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 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 »

Wild & Scenic Saturdays Offer Experiential Learning Along the Westfield River

Wild and Scenic Saturdays on the Westfield River
April through October, 2014

Click to view larger image.

Wild and Scenic Saturdays cover a wide range of topics and include activities that cater to families with children of all ages. Additionally, the learning embedded in each and every one of the events will help children not only to better understand the river ecosystem, but will allow them to connect the things that they experience in the watershed to concepts that they’ve learned and home and school.

For over twenty years, the Westfield River has been distinguished as a National Wild and Scenic River. The river and its watershed provide critical habitat for a great many plant and animal species (rare ones included!), serve as a source of clean drinking water for humans, and offer us a place to commune with nature and enjoy activities like kayaking, fishing, and hiking.  Treat yourself each month to Kurt’s column, The Ripple: Stories About Western MA Rivers. This month he features the Westfield River in his post, “The Cure for All Things Pavement.”

During the coming months, the Westfield River Committee is offering a series of Saturday workshops, work days, guided explorations, and other events in order to engage the community in a process of learning about and how to care for the river and its watershed. The Wild and Scenic Saturdays offer a mix of educational activities, opportunities to engage in community service, and adventures into the watershed’s fascinating wilderness. Read the rest of this entry »

Catch a Falling Star!

Family-Science Hunt for Micrometeorites

Scientists estimate that about 22,000 tons of micrometeorite materials fall to the Earth every year. Most falls in the ocean, but some falls on land, and much of it ends up in our rivers. Our New England rivers (especially the Connecticut, New England’s longest) have collected, funneled, and preserved tons of micrometeorites over the years, and they’re just waiting for you to come find them and take them home!

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket… for real!

Falling stars, also known as micrometeorites, fall to Earth quite frequently (over 22,000 tons worth yearly!).

On Saturday, October 8th from 10:30am-2pm, families can learn how to find their own shooting star at the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls!  HCC geology instructor Steve Winters will be on hand to teach families about the best places to find micrometeorites and how to sift through sand to find the small, shiny beads!

This is a great way to spark interest in astronomy and geology in young students, and is an opportunity to develop skills and interests together as a family- and it’s a free event. For more information, visit www.greatfallsma.org or call 413-863-367 .

[Photo credit: (ccl) Brian Gudzevich]

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