Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Evergreens as a Catalyst for Learning

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal:
Evergreens as a Catalyst for Learning

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, community-based education specialist and Hilltown Families’ Founder, Sienna Wildfield, joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, November 26th with Sienna and Danny talking about explore the changing seasons through the lens of evergreens

Click on the video below to view.

Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).

Sienna’s next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be Monday, December 31st, 2018!

Local Christmas Tree Farms: A Lens Into Environmental Science

Do You Know Where Your Christmas Tree Comes From?

An examination of evergreen tree farming can help children learn about a non-food related form of sustainable farming. Tree farming contributes to oxygen production, provides food and habitat for variety of animal species, and doesn’t have a huge impact on the location in which it takes place.

As the weather gets colder and snow starts to enter the forecast, the holiday season is filled with opportunities for learning about all kinds of topics. The change of weather can support learning with activities like searching for nests and animal tracks in the snow, and participating as citizen scientists counting raptors and song birds.

Families can also explore the cultural roots of winter holidays, like Santa Lucia Day during Welcome Yule or reading about Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa while snuggled up before a long winter’s nap!

Most holiday-related learning has to do with history, culture, religion, literature, art, and music. Math can even be integrated with some creativity, but it’s harder to find a natural connection between the holidays and science – especially environmental science.

There is a link between the holidays and environmental science, though – and it’s a good one! Do your children know where your Christmas tree comes from? Here in rural Western MA, it’s possible that one of your annual holiday traditions involves a tromp out into your own woodlot to chop down a vaguely Charlie Brown-ish trunk to add to your living room, but it’s more likely that your tree came from a tree farm. Whether that farm was nearby or far away, a look at how your tree was grown provides a myriad of learning opportunities!

Read on to discover more…

Locally Grown Christmas Tree Farms


Cranston’s Christmas Tree Farm in Ashfield, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The holiday season is upon us! Any recommendations on where to get a locally grown Christmas Tree? Any fun places to go with the family to choose/cut your own?

  • Tonya Lemos recommends: Pieropans Tree Farm in Ashfield! Our fav.
  • Kate Erickson recommends: Cranstons in Ashfield – it seems like it always snows when we go! Fletcher Family Farm in Southampton off Rt 10 is great too! Plus they have cows and everything!
  • Tricia Sayre recommends: Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington … beautiful farm and trees!
  • Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod recommends: Cranston Tree Farm in Ashfield. They are on Baptist Corner Rd.
  • Andrew Garcia recommends: Itty Bitty Tree Farm in Windsor.
  • Jody Hadden recommends: “West Mountain Rd. in Cheshire – about 1 mile up on right – new family owed cut your own tree farm – beautiful tress $35 – $40 – great service too!! – Belongs to the parents of a kid that used to be on my bus! I love supporting new local businesses – especially those of people I know – they are a great family!”
  • Diane Hinze Kanzler recommends: “Emerson Family Tree Farm on Bernardston Rd., Greenfield. They sell awesome eggs, too, and the gift shop is charming.”
  • Jude McGowan recommends: “Northeast Tree Farm in N. Hatfield (Depot Rd.). They cut ‘um, shake um’ (to get the dead needles out), bale um’ and put them on your car! Great longtime family business! This was my 22nd year!”
  • Jody Hadden recommends: “The one on West Mountain Rd. shakes and bags them too – first time I ever saw a shaker – it was pretty cool and helps when you get it home to not have a ton of needles and debris all over your floor.”

Share your recommendation here.

The Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture writes, “Buy local… Christmas trees and holiday decorations!  Locally grown trees, wreaths, roping, and cemetery boxes are available now at farms and farm stands across the Valley. Make a family excursion of choosing and cutting a tree, or pick one that’s all ready to go. Either way, local trees, wreaths and greenery are fresh and long-lasting, and they smell good, too. Decorate your house while feeling good about your carbon footprint and your support for the local economy! See our list of local farms that sell holiday greenery.”

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