Celebrating 250 Years in Chesterfield!

Chesterfield Celebrates 250 Years!

Celebrate the 4th of July, as well as Chesterfield’s 250th anniversary, at the town’s annual parade on Wednesday, July 4th at 10:30am!  Just one of many events happening between July 1st-7th to celebrate 250 years! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The Hilltown of Chesterfield (population just over 1,200) is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year!  To celebrate, the town is hosting a full week of celebratory community events (from July 1st-7th).

The events begin with opening ceremonies at Russell Field at 9am on July 1st, followed by a 4 mile run/1 mile community walk.  Other events taking place throughout the week include opportunities to learn about local history, including bus tours through town, a community quilt display, and cemetery explorations; “Celebrate Youth Day,” which includes a big wheel race for youngest kiddos, a wiffle ball tournament, an ice cream social, and a world rhythms presentation with Tony Vacca; the premier of “Chesterfield – A Personal History,” a video created to share and archive narratives of local history; a presentation on Native American history and culture; a town picnic, and a family-friendly night of country dancing!

The anniversary events are an opportunity to appreciate and celebrate the community, and also offer several of unique learning opportunities.  Kids can learn about the history of their community, and place this knowledge within what they have learned about the history of New England and America.  Learning about local history can also help kids to appreciate their community, as they will learn the significance of places they love.  For more information and a full schedule of events, visit 250th Chesterfield MA Anniversary Celebration.

Families as Biocitizens on the Westfield River

Kurt Heidinger, Executive Director of Biocitizen School of Westhampton, MA writes:

Identifying a sample of benthic macro invertebrates (water bugs) taken from the Westfield River in West Chesterfield, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

How many times have you looked at a river thinking, how beautiful—and pulled out your camera to capture the swells of whitewater, a striking blue heron, or blazing maple tree in the autumn overhanging its banks?

A river is not just beautiful, though; it’s alive, and those who witness this life, this bios, never look at or appreciate a river the same way again. Based out of Westhampton, MA, the Biocitizen School has been training volunteers to see and understand the bios that a river is, by teaching them how to do Rapid Bioassessments. We net the benthic macro invertebrates (underwater bugs) and, by inventorying them, we can quickly assess how alive the river is.

Kurt helps kids sort through a sample that included stonefly nymphs. Stoneflies give an abundance of food to trout, feeding the Bald Eagles on the river. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Stonefly nymphs are a bug we want to catch. They are a primary food source for brook trout and, like trout, require clear, clean, cold oxygen-rich water. If there is too much nitrogen or potassium (from fertilizer run off) in the water, algae will bloom and suck the oxygen out of the river. You won’t find many stonefly nymphs—and therefore trout.

By doing a Rapid Bioassessment, you can monitor a river that is dear to you, year after year, to ensure that it’s healthy—and stays that way. Once you have been trained (this year), you can conduct the assessment yourself (next year); Biocitizen collects and sends your bug inventory to DEP, where it is checked and logged, becoming part of the public historical record. Such records are invaluable for scientific research and land-use decision-making.

Families inventoried their samples, giving proof that the oxygen-rich water was of exceptional quality! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

I had the pleasure of training a few families on the Westfield river this past weekend, just downstream from the RT 143 bridge in West Chesterfield, MA. One of my favorite moments occurred at the end, after we had identified our last worm species and had the proof we needed to judge the water of “exceptional quality.” “We have bald eagles on the Westfield,” I was told; “They fly up and down the river: must have a five foot wingspans, seem almost as big as a person!” Yes. All of us lucky families have big beautiful eagles living near us. Because the water is oxygen rich, there’s an abundance of stoneflies, which gives us an abundance of trout which the eagles find yummy: enough fish so they can nest and raise their families here too!

Find out more about Biocitizens and how your family can get involved with Rapid Bioassessment, visit www.biocitizen.org.

Keep it Local: 2010 Hilltown Business Directory

Hilltown Business Directory to List 350 Local Businesses

The annual Hilltown Business Directory, published both in print and online by the Hilltown Community Development Corporation (HCDC), a community non-profit in Chesterfield, MA, is preparing its expanded 2010 edition.

The Hilltown Business Directory will list 350 local businesses in 20 towns, by category, by name, and by town. This 160 page reference book will be used all year by local residents. The Directory makes it easy for residents to support their neighbors by using locally available products and services, thereby strengthening the hilltown economy and preserving and creating local jobs.

The 2010 Directory will be mailed in early January to every one of the 13,000 households in 20 towns, including

  • Ashfield in Franklin County;
  • Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg and Worthington in Hampshire County;
  • Blandford, Chester, Montgomery and Russell in Hampden County;
  • Becket, Hinsdale, Otis, Peru, Washington and Windsor in Berkshire County.

The online version of the Hilltown Business Directory is available all year at www.hilltowncdc.org.

Listings and ads must be received by September 25. More information, and space reservation forms, are available at www.hilltowncdc.org, or by calling 413-296-4536.  Read the rest of this entry »

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