The Ripple: Rivers Near and Far

In Chile

Rivers are everywhere, and one of the joys of paying attention to them is—if you let them, they bring you places far from what you have left behind. Sometimes that new space, that new place to wander, is exactly what is needed, for there the unexpected can find you, and in finding you, can awaken you to the multiplicity (and miracles) of worlds there are on our small, living planet. In this post, I am taking you to a river new to me, far from those who are my friends and teachers in Western Massachusetts… Read the rest of this entry »

Support Hilltown Families with Your Vote!

Learning Ahead: January 25th-31st, 2016


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

This week we are featuring 17 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 Animals in American Folk Music Episode with Guest DJ, Andy Furgeson (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Animals in American Folk Music Episode
with Guest DJ, Andy Furgeson

LISTEN TO PODCAST: 

This week’s guest DJ, Andy Furgeson, a.k.a. Red Yarn, hosts a Animals in American Folk Music Episode, exploring the theme of animals in American Folk Music.  Andy mixes old folksongs with newer adaptations and original songs in the folk tradition. A few critters from these folksongs even show up in the studio! – www.redyarnproductions.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
January 23 & 24, 2015
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: “Little Lap Dog Lullaby” by Laura Veirs from the album Tumble Bee. Stop action animation by Helen Woolston.


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Laura Veirs – “Little Lap Dog Lullaby” [Tumble Bee]
  • Jim Jackson – “Old Dog Blue” [Anthology of American Folk Music]
  • Elizabeth Mitchell – “John the Rabbit” [You Are My Flower]
  • Red Yarn – “Bob the Rabbit” [The Deep Woods]
  • Pete Seeger – “Mister Rabbit” [Birds, Beasts, Bugs & Fishes: Little & Big]
  • Peggy Seeger – “There Was An Old Frog” [The Long Harvest]
  • Bruce Springsteen – “Froggie Went A Courtin’” [We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions]
  • Field Recording of Prison Gang – “Grizzly Bear” [The Folk Box (Elektra/Folkways)]
  • Mo Phillips – “Bear Shirt” [Robot Rodeo]
  • Mike Seeger – “Peep Squirrel” [Animal Folk Songs For Children… and Other People!]
  • Red Yarn – “The Fox” [The Deep Woods]
  • Lead Belly – “Grey Goose” [Lead Belly Sings For Children]
  • Pointed Man Band – “Grandmother’s Invisible Duck [Swordfish Tango]
  • Ella Jenkins – “Did You Feed My Cow” [African American Folk Rhythms]
  • Caspar Babypants – “Bad Blue Jay” [Sing Along!]
  • Cat Doorman – “All the Birds” [Songbook]
  • The Everly Brothers – “Muskrat” [The Golden Hits of the Everly Brothers]
  • Red Yarn – “Rattlesnake” [The Deep Woods]
  • Blitzen Trapper – “Furr” [Furr]
  • Johnny & Jason – “Gotta Go” [Be Alive]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 23rd & 24th, 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

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 23rd-29th, 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 45 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ice Harvesting to Quantum Physics. MakerSpace to Ballet., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

January 23rd-29th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Tu B’Shevat: New Year of the Trees
  2. Greenfield’s Museum of Our Industrial Heritage New Web Exhibits
  3. From Neighborhood Grocer to the Modern Supermarket
  4. 5 Ways Springfield Shaped the Art of Dr. Seuss
  5. HFVS Underground Railroad Episode (Podcast/Radio Show)

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

Animal Adaptations to Phenology. Shakespeare to Paddington Bear. Classical Piano to Hip Hop.These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

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


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


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


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Suggested Events for January 23rd-29th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families has provided us with a place to find events, read thought provoking articles, and linked us to local resources. I love this website! Thanks so much!” – Melissa Power-Greene (Northampton, 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.

Support Hilltown Families with Your Vote!

Deadline to cast your votes is Wednesday, Feb 3rd by 12noon! Vote today!

Hilltown Families is celebrating 10 years! — TEN YEARS!!! Celebrate with us by casting your vote for Hilltown Families as BEST BLOG in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2016! BEST BLOG is listed under the “Information Age” category. Deadline to cast your votes is Wednesday, Feb 3rd by 12noon. Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors! Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/best-of

Hilltown Families 8th Annual
Handmade Valentine Swap

It’s that time of the year again for the Hilltown Families Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! For the past eight years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. JOIN US! It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts! Last year our community generated over 1,550 handmade valentines! Let’s do it again!

Bulletin Board

Starting Jan 21

Piti Theatre Co. to create Youth Troupe in Shelburne Falls! Learn new skills, make new friends and get ready to be in a play about how children lived around here 100 years ago, “Olde Coleraine: A Musical Hilltown History” at Piti’s SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival, March 20th at Memorial Hall. Youth Troupe is for ages 7-12, starting January 21st at Shelburne Falls Yoga. Adults, teens, and younger children who would like to participate as actors or in other ways should also get in touch. No experience required. Other Piti classes include “Sing and Dance in French” and “Soapstone Carving.” More at www.ptco.org/classes, call 413-625-6569, or jonathan@ptco.org.

Open House: Jan 23

Montessori School of NorthamptonVisit the Montessori School of Northampton on Saturday, January 23 from 10:30am-12noon, for an open house highlighting the Montessori science curriculum for students ages 2 through 14! All parents of toddler, preschool, elementary and middle school students interested in September 2016 admission are strongly encouraged to attend. Families will have an opportunity to tour the school, meet teachers and speak with the Director of Admissions and the Head of School, and learn about all the school’s programs, including the new middle school opening in September 2016. Snow date will be Saturday, January 30. For information, please call 413-586-4538 or visit www.northamptonmontessori.org

Open House: Jan 23

Smith College Campus School Open House: Prospective kindergarten through sixth grade students and their parents are invited to an open house on Saturday, January 23, from 9:30-11am at the school (33 Prospect Street) in Northampton, MA. Explore classrooms and meet teachers, staff and parents. For more information contact the admission office at 413-585-3270 or www.smith.edu/sccs.

Open House: Jan 23

Looking for a thoughtful approach to school? The Hartsbrook School offers a well-rounded academic program infused with plenty of outside time, a rich, hands-on curriculum, music and art in everyday learning, and a culture of compassion. These components are woven throughout the early childhood, elementary and high school programs, nurturing the creative spirit of each child. Learn more at their winter open house, 10am to 12noon on Saturday, January 23rd. Speak with current teachers, parents, visit classrooms and see student work. All ages are welcome! 193 Bay Road, Hadley. 413-584-3198. www.hartsbrook.org

Open House: Jan 23

Open House! Nonotuck Community School. Jan. 23, Sat. 10am-12:30pm. Come learn about Nonotuck’s early childhood program for children 15 months-5 years. Tours for grown-ups and activities for children. Applications are being accepted for summer/September. Nonotuck has well-appointed classrooms, daily access to indoor and outdoor play spaces, an art studio, yoga instruction, gardening & more. Curriculum is play-based and inspired by progressive early childhood education theory. Open 7:30am–5:30pm. Find out why Nonotuck has been serving the Northampton community for 40 years! Conveniently located at 221 Riverside Dr., Florence in Northampton. For more information visit www.nonotuck.org or contact them at 413-586-5996 or info@nonotuck.org.

Jan 24

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, January 24, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers, and current parents and get a feel for their their creative and rigorous academic program and warm community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, competitive athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Begins Jan 27

Pittsfield, MA – Winter/Spring enrollment! Join UBU Theater’s Middle and High School Teen theater programs at the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires. No auditions! Just bring commitment and curiosity to explore theater through acting, improvisation, theater games, voice and movement, devising, ensemble work, scenes, monologues, plays. Includes 2 final performances. Starts January 27th, Monday’s and Wednesday’s. High School 3-4:30pm, Middle School 5:30-7pm. Register www.bgcberkshires.org. 16 Melville St. Pittsfield, MA. 413-448-8258. $10 Club membership plus $10 activity fee. Homeschoolers welcome. Alternatively, contact UBU Theater directly for individualized homeschool groups at ubutheater@icloud.com.

Open House: Jan 30

Amherst Montessori School will host an Open House for parents on Saturday, January 30 from 10am-12noon. Meet teachers and administrators, tour their beautiful new school in South Amherst, and learn about the Montessori curriculum for infants through sixth grade. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish, and more. January’s Open House will also offer an elementary level parent panel for interested families. Register online at amherstmontessori.org.

Open House: Jan 30

The Common School: Community, collaboration, social justice, intrinsic motivation, deep understanding, diversity, inclusivity, environmental education- Come learn how these words are put into action at their winter Open House on Saturday, January 30, from 10am-12noon. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, chat with current parents, and tour their beautiful campus situated amongst 120 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

Jan 30

Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs Exhibit Opening Celebration Saturday, January 30 10am-5pm at Springfield Museums. Ever wonder how wolves transformed into our favorite furry companions? Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs is a fascinating look at the history, biology and evolution of man’s best friend. The exhibit opens Saturday January 30 at the Springfield Museums with full day of family fun, including a magic show by Greg McAdams and his furry sidekick Axel, plus animal demonstrations by Rae Griffiths of Teaching Creatures, and themed art and science activities. For more information, visit springfieldmuseums.org

Begins Feb 1

Meadowedge Art for Children in Bernardston begin their next session of classes and events on Feb 1-May 23, with an additional Tuesday class for 8-11 years old, and a new Preschool Program for 3-5 year olds on Saturday mornings! For homeschoolers, there are private and small group lessons. Along with lots of drawing, there are many media to explore: clay hand building, stone carving, felting, tie dyeing, batik, doll making, fairy and creature houses, wood projects, game design, carving and printing, glass and ceramic mosaics, mandala drawing, book making, & collage. Summer Arts/Swim workshops start in June with information and signups available February 13. For more info: www.meadowedgeart.org; cfulton@meadowedgeart.com; 413-219-7807.

Open House: Feb 7

Birds of Prey! — Sunday, February 7th, 1-4pm: The Center School’s Admissions Open House featuring a live birds of prey presentation. All are welcome to join the Center School for the annual Birds of Prey Open House. From 1pm-2pm Tom Ricardi, internationally renowned raptor rehabilitator will give a presentation with live birds of prey. See eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and more. Then, from 2pm-4pm all classrooms will be open and teachers will be leading bird-related activities: build nests, paint eggs, make bird masks, dissect owl pellets and more. Meet teachers, parents and students and learn about what makes the Center School special. Light refreshments served. This event is free and open to the public. For more info visit centerschool.net

Accepting applications for fall 2016. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 220 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org. 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
January 23rd-29th, 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 »

Saturday Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel During Easthampton WinterFest

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids!  Beginning the series with a New Year’s Day Music Party that was our best party to date, we will be continuing on Saturday, February 13 during Easthampton WinterFest, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton.

During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, families can craft handmade valentine’s with the Easthampton Family Center while enjoying a new performance with our special guests, Scotty Swan Puppet Co. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Save on the babysitter and shake off the winter blues with a Morning Music Dance Party!

These Morning Music Parties are a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun! Read the rest of this entry »

Explorations of Number Systems Support Strong Mathematical Skills

Explorations of Number Systems Support Strong Mathematical Skills

By exploring number systems, families can help children to solidify their own understanding of the numerals and place value of our own familiar base ten number system. From binary code and Roman numerals to a lost 13th century cipher and a zero-less system from 300 BC, number systems from around the world can lead to fascinating explorations of numerical representations and place value.

Mastering our ten-digit number system can present challenge aplenty for children – even after they’ve mastered basic numeracy skills like one-to-one correspondence and cardinality, understanding place value and the ways in which it influences the function of each of the four mathematical operations can take years of experience and practice. In order to support mathematicians of almost any age in strengthening their understanding of numbers and place value, families can explore number systems and digits that are different from the base-ten system that we use. By learning how to write numbers using unfamiliar symbols and exploring the theory behind number systems using a base of fewer than ten digits.  Read the rest of this entry »

Resources for Learning About the Experiences of People With Disabilities

Resources for Learning About the Experiences of People With Disabilities Encourage Families to Learn About the Human Experience

Throughout life, the experiences that we have amongst others allow us to learn about the human experience. At any age, we are able to make observations about others’ appearance and actions, and to gain insight (however basic or complex it may be) by processing these observations. Sometimes, our understanding of the life experiences of others is limited, though. By filtering everything we see and hear and contextualizing it within our own perspective on the world, we make meaning of our observations – but often, the things that we learn by watching and interacting with others lack input from the perspective of another. We do our best to understand those around us, but without considering their appearance and actions from another perspective, our understandings are limited.

In order to support children in developing a critical understanding of the experiences of others, families can engage in meaningful learning surrounding the experiences with physical and cognitive disabilities. By utilizing books, videos, podcasts, and both online and community-based educational resources, families with children of any age can begin to examine the experiences and perspectives of those with disabilities.

Spotlighting the abilities and life experiences of children, teens, and adults with diverse abilities, the resources highlighted below offer families support in digging deep into the experiences of people with physical and cognitive disabilities, as well as their family, friends, and fellow community members. While our suggestions for such studies certainly do not cover all of the physical and cognitive disabilities that members of our local community experience, they offer families a place from which to begin examining the experiences of others. Read the rest of this entry »

Soup’s On: How Cooking Shows Teach

Why I Will Let My Kids Watch Cooking Shows

Cooking shows are robbed of their central sensory features – the ability to smell and taste the food being prepared. To compensate, they have to create a full-spectrum visual and audio show that captures and keeps the audience’s interest. How do they do it? By treating the viewers like toddlers.

When our kids are very young, we’re taught to envelop them in a cloud of words – to narrate their actions, what they might be thinking, and to explain the steps of our own thought processes as we maneuver them through the day. It often sounds something like, “And now we’re getting in the car, and I’m going to buckle you in, and then we’re going to the post office…”

A variety of published studies have touted the benefits of talking to our kids, but there does seem to be a cutoff – an age where a child’s questions begin to steer the conversation, rather than our pattering observations. This is totally normal, and kids’ inquisitiveness certainly leads us to a variety of conversations we might have never otherwise had. (“Well, I don’t know if giraffes ever feel angry; what do you think?)

And at some point – much to many parents’ relief – the ceaseless questioning begins to taper off, as kids find their own tools for discovering the world. However, when I teach kids in the kitchen, I find myself reverting to the patter-narrative patterns that I would use for much younger kids. Why? Because like driving cars and tying shoes for the younger set, the methods of kitchen work are often a mystery to older kids, even kids with parents who love to cook. Read the rest of this entry »

Put Some STE(A)M into Your Valentines!

Put Some STE(A)M into Your Valentines!

This Valentine’s Day, spread friendship and kindness throughout your community by participating in Hilltown Families’ 8th annual Handmade Valentine Swap! Participation is easy – all you have to do is sign up, make ten handmade valentines and drop them in the mail, and you’ll receive ten handmade cards in return. Not only is the event an opportunity for families to connect with others in their community, participation allows families the opportunity to be creative together – an activity that can lead not only to creative-free play, but can also offer hands-on learning in fields like physics, chemistry, geometry and cultural studies!  Read on…

Community-Based Resources for Film Studies in Western MA

Studies on Screen: Community-Based Resources for Film Studies

Booked with a full schedule of films for the second half of winter, the big (and small) screens of a handful of western Massachusetts venues are set to feature a host of great films in the coming weeks – from Oscar-nominated recent releases to original works by local youth.

Families can explore the art that is film-making through intergenerational film appreciation groups, kid-centric screenings of beloved classics, and multiple film series events catering to a variety of ages and interests – all community events that both encourage appreciation of the creative process behind the making of films and the use of film to support learning.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: January 18th-24th, 2016


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

This week we are featuring 20 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!

Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Martin Luther King, Jr. Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety ShowListen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Martin Luther King, Jr. Episode

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
January 16th & 17th, 2016
Original broadcast: 2008

WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


 

 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 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

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 2nd-8th, 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 27 Community-Based Educational Highlights, our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

January 16th-22nd, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Buy Nothing Project: Creating a Sustainable Sharing and Caring Economy
  2. Open Sesame: 7 Picture Books That Celebrate Winter’s Whimsy
  3. Classics Come On Line To Thrill Audio Book Lovers
  4. Western MA Planetariums and Online Resources for Space Studies
  5. 10 Tips on Setting Technology Limits for Your Family

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

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

Literary Adaptation to Philosophy in Literature. Moose to Bears. Ghandi to Martin Luther King. Coding to Robotics. Baking to Canning. Book Making to Sewing.These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

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

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


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 January 16th-22nd, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

Join us for our 8th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! Here’s what one of our participants had to say last year about the swap: “I participated in this swap last year for the first time. I LOVED making the Valentine’s for my list of folks. I am not usually very excited about the mail but this event made me excited for the mail to come. This is such an uplifting way to celebrate a day that can be lonely sometimes. Thank you for this activity. Count me in again!” – Carla D. (Chicopee)

Suggest Event
If 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.

Support Hilltown Families with Your Vote!

Deadline to cast your votes is Wednesday, Feb 3rd by 12noon! Vote today!

Hilltown Families is celebrating 10 years! — TEN YEARS!!! Celebrate with us by casting your vote for Hilltown Families as BEST BLOG in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2016! BEST BLOG is listed under the “Information Age” category. Deadline to cast your votes is Wednesday, Feb 3rd by 12noon. Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors! Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/best-of

Hilltown Families 8th Annual
Handmade Valentine Swap

Deadline to Sign-Up: Jan 30, 2016

It’s that time of the year again for the Hilltown Families Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! For the past eight years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. JOIN US! It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts! Last year our community generated over 1,550 handmade valentines! Let’s do it again!

Bulletin Board

Open House: Jan 14

Lander-Grinspoon Academy, (LGA) 257 Prospect Street, Northampton, is hosting an Open House on Thursday, January 14 from 9:00am -10:30am. LGA is committed to the intellectual, emotional, social, ethical, and spiritual development of its students. Its emphasis on community, culture, and social justice encourages children of all ages to become independent thinkers, as well as caring and responsible citizens of the world. LGA’s talented, dedicated faculty makes sure that students are seen — and celebrated — as the individual young people they are. LGA welcomes families from all Jewish traditions and backgrounds, including interfaith families. Generous financial aid and tuition incentives available. More info: glansky@landergrinspoon.org.

Open House: Jan 20

Montessori Middle School Information Session. What’s different about a Montessori middle school? Would it be a good fit for my adolescent? Come learn the answers to these and other questions on Wednesday, January 20 at 3:30pm at the Smith College Campus Center Room 204. Corey Hadden, middle school teacher, will discuss adolescent development and how the Montessori middle school curriculum supports the student at this critical point in their development through challenging academics, a focus on exploring identity and purpose, and opportunities to contribute to the larger community. The Montessori School of Northampton’s middle school program will open in September 2016. For more information: northamptonmontessori.org or 413-586-4538.

Starting Jan 21

Piti Theatre Co. to create Youth Troupe in Shelburne Falls! Learn new skills, make new friends and get ready to be in a play about how children lived around here 100 years ago, “Olde Coleraine: A Musical Hilltown History” at Piti’s SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival, March 20th at Memorial Hall. Youth Troupe is for ages 7-12, starting January 21st at Shelburne Falls Yoga. Adults, teens, and younger children who would like to participate as actors or in other ways should also get in touch. No experience required. Other Piti classes include “Sing and Dance in French” and “Soapstone Carving.” More at www.ptco.org/classes, call 413-625-6569, or jonathan@ptco.org.

Open House: Jan 23

Looking for a thoughtful approach to school? The Hartsbrook School offers a well-rounded academic program infused with plenty of outside time, a rich, hands-on curriculum, music and art in everyday learning, and a culture of compassion. These components are woven throughout the early childhood, elementary and high school programs, nurturing the creative spirit of each child. Learn more at their winter open house, 10 am to 12noon on Saturday, January 23rd. Speak with current teachers, parents, visit classrooms and see student work. All ages are welcome! 193 Bay Road, Hadley. 413-584-3198. www.hartsbrook.org

Open House: Jan 23

Smith College Campus School Open House: Prospective kindergarten through sixth grade students and their parents are invited to an open house on Saturday, January 23, from 9:30-11am at the school (33 Prospect Street) in Northampton, MA. Explore classrooms and meet teachers, staff and parents. For more information contact the admission office at 413-585-3270 or www.smith.edu/sccs.

Open House: Jan 24

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, January 24, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers, and current parents and get a feel for their their creative and rigorous academic program and warm community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, competitive athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Open House: Jan 30

Amherst Montessori School will host an Open House for parents on Saturday, January 30 from 10am-12noon. Meet teachers and administrators, tour their beautiful new school in South Amherst, and learn about the Montessori curriculum for infants through sixth grade. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish, and more. January’s Open House will also offer an elementary level parent panel for interested families. Register online at amherstmontessori.org.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org. 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
January 16th-22nd, 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 »

10 Community-Based Events To Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2016

Community Celebrates MLK Day Across the Region

Herman Hiller / New York World-Telegram & Sun - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c16775

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

Next week, the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 18th offers families a three-day weekend – a treasure that can be used to catch up on sleep, housework, and homework, or to honor the legacy of Dr. King by engaging in meaningful community-based learning opportunities. Families can take advantage of this special day honoring Dr. King’s work and lasting impact on our country by taking part in community celebrations, giving their time to be part of a day of service, or attending educational screenings and performances.  Read the rest of this entry »

New Year’s Resolution: Volunteering with Your Family

New Year’s Resolution: Volunteering

Volunteers help pack bags of food at a Brown Bag: Food for Elders distribution location.

Each day, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts relies on the hard work and dedication of our volunteers that share our vision of a Western Massachusetts where no one goes hungry and everyone has access to healthy food. Their tireless work and generous support are just one of the many “ingredients” in the recipe to end hunger.
With the need for emergency food in our region continuing to grow, it takes many hands — all working together — to help feed our neighbors in need. Read the rest of this entry »

Multi-Generational Conference Sparks Conversation on Social Change

Common Threads Conference Creates Multi-Generational Community for Sparking Social Change

How do we keep our sense of hope and purpose? How are we called to contribute? What do we want to ask of or say to other generations? Teens and adults can seek answers to these questions – and many more – at Common Threads: Generations in Conversation on Social Change, a special conference offered by the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice. Centered around creating dialogue that addresses issues such as sexism, racism, homophobia, and ageism, Common Threads offers a unique venue in which citizens and activists of all ages can come together to creatively share thoughts, questions, and experiences. For teens in particular, Common Threads offers a unique opportunity for learning how to exercise mind and voice, and presents a chance to learn from and connect with others in a multi-generational environment in which creating social change is paramount.
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The Universal Language of Food

Cooking for Intercultural Competence and Compassion

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

Submitted by Andrea Caluori-Rivera

Food connects us. From the hands and land that grow and nurture our ingredients to the moment we gather together and share a meal, food has the power to reveal the cultural layers that help us learn more about identity and place.

While living in Italy in 2008, I stayed with an older couple in Cernusco sul Naviglio, a town along the outskirts of Milan in Northern Italy. The husband was from Morocco and the wife a native Italian.  As a foreigner in another country, it wasn’t easy making new friends.  Even though I spoke the language and understood the culture, I often found myself alone, reading a book in my room or taking long walks to the center of town. The husband, Ahmed*, noticed my loneliness. One afternoon, he brought me to a nearby small city where his extended family lived. It was one of the few times I ventured outside of Cernusco.

When I arrived, everyone was helping to prepare an early afternoon meal.  Ahmed’s nephew, (later to become one of my few friends in Italy) asked me: Vorresti una forchetta? (‘Would you like a fork?’)  I thought, “A fork? Of course I’d want a fork if I were to eat, wouldn’t I?”  Before I could answer, Ahmed responded. To be sure I understood, he spoke in Italian rather than his native Moroccan dialect: No, lei mangerà come noi. (‘No, she will eat like we do’).

We all sat down at a small round table, a large plate in the center with couscous and lamb stew.  Each person was given a large piece of bread, a small plate, and a napkin; I saw no silverware. Ahmed looked at me as I watched everyone else use the bread to scoop up delicious mouthfuls of the tender lamb and I understood. So I picked up my bread and joined in the feast.  It was the most memorable meal I had in Italy.

I share this story because it was one of the first few moments in my life where I understood what it meant to be culturally aware.  Food became the door to not just being an outsider but rather a companion.  When I came back to the United States, I took a basic course on intercultural competence, the ability to communicate with other cultures appropriately and – I would also say – compassionately. I realized that the preparation of a meal and gathering together in the spirit of community is a profound way to reach beyond the point of observation and build the foundation for empathy, awareness, and most importantly – friendship.  Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for January

Nature Table for January

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.

This month – the cold, dark, first one of the new year – is generally the one that launches birds’ most challenging time of year. With January generally comes ice and some serious snowfall, blanketing the local landscape under a beautiful and fluffy covering that, for humans, sparks unscheduled days off and season-specific outdoor activities. For the creatures with whom we share the local landscape, however, the ice and snow typical to January means something else: an increase in the amount of time and energy spent finding food, and a decrease in the accessibility of winter food sources.

This January, though, humans and creatures alike can’t quite seem to be able to figure out what to do with themselves: not only are we short a good foot or so of snow as ground covering, but we haven’t even experienced temperatures below the freezing point for more than a few days at a time. El Niño has given us a warm winter – one that doesn’t allow us to depend on seasonally-dictated routines in order to explore nature. Where last January certainly lived up to expectations, granting perfect conditions under which to search for animal tracks and sign, this January leaves the landscape largely exposed, offering itself as a buffet for the hardy species who stick around these parts through the winter.

This month’s table is not our usual kind: it is a dinner table of sorts, focused on the January habits of our feathered friends. Read the rest of this entry »

Local Food in Winter Months: Farmers’ Markets, CSA Shares & Cooperatives

Winter Brings Abundance of Local Foods and Farmers’ Markets

Despite the winter landscape, local foods are in abundance here in western Massachusetts! By visiting local farmers’ markets, taking part in special community events, and learning more about ways to access local foods during what is most growers’ off-season, families can learn about the roots of their meals and gain insight into local food systems – not to mention the delicious foods that will fill hungry bellies, too!

It’s hard to believe that local foods are still in abundance given the state of the landscape outside our windows, but despite the crust of snow and ice that blankets leaf-less trees and bushes, local foods of all shapes, sizes, and flavors are still available. During the post-holiday months of winter, families can take advantage of farmers’ markets, community-based educational opportunities, and local businesses in order to learn all about and enjoy all of winter’s local food offerings.

While outdoor farmers’ markets can’t take place during the wintertime, many local markets have moved indoors for the season – continuing to provide a consistent, simple way for local farmers and food producers to connect with the community. Of course, certain local delicacies are only available seasonally, many foods can be offered and/or produced year round. Families can find potatoes, apples, squash, onions, and many other similarly hardy foods from storage at farmers’ market booths during the winter. Additionally, some farms continue to produce salad greens, sprouts, hardy greens, and other greenhouse-grown crops throughout the winter thanks to modern agricultural technology. Other farmers and producers easily offer meats, cheeses, honey, breads, and a host of other products available year-round due to their non-seasonal nature or long shelf life. Despite the fact that winter isn’t a true growing season in New England, winter markets offer a surprising amount of variety! Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Landscapes: Slow and Steady into a New Year

Year of Small and Slow

A new year, a new opportunity to reflect and renew our beliefs, values and intentions. Many people create resolutions each year and then we hit the ground running trying to create big and important changes in our lives. There are of course big milestones worthy of marking and celebrating (like last month when Hilltown Families quietly turned 10 years old!), but in many cases with the new year we “go big” and then we end up returning to our less-than-ideal habitual routines.

What is the story that our children take away when they see this and what are a few “small and slow” resolutions we may want to consider that can help us reframe what it means to learn, educate and be educated in regenerative and sustainable ways?  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: January 11th-17th, 2016

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

This week we are featuring 11 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 History Through Stories & Songs Episode with Guest DJ, David Grover (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
History Through Stories & Songs Episode
Guest DJ, David Grover

David Grover is our Guest DJ with a History through Stories & Songs Episode. David puts together an eclectic mix of favorite folk songwriters and singers that highlights the history of our country. – www.davidgrover.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
January 9th & 10th, 2016

WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Pete Seeger – “Forever Young”


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Where am I Going A.A. Milne/music Bob Reid
  • God’s Counting on You Pete Seeger/Lorre Wyatt
  • English is Crazy/Pete Seeger
  • If I Only Had a Brain/Liv Taylor
  • John Henry/David Grover
  • Ragtime Cowboy /Joe Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks
  • 4 Little Sailors/Bill Staines
  • The Declaration of Independence/Pete Seeger
  • To the South Pole/Bill Harley
  • The Gettysburg Address
  • Civil War Music/David Grover
  • America the Beautiful/David Grover

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 9th & 10th, 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

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 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 32 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Owls to Rabbits. O’Keeffe to Guggenheim. our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

January 9th-15th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. The Power of Youth Mentoring
  2. Happy St. Knut’s Day!
  3. What to Play?: Build Your Own Entertainment
  4. HFVS Take Pause to Celebrate your Flaws Episode with Guest DJ, Billy Jonas (Podcast/Radio Show)
  5. 3 Folktales for National Folktale Month

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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Show Your Support for Hilltown Families: Vote for Us!

Hilltown Families: BEST BLOG
Vote for Us by Feb. 3rd!

Deadline to cast your votes is 12noon, Feb 3rd.

Hilltown Families is celebrating 10 years! — TEN YEARS!!! Celebrate with us by casting your vote for Hilltown Families as Best Blog in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2016!

Best Blog is listed under the
Information Age
category, last page of the poll. Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors (listed in the left-hand column)?

Deadline to cast your votes is Noon, Feb 3rd.

Spread the word & share the ❤ love!

Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/best-of

ABOUT HILLTOWN FAMILIES: Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

Owls to Rabbits. O’Keeffe to Guggenheim. LEGOs to Yo-Yos. Swimming to Tracking. Cooking to Sewing… These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

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


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


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


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