Berkshire Family Fun: April 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
April 2015

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of April. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

“I love Hilltown Families! I live in Berkshire County and am much more aware of fun family events in the surrounding towns to take my daughter too… My daughter has enjoyed so many events we would not have known about.” – Rebecca Heath (Pittsfield, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Vernal Pools

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: March Segment
Vernal Pools: Natural Habitats & Local Species as Community Resources

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, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts, Ashley Kohl and Seth Stutman, 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 Thursday, March 26, 2015, highlighting how local habitats and native species can be used as a catalyst for learning. Through the lens of Vernal Pools and the animals that depend on them for survival, Sienna shares three methods of engagement as a way to support interests and education via Vernal Pools:


Vernal Pools: Methods of Engagement that Support Community-Based Learning

When looking for community-based resources that support learning via the lens of vernal pools, consider nature center, conservation organizations and your local library.

Phenology-based activities coincide with the natural changing of our seasons (our ultimate accessible community-based educational resource) and are great catalysts for learning through community engagement. Maple syrup season, filled with delicious community activities and opportunities, is our most recent seasonal activity here in Western MA.  But can you name other seasonal events coming our way as winter transitions into spring? The one we want to highlight this month is Vernal Pools!

As the seasons transition and habitats and animals respond to the change in weather and climate, Vernal Pools begin to emerge and come to life based on the timing of this change and the relationship plants and animals have with their environment! Taking advantage of these changes and getting out into your community to participate in nature-based learning activities will support the development of skills and integrated learning in a wide variety of subjects.

Methods of engagement as they relate to Vernal Pools can include nature-based learning, service-based learning and citizen scientist, and the embedded learning families can extracted from these engagement opportunities can range from ecology to natural history, entomology to zoology, scientific process to art!

The following methods of engagement and events highlight these community-based resources and the embedded learning you can extract from participation: Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: March 30th-April 3rd, 2015

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.


Sponsor Learning Ahead


Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for March 28th & 29th, 2015

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 March 28th-April 3rd, 2015 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 monthly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 28 Community Highlights: Pysanky to Passover. Aerodynamics to Shakespeare., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA  for a comprehensive list!

March 28th-April 3rd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

GeologyFolk Art/UkrainianPuppets/Marionettes  ♦ Library AdventuresSTEMConservationTheater/MusicalsHistory/ArtifactsAerospace ScienceCommunity Meal/PassoverParenting/HomeworkSleddingFamily MusicPaleontology

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Phenology: Connecting with Nature Science & Local Culture
  2. Children’s Book Highlights the Pioneer Valley
  3. Citizen Scientists Wanted to Map the Stars
  4. Parenting Green: The Gift of Honey
  5. HFVS Occupation Episode with Guest DJ, Brandon Smith (Radio Show/Podcast)

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

28 Community Highlights: Pysanky to Passover. Aerodynamics to Shakespeare.

Saturday, March 28, 12noon-2pm – PYSANKY: Learn about “pysanky,” or Ukrainian Easter eggs, at the S. White Dickinson Memorial Library with local art teacher Marion Abrams. Abrams will teach kids and families ages 8 and up about pysanky and thow to paint these beautifully decorated eggs using beeswax and dyes. Please register in advance. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road. Whately, MA. (FREE)

Pysanky to Passover. Fossils to Dinosaurs. Aerodynamics to Shakespeare… 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: Families can join Mass Audubon for a Bluebird Nest Box Building Workshop at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, March 28, from 1:30pm-3pm. Build pre-cut nest boxes to help provide much-needed nesting sites for cavity nesting birds like bluebirds, tree swallows, house wrens, chickadees, and others. Participants will also learn how and where to mount the boxes, and will learn about Eastern Bluebird conservation efforts. Call to register. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. ($$)


GeologyFolk Art/UkrainianPuppets/Marionettes  ♦ Library AdventuresSTEMConservationTheater/MusicalsHistory/ArtifactsAerospace ScienceCommunity Meal/PassoverParenting/HomeworkSleddingFamily MusicPaleontology


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for March 28th-April 3rd, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

”Hilltown Families has benefited us in so many ways… expanding our abilities to attend family events around the area, be it in nature, music, dance, art. Our child has grown and learned so much (and will continue to) by being able to expand his horizons in so many ways… more than we could have ever imagined. Thank you HILLTOWN FAMILIES! YOU ROCK!” – Erin Long (Easthampton, 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.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Check out our featured post, 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Mar 28

Valley Vegfest, Saturday, March 28, 10-4, at JFK Middle School, Bridge Road in Northampton. Featuring passionate speakers, vegan food vendors, veg-friendly products, and non-profit organizations dedicated to animal welfare, healthy living, and the environment. Learn about and sample delicious healthy foods. Join in discussions and demonstrations. Enjoy entertainment and activities for kids. Speakers include Kathy Stevens, founder and director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary; Reed Mangels, nutritionist and author, Pattrice Jones, co-founder of VINE Sanctuary; Tim Van Orden, vegan athlete and raw food proponent; and Mary Lawrence, author and vegan chef. Admission is free– donations welcomed. Details at www.valleyveg.org

Mar 28

Independent Middle School Fair. An opportunity for families to learn about seven local schools with middle-school programs. Meet representatives from The Academy at Charlemont, Academy Hill School, The Bement School, The Center School, Four Winds School, The Hartsbrook School, and Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School. Saturday, March 28, 2-4pm, at Four Winds School, 54 French King Highway (Route 2), in Gill, MA. More information at www.fourwindsschool.info or call 413-863-8055.

Mar 28 & 29

Pioneer Valley Ballet’s original performance of Aladdin and his Magic Lamp performs March 28 & 29 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. The colorful characters and spell-binding choreography of Aladdin and his Magic Lamp takes audience members on a magical ride through a land brimming with genies, dreams, love, and adventure. A perfect spring adventure for the whole family! Tickets: pioneervalleyballet.tix.com

Mar 29

New England Air Museum will hold its annual Space Expo on Sunday, March 29th from 10am-4pm. This is your opportunity to experience aerospace science and technology as well as meet pioneers from the aerospace industry. More than 15 exhibitors from across New England will participate in the event including demonstrations and hands-on activities. Visitors can meet an astronaut, try on a space suit, pilot a space craft simulator, touch a meteorite, learn about the atmosphere of Mars, build a rocket, and much more. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT. For more info call 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org.

Apr 4

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “Here Comes The Sun!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own local heroes The Nields! The Nields are celebrating the release of their seventeenth album with a benefit for Sunnyside. Come Sing and Dance with us! Join Sunnyside on Saturday, April 4th from 10:30am–12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids with the second in our series happening on Saturday, April 18 from 10am-12noon. Mark your calendars and make plans to ome enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Apr 23

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Thursday, April 23rd, 6-8pm, celebrating National Volunteer Month. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER) (Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden)

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.mps and Programs in Western MA. 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
March 28th-April 3rd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Become A Citizen Scientist & Get to Know Your Local Dragonfly!

Community-Based Education Right In Your Back Yard

Families can join in on an important citizen science project called Dragonfly Pond Watch.

While a season filled with winged insects may seem months away, now is the time to begin learning how to be on the lookout for seasonal indicator species! Certain creatures who migrate to warmer climes during Massachusetts’ winter can help to make the start of warmer weather with their presence. Just as returning robins dotting late-winter feeders mean that spring is near and the emergence of salamanders marks spring’s first good rain, the appearance of dragonflies can serve as an important seasonal indicator, too! Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: March 23rd-27th, 2015

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.


Sponsor Learning Ahead


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for March 21st-27th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I always check out your Facebook page and check the weekly events. Your website provides us with information about all the great events at museums and elsewhere.” – Lyza Fennell (Southampton, 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.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Check out our featured post, 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Mar 21

Piti Theatre Co. presents their 6th annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls, MA, on Saturday, March 21, featuring the high-flying cirque show RUCKUS! by Nimble Arts, an award-winning troupe with Cirque de Soleil veterans at 5pm. Blending live music and magic, Piti Theatre presents the world premiere of “Innocenzo” a play for all ages about a clown who gets sick from electrosmog and then starts to heal at 3pm. SYRUP celebrates spring with syrup tasting, free pickles, a raffle, maple treats around the village and door prizes in a historic venue. Circus workshops for ages 7+ on Sunday, March 22 at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary (2pm: aerial silks, 3pm: juggling). Info and tickets: www.ptco.org/syrup

Mar 22

Celebrate spring with The Very Hungry Caterpillar on Sunday, March 22 from 12noon to 4pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. Guests can dance a Wiggle Jiggle down the Great Hall with the beloved Caterpillar, make found object caterpillars in the Art Studio, taste Very Yummy Smoothies from Whole Foods, enjoy special storytimes, and search for the Caterpillar’s favorite foods in a museum-wide scavenger hunt. Help welcome The Carle’s new custom Volkswagon Bug and have your picture taken in it. Plus, free apples and Caterpillar Cookies! For more information and a schedule of activities, please visit www.carlemuseum.org or call 413-658-1126. All activities free with Museum Admission!

Mar 28

Valley Vegfest, Saturday, March 28, 10-4, at JFK Middle School, Bridge Road in Northampton. Featuring passionate speakers, vegan food vendors, veg-friendly products, and non-profit organizations dedicated to animal welfare, healthy living, and the environment. Learn about and sample delicious healthy foods. Join in discussions and demonstrations. Enjoy entertainment and activities for kids. Speakers include Kathy Stevens, founder and director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary; Reed Mangels, nutritionist and author, Pattrice Jones, co-founder of VINE Sanctuary; Tim Van Orden, vegan athlete and raw food proponent; and Mary Lawrence, author and vegan chef. Admission is free– donations welcomed. Details at www.valleyveg.org

Mar 28

Independent Middle School Fair. An opportunity for families to learn about seven local schools with middle-school programs. Meet representatives from The Academy at Charlemont, Academy Hill School, The Bement School, The Center School, Four Winds School, The Hartsbrook School, and Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School. Saturday, March 28, 2-4pm, at Four Winds School, 54 French King Highway (Route 2), in Gill, MA. More information at www.fourwindsschool.info or call 413-863-8055.

Mar 29

New England Air Museum will hold its annual Space Expo on Sunday, March 29th from 10am-4pm. This is your opportunity to experience aerospace science and technology as well as meet pioneers from the aerospace industry. More than 15 exhibitors from across New England will participate in the event including demonstrations and hands-on activities. Visitors can meet an astronaut, try on a space suit, pilot a space craft simulator, touch a meteorite, learn about the atmosphere of Mars, build a rocket, and much more. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT. For more info call 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org.

Farm Hands Preschool at Town Farm in downtown Northampton has several openings in their toddler room (18 to 33 months) for the coming school year (summer start dates are possible too)! Farm Hands Preschool is a small, loving, real-work-and-play-based community that trusts children to know themselves best. Teachers work as researchers and guides, providing support, materials, time, and space to meet individual and group needs. What are they up to these days? Tapping trees, planning their gardens, and still sledding every day down the dike! Find more information at www.thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or by emailing alya@thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or calling 413-695-4645.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21st, 9-11:30am. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER) (Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden)

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids with the second in our series happening on Saturday, April 18 from 10am-12noon. Mark your calendars and make plans to ome enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

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.mps and Programs in Western MA. 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
March 21st-27th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: March 16th-20th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 14 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 »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for March 14th & 15th, 2015

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 March 14th-20th, 2015 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 26 Community Highlights: Cupcake Chemistry to Maple Celebrations. Upcycling to Family Dancing., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

March 14th-20th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Maple Syrup CelebrationPlant StudiesSt. Patrick’s DayUpcyclingSpring MusicalsArt WalkEnvironmental StudiesPerformancesSTEM Parent WorkshopsCulinary Arts Museum Adventures

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Let Them Grow: Four Steps to Support Toddler Art
  2. 7 Children’s Books that Embody Peace
  3. Seasons at Our Table: Maple Sugar
  4. HFVS Family Band Episode with Guest DJ, Michael Napolitano (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Bedside Reading: A Collection of Five

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

26 Community Highlights: Cupcake Chemistry to Maple Celebrations. Upcycling to Family Dancing.

Discover the history of maple sugaring at Storrowton Village’s annual Maple Harvest Day on Sunday, March 15, 11am-3pm. See demonstrations of tree tapping, sumac spile making, sap boiling, hearth cooking, and early American crafts, and learn about the history and folklore of maple sugaring in New England. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Family Dance Party to Maple Celebrations. Fireworks to Step Dancing. Cupcake Chemistry to Upcycling… These are just a few of the community 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: Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)


Maple Syrup CelebrationPlant StudiesSt. Patrick’s DayUpcyclingSpring MusicalsArt WalkEnvironmental StudiesPerformancesSTEM Parent WorkshopsCulinary Arts Museum Adventures


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for March 14th-20th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Big cousins are coming to visit- what should we do with them? I know! Let’s look on Hilltown Families! There’s always an amazing list of ideas that I’d never think of otherwise.” – 
Brita Dempsey (
Holyoke, 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.

Hilltown Families’ Events

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21st, 9-11:30am. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER) (Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden)

Bulletin Board

Mar 13

Odyssey Bookshop hosts a RED launch: Friday, March 13, 7pm. Bring your tweens & teens and embrace the RED! Hailed from our very own East Longmeadow comes debut author Victoria Aveyard with the most anticipated young adult novel of 2015. A little bit, Hunger Games and a little bit Divergent, Red Queen will not disappoint. Discover the world of revolutionaries, powers and more, this March as you dress your best in RED, gorge on RED velvet cupcakes and drink RED sparkling juice for this epic event. Join the Odyssey Bookshop for an author reading, signing and RED costume competition! Ages 12+ Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307

Mar 14

Chirping Storytime with Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple: Saturday, March 14, 3pm. A launch party for the little bird in your life! Soar down to the Odyssey Bookshop for a fun-filled celebration! Storytelling greats, Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple will join for the launch of their much-anticipated picture book You Nest Here With Me. Combining their poetic writing and their love of birding, mother and daughter Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple have written what is sure to become a bedtime classic. Learn how this lovely story came to be with a bird call demonstration, peck at cupcakes, and make a nest of your own at our craft table! Perfect for ages 2+. Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, 413-534-7307

Mar 14

The Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company is excited to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day with a performance at the Academy of Music Theatre in downtown Northampton on Saturday, March 14th at 7pm! Their vibrant modern take on the traditional style of step dancing has entertained sold out crowds in the Pioneer Valley and beyond for many years. Joined by local Celtic musical group ‘Four Sisters & the Farmhands’ this is sure to be a show that has something for everyone. Come join in the fun of the jigs and reels this season with your family! Tickets can be purchased via the web at www.AcademyOfMusicTheatre.com or by phone at 413-584-9032 x105. Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and children.

Mar 21

Piti Theatre Co. presents their 6th annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls, MA, on Saturday, March 21, featuring the high-flying cirque show RUCKUS! by Nimble Arts, an award-winning troupe with Cirque de Soleil veterans at 5pm. Blending live music and magic, Piti Theatre presents the world premiere of “Innocenzo” a play for all ages about a clown who gets sick from electrosmog and then starts to heal at 3pm. SYRUP celebrates spring with syrup tasting, free pickles, a raffle, maple treats around the village and door prizes in a historic venue. Circus workshops for ages 7+ on Sunday, March 22 at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary (2pm: aerial silks, 3pm: juggling). Info and tickets: www.ptco.org/syrup

Farm Hands Preschool at Town Farm in downtown Northampton has several openings in their toddler room (18 to 33 months) for the coming school year (summer start dates are possible too)! Farm Hands Preschool is a small, loving, real-work-and-play-based community that trusts children to know themselves best. Teachers work as researchers and guides, providing support, materials, time, and space to meet individual and group needs. What are they up to these days? Tapping trees, planning their gardens, and still sledding every day down the dike! Find more information at www.thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or by emailing alya@thefarmeducationcollaborative.org or calling 413-695-4645.

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.org

Jul 6-10

Journey Camp returns to Cummington for Hilltown families this summer. The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12,June 29-July 3, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill, Deerfield. Hilltown Journey Camp, boys & girls, 7-12, July 6-10, 8:45-4, Taproot Common Farm, Cummington. Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, 11-18, July 27-July 30, two overnights & campfires, Woolman Hill. Girls Week, 7-13, Aug. 3-7 & Aug. 10-14, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

Now available

Crimson & Clover Farm is happy to announce that 2015 CSA Shares are now available! Located at the Northampton Community Farm, near downtown Florence, Crimson & Clover Farm raises a wide variety of delicious, beautiful, and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables for our 20 week CSA program. As a community based farm, they offer a welcoming environment where their members and their families can come and enjoy this amazing community resource as well as receive nutritious locally grown food. In addition to vegetables, they also offer a variety of locally produced products for sale through their farm store, as well as a bountiful PYO garden. For more info about the CSA and how to become a member of the farm, visit crimsonandcloverfarm.com.

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.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. 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
March 14th-20th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Nutrition Month Reminds Us What Eating “Well” Truly Means

Nutrition plays active role in supporting the community

Join us to honor National Nutrition Month. The Food Bank and Hilltown Families are holding a very special Family Volunteer Day at our Hatfield facility on Saturday, March 21. In addition to learning about hunger in our region and helping to prepare food for distribution, the event will also focus on healthy eating habits by providing a fun cooking demonstration. Click here to learn more about this event and how your family can participate.

March is National Nutrition Month — a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of making informed choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. It highlights the value of adopting eating and physical activity plans  focused on consuming fewer calories and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.

Hunger is not just about lack of food. It’s also about lack of nutritious food. That’s why, at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, we are dedicated to providing our neighbors in need with the healthiest foods possible. Every year, our farm in Hadley provides 100,000 pounds of fresh, chemical-free produce for us to distribute to our member agencies (including pantries, meal sites and shelters). We also work closely with many local farmers, who generously donated more than 266,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables in 2014. In the past year, our Mobile Food Bank has provided hundreds of thousands of pounds of produce directly to families in areas when they may not otherwise have access. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Landscapes: Integrating Permaculture with Community-Based Education

Everyone Should Get Lost in the Forest

How can you leverage everyday experiences, curiosity, and natural relationships in your child’s learning landscape?

Warning: You are moving into another dimension – a dimension of place, a dimension of time, and a dimension of space. You’re moving into a landscape of both science and art, of things and ideas. The story you are about to read is true. You’re now crossing over into the the Learning Landscapes zone…

“Oh no, Mama, we lost the hiking path. I’m too tired to walk alllllll the way back the way we came. How can we get back to our car?”

“Hmm, I don’t know. How can we use what we know about ourselves, hiking and navigation, and what we know about this landscape to get where we want to go?”

Silence… then my son notices the sun setting. Since we parked in the west lot, we should follow the sun. A train whistle cracks the silence. Ah ha! The west lot is near the train station, confirming we need to head that way. But there is no path, so maybe we should head to the edge of the woods. There might be a better way to get back. My two children are using their observational and critical thinking skills to find a solution to this problem.

Now, let me just say that this mother wasn’t lost. Our interests and passions led us to depart from the well-marked walking path to instead forge our own for the day. I stood back while my children’s natural curiosity lead us deeper and deeper into the forest. The journey into the woods started with their questions and natural exploration, so why not let that be our guide to creating our path out?  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: March 9th-14th, 2015

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.


Sponsor Learning Ahead


Read the rest of this entry »

39 Community Highlights: Bark to Bulbs. Hairspray to Godspell.

Preschool aged kids and their families can learn all about seeds at the Buckland Public Library on Saturday, March 7, 10am-11am. Hear a story about seeds and then explore many different kinds of seeds by touching, tasting, sorting, and observing. Kids will also help set up a long-term see experiment that will stay at the library for visitors to see. 413-625-9412. 30 Upper Street. Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Bark to Bulbs. Hairspray to Godspell. Quilts to Sci Fi Films… These are just a few of the community 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: Students in grades 3-12 who are interested in sustainability can attend Greening Greenfield’s 4th annual Science and Sustainability Expo at Greenfield Community College on Saturday, March 7 from 9am-3:30pm. There will be tons of interesting exhibits and activities for those interested in science – over 40 exhibits, a showcase of projects relating to science and sustainability, chemistry demonstrations by the UMass Chemistry Club, the KidWind wind turbine projects and competition, a tour of GCC’s green energy features, and so much more. This is a super fun (and free!) way for science buffs of all ages to spend a Saturday! Call 413-259-1658 for more information. 1 College Drive. Greenfield, MA (FREE)


Women’s HistorySTEMAnimal StudiesCollege SamplerPlant StudiesMusic StudiesSpring MusicalsHistoryStorytellingOutdoor AdventuresFilm Studies/Sci FiParent WorkshopsCommunity Meals


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for March 7th-13th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

The Smith College Botanic Garden's annual Spring Bulb Show runs from March 7-22!

“Thank you for keeping the isolation at bay in the Hilltowns! You do so much to support local businesses, families, moms, dads, kids, pets, and the earth. Heartfelt thanks for your efforts!” – Jennifer Drumm Schmitt (Williamsburg, 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.

Hilltown Families’ Events

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Bulletin Board

Mar 7

Shake off the cold at Nonotuck Community School’s 4th annual Winter Family Dance Party! Bring the whole family for a morning of dancing, face painting, and arts & crafts! Come build your own tambourines and shakers and try your luck in the 50-50 raffle. Enjoy delicious pizza by Hillside Pizza! Tickets are just $5 per person and $15 per family! Happening on Saturday, March 7th from 10am-12pm at the Jackson Street School Gym (120 Jackson Street) in Northampton. All proceeds will benefit the Nonotuck Community School. Sponsored by Florence Bank.

Mar 7

Does your child love to learn? Is your child respected, nurtured and inspired? Come warm up at The Hartsbrook School’s open house and experience the warmth of their child-centered approach. Their multi-disciplinary curriculum blends academics, art, music and craftsmanship for a lifetime of creative and critical thinking. Sip hot chocolate, speak with current families, participate in a hand-on activity, see student work and meet early childhood, grades and high school teachers. Join them on Saturday, March 7, from 10am to 12noon at 193 Bay Road in Hadley. All ages welcome! www.hartsbrook.org

Mar 7

Join the Springfield Museums on Saturday, March 7 for their annual Dr. Seuss Birthday celebration! The fun runs from 10am-5pm, and features the annual Seuss Cake Contest plus two performances of the Comedy Magic Show by Ed Popielarczyk plus The Teacher Creatures presenting Animals Around the World. And be on the lookout for the Cat in the Hat himself, who will be prowling the museum grounds! All this plus great hands-on art and science activities throughout the day, all included with Museum admission. For information, visit www.SpringfieldMuseums.org.

Mar 13

Odyssey Bookshop hosts a RED launch: Friday, March 13, 7pm. Bring your tweens & teens and embrace the RED! Hailed from our very own East Longmeadow comes debut author Victoria Aveyard with the most anticipated young adult novel of 2015. A little bit, Hunger Games and a little bit Divergent, Red Queen will not disappoint. Discover the world of revolutionaries, powers and more, this March as you dress your best in RED, gorge on RED velvet cupcakes and drink RED sparkling juice for this epic event. Join the Odyssey Bookshop for an author reading, signing and RED costume competition! Ages 12+ Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307

Mar 14

Chirping Storytime with Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple: Saturday, March 14, 3pm. A launch party for the little bird in your life! Soar down to the Odyssey Bookshop for a fun-filled celebration! Storytelling greats, Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple will join for the launch of their much-anticipated picture book You Nest Here With Me. Combining their poetic writing and their love of birding, mother and daughter Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple have written what is sure to become a bedtime classic. Learn how this lovely story came to be with a bird call demonstration, peck at cupcakes, and make a nest of your own at our craft table! Perfect for ages 2+. Please RSVP by emailing RSVP@odysseybks.com, Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, 413-534-7307

Mar 14

The Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company is excited to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day with a performance at the Academy of Music Theatre in downtown Northampton on Saturday, March 14th at 7pm! Their vibrant modern take on the traditional style of step dancing has entertained sold out crowds in the Pioneer Valley and beyond for many years. Joined by local Celtic musical group ‘Four Sisters & the Farmhands’ this is sure to be a show that has something for everyone. Come join in the fun of the jigs and reels this season with your family! Tickets can be purchased via the web at www.AcademyOfMusicTheatre.com or by phone at 413-584-9032 x105. Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and children.

Begins Mar 20

The Center in Amherst is offering a new class for toddlers! Enroll now for an 8 week spring session, starting Friday, March 20th. In this 45 minute class for kids aged 2-5, students will leap, twirl and spin their way into the world of children’s literature. Using picture books, nursery rhymes and songs as inspiration, children will be introduced to the fundamentals of creative movement in a fun, nurturing environment. Whether they’re soaring like the red bird that brown bear saw, leaping and pouncing at the Wild Rumpus, or dancing the alphabet, kids will love this interactive class that honors the reader, and storyteller, in all of us. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com.

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.org

Jul 6-10

Journey Camp returns to Cummington for Hilltown families this summer. The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12,June 29-July 3, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill, Deerfield. Hilltown Journey Camp, boys & girls, 7-12, July 6-10, 8:45-4, Taproot Common Farm, Cummington. Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, 11-18, July 27-July 30, two overnights & campfires, Woolman Hill. Girls Week, 7-13, Aug. 3-7 & Aug. 10-14, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

Now available

Crimson & Clover Farm is happy to announce that 2015 CSA Shares are now available! Located at the Northampton Community Farm, near downtown Florence, Crimson & Clover Farm raises a wide variety of delicious, beautiful, and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables for our 20 week CSA program. As a community based farm, they offer a welcoming environment where their members and their families can come and enjoy this amazing community resource as well as receive nutritious locally grown food. In addition to vegetables, they also offer a variety of locally produced products for sale through their farm store, as well as a bountiful PYO garden. For more info about the CSA and how to become a member of the farm, visit crimsonandcloverfarm.com.

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.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. 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
March 7th-13th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Maple Sugar Season

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: February Segment
Maple Sugar Season in New England

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, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts, Ashley Kohl and Seth Stutman, 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 Thursday, February 26, 2015, highlighting community-based resources and events that use the Maple sugar season as a catalyst for learning, celebrating local culture and building community. Sienna shares three community-based resources and two community events, highlighting two types of events:

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: March 2nd-6th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 15 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.


Sponsor Learning Ahead


Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: March 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
March 2015

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of March. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

“I appreciate the extensive calendar listings and postings on Hilltown Families. They cover a wide geographic area and inspire me to visit new museums and other places and also remind me to return to some old favorites.” – Bridget Spann (Williamstown, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 28th & March 1st, 2015

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 February 28th-March 6th, 2015 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 Highlights: Family Concerts to Purim. Pancakes to Seeds., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

February 28th-March 6th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

STE(A)MSustainabilitySocial JusticeSpring MusicalsCommunity MealNature/Animal StudiesPuppetryLiterature/WritingPurimSocial StudiesHistoryFamily Concerts

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Parenting Green: It’s Not What We Say, It’s What We Do!
  2. Collaborative Consumption: Learning How to be Resilient Supports Community-Based Education
  3. 6 Ways Community Can Support Family Dinners
  4. HFVS Purim Episode with Guest DJ, Mama Doni (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. TED-Ed Clubs: Supporting Students & Their Big Ideas!

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

27 Community Highlights: Family Concerts to Purim. Pancakes to Seeds.

Community meals are great intergenerational opportunities to sit down with neighbors of all ages, making connections and nurturing relationships across the generations. Participating in a community pancake breakfast does more than fill your belly… it strengthens the social fabric of community by developing a sense of place in our children! The Easthampton PTO is hosting a Pancake Breakfast at Easthampton High School on Saturday, February 28, 8:30am-10:30am.

Family  Concerts to Purim. Pancake Breakfast to Charles Dickens. Seeds to Origami. These are just a few of the community 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: Families can join the Northampton Parents Center for Family Fun Night on Saturday, February 28, 4pm-7pm! There will be a performance by In the Nick of Time, dessert from Herrell’s, an optional potluck dinner, and playtime. This is a great chance to to get to know other local families! 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)


STE(A)MSustainabilitySocial JusticeSpring MusicalsCommunity MealNature/Animal StudiesPuppetryLiterature/WritingPurimSocial StudiesHistoryFamily Concerts


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for February 28th-March 6th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Thanks to Hilltown Families, our source for so many good things – this weekend we’ll be tapping some of our own trees, then using your list of sugar shacks to find one to sample.” – Carrie Cuthbert (Whately, 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.

Bulletin Board

Feb 28

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “February Fiesta!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Grammy-Nominated Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. Come dance, decorate a maraca, and eat pizza with your friends! Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 28th from 10:30am-12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Mar 7

Shake off the cold at Nonotuck Community School’s 4th annual Winter Family Dance Party! Bring the whole family for a morning of dancing, face painting, and arts & crafts! Come build your own tambourines and shakers and try your luck in the 50-50 raffle. Enjoy delicious pizza by Hillside Pizza! Tickets are just $5 per person and $15 per family! Happening on Saturday, March 7th from 10am-12pm at the Jackson Street School Gym (120 Jackson Street) in Northampton. All proceeds will benefit the Nonotuck Community School. Sponsored by Florence Bank.

Mar 14 & Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Begins Mar 20

The Center in Amherst is offering a new class for toddlers! Enroll now for an 8 week spring session, starting Friday, March 20th. In this 45 minute class for kids aged 2-5, students will leap, twirl and spin their way into the world of children’s literature. Using picture books, nursery rhymes and songs as inspiration, children will be introduced to the fundamentals of creative movement in a fun, nurturing environment. Whether they’re soaring like the red bird that brown bear saw, leaping and pouncing at the Wild Rumpus, or dancing the alphabet, kids will love this interactive class that honors the reader, and storyteller, in all of us. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com.

Mar 21

March Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21 from 9-11:30am.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21st, 9-11:30am. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.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.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

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
February 28th-March 6th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Maple Days in Western MA

Learning through the Lens of Maple Sugar Season

How sweet the end of winter is here in western Massachusetts – and not just because the snow is beginning to melt! Warmer temperatures signal the start of sap flow in sugar maples, whose frozen and sleepy roots and limbs come alive when the landscape begins to thaw. Maple sugaring is a centuries-old tradition in New England, and the seasonal industry remains an important part of the foundation upon which local agricultural is built. Additionally, maple sugaring brings opportunities for families to engage in intergenerational community-based learning through visits to farms, community meals, living history, and experiential hands-on activities.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Feb 16th-20th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 12 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.


Sponsor Learning Ahead


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 21st & 22nd, 2015

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 February 21st-27th, 2015 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 33 Community Highlights: Sledding to Fireworks. Food Swap to Seed Saving., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

February 21st-27th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

TrackingHistoryLocal FoodMusic StudiesSTEMWinter FunPerformancesDance StudiesSustainabilityCultural StudiesPreschool HighlightsParent Workshops

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Let Them Grow: 10 Easy Chores for a Two Year Old
  2. Engage in Your Community as a Citizen Scientists During the Great Backyard Bird Count
  3. Email for Kids
  4. Parenting Green: Six Steps Towards Reducing Your Family’s Waste
  5. 18 Recommended Winter Resources & Activities for Families with Special Needs in Western MA

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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33 Community Highlights: Sledding to Fireworks. Food Swap to Seed Saving.

Have some winter fun at the Clark Art museum on Sunday, February 22, 12noon-4pm! Bring a sled or cross-country skis, or borrow snowshoes from the museum, and have a blast exploring the campus and all its beauty. There will be fun family-friendly activities, like capture the flag and touch football, led by the Williams College men’s lacrosse team. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA.

Sledding to Fireworks. Vintage Photographs to Antique Threads. Food Swap to Seed Saving… These are just a few of the community 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: Families can have some winter fun at Red Gate Farm‘s annual Fire and Ice event on Saturday, February 21, 5pm-8pm! There will be a winter bonfire, grilled food, sledding, hot cocoa, marshmallows, and more. Bring or borrow a sled and slide down the farm’s big or small hills. This fun winter event is great for all ages! 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Buckland, MA. ($)


TrackingHistoryLocal FoodMusic StudiesSTEMWinter FunPerformancesDance StudiesSustainabilityCultural StudiesPreschool HighlightsParent Workshops


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for February 21st-27th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“The connections we’ve made with other families through Hilltown Families over the years keeps us going over these winter months! There is always somebody out there to join us sledding at the golf course, skating on the lake, or cross-country skiing in the yard! Thanks for helping us build community in what could be a very isolating geographical area one email at a time!” – Kara Kitchen of Plainfield, 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.

Bulletin Board

Feb 14-28

Share the Love this Valentine’s Day! Oak Meadow is offering 10% off enrollment and 15% off materials in their Bookstore from February 14 to 28. Their student-centered, nature-based homeschooling curriculum for students in K-12 allows families to set their own natural rhythm of learning and encourages creativity, critical thinking, and intellectual development through hands-on activities and interdisciplinary projects. Use their curriculum independently or enroll in their fully accredited distance learning school.

Feb 28

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “February Fiesta!” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Grammy-Nominated Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. Come dance, decorate a maraca, and eat pizza with your friends! Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 28th from 10:30am-12noon at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Accepting applications for fall 2015. 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, our upcoming Kindergarten Screenings, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org

Mar 14 & Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Mar 21

March Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21 from 9-11:30am.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, March 21st, 9-11:30am. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.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.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

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
February 21st-27th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Springfield Armory: A National Historic Site

Kids Can Learn About Local History and Become Junior Rangers at this Community-Based Resource

Tying local history with important national and international events, the Springfield Armory provides visitors with a glimpse into the history of military arms manufacturing and the history of the industrial revolution. In addition to opportunities to learn about history from exhibits, families can learn to be Junior Rangers or participate in special hands-on programs held during school vacation week!

Opened as an arsenal to support George’s Washington’s troops during the Revolutionary War, the Springfield Armory served as a major arms manufacturing center for over two centuries. Closed since 1968 – but designated as a National Historic Site – the armory provides families with opportunities to explore the intersection of local and national history. Weaving together the stories of major industrial innovations and the workers themselves with national and international military history, the armory’s exhibits and educational programs provide context for some of American history’s major events.

As part of the National Parks system’s Junior Ranger program, the Springfield Armory offers young visitors the opportunity to become Junior Rangers – a rank that requires visitors to first learn about the site’s history and relevance! Aspiring rangers ages 6+ can explore the museum’s exhibits guided by a special Junior Ranger packet that will lead them to make specific discoveries. As part of their self-guided training, Junior Rangers will learn about Civil War rifles manufactured in Springfield, the local inventors and inventions that helped drive the Industrial Revolution, and a special kind of counter-intuitive gun that saves lives!  Read the rest of this entry »

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