20 Community Highlights: Mushroom Walk to Cemetery Walk. Lava Lamps to Installation Art.

Foraging for mushrooms may sound like an interesting pursuit, but it requires training. Many edible mushrooms have near-identical impersonators which are highly toxic. One of the best ways to become a safe mushroom forager is by learning from an expert, ideally out in nature where mushrooms can be observed. Try a guided mushroom walk this weekend in Westhampton to learn about edible mushroom in our region.

Nipmuc to Back-to-School Celebrations. Motorama to Cemetery Walk. Lava Lamps to Installation Art…. 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 highlights this week: Aggie Fair season marches on with the Cummington Fair, which runs August 27-30. This fair began back in 1883, when the Hillside Agricultural Society began to place strong focus on “the attainment and diffusion of scientific and practical knowledge in the cultivation of the soil.” The modern day fair offers many connections to those first events, and also includes components relevant to current times. Saturday’s theme is “Old Fashion Fair Day,” featuring many animal shows, a youth tractor pull, a roast beef dinner, live entertainment, and an evening square dance. 413-634-5091. Cummington Fairgrounds, 97 Fairgrounds Road, Cummington, MA. ($; FREE for children under 10)


Agricultural FairsMycologyMedia LiteracyBack-to-SchoolFlora & FaunaEntomologySTEMNative American CultureInstallation Art  ♦ TheaterFilmKayakingImmigrationCemetery WalkUpcyclingAutomotive Engineering


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Suggested Events for August 29th-September 5th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I moved to the area this past summer and Hilltown Families has been a wonderful resource for me as a newcomer. It has pointed my family towards some great activities and local eateries (Cummington Fair, Bread Euphoria, etc.). More importantly it has given me, as a newcomer, a broader sense of how active this community is and what people here care about. So thank you for that!” – Jenni H. (Sunderland, 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

Aug 30

Meet Mo Willems and Elephant and Piggie! Join The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA (125 West Bay Road), for a fun day with author and artist Mo Willems on Sunday, August 30th beginning at 10am. Meet Mo and get books signed. See new Elephant and Piggie films by Weston Woods! Make art inspired by Mo’s work and get a pigeon tattoo! As a special treat, Herrell’s ice cream will be serving ice cream flavors in honor of Elephant and Piggie! Note: Scheduled films followed by a Mo Willems Q&A are sold out, but films will be repeated throughout the day. See www.carlemuseum.org for more information. 413-658-1105.

Sept 3

The Center Dance Studio, an innovative dance studio in Amherst, is holding an Open House on Thursday, September 3rd from 4:15-6pm. Come by to see their new location on Main Street! Stop in to learn about their classes and philosophic approach where children spin stories from movement using classical and modern dance techniques. Sister duo Ashley and Caddy Carlisle combine their years of dance training with a special teaching approach that gets kids reading, writing and dancing; connecting, collaborating and creating. It’s a holistic approach to dance. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com. 321 Main Street. Amherst, MA. 413-687-7953.

Sept 5 & 6

Labor Day Family Campout! Have you ever wished that you could take your family camping? Come and spend an adventure-filled weekend camping with the Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) at Notchview in Windsor, Sept 5 & 6! Ideal for both experienced campers & first-timers. Families have a choice of activities to choose from, including hikes to a search for owls, star gazing with a local expert, and stories & songs by the campfire. TTOR will provide a campout dinner, s’mores around the fire on Saturday night, and breakfast Sunday morning. Bring your adventuresome spirit & camping essentials (list provided). Member: $30/adult, $20/child. Nonmember: $40/adult, $30/child. Pre-registration required by 9/1: 413-532-1631×10 or email westregion@ttor.org

Begins Sept 8

Kathryn Kothe Roszko of CyclePottery in Florence will be starting a new session of after-school kids‘, ages 8+, beginner-intermediate wheel throwing on Sept 8th for 6 weeks, Tues 4-5:30 & Wed 1:30-3. Starting the same week, Bonnie Cooper of bcooperclay will join Kathryn to teach handbuilding & wheel throwing to teens/adults on Wed from 5:30-8. Bonnie will also be teach handbuilding on Tues from 5:30-8. Bonnie has 20 years experience teaching ceramics and exhibiting nationwide. Open studios for former students and non-beginners will begin on Sun from 12-3. Both classes have a max of 4-6 students. Please visit www.CyclePottery.com and CyclePottery on Facebook for more information. Contact Kathryn at 413-219-9594 or kathryn@cyclepottery.com

Begins Sept 8

Sign up for Theater Improvisation with Heidi Haas! Improv increases spontaneity, creativity and self-confidence. Classes focus on tuning into one’s scene partners, creating bold characters and developing skits with each other. Classes are offered for 5th-8th graders on Wednesdays from 3-5pm and for K-4th graders on Thursdays from 3:30-5pm in Florence, MA. The first 10 week session begins in Sept. Heidi has been teaching theater to children since 1996 and is also a clinical social worker with a specialty in child/family concerns. Check out her website at www.heidihaasimprov.com to register call: Heidi Haas 584-5562 or email Heidi_Haas@comcast.net

Begins Sept 12

Acting Classes for Children! Starlight’s Youth Theatre invites 2nd-7th graders to sign up for Fall acting classes under the direction of the amazing Cyn Strycharz. Young actors will create scenes, work on stage movement and character development plus a performance including scenes from Dr Seuss’ stories and Phantom Tollbooth. Storybook Theater: 2nd-3rd grade 9am presentation on Nov 14th. Actor’s Tool Box: 4th-5th grade 10am, show on Nov 14th. Lights Up: 6th-7th grade 11:15am show Dec 6th. Classes start Saturday, September 12 and are held at Mapleridge Community Center (Route 116) near the Amherst/Sunderland town line. Questions? Email starlights.yt@gmail.com. Class size is limited. Reserve your spot www.starlights-youth-theatre.com

Begins in Sept

Founded by two Pioneer Valley parents when they lived in Brooklyn, NY, Tinkergarten® has come to Western MA! Tinkergarten provides educational classes for kids ages 18 mos to 8 yrs in the healthiest classroom of all—the outdoors. The program aims to revive the most influential part of childhood — time to tinker in nature. The curriculum is designed to help kids become well-balanced people who can problem-solve, lead, and create. Angela Russo, talented Tinkergarten leader and local mom, is offering Fall classes and free trials in Amherst and Northampton. Learn more about the program and Angela’s classes at http://tkgtn.com/g0ce1. Want to give it a try? Use code hilltownfam15 to save 15% before 9/1. Have questions? Call 805-751-8465.

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating without relying on skating aids. This method of teaching increases a skater’s independence on the ice and encourages their learning of balance and maneuverability. Students eventually graduate to their Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE.

Sept 12

Join us on Saturday, Sept 12, all day, for a meaningful time volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

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, Sept 12 , all day, Take Action Against Hunger (National Hunger Action 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)

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. 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
August 29th-September 4th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: September 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
September 2015

“Hilltown Families is a great resource in planning family activities! Without fail, I can always find a listing for a great family event!” – Carol Crosier (Pittsfield, MA)

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of September. 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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also 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: Back-To-School with Community-Based Education

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: August Segment
Community-Based Education, Your Year Round Back-to-School Resource!

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 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, August 19, 2015, for their back-to-school week, this time looking at how community-based education supports learning all year round! Sienna and Ashley talk about community engagement as a way of supporting self-initiated self-directed learning, or even a classroom-based curriculum or subject, including history, math, architecture, science, art, botany and biology.

Looking at your community through the lens of an interest is just one point of entry to community-based education. With back-to-school in the air we wanted to encourage our readers, parents, teachers and administrators to remember Hilltown Families as your community resource for supporting interests and education, both inside the classroom and at home.

Discover information and ideas highlighted here in our post,
Community-Based Education Makes Every Day Back-To-School Day

To stay tapped in to community-based educational opportunities happening in western MA, tune in to Hilltown Families by subscribing to our free weekly eNewsletter and receive an update every Thursday!


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be Thursday, September 24!

Learning Ahead: August 24th-28th, 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.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:


North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 22nd & 23rd, 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 Suggested Events for August 22nd-28th, 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 29 Community Highlights: Tomato Festival to Corn Fest. Poetry Slam to Zine Camp., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and Summer Bucket List: Reader Recommendations for Western MA!

August 22nd-28th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Food FestivalsLiterary ArtsOutdoor AdventuresAgricultural FairsCollaborative ConsumptionPerformance ArtPaleontologyCommunity CelebrationsSocial StudiesLocal HistoryCommunity MealSingingCreative WritingBiologyLEGOsOutdoor Music

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

29 Community Highlights: Tomato Festival to Corn Fest. Poetry Slam to Zine Camp.

Can’t get enough of ripe, summertime tomatoes? Visit Red Fire Farm‘s Tomato Festival this Saturday, August 22 from 8am-5pm, where you can geek out on all things tomato! Learn through the lens of this juicy fruit!

Tomato Festival to Corn Fest. Poetry Slam to Zine Camp. Harvest Supper to Civics… 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 highlights this week: How many different kinds of corn are there? Which varieties are grown in Western Massachusetts? Explore the different textures and flavors of butter & sugar corn, white corn, and candy corn, among others, at Whitney’s Farm Market‘s 6th annual Corn Fest this Sunday, August 23 from 1pm-5pm ! There will be a corn shucking contest, a corn eating contest, races, a petting zoo, and some delicious corn chowder. Visitors are also invited to bring a jar of homemade pickles (with name and phone number on the jar) to enter in the Pickle Patch competition for a chance to be crowned “best pickle in Berkshire County.” 413-442-4749. 1775 South State Road, Cheshire, MA. (FREE)


Food FestivalsLiterary ArtsOutdoor AdventuresAgricultural FairsCollaborative ConsumptionPerformance ArtPaleontologyCommunity CelebrationsSocial StudiesLocal HistoryCommunity MealSingingCreative WritingBiologyLEGOsOutdoor Music


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the 25th Annual Music Benefit, Transperformance 25:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for August 22nd-28th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“We just moved back to the Valley, and Hilltown Families has helped us rediscover the Pioneer Valley, now with children, and get to know it again on a deeper level.” – Maria Bianciardi (Northampton, 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

Aug 22

Pioneer Valley Ballet is hosting an Open House on Saturday, August 22, 10am-noon. Tour PVB’s studio in Easthampton, meet the trainers, and sample a class. At 11:30, children ages 4-6 can participate in a free 30-minute Creative Ballet Class—an excellent introduction to PVB’s training programs that create exceptional young dancers. For more information, call 413-527-6363 or visit us online at www.pioneervalleyballet.org

Aug 24

On Monday, Aug 24 from 7:30-8:30pm at the Forbes Library (20 West St., Northampton), Writing & Executive Function Coach, Kim Starkman, will offer a free class, “How to Help Your Child Become a Successful, Confident and Independent Learner: Strategies for School, Work, & Life.” Executive Function (EF) is an umbrella term for how we use our brain to organize, prioritize, plan, self-modulate, sustain attention and complete tasks. These are all skills needed to do well in school, on a job, and in life. Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of what EF is and how to help their own children overcome challenges and become more successful, confident & independent learners. For more info call 413-587-1011 or email kimstarkman@gmail.com

Aug 30

Meet Mo Willems and Elephant and Piggie! Join The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA (125 West Bay Road), for a fun day with author and artist Mo Willems on Sunday, August 30th beginning at 10am. Meet Mo and get books signed. See new Elephant and Piggie films by Weston Woods! Make art inspired by Mo’s work and get a pigeon tattoo! As a special treat, Herrell’s ice cream will be serving ice cream flavors in honor of Elephant and Piggie! Note: Scheduled films followed by a Mo Willems Q&A are sold out, but films will be repeated throughout the day. See www.carlemuseum.org for more information. 413-658-1105.

Begins Sept 8

Kathryn Kothe Roszko of CyclePottery in Florence will begin new sessions of after-school kids’ (ages 8+) beginner-intermediate wheel throwing classes beginning Sept 8: Tues. from 4-5:30 & Wed. 1:30-3 for 6 weeks. Starting the same week, Bonnie Cooper of bcooperclay will join CyclePottery studio to teach handbuilding classes to teens & adults on Tues. & Wed. nights from 5:30-8. She has 20 years of experience teaching and exhibiting ceramics nationwide. Also, open studios for former students and non-beginners will begin soon on Sundays from 12-3. Both classes are small with 4-6 students max. Visit www.CyclePottery.com for more info and visit CyclePottery on Facebook. Contact Kathryn at 413-219-9594 or kathryn@cyclepottery.com

Begins in Sept

Founded by two Pioneer Valley parents when they lived in Brooklyn, NY, Tinkergarten® has come to Western MA! Tinkergarten provides educational classes for kids ages 18 mos to 8 yrs in the healthiest classroom of all—the outdoors. The program aims to revive the most influential part of childhood — time to tinker in nature. The curriculum is designed to help kids become well-balanced people who can problem-solve, lead, and create. Angela Russo, talented Tinkergarten leader and local mom, is offering Fall classes and free trials in Amherst and Northampton. Learn more about the program and Angela’s classes at http://tkgtn.com/g0ce1. Want to give it a try? Use code hilltownfam15 to save 15% before 9/1. Have questions? Call 805-751-8465.

Sept 12

Join us on Saturday, Sept 12, all day, for a meaningful time volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

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, Sept 12 , al day, Take Action Against Hunger (National Hunger Action 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)

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. 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
August 22nd-28th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Community-Based Education Makes Every Day Back-To-School Day

Hilltown Families: Your Back-to-School Resource, All Year Long!


During the summer months, most children have enjoyed following their interests through outdoor play, reading books they have selected, day-trips with their family, and adventures out in their community. Once late August and early September roll around however, these carefree months of following their own interests and daily rhythms turn towards more organized learning experiences; and for many, the excitement starts to build as families become involved in back-to-school preparations. Maybe this school year will be your child’s first time away from home, or your child is mentally preparing for middle school, or this is their final year in high school… whatever the case, back-to-school can be an exciting time of year for most.

Whether or not your kids are excited about going back to school, or maybe your family homeschools or unschools, that freedom of self-directed learning experienced in the summer months can continue all year round through community engagement outside of the classroom day via community-based education. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: August 17th-21st, 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.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:


North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 15th & 16th, 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 Suggested Events for Month August 15th-21st, 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 27 Community Highlights: Aggie Fairs to Guided Tours. Plein Air Painting to Community Meals., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and Summer Bucket List: Reader Recommendations for Western MA!

August 15th-21st,2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Agricultural FairsWestern MA CultureEarth ScienceLocal HistoryImmigrationClimatologyVisual ArtPaintingLiteracyTeen PartyEntomologyPuppet ShowCommunity ServiceShakespeareOutdoor TheaterCommunity MealWalking GroupsParent SupportWeekday SpotlightDance Studies

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

  1. HFVS Back to School Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  2. 11 Suggestions on How Western MA Families Can Make Wise Back-to-School Purchases
  3. Q&A: Hair Cuts in Western MA
  4. Tips for a New School Year
  5. 6 Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

27 Community Highlights: Aggie Fairs to Guided Tours. Plein Air Painting to Community Meals.

Many children are inclined to collect stones and shells based on their texture, color, beauty, or interesting features. What makes up these rocks, minerals, and shells, and what can we learn about our planet through these natural objects? Attend the Gaylord Memorial Library‘s “Mother Earth” program to learn all about earth science on Saturday, August 15th at 11am! Geared for children ages 2-5. Registration required. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Aggie Fairs to Guided Tours. Immigration to Climatology. Plein Air Painting to Community Meals… 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 highlights this week: Aggie Fair season is upon us! Don’t let these weekend events pass you by without exploring one with your family! The Middlefield Fair, which runs August 14-16, features a 4-H club petting zoo, 4×4 truck pulls, a fiddle contest, a roast pork lunch, and horse pulls on the second day. Learn more about agricultural fairs at Hilltown Families’ posts about youth aggie fair participation and the fairs’ multidisciplinary learning opportunities. 413-623-6027. 7 Bell Road, Middlefield, MA. (< $)


Agricultural FairsWestern MA CultureEarth ScienceLocal HistoryImmigrationClimatologyVisual ArtPaintingLiteracyTeen PartyEntomologyPuppet ShowCommunity ServiceShakespeareOutdoor TheaterCommunity MealWalking GroupsParent SupportWeekday SpotlightDance Studies



Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the 25th Annual Music Benefit, Transperformance 25:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for Month August 15th-21st, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is THE best resource for activities for children and families in Western Mass, in my opinion! I have found that you have certain happenings on your page that I had not seen advertised anywhere else! That makes you my ‘go to’ resource! And I really like the areas you cover as well….I can find an activity in Greenfield, Deerfield, Westfield or Springfield…or anywhere on between! You also give very complete information on the events you are suggesting to your audience. What’s not to like? Hilltown Families is THE best!” Christine Bray (Ludlow, 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

Aug 15

Vortex Dance Fitness Studio in Easthampton is holding an Open House on Aug 15 from 11am-1pm for all to come see the studio and talk about kid classes. Vortex teaches cabaret style dance which is a mix of jazz, ballet, lyrical, and hip-hop, in a fun, friendly atmosphere. Classes are designed to teach some technique and get students moving, connecting their physical, mental, and emotional selves for optimum well-being. They use a cooperative not competitive approach and hope to foster new friendships while having a wonderful time getting a great workout! Vortex is located on the 2nd floor of the Eastworks Building in Suite 251 right above Riff’s Restaurant in Easthampton, MA. www.vortexdancestudio.com

Aug 24

On Monday, Aug 24 from 7:30-8:30pm at the Forbes Library (20 West St., Northampton), Writing & Executive Function Coach, Kim Starkman, will offer a free class, “How to Help Your Child Become a Successful, Confident and Independent Learner: Strategies for School, Work, & Life.” Executive Function (EF) is an umbrella term for how we use our brain to organize, prioritize, plan, self-modulate, sustain attention and complete tasks. These are all skills needed to do well in school, on a job, and in life. Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of what EF is and how to help their own children overcome challenges and become more successful, confident & independent learners. For more info call 413-587-1011 or email kimstarkman@gmail.com

Aug 22

Pioneer Valley Ballet is hosting an Open House on Saturday, August 22, 10am-noon. Tour PVB’s studio in Easthampton, meet the trainers, and sample a class. At 11:30, children ages 4-6 can participate in a free 30-minute Creative Ballet Class—an excellent introduction to PVB’s training programs that create exceptional young dancers. For more information, call 413-527-6363 or visit us online at www.pioneervalleyballet.org

Sept 12

Join us on Saturday, Sept 12, all day, for a meaningful time volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

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, Sept 12 , al day, Take Action Against Hunger (National Hunger Action 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)

Sep 27

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will once again be holding their 5th Annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event on Sunday, September 27th. You have the opportunity to support their community by riding as an individual or forming a team. Starting a team (4 or more) with your friends and family is an easy way to help feed our neighbors in need! With multiple courses to choose from—a 3.5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of all ages and levels can get involved. This year’s event will include a new location (Hatfield Lions Club Pavilion), new routes, and the biggest after-party yet with food, beverages, games and live music. To register, or to learn more about Will Bike 4 Food, visit their website at www.willbike4food.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. 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
August 15-21,2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Hunger Action Month Empowers Our Community to Support Food Security

You can take action to support our community during Hunger Action Month

You can ‘Go Orange’ on Thursday, September 3 to help raise awareness of food insecurity. Share your photos on social media, using #HungerAction.

September is Hunger Action Month, a time when the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks unite and ask everyone to take action to fight hunger in their community. It is your opportunity to join a movement that has a real and lasting impact on our effort to feed more people than ever before.

Hunger affects communities all across our region—rural, urban and suburban. In cities and towns across Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties, more than 235,000 people struggle with food insecurity. As individuals, charities, businesses and government, we all have a role to play in getting food to our neighbors in need. During Hunger Action Month, you can find a way that’s right for you to make a difference. There are a number of ways to help, including raising awareness of hunger issues, advocating for change, donating food and funds, or volunteering your time and skills. We all have a role to play in getting food to our neighbors in need.

Here are just a few of the opportunities you have to get involved:  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Landscapes: Development of Self-Regulation

Critical for Learning and Life: Self-Regulation

Education is our greatest potential resource.

Before jumping into action and using our greatest potential resource, we need to rush to reflection in order to ensure that we and our children can “succeed.” We can easily and quickly acquire the academic and scientific “know how,” but it is the traditional wisdom for “knowing how” that can help our children, families, and communities ethically and sustainably cultivate the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that will allow us to “succeed” in transforming the future.

In rushing to reflection, there are just three questions to ask ourselves that can initiate a change of consciousness about what it means to learn, educate, be educated and succeed:

  1. What is the story that our children are hearing about what it means to learn, educate, be educated and succeed?
  2. Who is an essential part of this story?
  3. For what purpose are children learning?

Education must be more than passive acquisition of knowledge and on-demand regurgitation of facts or performance of skills. Education is more than an independent pursuit for individual academic achievement. The deeper value and purpose of education is to nourish life and, as an educational mentor, my role is to help ignite and sustain children’s natural curiosity and thirst for learning and holistic development.

Education is often seen as the path for self-improvement, but what if education was more than an individual enrichment activity? What is possible if children’s learning journey climaxed not when a test was taken and passed, but when their new knowledge, skills, attitudes, and personal niches of brilliance were used to enrich their community? And what if community recognized our children’s developing competencies and readiness to be active members in our community as an integrated part of the educational system? Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: August 10th-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 8 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.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 8th & 9th, 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

Join us this Saturday morning!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for Suggested Events for August 8th-14th, 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 33 Community Highlights: Blueberries to Beavers. Croquet to Mandolin., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and Summer Bucket List: Reader Recommendations for Western MA!

August 8th-14th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Nature-Based LearningOrnithologyLocal HistoryService-Based LearningMagicSport HistoryMusic StudiesSTEMCommunity CelebrationsAstronomyLocal FoodNature MedicineOutdoor Music & TheaterIndoor Theater

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

33 Community Highlights: Blueberries to Beavers. Croquet to Mandolin.

PYO BLUEBERRIES: Picking summertime berries is a part of many families’ summer traditions; an authentic way for kids to learn where their food comes from! If organic blueberries are next on your list, Summit Farm in the heart of the Hilltowns is the place for you!  Call beforehand to ensure that conditions are good for picking. 413-634-5024. 131 Summit Street, Plainfield, MA. ($)

Blueberries to Beavers. Croquet to Mandolin. Meteorology to Astronomy…. 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: Flywheel Arts Collective and Hilltown Families are partnering to host a first-ever outdoor summer block party for kids on Saturday, August 8 from 10am-12pm! Bring some friends and get ready to meet plenty of new families, too, as we all gather to dance, eat, play, and enjoy fabulous entertainment by the Robbins-Zust Marionettes. DJ Youthelectronix will provide the music, a mix skillfully selected to be enjoyable to both children and adults. This fundraiser, which will support both organizations, will be run with a “pay what you can” admission. Rain location: Flywheel, 43 Main Street, Easthampton, MA. 413-527-9800. Millside Park, Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA. (DONATION)


Nature-Based LearningOrnithologyLocal HistoryService-Based LearningMagicSport HistoryMusic StudiesSTEMCommunity CelebrationsAstronomyLocal FoodNature MedicineOutdoor Music & TheaterIndoor Theater


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the 25th Annual Music Benefit, Transperformance 25:

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for August 8th-14th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

HTF Events Banner

“Family life in the Hilltowns is brighter, bolder and culturally enriched by the support of Hilltown Families. It has been the number one constant resource for events, concerts, and community education for our family in our parenting journey. Hilltown Families has widely become essential support for family life in Western Massachusetts, a network that grows happier healthier families through community, connection, and education. Thank you Hilltown Families for all you do!” – Zoe J. (Shelburne Falls, 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 Event

Aug 8

Get your groove on! Hilltown Families & Flywheel are hosting a Saturday Block Party for Kids at Millside Park in Easthampton on August 8! DJ Youthelectronix will DJ a dance party (and if you’ve been to our winter dance parties, you know how much fun these are!), Robbins-Zust Family Marionettes will be performing the classic fairytale “Firebird,” and we’ll have juice boxes galore!!! This summertime family celebration is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend. Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to invite your neighbors to join us too! — Rain location: Flywheel.

Bulletin Board

Aug 5-8

Ahoy there maties! The adventure starts with a mysterious map. Could X mark the spot for buried treasure? Add in pirates and a stranger and the plot thickens. Now you’re off to the high seas. Adventure, skullduggery, secrets, promises broken, and even a couple of laughs. Welcome to PaintBox Theatre’s Treasure Island—the adventure of a lifetime! Long John Silver ordered that you to come dressed as a pirate. (They need a crew!) Performances are Wednesday, August 5 – Saturday, August 8, 10:30am and 1:00pm. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

Aug 8 & 15

Vortex Dance Fitness Studio in Easthampton is holding an Open House on Aug 8 from 4:30-6pm and Aug 15 from 11am-1pm for all to come see the studio and talk about kid classes. Vortex teaches cabaret style dance which is a mix of jazz, ballet, lyrical, and hip-hop, in a fun, friendly atmosphere. Classes are designed to teach some technique and get students moving, connecting their physical, mental, and emotional selves for optimum well-being. They use a cooperative not competitive approach and hope to foster new friendships while having a wonderful time getting a great workout! Vortex is located on the 2nd floor of the Eastworks Building in Suite 251 right above Riff’s Restaurant in Easthampton, MA. www.vortexdancestudio.com.

Sep 27

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will once again be holding their 5th Annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event on Sunday, September 27th. You have the opportunity to support their community by riding as an individual or forming a team. Starting a team (4 or more) with your friends and family is an easy way to help feed our neighbors in need! With multiple courses to choose from—a 3.5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of all ages and levels can get involved. This year’s event will include a new location (Hatfield Lions Club Pavilion), new routes, and the biggest after-party yet with food, beverages, games and live music. To register, or to learn more about Will Bike 4 Food, visit their website at www.willbike4food.org.

Sept 12

Join us on Saturday, Sept 12 from 9-11:30am for a meaningful time volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

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, Sept 12 , 9-11:30am, for Hunger Action Month in Hatfield. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your open house, after school class, community event, school, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, program, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Eventsand 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. 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
August 8th-14th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Museum Adventures: Smith College Museum of Art

Surprise your Eyes at the Smith College Museum of Art

Where do you begin your Museum adventure? For many visitors to the Smith College Museum of Art, their first stop is to check out the artist-designed restrooms! Designed by artists Ellen Driscoll and Sandy Skoglund as functional—and permanent—works of art, each is unique and beautiful. A popular spot for selfies, the women’s restroom features works from the Museum’s collection reproduced in a blue underwater world through etched glass panels. In contrast to the cool hues and mermaid paradise of Driscoll’s women’s restroom, across the way Skoglund intended to create a space that would incorporate “patterning and visual sizzle.”  The men’s room is black and white from floor to ceiling, creating the sensory experience of stepping into an optical illusion. For the wall tiles, Skoglund used imagery based on global creation stories with the common theme of liquid origins. From the fixtures to the floors and even the toilet bowls and urinals, visitors are invited to be part of the art themselves through the use of these unforgettable spaces.

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The artist-designed restrooms are located on the lower level of the Museum, which has been a hub of activity this summer.  While the restrooms will remain untouched, extensive renovations to the rest of the floor are underway. When completed in October, the Museum’s gallery updates and improvements will offer new ways to experience and interact with SCMA’s treasured collection of exceptional art.

Don’t miss these highlights on a visit this fall:  Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Learning Experiences at Agricultural Fairs

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: July Segment
Agricultural Fairs Celebrate Local History. Preserve Local Culture

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 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 Friday, July 31, 2015, this time looking at community-based education through the lens of local culture embedded in yearly agricultural fairs.  Sienna and Seth talk about ways agricultural fairs offer families opportunities to participate in a community integrated tradition while offering a myriad of learning experiences!

Discover information and ideas highlighted here in our post,
History, Culture & Community Can All Be Found at Western MA Agricultural Fairs


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be Thursday, August 20!

Learning Ahead: August 3rd-7th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 9 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.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 1st & 2nd, 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 Suggested Events for August 1st-7th, 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 27 Community Highlights: Penguins to Cicadas. Lava Lamps to Pteridology., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and Summer Bucket List: Reader Recommendations for Western MA!

August 1st-7th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

OrnithologyNative American CultureCartographyCulinary ArtsLocal HistoryGraphic NovelsService-Based LearningBotanyMusic StudiesLibrary AdventuresSTEMEntomology

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

27 Community Highlights: Penguins to Cicadas. Lava Lamps to Pteridology.

When flowers are in bloom, it can be easy to overlook the other plant life around them. Late summer affords us a wonderful window of opportunity (between two seasonal flower blooms) to focus in on ferns! On Sunday, August 2 from 12pm-2pm there will be a 2-hour hike, sponsored by the Hilltown Land Trust,  leading participants past many different types of ferns. Learn how to identify and differentiate common local fern species. Wear long sleeves and pants, sturdy shoes, and insect repellant, and bring water as well as a magnifying glass and fern guide if you have them. Great community-based educational opportunity for self-directed and life-long learners. Rain cancels. Registration required. 508-997-0496. Taproot Commons Farm, 11 Porter Hill Road, Cummington, MA. (FREE)

Penguins to Cicadas. Lava Lamps to Pteridology. Choral Arts to Comics… 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 highlights this week: Creating a map requires that we take a different look at our surroundings, examine spatial relationships, recognize landforms, and consider scale. Families can try their hand at cartography, or mapmaking, at Chesterwood‘s “Walking the Line” workshop on Saturday, August 1 from 11:30am-1pm. Participants will be invited to create maps of both real and imagined places. 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge, MA. ($)


OrnithologyNative American CultureCartographyCulinary ArtsLocal HistoryGraphic NovelsService-Based LearningBotanyMusic StudiesLibrary AdventuresSTEMEntomology


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for August 1st-7th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I am currently single parenting a child with special needs; recently separated & often feeling very isolated. Hilltown Families shares information that brings people together & opens up great discussions on ways to support one another; as well as stimulating entertainment within the community. Thank-you for being there for us!” – Sarah M. (Chicopee, 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

Aug 5-8

Ahoy there maties! The adventure starts with a mysterious map. Could X mark the spot for buried treasure? Add in pirates and a stranger and the plot thickens. Now you’re off to the high seas. Adventure, skullduggery, secrets, promises broken, and even a couple of laughs. Welcome to PaintBox Theatre’s Treasure Island—the adventure of a lifetime! Long John Silver ordered that you to come dressed as a pirate. (They need a crew!) Performances are Wednesday, August 5 – Saturday, August 8, 10:30am and 1:00pm. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

Aug 6

Join us on Thursday, Aug 6 from 6-8pm for a meaningful time volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

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, Aug 6 , 6-8pm, Potluck and Volunteer. (Bring your favorite dish to share.) Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Aug 8

Get your groove on! Hilltown Families & Flywheel are hosting a Saturday Block Party for Kids at Millside Park in Easthampton on August 8! DJ Youthelectronix will DJ a dance party (and if you’ve been to our winter dance parties, you know how much fun these are!), Robbins-Zust Family Marionettes will be performing the classic fairytale “Firebird,” and we’ll have juice boxes galore!!! This summertime family celebration is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend. Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to invite your neighbors to join us too! — Rain location: Flywheel.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your 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. 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
August 1st-7th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

History, Culture & Community Can All Be Found at Western MA Agricultural Fairs

Agricultural Fairs Celebrate and Preserve Local Culture

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Agricultural fairs, primarily established by agricultural societies for the purpose of agriculture promotion, science and education, celebrate New England history and local culture in communities all over western Massachusetts throughout late summer and early fall.  These generations-old traditions of agriculture, self-sufficiency, and resiliency in rural communities afford families opportunities to participate in intergenerational community-based traditions while offering a myriad of entertainment and learning experiences through the lens of culture and food.  Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: August 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
August 2015

“Hilltown Families helps me keep my family engaged in our community by keeping me up to date on community events. Thank you!” – Brittany Handfield (Hancock, MA)

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of August. 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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also 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 »

4 Outdoor Adventures for Exploring Geology and Local History

Community-Based Resources to Support an Interest in Geology & Local History

Digging deep into local history this summer can reveal opportunities for community-based learning about geology and early Hilltown industries. Western Massachusetts is home to some incredible gems like mineral dig sites, abandoned quarries, and former mines, studies and explorations of which can lead to valuable learning about the area’s history – both local and natural.

Western Massachusetts was once filled with numerous mining and quarry operations, and studies of geology and local history overlap with explorations of former mine and quarry sites! We’ve highlighted four such gems that families can easily visit this summer.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 27th-31st, 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.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 25th & 26th, 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 Suggested Events for July 25th-31th, 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 31 Community Highlights: Silk Worms to Pottery Tour. Museums to Hiking Trails., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and Summer Bucket List: Reader Recommendations for Western MA!

July 25th-31st, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Pottery-Based LearningCommunity CelebrationsZymologyLocal HistoryCommunity HikeEntomologyOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresOutdoor PerformancesPuppetryWeekday Highlights

RECAP

 

 

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

 

 

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

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