Nature-Based Resources Support Self-Directed Learning

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Learning through the lens of our community not only supports interests and education, but it also strengthens a sense of place. This feeling of connection to where you live and the places you visit is vital to creating sustainable and resilient communities. In this TEDx Talk, Supporting Education Through Community Engagement, Hilltown Families Founder, Sienna Wildfield, shares the story of the history and mission of Hilltown Families.

During a time when families are being asked to practice social distancing, and curriculum-based learning is online, community-based resources accessible to everyone can also help families support their children’s education through nature-based experiential learning. A few things to highlight:

  • Food, habitat, and heritage are useful points of entry when looking for community resources to support learning.
  • Suitable nature-based resources include wildlife sanctuaries, conservation properties, native species, and local weather.
  • Nature-based resources can support a wide variety of interests, including local history & natural history, map skills & geography, botany & zoology, and phenology & scientific study.
  • The trick to benefiting from these learning opportunities is to be curious, ask questions, and to follow your interests.
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Learn Local. Play Local.: Hamantaschen to Butter. Neon to Book History.

10 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Chrysanthemums to Candy Science. Creative-Free Play to Service-Based Learning.

Glassblowing to Mooncakes. Quakers to Ecosystems. Creative-Free Play to Nature-Based Learning. 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 seasonal highlight this week:

Veterans Day, a U.S. national holiday originally known as Armistice Day, provides communities with the opportunity to honor and learn about the service provided by former military members. Chances for community service to support and honor veterans are available right here in our own community, and families can also learn about military history on Veterans Day by engaging in living history demonstrations and activities. Read more in our post, Volunteer & Cultural Opportunities to Honor Veterans on Veterans Day in Western MA.

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10 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Peach Tea to Chicken BBQ. Zen Buddhism to Hindu Traditions.

A few annual community harvest meals to check out this weekend include the Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department and Shelburne Falls Eagles annual chicken BBQ’s this Sunday.

Fireside Poets to Local Peaches. Zen kōans to Holy Tulsi. Monarch Butterflies to Beavers. 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 learning highlight this week:

Intergenerational opportunities to gather around the table for a community meal with friends and neighbors are available at nearly every agricultural fair. From blueberry pancake breakfast to BBQ chicken dinner, there’s something for everyone! Visit fair websites to see what’s being served this year and make plans to sit with your neighbors and start up conversations. Let your children learn about local history through stories your elderly neighbors might share, make new friends, and walk away with new community connections. Read more about community harvest meals and festivals in our Late Summer/Early Autumn Season issue of Learning Ahead.

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11 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Singularity to Anthropocene. Puppets to Drums…

Owls are featured heavily in mythology and folklore from around the world. Ancient peoples had many, often contradictory, views on these mysterious creatures.

Literature in translation to Rube Goldberg Machines. Singularity to Anthropocene. Puppets to drums. 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 highlight this week:

In ancient Greece, the owl was sacred to the goddess of wisdom Athene, who favored the bird after it chased away the mischievous crow. Among the ancient Celtic people of the British Isles, the owl was known as “cailleach,” or “old woman.” Associated with the Crone figure from the Celtic Triple Goddess, the owl was seen as a psychopomp, or guide to the land of the dead. In “The World of Owls,” on Monday, July 9, 6:30-7:30pm, learn all about the natural and cultural history of the owl, including some of the ways that this bird has been misunderstood. This presentation is appropriate for children ages 6 and above. Westhampton Public Library. 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA (FREE)

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Homesteading & STEM for All Ages in the Hilltowns

S.T.E.M. and Homesteading for All Ages
2016 H.A.Y. Conference

There are many reasons to want to get involved in the homesteading movement, a trend towards self-reliance in daily living. It can be empowering to learn how to produce your own food, clothing, or other products you use on a daily basis. You might be motivated because you want to know where these things come from while wanting to cut down on your environmental impact. Plus, growing your own food, making or swapping clothing, building your own furniture, can be fun! And there’s so much learning that can happen in the process, expanding your knowledge and skills.

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