30 Community Highlights: Spotted Salamanders to Orchids. Afro-Cuban Dances to Purim Celebrations.

This weekend is the Amherst Orchid Society’s annual orchid show at Smith Vocational High School in Northampton. Kids can view a wide variety of orchids – there will be blossoms of all sizes and colors, and families will be able to learn about the proper care for growing orchids at home, as well as the interesting facts about orchids’ unique cycle of growth, how they are pollinated by insects and their amazing beauty.  After the show, head over to the Lyman Conservatory at Smith College for more orchids, as well as cacti, a chocolate tree and many others.  Can’t make it?  Check out the Kids Corner and take a virtual tour of the Smith College Botanic Garden and make plans to go this spring when the bulb show arrives!

Orchids to Spotted Salamanders. Purim Celebrations to Afro-Cuban Dances. Sign Language to Fabric Collage… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play!

And be sure to check our list of supporting materials to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week. Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public library!

History | Outdoor Adventures | Plant, Animal & Nature Studies | Fiber Arts | Astronomy | Parent Workshops | Cultural Studies | Museum Adventures | Science, Film & Sign Language


This Saturday, February 23rd & Sunday, February 24th, visit Old Sturbridge Village to celebrate Black History Weekend, the village’s educational celebration of Black History Month. The event will include a performance by historical reenactor Tammy Denease as Elizabeth Keckly, a former slave who bought freedom for herself and her son and went on to be a very successful fashion designer and clothing maker. Along with the usual opportunities to learn about 19th century life in New England, families will learn about the history of race issues and the use of slavery in early America. Perfect for students studying American history!

The Northampton Community Music Center presents the Deedle Deedle Dees in concert at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst this Saturday morning! An educational rock band, the Deedle Deedle Dees sing about science, history, and everything in between, making their fun, catchy songs educational as well as entertaining. Then mark your calendars as Lloyd from Deedle Deedle Dees joins the Hilltown Family Variety Show again as our guest DJ on Saturday, March 30th!

Learn about the changes that Williamstown’s Main Street has undergone throughout its existence on Saturday morning, at the Williamstown Historical Museum. Once mostly a residential neighborhood, downtown Williamstown has become the commercial hub of the town. Kids can learn about how their community has evolved, and will be able to put what they know about American history into a specific, locally-centered context.

On Tuesday afternoon, February 26th, learn about the life and accomplishments of WEB Du Bois at UMass’ 19th annual Du Bois Lecture. Arthur McFarlane II, great-grandson of WEB Du Bois, will speak about his great-grandfather’s accomplishments as a civil rights activist at St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield. Older students studying American history and/or the Civil Rights Movement will learn useful and interesting information about a significant figure from the Civil Rights Movement, and will also learn to put what they’ve learned into a modern background.

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