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 »

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:


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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 »

The Ripple: A Philosophical Exercise of Eradicating Invasive Species Along Our River Edges

Cutting Knotweed

Cutting knotweed is a philosophical exercise, because doing it makes you a cultivator of the wild. Wherever the knotweed takes over, creatures starve. It provides no food to native species, except to pollinators when it briefly flowers. By eradicating it, we increase biodiversity, and the amount of food there is to feed our wild creatures.

Every summer I bring students into our woods, and wade in our rivers, so they can learn biocultural history and experience deep biotic immersion. Over the years, we have become very aware of the character and health of our biome; by visiting the same places, we register how they have changed—and they always change. One of the most striking changes we have encountered is the blanketing over of our favorite river spots by Japanese Knotweed, a bamboo-like plant.

Two years ago, we began to reclaim some the beaches we love on a nationally-registered Wild and Scenic river (the East Branch of the Westfield river) because they’d disappeared under impenetrable groves of the stuff. We had nowhere even to put down our packs and eat lunch. Until we got squeezed out by this pernicious plant, we thought there was some entity that would come and take of the problem; but after a few years, we realized there was nothing stopping knotweed from choking the entire river corridor. Action was required.

Cutting knotweed is always good thing to do. At the river spot you love, chop it down and let it dry out on shore. It will come back out of the root, so hit it again until it’s finally surrendered. Be sure not to spread the root, because that’s its primary means of colonization.  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 »

31 Community Highlights: Silk Worms to Pottery Tour. Museums to Hiking Trails.

Back in the 1700s, were residents of Massachusetts doomed to suffer through hot, humid summers, or did they have ways to escape the heat? What could they do to keep their produce from wilting and rotting in the summer months? Visit Historic Deerfield‘s hourly Hot Weather, Cold Hearth presentations on Saturday, July 25 between 10am-4pm to learn how early New Englanders made the most of their summer months. 413-775-7127. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. ($)

Silk Worms to Pottery Tour. Museums to Hiking Trails. Historical Societies to Bug Safaris… 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: This Saturday, July 25 from 10am-9pm, the South Hadley Falls Fest brings people together to enjoy music, art, and each other, and aims to promote cultural and community diversity through the arts. There will be live music throughout the day, and plenty of activities for families and children including ukelele lessons, make-your-own instruments, lawn games, origami, karaoke, and bracelet making! Food and beverage vendors will be on site, and artisans will be selling their wares as well. Rain or shine. 413-535-8861. South Hadley Falls, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)


Pottery-Based LearningCommunity CelebrationsZymologyLocal HistoryCommunity HikeEntomologyOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresOutdoor PerformancesPuppetryWeekday Highlights


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


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Suggested Events for July 25th-31th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“When I had my son, I experienced fairly severe postpartum depression. I struggled to find other mothers and parents going through what I was and felt alone, though I knew resources were out there. I continue to experience some ripples from that tumultuous time and discovered Hilltown Families in the not so distant past. As I embark upon a summer of being home alone with my toddler, I have experienced fear that isolation will creep back in and I will be in the same dark place that I was when he was born. The updates from this blog have given me hope that I will be able to be a greater part of the community and experience many new things with my son, creating a summer of incredible memories.” – Jana P. (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.

Bulletin Board

Through Sep 6

This summer, experience Curious George – Let’s Get Curious!, the new blockbuster exhibit at the Springfield Museums! Follow George on his mischievous adventures through his neighborhood, a fully interactive construction site, a farmhouse, and even a rocket ship to the stars! Along the way, kids ages 3 through 7 will learn important math and science lessons to keep the learning going this summer. May 23- September 6 at the Springfield Science Museum. Parking is free. For more information, visit: www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Every Thurs

The Amherst Business improvement District (BID) is thrilled to announce the launch of Kendrick Park Summer Concert Series. The concerts feature local musicians and are scheduled for every Thursday on July 16, July 23, July 30 (Family Night), and August 6 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in Kendrick Park in downtown Amherst. Musical acts from a variety of genres will play. All concerts during Amherst BID’s Downtown Beats are free and open to the public. Food will not be sold at the concerts. Attendees are encouraged to purchase food and drinks at the many delicious restaurants surrounding both concert venues. For more information about the Amherst BID and upcoming events, visit www.amherstdowntown.com

Jul 22-25

Sooooo a long while ago, a very cool kitty asked a young lass, “How would you like to be a hero?” The girl had nothing better to do, so she nodded. The adventure begins. The basic rule: when in doubt always trust the cat. Puss is one clever kitty; she’ll show us how to get from empty pockets to the height of adventure. PaintBox Theatre—Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages—continues its season with Puss in Boots. Performances are Wed., July 22 – Sat., July 25, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. Stay tuned for Treasure Island, August 5-8. 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)

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
July 25th-31st, 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 »

Learning Ahead: July 20th-24th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 13 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 »

43 Community Highlights: Zookeeping to Coding. Orchestra to Lawn Puppets.

A diverse array of native plants surrounds us in Western Massachusetts, yet many of us cannot name, much less identify, most of these species. It’s hard to value something when we don’t even know it exists! On Saturday, July 18 from 9am-12pm, come out to explore the woods at Just Roots‘ Exploring Wild Plants program with naturalist Ted Watt to learn the names, distinctive characteristics, and uses of many of our native plants. Registration required. 413-325-8969. 34 Glenbrook Drive, Greenfield, MA. (< $)

River-Based Learning to Garden-Based Learning. Zookeeping to Coding. Orchestra to Lawn Puppets… 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:

Experience a slice of life from the Civil War era at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead. on Saturday, July 18 from 10am-4pm. This immersive experience will include Civil War reenactors, cooking demos, storytelling, singing, crafts, a quilt show, children’s activities, and more! 413-532-1631 x 10. 207 Bryant Road, Cummington, MA. (< $)

Tanglewood‘s Watch and Play program on Sunday, July 19 at 1pm gives children ages 3-10 the opportunity to listen to and interact with a variety of orchestral instruments and musical arrangements. The setting is casual and welcoming, and children are encouraged to converse with musicians to explore their music-related curiosities. Pre-registration required. 413-637-5180. The Shed at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)


River-Based LearningNaturalistCulture CelebrationsSTEMCulinary ArtsMuseum AdventuresZookeepingGarden-Based LearningFiber ArtsHistoryCircus ArtsShakespeareAstronomyMusic StudiesPuppetryOutdoor ConcertFamily Weekday Performances


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 18th-24th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Without Hilltown Families, I would be unaware of almost every wonderful event organized by our community. Hilltown Families brings people out of their houses and out into the world: in doing so, our wider community is strengthened along with our individual families.” – Tricia Loomis (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

Through Sep 6

This summer, experience Curious George – Let’s Get Curious!, the new blockbuster exhibit at the Springfield Museums! Follow George on his mischievous adventures through his neighborhood, a fully interactive construction site, a farmhouse, and even a rocket ship to the stars! Along the way, kids ages 3 through 7 will learn important math and science lessons to keep the learning going this summer. May 23- September 6 at the Springfield Science Museum. Parking is free. For more information, visit: www.springfieldmuseums.org.<

Every Thurs

The Amherst Business improvement District (BID) is thrilled to announce the launch of Kendrick Park Summer Concert Series. The concerts feature local musicians and are scheduled for every Thursday on July 16, July 23, July 30 (Family Night), and August 6 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in Kendrick Park in downtown Amherst. Musical acts from a variety of genres will play. All concerts during Amherst BID’s Downtown Beats are free and open to the public. Food will not be sold at the concerts. Attendees are encouraged to purchase food and drinks at the many delicious restaurants surrounding both concert venues. For more information about the Amherst BID and upcoming events, visit www.amherstdowntown.com

Jul 18

It’s Circus Time at the Emily Dickinson Museum! On Saturday, July 18, the Emily Dickinson Museum presents “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery: A 19th-Century Children’s Circus” from 1 to 4 pm. All are welcome to this Family Day! Admission is $5 for families and free for Museum members. Activities include songs and stories with Tim Van Egmond; an Imaginary Tea Party with Emily, the Fairy Queen; the Circus Parade; and young writer readings from “Writing with Miss Emily” camp, a program for children at the Jones Library. Other activities include face-painting, children’s tours of the Homestead, 19th century games, and kid-friendly crafts. For details and complete schedule, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events. Questions? email EDMprograms@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org or call 413-542-2034.

Jul 22-25

Sooooo a long while ago, a very cool kitty asked a young lass, “How would you like to be a hero?” The girl had nothing better to do, so she nodded. The adventure begins. The basic rule: when in doubt always trust the cat. Puss is one clever kitty; she’ll show us how to get from empty pockets to the height of adventure. PaintBox Theatre—Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages—continues its season with Puss in Boots. Performances are Wed., July 22 – Sat., July 25, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. Stay tuned for Treasure Island, August 5-8. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

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)

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
July 18th-24th, 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 »

Learning Ahead: July 13th-17th, 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 »

19 Community Highlights: Sungazing to Raptors. Messy Science to Historical Swords.

Can you guess the bird of prey? While mice and squirrels have seen these upclose, have you? They belong to the red tailed hawk, and while it is common to catch sight of a red tailed hawk circling overhead, how many raptors has your family seen up close? Visit the Sunderland Public Library on Saturday, July 11 at 1pm to meet 6-7 birds of prey, and if conditions allow, you may get to see them take flight as well! 413-665-2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Sungazing to Raptors. Plant Science to Lawn Concerts. Messy Science to Historical Swords. 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:  Explore the rich river habitat that lines the Housatonic River with a knowledgeable guide from the Housatonic Valley Association on Saturday, July 11 from 10am – 12pm. Look for interesting native plants and animals and enjoy the beauty of a walk through nature! This hike along the Old Mill Trail is not strenuous and is suitable for families with young children. Preregistration required. 413-394-9796. Old Dalton Road (off rt 8), Hinsdale, MA. (FREE)


Astronomy Outdoor Adventures/HikingArt StudiesBirds of PreyTheaterCommunity GatheringGarden-Based LearningLawn ConcertsSTEMHistoryEcology


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 11th-17th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

Weekly Suggested Events

“There are so many opportunities for families to enjoy and be enriched by in our area…without your eNewsletter most of us wouldn’t know about them. My family would have missed out on discovering new nature excursions, cultural experiences, and new friendships that build community.” – Josh W. (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.

Bulletin Board

The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls has full week summer art programs available for children & teens. Space is still available! All programs involve collaborations with local artists, bringing a range of media & technical expertise to an already inspiring and nurturing studio art experience. Two separate weeks in August feature guest artist morning workshops in mosaic, printmaking, felting, henna, shadow puppetry, musical instrument making, painting & collage. Every day at The Art Garden includes time for self-directed projects using the extensive collection of traditional & non-traditional art materials available. Fees vary. Financial aid available. Registration required. Details: www.theartgarden.org, csartgarden@gmail.com or 413-625-2782.

Jul 8-11

PaintBox Theatre—Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages—opens its season with a very silly show, featuring Porky, Oink and Bacon Bits—the Three Little Piggies. However, they need your help. They have three actors and they all want to be pigs. Who plays the wolf? Guess what: the entire audience will play the wolf in this wild adaptation of a favorite tale. You can even come dressed as a wolf. Start practicing your huffing and puffing! Performances are Wed., July 8 – Sat., July 11, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. Stay tuned for Puss in Boots, July 22 – 25. PaintBoxTheatre.com

Jul 10-Aug 9

The 24th Annual Ko Festival of Performance, July 10-August 9, has 5 weeks of original & compelling theatre for teens – adults curated on the theme of “NEW | HOME | LAND: Strangers, Newcomers & Neighbors in a New America.” Also, the Mettawee River Theater Company in their last year of touring, with “Out of the Past,” performed for all ages, out under the stars with giant puppets, masks, live music and a spirit of celebration. Plus 3 intensive workshops for adults: “FIRST PERSON: Crafting Your Story for Performance,” ZEN & THE ART OF PERFORMANCE,” & “IMAGE-OBJECT-PUPPET: Creating a Poetic Theater.” All on the Amherst College campus. KoFest tickets $7-$20, online and at the Box Office: 413-542-3750. Visit kofest.com or email info@kofest.com

Jul 18

It’s Circus Time at the Emily Dickinson Museum! On Saturday, July 18, the Emily Dickinson Museum presents “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery: A 19th-Century Children’s Circus” from 1 to 4 pm. All are welcome to this Family Day! Admission is $5 for families and free for Museum members. Activities include songs and stories with Tim Van Egmond; an Imaginary Tea Party with Emily, the Fairy Queen; the Circus Parade; and young writer readings from “Writing with Miss Emily” camp, a program for children at the Jones Library. Other activities include face-painting, children’s tours of the Homestead, 19th century games, and kid-friendly crafts. For details and complete schedule, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events. Questions? email EDMprograms@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org or call 413-542-2034.

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

Jul 15

Join us on Wednesday, July 15 from 1-3pm for a meaningful morning 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 Wednesday, July 15th, 1m-3pm, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. 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
July 11th-17th, 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 »

Learning Ahead: July 6th-10th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 10 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 »

24 Community Highlights: Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark.

Bald Eagles to Beavers. Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark… 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-based educational highlight this week: Tanglewood‘s Watch and Play program on Sunday, July 5 at 1pm, gives children ages 3-10 the opportunity to listen to and interact with a variety of orchestral instruments and musical arrangements. The setting is casual and welcoming, and children are encouraged to converse with musicians to explore their music-related curiosities. Pre-registration required. 413-637-5180. The Shed at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)


Native FaunaNature-Based LearningNative American CultureMusic StudiesLocal HistoryHikingCircus ArtsOutdoor ConcertsAnimalsArt StudiesFire SafetyCartooningSTEMArts & Crafts


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 4th-10th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls has full week summer art programs available for children & teens. Space is still available! All programs involve collaborations with local artists, bringing a range of media & technical expertise to an already inspiring and nurturing studio art experience. Two separate weeks in August feature guest artist morning workshops in mosaic, printmaking, felting, henna, shadow puppetry, musical instrument making, painting & collage. Every day at The Art Garden includes time for self-directed projects using the extensive collection of traditional & non-traditional art materials available. Fees vary. Financial aid available. Registration required. Details: www.theartgarden.org, csartgarden@gmail.com or 413-625-2782.

Jul 6 – Aug 14

Great family entertainment, live animal demos, and fun art and science activities every weekday. It’s the Summer Spectacular Family Series at the Springfield Museums, July 6th through August 14th. Performers this summer include the Akwaaba Drum & Dance Ensemble, Mister G, and The Nields. Plus, don’t miss Curious George: Let’s Get Curious at the Springfield Science Museum through September 6. For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jul 8-12 & Jul 22-25

Hooray! Hooray! NCTKids is bringing everybody’s favorite first grader to the stage in this lively musical adaptation of Barbara Park’s beloved Junie B. Jones book series. Junie B. (the B. stands for Beatrice only she does not like Beatrice, just B.) sings and dances her way through First Grade with the help of her teacher Mr. Scary, the Cafeteria Lady and friends like Sheldon and Herb and even that tattle-tale, May. Grab your top-secret personal beeswax journal and join us for all the fun. Directed by Cate Damon with musical direction by Mitch Chakour. July 8-12 & July 22-25 at 10:30am in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Green Street, on the Smith College Campus in Northampton. All seats: $10. Box Office: 413-585-3220

Jul 8-11

PaintBox Theatre—Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages—opens its season with a very silly show, featuring Porky, Oink and Bacon Bits—the Three Little Piggies. However, they need your help. They have three actors and they all want to be pigs. Who plays the wolf? Guess what: the entire audience will play the wolf in this wild adaptation of a favorite tale. You can even come dressed as a wolf. Start practicing your huffing and puffing! Performances are Wed., July 8 – Sat., July 11, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. Stay tuned for Puss in Boots, July 22 – 25. PaintBoxTheatre.com

Jul 10-Aug 9

The 24th Annual Ko Festival of Performance, July 10-August 9, has 5 weeks of original & compelling theatre for teens – adults curated on the theme of “NEW | HOME | LAND: Strangers, Newcomers & Neighbors in a New America.” Also, the Mettawee River Theater Company in their last year of touring, with “Out of the Past,” performed for all ages, out under the stars with giant puppets, masks, live music and a spirit of celebration. Plus 3 intensive workshops for adults: “FIRST PERSON: Crafting Your Story for Performance,” ZEN & THE ART OF PERFORMANCE,” & “IMAGE-OBJECT-PUPPET: Creating a Poetic Theater.” All on the Amherst College campus. KoFest tickets $7-$20, online and at the Box Office: 413-542-3750. Visit kofest.com or email info@kofest.com

Jul 15

Join us on Wednesday, July 15 from 1-3pm for a meaningful morning 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 Wednesday, July 15th, 1pm-3pm, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

July

The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children & Teens—a program of Cooley-Dickinson VNA & Hospice provides support to grieving young people & their families, announces Summer in The Garden. This FREE program takes place July 2015. Summer in The Garden is open to grieving youth (ages 5-18) & an adult caregiver. Participants will make projects in small groups, for example an “intention stick” where participants will write messages of intention or inspiration on a stick before embellishing with meaningful colors, ribbons, shells. Summer in The Garden will be on 7/21, 7/23, 7/28 & 7/30 at 168 Industrial Dr. Northampton For more information AND to RSVP call Shelly Bathe Lenn at 413 582 5312. Shelly_Lenn@cooley-dickinson.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
July 4th-10th, 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 »

Learning Ahead: June 29th-July 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 7 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 »

33 Community Highlights: Geocaching to Lavender. Robotics to Victorian Ballroom Dance.

Lavender is known for its wonderful scent, which calms the nerves, and for the delicate flavor it imparts to baked goods like scones and shortbread. Immerse your senses in lavender on Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28 from 10am – 4pm at Johnson Hill Farm‘s Lavender Festival, where you can enjoy a lavender labyrinth, a dove release, art and crafts by local artisans, workshops, and demonstrations. Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Lavender to Robotics. Geocaching to Static Electricity. Victorian Ballroom Dance to Cedar Wetlands…. 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: Geocaching lets you go on real treasure hunts all across the globe. From “geo,” meaning “Earth,” and “cache,”meaning “hidden goods,” geocaching is an activity in which you can follow clues that lead you to concealed treasures. At the end of a geocache you might find a Tupperware container full of glow-in-the-dark plastic lizards (you get to take one!), or a baggie filled with a mishmash of items left by others who found the cache before you (take one and leave something of yours), and — always– a log book in which to enter information about yourself.  Sunday, June 28 at 2pm & 3pm, a Geocache 101 class and potluck supper, hosted by the Becket Athenaeum, highlights Becket’s geocache scene, with activities led by experienced geocachers and a fun supper afterwards to meet others who are interested in this incredibly fun hobby. 413-623-5483. Becket Center Park, Main Street, Becket, MA. (FREE)


CanoeingSTEMFood & NutritionBirds of PreyHabitatEntomologyGarden-Based LearningLiving HistoryGuided WalkFamily VolunteeringGeocachingLibrary AdventuresAncestryOutdoor Film


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for June 27th-July 3rd, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is the first place I check when deciding what to do with a free weekend, day, or even hour! My favorite thing is when they post a question to the community and we can read the opinions and recommendations of our fellow parents – this is true community engagement in the 21st century. This website is an absolute service to our community – not just people with kids but for everyone! I’d be at a total loss most weekends or when guests visit, if not for Hilltown Families, and I think we should support it as it has supported us.” – Lauren W. (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.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Over 60 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from!!!

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

Jun 27

Join us on Saturday, June 27 from 10am-12noon for a meaningful morning 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, June 27th, 10am-12noon, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Jun 27

Join us for Franklin Land Trust’s 24th Annual Farm & Garden Tour on Saturday, June 27th from 10am-4pm. This is one day self-guided tour of the secret gardens, working farms and special places in Ashfield & Conway. Some highlights include: an off-the-grid home, bee yard, beautiful rock walls, wattle fence of alder whips, espaliered star magnolia, collection of heirloom roses (dating to the Roman Empire) an edible landscape, permaculture, herbs, habitats for native pollinators; one-of-a-kind barn artistically decorated with glass beads and jewelry, organic fruit farm and a country casual garden with easy care plants. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for non-members. $15 for a reserved luncheon. www.franklinlandtrust.org or 413-625-9151

Jun 30-Aug 18

Camp Odyssey Craft Camp: Tuesdays June 30th- August 18th. Camp Odyssey is a once-a-week one hour camp featuring one book and activity for kids every Tuesday afternoon at 3pm. Each week they feature a different activity book and matching activity, ranging from make your own lava lamps and cupcake decorating to making grass hair funny faces! A required $5 supply fee or the purchase of the book featured (per child) to attend. Pre-registration is required (at least 2 days prior to event.) A full list of activates and ages ranges can be found listed at www.odysseybks.com Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. Email kids@odysseybks.com to register.

Jul 6 – Aug 14

Great family entertainment, live animal demos, and fun art and science activities every weekday. It’s the Summer Spectacular Family Series at the Springfield Museums, July 6th through August 14th. Performers this summer include the Akwaaba Drum & Dance Ensemble, Mister G, and The Nields. Plus, don’t miss Curious George: Let’s Get Curious at the Springfield Science Museum through September 6. For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jul 8-12 & Jul 22-25

Hooray! Hooray! NCTKids is bringing everybody’s favorite first grader to the stage in this lively musical adaptation of Barbara Park’s beloved Junie B. Jones book series. Junie B. (the B. stands for Beatrice only she does not like Beatrice, just B.) sings and dances her way through First Grade with the help of her teacher Mr. Scary, the Cafeteria Lady and friends like Sheldon and Herb and even that tattle-tale, May. Grab your top-secret personal beeswax journal and join us for all the fun. Directed by Cate Damon with musical direction by Mitch Chakour. July 8-12 & July 22-25 at 10:30am in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Green Street, on the Smith College Campus in Northampton. All seats: $10. Box Office: 413-585-3220

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has Fall 2015 openings for pre-school and Kindergarten. Financial aid available! Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, confidence, and leadership, building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish and more. Young Toddler through Sixth Grade. For more information or to schedule a visit, please call 413-253-3101 or email Shelley Poreda, Director, at sporeda@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

July

The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children & Teens—a program of Cooley-Dickinson VNA & Hospice provides support to grieving young people & their families, announces Summer in The Garden. This FREE program takes place July 2015. Summer in The Garden is open to grieving youth (ages 5-18) & an adult caregiver. Participants will make projects in small groups, for example an “intention stick” where participants will write messages of intention or inspiration on a stick before embellishing with meaningful colors, ribbons, shells. Summer in The Garden will be on 7/21, 7/23, 7/28 & 7/30 at 168 Industrial Dr. Northampton For more information AND to RSVP call Shelly Bathe Lenn at 413 582 5312. Shelly_Lenn@cooley-dickinson.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
June 27th-July 3rd, 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 »

The Ripple: Living Patterns of Watersheds

Thinking Like a Watershed

In the same way all the tiny veins at a leaf’s edge connect to the midrib and then the leaf stem and then the branch and tree trunk and roots, so do our upland streams and brooks flow down into our rivers that empty into our oceans.

Make this summer the summer you discover (if you haven’t yet) the Westfield River watershed.

A watershed is—imagine—a giant bathtub, where the high sides of the tub are defined by ridgelines; and when the shower is on (rain), all the water is contained in the tub shape, flows to the bottom (river), and exits through the same drain.

A better way to imagine what a watershed is: it is a leaf-shaped geography. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: June 22nd-26th, 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 »

30 Community Highlights: Otters to Pollinators. Wild Food to Aviation.

River otters, muskrats, and beavers live in the habitat along the Connecticut River! On Saturday, June 20 at 10:30am, the Sunderland Public Library invites children up to 8 years old and their caregivers to explore this habitat in depth. Participants will look for evidence of these animals and perhaps see the creatures themselves! 413-665-2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Otters to Pollinators. Strawberries to Wild Food. Solstice to Aviation… 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 spend Friday, June 19 from 12noon-10pm and Saturday, June 20 from 8am-12noon at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary (Holmes Road, Pittsfield, MA) participating in the 6th Annual Berkshire BioBlitz. The BioBlitz, which takes place over a full 24-hour period, invites the public, biologists, naturalists, and environmentalists to come together with the goal of identifying and cataloging all living species within Canoe Meadows. There will be experts on hand to assist with identification and teach about the different species found in the sanctuary, and there will be walks, talks, demonstrations, and more to engage participants and teach about local ecology and natural history. This is a unique and exciting free citizen science opportunity for the entire family – all ages can help look for plants, animals, and fungi and learn how to identify them. The BioBlitz will get the whole family interested in and excited about science, nature, and conservation. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)


Nature StudiesNative PollinatorsWild FoodHistoryAviationLibrary AdventuresArt AppreciationSTEMFilm StudiesFlora & FaunaLocal Food Festivals  ♦ Summer SolsticeDancing


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for June 20th-26th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As someone new to the area, Hilltown Families has been a great source of information for events going on in Western Mass that
my almost 3 year old (and his parents!) will enjoy, as well as stories that are of interest. I appreciate the balance of fun, community-service, and educational events discussed and promoted on the site. It is great to have a one-stop shop for this information!” – Laura D. (Amherst, 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

60 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from!!!

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

Jun 20

Relaunch of Heather Has Two Mommies with author Leslea Newman at Odyssey Bookshop on Saturday, June 20 at 11am. FREE. Published originally 25 years ago this beloved story has been found on the shelves of many different families. Once known as the most challenged book in America, Heather Has Two Mommies has been given new life with new updated text, colorful, sweet illustrations but the same heartfelt message that it is love, and love alone, that makes a family. Odyssey Bookshop welcomes Leslea Newman to celebrate the relaunch of this beautiful picture book. Kids encouraged to celebrate their families in drawings at kids craft table! Perfect for all ages. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St., South Hadley. RSVP required. Email RSVP@odysseybks.com

Jun 27

Join us for Franklin Land Trust’s 24th Annual Farm & Garden Tour on Saturday, June 27th from 10am-4pm. This is one day self-guided tour of the secret gardens, working farms and special places in Ashfield & Conway. Some highlights include: an off-the-grid home, bee yard, beautiful rock walls, wattle fence of alder whips, espaliered star magnolia, collection of heirloom roses (dating to the Roman Empire) an edible landscape, permaculture, herbs, habitats for native pollinators; one-of-a-kind barn artistically decorated with glass beads and jewelry, organic fruit farm and a country casual garden with easy care plants. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for non-members. $15 for a reserved luncheon. www.franklinlandtrust.org or 413-625-9151

Begins Jul 9

Dance this summer at The Center in Amherst! Enroll now for a 6 week session, starting Thursday, July 9th. In this 45 minute class for kids aged 2-6, 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.

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has Fall 2015 openings for pre-school and Kindergarten. Financial aid available! Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, confidence, and leadership, building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish and more. Young Toddler through Sixth Grade. For more information or to schedule a visit, please call 413-253-3101 or email Shelley Poreda, Director, at sporeda@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

Jun 27

Join us on Saturday, June 27 from 10am-12noon for a meaningful morning 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, June 27th, 10am-12noon, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. 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. 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
June 20th-26th, 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 »

Hilltowns Celebrate their History & the Season this Weekend

3 Hilltown Celebrations

As part of Ashfield’s 250 celebration, 396 rockets will light up the sky over Ashfield Lake on Friday, June 19, 2015 at 9pm! Preceded by a free potluck community supper at Town Fall and an afterparty at The Lakehouse. Other places to wine and dine include Elmer’s and Country Pie! Ashfield, MA (FREE)

This Father’s Day weekend in the Hilltowns, three communities celebrate the season and their history!

ASHFIELD

Ashfield is celebrating its 250th birthday this weekend! On Saturday, June 20, a fun-filled parade will traverse the streets with unicycles, antique vehicles, costumes, and many, many community organizations taking part, beginning at 10am.. Starts at the intersection of Emmett Rd & 116 in South Ashfield, goes through the center of town, and ends at Belding Park. Make a day of it by visiting the farmers’ market, enjoying food and music on the Common, and participating in a community and history scavenger hunt at 12:30pm. Folks can dance or clap along at a 2pm contra dance or visit the Ashfield Historical Society’s textile window displays. (FREE) Then from 6pm – 9pm is the Party Under the Stars, a great and festive community event where you can mingle with your friends and neighbors! There will be live music, food, and beverages. Advance ticket purchase recommended. 413-628-4441. Curtis House, 14 South Street. ($)

CHARLEMONT

Celebrate the 250th anniversary of the incorporation of Charlemont at this daylong event filled with fascinating local stories, songs, food, games, a scavenger hunt and entertainment on Saturday, June 20 from 9:30am – 8:30pm. 413-339-0117. Downtown. (FREE) Then on Sunday morning from 8-10am, there will be a a community pancake breakfast sponsored by the Friends of the Charlemont Fairgrounds. 413-625-2623. Town Fairgrounds ($)

BECKET

The summer solstice (June 21, 2015) marks the start of summer, the day on which the sun looks highest in the sky and the longest stretch of daylight of the year. Mark this special day at the Becket Arts Center‘s Summer Solstice Community Celebration, where visitors will enjoy an opening reception for a new art exhibit, children’s activities, a silent auction, food, and live music from Becket native, Bobby Sweet. 4pm – 9pm. 413-623-6635. 7 Brooker Hill Road (< $)

Learning Ahead: June 15th-19th, 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.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

31 Community Highlights: Cultural Chaos to Outdoor Sculptures. Edwardian Fashions to Bookbinding.

On Sunday, June 14 at 1pm, the Julia Poppins School of Cooking is offering a free workshop at Red Fire Farm on “Keeping Your Bounty Fresh.” Learn how to plan meals using fresh farm produce and how to store and use your farm produce. Adults and older students interested in local food and cooking can learn from this engaging and educational workshop! 7 Carver Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)

Old Mines to Historic Neighborhoods. Cultural Chaos to Outdoor Sculptures. Edwardian Fashions to Bookbinding… 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: SculptureNow and The Mount’s new outdoor exhibition opens on June 13, and there will be a free guided tour on Saturday, June 13 from 3pm-7pm. 26x28x50 features 26 sculptures by 28 regional and national artists, displayed over 50 acres on The Mount’s beautiful grounds and gardens. The exhibition features many unique sculptures made from a variety of materials, both natural and human-made. The artist-led guided tour is a wonderful opportunity to stroll the grounds of the property and learn about the large-scale sculptures – what materials were used, how they were made, how they were transported, how long it took to make them, and more. Students interested in sculpture can attend the free tour to see the works and ask questions about them. Call The Mount at 413-551-5100 for more information. The Mount. 413-551-5100. 2 Plunkett Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)


Garden-Based LearningGuided Walks & ToursBook ArtsCommunity CelebrationsFamily MusicContemporary ArtParent WorkshopCulinary Arts  ♦ Fashion HistoryCommunity SingLocal HistoryLibrary AdventuresCitizen ScientistParents’ Night Out


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for June 13th-19th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I read the blog posts by insightful parents, the weekly events and highlights. Without Hilltown Families, I would be unaware of almost every wonderful event organized by our community. Hilltown Families brings people out of their houses and out into the world: in doing so, our wider community is strengthened along with our individual families.” – Tricia L. (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.

Summer Camps in Western MA

60 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from!!!

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

Begins Jul 9

Dance this summer at The Center in Amherst! Enroll now for a 6 week session, starting Thursday, July 9th. In this 45 minute class for kids aged 2-6, 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.

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has Fall 2015 openings for pre-school and Kindergarten. Financial aid available! Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, confidence, and leadership, building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish and more. Young Toddler through Sixth Grade. For more information or to schedule a visit, please call 413-253-3101 or email Shelley Poreda, Director, at sporeda@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

Through Sep 6

This summer, experience Curious George – Let’s Get Curious!, the new blockbuster exhibit at the Springfield Museums! Follow George on his mischievous adventures through his neighborhood, a fully interactive construction site, a farmhouse, and even a rocket ship to the stars! Along the way, kids ages 3 through 7 will learn important math and science lessons to keep the learning going this summer. May 23- September 6 at the Springfield Science Museum. Parking is free. For more information, visit: www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jun 15- Jul 10

A special invitation to homeschoolers and young campers: Learn and have fun at Farm Camp at The Hartsbrook School! Hands-on activities include: feeding the goats, gathering eggs, wool carding and dying, finger knitting, butter and bread making. Support homeschool lessons in agriculture, crafts and sustainable living. Spaces are still open for “Young Farmers” (ages 5 ½ to 12) Jun 22-26. Spaces are also open for “Sprouts” (ages 4 to 5 ½) for all four weeks of camp, Jun 15-Jul 10. This younger group enjoys similar farm chores and crafts with their own early childhood teacher. Camp meets at The Hartsbrook School, 193 Bay Road, Hadley, MA. $390/week. To register www.hartsbrook.org or call 413-586-1908 x116.

Jun 27

Join us on Saturday, June 27 from 10am-12noon for a meaningful morning 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, June 27th, 10am-12noon, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. 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. 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
June 13th-19th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: June 8th-12th, 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 »

36 Community Highlights: RiverFest to Hackathon. Asparagus Festival to Fishing.

Celebrate a crop that is a big part of the Valley’s identity: asparagus! WGBY‘s annual Asparagus Festival invites everyone to the Hadley town common on Saturday, June 6 from 10am-5pm for live music, food and drink, a market of local produce and crafts, and an assortment of learning activities including games and cooking contests. There will also be a ticketed farm-to-table luncheon featuring unique asparagus dishes. Stop by the Hilltown Families tent to say hi! 800-781-9429. Route 9/Russell Street, Hadley, MA. (FREE)

RiverFest to Asparagus Festival. Fishing to Pickling. Hackathon to Heifers… 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:  Shelburne Falls RiverFest is an annual celebration of the Deerfield River that takes place June 5-7, with many different activities for all ages. Kick off the weekend with tours of Deerfield No. 4 Station on June 5 (1pm-5pm) and a screening of The Fantastic Mr. Fox at Pothole Pictures (7pm). On June 6, the streets of Shelburne Falls will be filled with live music and the Frog and Flower Parade. There will also be a birds of prey demonstration by Tom Ricardi, displays by the Deerfield River Watershed Association, rides on Trolley #10, fly-casting, a chance to visit the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, shopping, a performance by Medicine Mammals, dancers, and more. On June 7, there will be hikes led by the Deerfield River Watershed Association. Learn about and celebrate the Deerfield River and all the wonderful things Shelburne Falls has to offer at this annual, free event!


Community FestivalsLocal HistoryGeologyBird StudiesNature StudiesFishingCulinary ArtsSTEMBook ArtsCultural StudiesCollaborative ConsumptionFashion HistoryLiteracyPreschool HighlightsCommunity MealParents’ Night Out


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for June 6th-12th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Getting out of the house to events isn’t always easy, but finding out about them is! Most recently, Hilltown Families connected me with a group of parents who want to hike with their kids (little ones like mine!).” – Sara B. (Haydenville, 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

60 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from!!!

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

Through Sep 6

This summer, experience Curious George – Let’s Get Curious!, the new blockbuster exhibit at the Springfield Museums! Follow George on his mischievous adventures through his neighborhood, a fully interactive construction site, a farmhouse, and even a rocket ship to the stars! Along the way, kids ages 3 through 7 will learn important math and science lessons to keep the learning going this summer. May 23- September 6 at the Springfield Science Museum. Parking is free. For more information, visit: www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jun 6

On Saturday June 6, from 10am-4pm, catch the buzz at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst when they host their 10th annual Children’s Book Festival: Bees, Butterflies and Other Bugs. Meet artists and authors from The Western Massachusetts Illustrators’ Guild, and enjoy a full day of art activities, book signings, story times, face painting and bug-making! Activities include creating fabric bugs and bug collages to joining a bug dance workshop and learning about live butterflies. Enjoy a picnic in The Carle’s orchard with food from Foley’s Franks. Special guests include Tony and Angela DiTerlizzi. All activities are free with museum admission. Creative bug costumes are welcome! Visit www.carlemuseum.org for complete schedule.

Jun 6

Sprout Street Neighbors Launch Party with Anna Alter at Odyssey Bookshop, Saturday, June 6th at 3pm. FREE Take a stroll down Sprout Street and meet the neighbors as author/illustrator Anna Alter teaches you how a book is made with drawing demos and activities for kids. Bring your stuffed animal ‘neighbors’ and play as the Odyssey is transformed into a world inside the book. Acorn treats and silly activities for everyone! Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. RSVP required. Email RSVP@odysseybks.com

Jun 7

Join the fun on Sunday, June 7th for Valley Creates: Hadley. Four local artists are offering art and craft classes for the community at Stone Soup Farm in Hadley. Participants will choose classes and then work to create their own projects in papermaking, glass bead making, plastic bag fusing, and hammered metal jewelry. Youth Session (Ages 8-12) begins at 11am and is only $10 thanks to a generous Hadley Cultural Council grant, Adult Sessions (Ages 12+) begin at 1pm and 2:30pm. Take two classes for only $25. Preregistration is required at valleycreates.com. Sponsored by Hadley Parks and Rec and Artisans of WMASS.

Jun 15- Jul 10

A special invitation to homeschoolers and young campers: Learn and have fun at Farm Camp at The Hartsbrook School! Hands-on activities include: feeding the goats, gathering eggs, wool carding and dying, finger knitting, butter and bread making. Support homeschool lessons in agriculture, crafts and sustainable living. Spaces are still open for “Young Farmers” (ages 5 ½ to 12) Jun 22-26. Spaces are also open for “Sprouts” (ages 4 to 5 ½) for all four weeks of camp, Jun 15-Jul 10. This younger group enjoys similar farm chores and crafts with their own early childhood teacher. Camp meets at The Hartsbrook School, 193 Bay Road, Hadley, MA. $390/week. To register www.hartsbrook.org or call 413-586-1908 x116.

Jun 26- Jul 27

Share the local Hilltown summer experience with a student from Spain and receive a camp discount/voucher & stipend (Total $1,000). Students personally screened and placed in host families with children of same ages & interests to create a strong connection. Local organizers Joe Bock & Paula Garcia are always close-by & in touch to ensure a successful experience. Attending a camp during the stay? Better! Get a discount/rebate in addition to $700 stipend. Paperwork for student done/paid by organizers. Hosts also invited to Six Flags & New York City trip. Many references available. Great way to make a friend from Spain, have fun & represent the Hilltown community. Jun 26-Jul 27 joe.homestaysusa@gmail.com 413-203-1371 homestaysusa.org

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has Fall 2015 openings for pre-school and Kindergarten. Financial aid available! Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, confidence, and leadership, building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish and more. Young Toddler through Sixth Grade. For more information or to schedule a visit, please call 413-253-3101 or email Shelley Poreda, Director, at sporeda@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

Jun 27

Join us on Saturday, June 27 from 10am-12noon for a meaningful morning 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, June 27th, 10am-12noon, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. 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. 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
June 6th-12th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

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