s Williston Theatre and Wed. July 26 & Thurs. July 27, 10:30am at Turners Falls’ Shea Theater. Sat. July 22 is Pirate’s Day: activities include a treasure hunt, pirate workshops, and a Pirate Picnic!Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets. Group discounts (12+): $7, call 413-341-0320. PaintBoxTheater.com

Looking for summer options? Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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, 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 inquiring with our Sales & Marketing Department at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

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
July 15-21, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Album Inspires Civil War History Education Opportunity

Album Inspires Civil War History Education Opportunity

Use music as a lens for learning about history – Lloyd Miller (of The Deedle Deedle Dees fame) has a great  Civil War-themed album filled with traditional and original music. Using a curriculum created by Miller, as well as a wealth of other resources, families can use music as an entry point for learning about an important time period in American history. Read more about this album which was released in 2015 in our post, Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Time for History Learning Through Music.

Rise Again: 1,200 Songs to Expand our Musical Horizon

People’s Music: Songs About Real Life Experiences that Real People Enjoyed Singing Together

Do you have a copy of Rise Up Singing? How about companion, Rise Again: A Group Singing Songbook, with preface by Pete Seeger and foreword by Billy Bragg? Conceived, developed, and edited by western Massachusetts based folk singers Peter Blood and Annie Patterson under the guiding hand of the late Pete Seeger, Rise Again is a treasure trove of lyrics and chords to 1,200 well-loved songs spanning genres as diverse as British Invasion, blues, country, jazz, Motown, composed folk, traditional ballads, gospel, Broadway, early rock ‘n’ roll, alternative/indie artists, “pub songs” and much more, arranged in 39 themed chapters, with commentary on the songs, cross-reference listings at the end of each chapter, and Artists, Cultures, and Titles indexes.

Pete Seeger played a central role in the development of both Rise Up Singing and Rise Again. Following the publication of Rise Up Singing in 1988, Pete Seeger urged the creation of a second songbook with the same format as Rise Up Singing but with even more inclusion of genres that were not heavily represented in the original book. Until his death in 2014, he regularly sent Annie Patterson and Peter Blood suggestions for songs to include in the second volume, lobbying for a balance of song genres and subjects, and for the songs to reflect a message of empowerment and positive change through community music making.

Every page of Rise Again: A Group Singing Songbook reflects the vision of Pete Seeger, who did not believe in artificial boundaries like “folk music”‘ and constantly encouraged Patterson and Blood to center their work on songs he referred to as “people’s music”– songs about real life experiences that real people enjoyed singing together. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Outdoor Concerts

Season of Outdoor Concerts: Place & Spaces Inspired by Music

Summertime in Western Massachusetts brims with opportunities to spend time outdoors and gather in community spaces to listen to live music, discover new musical genres,  and share musical interests while supporting local musicians. Given all of the beautiful parks and outdoor spaces in Western Massachusetts, there are many summertime concerts and music festivals for all ages to attend. Pack a picnic and share the experience with family, neighbors, and friends.  Read the rest of this entry »

Literature Guide for Dr. Seuss’ “McElligot’s Pool”

Literature Guide for Dr. Seuss’ McElligot’s Pool

McElligot’s Pool is not one of Dr. Seuss’ best-known books, but it is certainly one of his most creative and most beautiful! Blending true Seuss-ian creativity with environmentalist undertones, the story follows a young fisherman through the many different imaginary marine scenarios that could be playing out in the dark water below his fishing pole. McElligot’s Pool is a farm pond scarcely larger than a puddle and filled with human detritus (an alarm clock, a boot, a tea kettle, a tin can, and so on), and while it seems likely that the small, dirty pond holds no fish at all, the narrator’s youthful imagination is not bound by the constraints of environmental reality (nor any other type of reality) and takes readers on a fantastic underwater trip around the world.

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Weekdays in Western MA: July 10-14, 2017

Weekdays in Western MA: July 10-14, 2017

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

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 Weekdays in Western MA!

 

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HFVS Guest DJ, Joe & Justin of The Okee Dokee Brothers Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

HFVS Guest DJ, Joe & Justin of The Okee Dokee Brothers Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Childhood best friends, Joe and Justin, now known as The Okee Dokee Brothers from Minneapolis, Minnesota, are our Guest DJs this today, spinning some songs of their own childhood, songs in the Americana folk tradition and even some tunes off their CD, Can You Canoe? about their real-life 30 day canoe trip down the Mississippi River. www.okeedokee.org

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
July 8th & 9th, 2017
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: A music video from the Western Adventure Album and DVD, Saddle Up. In June of 2015, The Okee Dokee Brothers rode horses along the Continental Divide in the western United States. During their month-long journey, they camped, horse-packed, and composed the songs that make up the album, Saddle Up.


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Woody Guthrie – “Howjadoo” [Nursery Days]
  • The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Can You Canoe?” [Can You Canoe?]
  • Paul Simon – “Graceland” [Graceland]
  • Cat Stevens – “The Wind” [Teaser and the Firecat]
  • Hank Williams – “Jambalaya (on the Bayou)” [Honky Tonkin’]
  • The Little Willies – “Roly Poly” [The Little Willies]
  • The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Bullfrog Opera” [Can You Canoe?]
  • Justin Townes Earle – “The Good Life” [The Good Life]
  • Leadbelly – “Midnight Special” [Leadbelly Sings for Children]
  • Taj Mahal – “Fishin’ Blues” – [The Essential Taj Mahal]
  • Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys – “Blue Moon of Kentucky” [Best of Bill Monroe]
  • The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Brother” [Can You Canoe?]
  • Trampled by Turtles – “Victory” [Palomino]
  • Bob Dylan – “Buckets of Rain” [Blood on the Tracks]
  • The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Rosita” [Can You Canoe?]
  • Gillian Welch – “I Want to Sing that Rock and Roll” [Time (The Revelator)]
  • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (f. Allison Krauss) – “Catfish John” – [Will the Circle Be Unbroken Vol. 3]
  • The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Memphis Town” [Can You Canoe?]

[Original broadcast: June 9, 2012]

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 8th & 9th, 2017

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 8-14, 2017 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also, check our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our Summer Camp and Preschool directories.

July 8-14, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Bucket ListFor more suggestions, check out our Bucket List of 75 recommendations from our readers of things to do and places to see in Western MA in the summer. (Add your own recommendation too!)

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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Suggested Events for July 8-14, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Jun- Aug

Soar into Summer Fun at New England Air Museum 6/25-8/20. Daily activities include: Open Cockpit, Climb inside real aircraft cockpits and experience the view from the pilot’s seat! Build & Fly Challenges at 10:30am-2:30pm. From kites to parachutes, straw rockets to gliders, test skills with a new challenge each week. Flight Science Demonstrations at 11:30am & 1:30pm. Discover the principles of flight through interactive demonstrations for aviators of all ages. Soaring Story Time at 10:15am. Visitors ages 6 and under are invited to a story and hands-on activity with a different aerospace theme each week. Flight Simulators, Aircraft Quest Scavenger Hunts, and Kidsport: The Kids Only exhibit, and three exhibit hangars filled with over eighty historic aircraft. Hands-on, family fun all summer long! www.neam.org.

July 7

Sing Along with The Muppet Movie at the Mahaiwe Performing Art Center’s Free Fun Friday, July 7th at 11am, in Great Barrington, MA. In this Sing Along, IBEX Puppetry leads the audience of cheering, singing fans to renew their Rainbow Connection with our fleecy friends who started it all. It’s full of interactive surprises—and children and adults alike are urged to yell out famous lines, dance in the aisles, and of course, sing along with the movie to forge new or renew connections to a film from another generation. Admission is free thanks to sponsorship by the Highland Street Foundation. www.mahaiwe.org.

Jul 6-13

PaintBox Theatre, the Valley’s theatre of imagination and improvisation, kicks off the summer with The Wizard of Oz. Can PaintBox perform this classic story it with just 3 actors? Sure! They’ll just do it with creativity, cleverness, and lots of help from the audience, who will, of course, play the munchkins. How will they drop a house from the sky? Come and see! Performances are Thurs. July 6, 10:30am; Fri. July 7, 10:30am & 7:00pm; and Sat. & Sun. July 8 & 9, 10:30am & 1:00pm at Easthampton’s Williston Theatre and Wed. July 12 & Thursday, July 13, 10:30am at the Turners Falls’ Shea Theater. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets. Season Tickets: $24. Group discounts (12+): $7, call 413-341-0320. paintboxtheater.com.

Jul 14

Join the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, CT for a Trolley themed Book Reading on July 14th– Meet Marie Betts Bartlett, author and illustrator of The Little Yellow Trolley Car & Poppy’s Purpose. The Little Yellow Trolley Car (recommended for ages 2-8) at 11am. Poppy’s Purpose (recommended for ages 4-12) at 12pm. Book reading is free with Museum admission. Additional activities include trolley rides, trolley experiences, crafting station, dress-up station, scavenger hunt, guided tours, and visiting the Fire Truck Museum on property. Admission prices are $10 for Adults, $9 for Seniors (62+), Children (ages 4-12) $7, children (ages 3 & under) and Museum Members free. For more information visit www.ct-trolley.org or call 860-627-6540.

Looking for summer options? Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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, 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 Sales & Marketing Manger, Merricka Breuer at mbreuer@hilltownfamilies.org.

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
July 8-14, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

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Community Resources Support Interests in Animals, Insects, Fish and More!

Support an Interest in Zoology with Community-Based Resources

Seeking out animals in farms, shelters, zoos, museums, libraries, and your own backyard opens up a world of learning

Directly engaging with animals provide direct ways of learning about biology, habitat, ecology, and other scientific disciplines. Reading or hearing about animals is useful, but actually seeing them upclose is invaluable. Many kids are fascinated by animals- their appearance, their behavior, the way they interact.

For parents of animal lovers, this interest is a ripe opportunity for education via community-base resources and events. Taxonomy, the scientific grouping of biological organisms, is complex. Classes of animal species often encompass their own branch of biology. Kids who collect bugs are budding entomologists, while bird watchers are junior ornithologists. And the great thing about animal studies is that it also strengthens a sense of place, connecting us with animals and habitat that surround us everyday.

Here are a few community-based resources to support an interest and education in zoology, biology and entomology:  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Independence Day

American History & Holiday: The Revolutionary War & Independence Day

Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield

The call for revolution in the late 18th-century echoed throughout Massachusetts as the early American colonists sought independence from the British. Massachusetts history is deeply rooted in the history of the American Revolutionary War, from acts of rebellion to the many battles fought on this soil.  Every 4th of July, communities commemorate the patriots of the North American colonies that spoke out against a government that they felt did not truly represent them and their interests. Lasting close to a decade (1775-1783), the American Revolution shaped our country’s early identity as a nation.  The places, spaces, and communities that made up the Massachusetts colony played a major role in the early American cause for Independence.

While visitors to Eastern Massachusetts can walk the Freedom Trail, learn about the Boston Tea Party, or tour the home of Paul Revere, folks in Western Massachusetts can explore the history of the American Revolution by witnessing historical reenactments of major battles, visit memorials to the cause’s courageous soldiers, and commemorate the war for American Independence through community celebrations such as fireworks, parades, annual events, and local resources. Read the rest of this entry »

Off the Mat: Independence

Independence

Heat has me up early. Serendipitous, since perennials from a neighbor’s garden need to get into the ground. With soil and space they’ll bloom beautifully without much assistance. At this moment though, they’re still dependent on me.

Once outside, I’m unwittingly drawn to the overgrown flowerbed by the patio. A mix of should and want rise within me every time my gaze lands here, which is often, given its location across from the kitchen window. It’s been a four year desire to clear this bed. I’ve toyed with it a few times, until shovel meets root bound resistance or halfhearted weeding leaves the area looking like a bad haircut.

Today, it’s less a decision and more a reaction. Oh, I guess I’m ready to do this. Perhaps due to dampness from recent excessive rain, this attempt feels easy – notably different from the last few times I’ve tried and given up. Separate bulbs. Root out weeds. Uncover perennial treasures left by a previous garden mama.

As a reasonable hour dawns, my house wakes up. We join briefly for meals but mostly go about our own Saturday projects. Weeding near the street, I hear my son and his friend squeal in the back yard. It occurs to me I hadn’t been monitoring their whereabouts at all. Focused on dirt and weed, lost in my own independent thoughts.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July & August Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for
Western Massachusetts
Seasons: July & August

Who am I? Where am I? These are the fundamental questions proposed by the humanities. Inquiries related to local history, literature, and education, inspire us to think deeply about the places where we live and how our identity fits into the context of our community and the seasons.

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.

Looking through a seasonal lens, a July and August cultural itinerary for Western Massachusetts includes:

  • An American holiday as a CATALYST for learning: Independence Day
  • PLACEMAKING at parks and community spaces through music: Outdoor Concerts
  • Resources that are ubiquitous and NATUREBASED: Summer Storms
  • Sweet fruits that celebrate FOOD TRADITIONS: Berries
  • Western MA as a CULTURAL destination for relaxation: Vacation
  • Outdoor activities that are INTEREST-BASED: Fishing
  • Ephemeral seasonal HABITAT: Flower Gardens
  • INTERGENERATIONAL outdoor living: Camping
  • Learning LENS that connects us to the season: Boating

Click here to download free pdf (32 pages).


Mass Humanities This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Special thank you to sponsors of this issue, including:  New England Air Museum.

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