The Ripple: Streamcrawling

Streamcrawling

When I started writing this column in 2011, I did so hoping to inspire readers to “make the world of rivers bigger than the world of pavement inside of you!” Rivers are all around us, but they don’t form as much a part of ourselves as roads do. Close your eyes again: can you see a river? How far can you follow it? Does it lead anywhere?

If we close our eyes, we can see roads. Try it yourself— for just a moment, close your eyes and visualize the way to Northampton, Pittsfield, Greenfield or Springfield from your front door. It’s not hard to see mental images of roads, is it? They just appear because they are engraved into our neural systems.

We carry the “environment” inside ourselves. The “environment” is part mental construction, part everything else.

This truth is self-evident, but—after studying the ways we comprehend and fit into the designs of nature for over thirty years—I have yet to read much, or participate in many discussions, about it. True: the concept of “nature deficit disorder” has gained currency, which is good; but, the larger issue of getting more than individuals over the disorder—and getting vast populations over it—can’t even be imagined yet. Individuals can take a long hike every couple of days, or garden, and get over it. But how do the people of NYC, or any other urban inhabitation on earth, get over it? Do these populations even want to get over it? Is there a candidate for public office anywhere running on a platform of ensuring that all citizens get over nature-deficit disorder? Is getting over it “good for the economy?” Can it be considered a “market-based solution?” Is there anyway that Wall St. investors can “financialize” the process, or corporations turn it into a product, or universities turn it into a hot new major? Read the rest of this entry »

6 Western MA Cross-Country Ski Resources

Nordic Skiing Connects Families to the Outdoors through Local Resources

With winter truly upon us here in western Massachusetts, families are gearing up for ski season! Take advantage of the many properties and trail systems catering to cross-country skiing during the winter months, including Notchview in Windsor. Families can find lessons, equipment rentals, and opportunities to explore the wintry landscape by tapping into local resources for cross-country skiing!

With its roots lying in the snowy winters of Scandinavia, cross-country skiing has been a competitive sport since as early as the 18th century. Though cross-country techniques certainly have changed over the past two and a half centuries, the sport itself has become a winter standard all around the world. Here in western Massachusetts, cross-country skiers enjoy numerous trail systems and, generally, snow-filled winters that offer a long season of skiing within a beautiful landscape.

Distinctly different from downhill skiing in both structure and purpose, cross-country skiing utilizes much narrower skis than downhill, and uses boots that attach to skis only at the toe – thus creating a piece of equipment that is the skiing equivalent of speed skating’s clap skate. Cross country skiers strive sometimes for speed, but aim more to cover great distances than to zip through courses. Of course, competitive cross-country skiing combines both of these elements (top speeds and long trails), but recreational skiing emphasizes distance rather than speed.

Accessible to skiers of all ages and abilities, cross-country skiing is a favorite winter activity locally. Skiers young, old, inexperienced, and expert can take advantage of local trail systems, equipment rentals, classes, and special community events in order to experience the magic that cross-country skiing adds to a western Massachusetts winter!  Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Carrying the Ocean Inside

We Carry the Ocean Inside Us

A few days ago, when the East Branch of the Westfield River was shrouded in warm drizzly fog, it occurred to me that I was in a giant breathing lung. Every breath I inhaled was as wet as what I exhaled. My exposed skin was wet, too, with mist, and the tips of the wool threads of the sweater I wore held glistening beads of water that matched the droplets hanging from delicate branch tips.

Amphibians must feel this way, I reckoned, but even more so—for, unlike us warm-bloods, they breathe through their skins. I’ve walked with kids who reprimand other kids for picking up newts and frogs, because our skin oils clog the breath-pores of their cool, moist lung-bodies. That’s sensitivity, the kind that makes me hopeful. Whom ever is teaching these kids deserves a high five!

Way way back in time, about 390-360 million years ago, fish with gills and lungs crawled out of the water and onto land. It is hard to grasp such a length of time—or is it? Most of the colorful rocks that comprise the Westfield’s riverbed are about that old. Our lungs, the breath we’re breathing this very instant, can be traced back to these miraculous walking fish. Gills extract oxygen directly from water; somehow they managed to reverse the engineering of their gills, and created within them a sort of mini ocean, an inner sea, where atmospheric oxygen could be turned into sea-water: and that sea-water is our blood. Our lungs are 90% water, and our blood 80%. Somehow, the walking fishes brought the ocean onto land, by keeping it inside of themselves. And—think of the taste of sweat when it drips onto the tongue—that is exactly what we do today.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Ancient River Friends

Freshwater Sponges: A Most Ancient and Wonderful River Friend

Of all the river beings who remind us of the unity of our highlands and our beaches, the most startling is the lime-green freshwater sponge that you sometimes encounter downstream of swamps and beaver dams. I am always blown away when we meet each other around here, not only because they are most venerable of the multi-celled river beings, but also because you’ll find that they are not documented as living around here yet!

The leaves are falling again, and soon enough we’ll view without obstruction the muscular bodies of our hills and valleys.

I think of geology when I see our biome bared: the thermochemical transformations that over eons have given us our sandy happy valleys and smooth rounded granite ridges.

400 million years ago our mountains were the first and tallest in what is now North America; 200 million years ago the subterranean lava leaks that are now Mt Holyoke and Mt Tom were spluttering; 90 million years ago the Atlantic Ocean formed, splitting North America off from what is now Europe and Africa; and very recently, only 13,000 years ago, the Laurentian Ice Sheet crushed the mountains into boulders and pebbles, then melted and those waterfalls and rivers spewed the grits out into the ocean, where they formed Long Island and Cape Cod. Yes—the sands of P-town come from here, where we live!  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 »

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 »

The Ripple: Cheering on our Native Trout!

Native Trout vs. Finned-Zombies: the Essential Difference

More than ever our rivers—and other river-lovers—need us. The Massachusetts Department of Ecological Restoration has published a list & calendar of river-helping opportunities. This local offering is a perfect way for those of us who want to do something, to do it!

Purples, reds and greens thrown high like hard candies, caught by each branch tip that shakes in the soft warming breeze;
our winter dun hills flare up in their pointillist fervors, a rolling canvas of vivacious colors that blend and bleed and swarm ‘til we can’t see the ridgelines or hollows;
hawks and falcons and eagles circle above our busy ant movements in parking lots, farm fields and backyards;
sweet tulips burst and bend over, taking their bows:
the snow melts and sugarings are suddenly memories;
and amorous fish arrive from far out at sea, crowding the rumbling spillways of Holyoke Dam, hoping to catch a ride on a world-famous elevator, so they may have babies upriver where their parents once did.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: The Living Land Wants to Play

Our Bodies of Water

The land is an organism, wrote Aldo Leopold, the Yale-trained game management specialist, about seventy-five years ago. An organism is alive, and its life is made up of the contributions of disparate organs, each of which would be lifeless without the collaborations of all the others.

The idea—actually fact—that land is an organism is, of course, an ancient one, as venerable as our anthropomorphic figure of “mother earth.” Leopold’s work, especially his classic book A Sand County Almanac, reveals how he struggled through his education in empirical science to prove something that we, as a species, have felt and known for eons. If Plato was correct, and knowledge is remembering something we have forgotten, then Leopold stands as a vibrant example of a knowledgeable person. His experience of translating the wisdom of our ancient ancestors into the lexicon of science is one that anybody who loves and tries to protect land knows well. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Getting Beyond the Dam

Life Will Return to Our Rivers!

The challenge we (who value these nonhuman lives) face is to turn the immense powers we have to obstruct life into powers that liberate it.

Sweet as maple syrup, the thaw is coming.

Sea lamprey, shad, herring, alewives, eels, sturgeon and the last of the salmon: all are sensing it, as they swim far offshore in the (comparatively) warm ocean. Exactly how they sense the return of Spring remains unknown, even to the brightest marine biologist; but our lack of comprehension, alone, will not prevent their return. Our dams will.

Every dam we remove increases the chances that our native anadromous fish—and all the other creatures (birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles) that feed upon them—will thrive. For this reason, I long ago joined the Connecticut River Watershed Council, which has a laudable record of success in removing the obstructions that block fish passage.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Listen to the Story of the River

The Importance of Escaping to the River

Be adventurous and skirt the edge, but do be careful; use snowshoes, stay clear of ice jams, and have a friend close by if you can’t resist walking in spots that clogged with frozen floes.

A walk alongside one or our rivers is a walk with a companion, even when alone. Cares of the world will ping pong and even hornet in the head ‘til settled by rushing water. Give a river a chance, when one’s thoughts have quieted down: listen—it tells a story, and like every really good story, it draws us out of our heads and into another.

Asked how I began to love rivers so much, I recall how as a lad I’d scoot to the flow whenever things stagnated, or became too crazed, in a house with three brothers. No matter the boredom or conflict I escaped from, the river—Silvermine river it is—settled the ping pongs in my head by providing fresh and loud sensations, and endless opportunities for adventure. Rafting down it in cold April floods, in cheap inflatable pool rafts that punctured instantly (unless steered by experienced skippers), introduced me to hyperthermia, blue lips and the need to pack hot chocolate in thermos.’ (We wore cotton back then, and I remember shivering for hours like a wet cat on an iceberg. The experience toughened me up, and made me realize that dressing correctly makes all the difference between teeth gritting and laughing when on the adventure. To this day, I dress so I when sleep in snowdrifts, I purr.) Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: The Survival Instinct of the Sea Lamprey Endures…for 460,000,000 years

Why I Love Sea Lampreys

Sea Lampreys: A lot to love, and even more to admire.

Our rivers—the Westfield and the Connecticut—are alive. They could be more alive than they are, but the Holyoke and Turners Falls dams on the Connecticut and the West Springfield dam on the Westfield prevent that vivacity. These dams make anadromous fish (that spend part of their lives in fresh water and another part in salt water) go extinct.

I have wondered how it is that people can allow these extinctions to happen, without feeling absolute horror and guilt, and preventing any more of them. One reason is that we don’t know why their lives are valuable. Read the rest of this entry »

Western Mass Winter Brings Tracking Opportunities

Some of Nature May Nest but Signs of Movement Remain to be Explored

During the cold months of winter, many of the creatures often seen during the rest of the year have migrated south, are tucked away in burrows for most of the winter, or have become even better at hiding so as not to be easily spotted against the snow. But their signs are still there and a lot of fun searching for! Looking for signs like tracks, scat, dens, and nests is a fun and educational way to learn about the habits of wildlife living near you. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Short Guide to River Movies

Rivers in Reels: Short Guide to River Movies

A classic film set on the Potomac River…a river mighty enough to hold two film icons.

Witch hazel crane over Halloween rivers, their branchtips glowing with yellow blossoms—tassled tiny chandeliers of color, calling for sensitive notice. Catch one in the sunlight; examine the blaze that pops vibrant against the drab of forest dun and river dark. Rivers seem darker when leaves have fallen down. Soon the tiny chandeliers of the hazel will drop, too, into the flow to spin and drift and sail away deep into the frosty months of winter. Soon enough, water will show us its sterner self, as snow and ice will be with us.

Still a few weeks where we might catch some peace in a warm little microclime beside a Hilltown river: yet there’s no fighting it; it’s time for us to retreat from the outdoors a bit, and pull back into our shells of home and work. And imagination.

When it gets cold in the coming weeks, light a fire and let yourself go on a voyage on a river—at least, a voyage of imagination and feeling. Rivers are real as the rain, but they are also imagined. I love imagining rivers, and of experiencing what others have imagined, too. Rivers are always apparent; they don’t hide. But they are inscrutable and relentless, always a mystery.

Here are a few of my favorite river movies, starting with the child friendly titles then moving into PG13-land:  Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Your Local River is Alive…and Waiting

Touch the River and It’ll Touch You

The Connecticut River is the lifeblood of the Pioneer Valley.

Thinking of how important it is for nature-lovers to spend time “being in” nature, the conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote: “We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in.”

Ethics involve what we judge to be right or wrong; and Leopold is correct: if we are to be ethical—if we are to wisely judge the rightness or wrongness of a thing—we need to have a direct experience of it. It’s easy to forget that a river is alive, and has a life that is valuable unless, from time to time, you touch it. Unless we touch the river, we can’t understand enough about it to be ethical towards it.

Rivers have always provided humans with perfect places to live, whether it be the nhà sông of Vietnam, the chickee hut of the Mississippi shrimp catcher, or the highrise of a hedgefund manager towering over the Hudson. We’ve always been attracted to rivers because they, of all landscape features, are the most alive: kinetic in movement and full of creatures. There is a big difference between viewing a river, though, and touching it. I want you to touch a river this month if you haven’t lately—and let that river be the Connecticut, which flows for over 400 miles from just over the Canadian border to Long Island Sound.

One way to touch the Connecticut River is to volunteer to assist the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s Source to Sea Clean-up, scheduled for Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27, 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Squelching through Wetlands Reveals Nature at its Most Natural

The Beauty and Ickyness of Upland Wetlands

Thanks to wetlands, mountain rivers should be clear while valley rivers like the Connecticut can resemble a river of milk chocolate.

Last week, I stood by the side of the East Branch of the Westfield River in Chesterfield with a group of intrepid explorers, astonished by the gasp and growl of its raging flood waters. “Where’s Augustus Gloop?” I heard someone ask; “He would love all this hot chocolate!”

Laden with brown soils that had eroded from roadsides, construction sites and fields upstream, the river did look like it was made by Willy Wonka. A wild and scenic river like the East Branch of the Westfield should not look like hot chocolate because of its federally-registered conservation status, and the fact that there is little development in the hilltowns. And yet here was unmistakable proof that torrential rain on vegetation-less lands was causing extensive erosion. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Lifeline Waterways

River Trees

Make the world of rivers bigger than the world of pavement inside of you!

Imagine—by float, boat or walking, you’re in the river as it wends past farmland, backyards and woods, through plains, valleys and gorges. After an hour, the initial thrill of united movement, of flesh and water and flow, has passed, and so have the conversations. The river begins to insinuate your skin and re-network your synapses; you start thinking like a river. Feel the expansion.

Hear the river sound; its voice (like ours) combines the everything it passes through, and that passes through it (for it breathes and eats with its mouth open): the more obstructions, the more turbulence; the more turbulence, the louder the growl. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: When I Jump into Your Flow

When I Jump into Your Flow

When I jump into your flow
You’ll take me wherever you go
ever you go, ever you go
You’ll take me wherever you go

Flow.

We’re in one, and sucked into bigger flows that swept into bigger flows. And on and on. Minnows circling in eddies. In white water, stonefly nymphs cling to stone. Anadromous fish are making their way up whatever tributaries aren’t dammed, and being watched and counted at Holyoke and Turners Falls dams. Visit them, because their populations are declining and might soon vanish—just 397 Blueback Herring, for example, have passed Holyoke Dam as of May 21st.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: The Cure For All Things Pavement

The Cure for All Things Pavement

Make the world of rivers bigger than the world of pavement inside of you! Tuning into this “wheel of time” is one way that we leave our pavement-based perception of place. If you are lucky, you’ll get to see mergansers, a sort of river loon, as they hunt for the same trout that are hunting the invertebrates.

Before there were roads, there were trails and before there were trails, there were rivers. The Nile and the Mississippi—can you see Cleopatra and Huck & Jim making their ways on these liquid highways? Have you heard the tale (more or less true) of how Native Americans followed the paths of deer that traveled up and down food-rich riparian corridors; and that Routes 5 & 7 were laid over such paths?

Once upon a time, people knew their places from the perspective of the river; and what is so wonderful is that this perspective is still available to those who pine for a way of seeing, and being, that is not pavement-based. This summer, you could float down the Deerfield or Connecticut Rivers—and you ought to!—but floating down means that you’ve already driven up it. Nothing wrong with that; in fact it can’t be avoided given our moment in time; but the proper way to get the feeling and the vision of being placed in a biome is to head upstream, like the Atlantic Shad are doing right now. (Reminder: the operators of the Holyoke and Turner’s Falls dams open their anadromous fish viewing stations around Mother’s Day, and—despite the fact that both dams are causing extinctions—they are worth visiting.)

If you want to change the way you and your family view your “place” by leaving the pavement and making your way up a river valley, you are lucky! Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Celebrate the Shortnose Sturgeon!

Our Friend, the Shortnose Sturgeon

Short-nosed sturgeon

Since the Atlantic Salmon was declared extinct in the Connecticut River two years ago, I have wandered the river banks with students, wondering what a healthy living river is like. That the Shortnose has survived under such duress, with such poor assistance provided by humans, made us love it—because it expresses the brisk vitality that remains in that 400 mile waterbody. The Shortnose does not give up, and neither should we. Before we lose this last clan entirely, let us try to assist it, and raise the Shortnose’s image and story to the forefront of our biocultural awareness. Let this environmental-adapter epitomize us and our still beautiful Nonotuck biome, at this moment of epochal transition.


Spring equinox has passed and the great thaw is underway, turning greys into green and silence to chansons. Have you enjoyed the cold (as much as the otters, who fished the icy pools)? The ice it brought let us walk rivers and tributaries as if they were sidewalks, and grand boulevards. What a wonderful feeling!

The perspective gained by walking above the river was as rare as the record-breaking weather that enabled it. Seeing the way trees lower, extend and up-curl their limbs over the water, to catch the sun on each yearning pinkytip; and noticing deep punctures of buck hoof puzzled over by bobcat pads as wide, soft and light as hamburger buns—such perceptions awaken dormant parts of human being, sparking awareness of how lucky we are when we find time to unplug. Despite the best attempts of technologists to rewire us, we’re wild; and, when we step into places without signs or brands or passwords, a brisk vivacity and slight confusion welcomes us, and matches our character, as Shakespeare made plain in this description of some dukes chillin’ in the forest of Arden: Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: The River Will Rise

The River Will Rise

Bridge remains at Chesterfield Gorge. (Photo credit (c) Sienna Wildfield)

This shivery month of melt, please bring your family to the upper neck of the Chesterfield Gorge and look across the Westfield River. You’ll see a twenty-foot tall stone wall tower— the remains of an old colonial bridge, a massive abutment built in 1769 by meticulous stackers of dark granite schist.

I remember looking at it a few years ago, marveling at the brawn and artistry of the backwoods engineers who made it. They must have believed their incredible backaches were worth it, that their bridge would stand for centuries, and they and their progeny would make a living collecting tolls where hemlocks now cluster and choke.

Over two hundred years have gone by, the bridge is long gone and the road it extended is a deer and porcupine highway. Another two more centuries will go by, I imagined then, and the abutment will remain unstaggered, a gratifying, even beautiful, example of our manipulation of the biome to achieve economic goals. And aside from this, I thought, the imperturbability of the stacked stone next to the swift and crashing rapids is, itself, a story that offers a lesson… Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: How Rivers Still Flow When It’s Way Below

Ice-Walking Bugs, and the Lessons They Teach Us

(Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield)

For the next two months or so, if the weather isn’t too bizarre, we’ll be knee deep in snow, and our rivers and streams will be flowing beneath their softest, whitest blankets, like restless kids dreaming of bodysurfing at the beach. When it’s really really cold outside, the river becomes the warmest part of the biome—kinda like our beds become the warmest part of the house when the frost creeps over the windows.

A few weeks ago, when the temp was in single digits, I saw bathtub steam rising off the Westfield River. In the squeaky-snow brilliance of the unclouded morning, more vitality in a deep breath than a whole pot of coffee, I had a flashback of some Rocky Mountain hotsprings, arrived at after two days of backcountry snowshoeing and skiing. Like a chrome grasshopper off the top of an ear, a gleaming sliver of myself leapt to that river steam, magnetized by the delicious feeling drifting in the wavering mist: of the coincidence of opposites, wet/dry hot/cold, manifesting as a high country hottub, as exclusive and elegant as they come. I wanted to jump into this fantasy, but didn’t—because I knew that water was so cold that it burns… Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Gifts Under the Hemlock

Gift to Receive by Being Present

Our hills are gemmed with gifts—receive them by being present!For the next few months, the deep chills of winter will freeze our higher elevation watercourses—and invite us to wander in a winter wonderland.

Few places are more “Christmas-y” than our snow-laden hemlock forests; and since hemlocks love shallow wet soils and grow near bouldery brooks and streams, they beckon us, who yearn to be present when and where our biome most clearly expresses its unique vivacity. Snow settles on their dark green needles, very “zen” if you see it that way, and Currier and Ives, if that’s what you’re looking for. Snow settles on needles anyway it wants, of course—and being with those we love when the crow lands and shakes the hemlock and spills the sprinkles that glisten in sun above the brook is magical. Most of the holiday advertising we are deluged by tries to convey what is freely offered by our own hills—receive the gift, by wrapping up and presenting yourself to the hemlocks and their hidden icy grottoes… Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Rivers and Experiential Learning

Biophilia: Love of Life

When I walked with my children along and in Stonehouse Brook, I let them play, for it was crucial that they engage the brook at their own pace and comfort level. My job was simply to ensure they didn’t get hurt—but I let them slip and fall in, so they would learn how not to do that. I let them wade a little too deep so they could feel the muscular strength of water flow, and allowed them to get carried away so they would learn how to recover their feet, balance and stance.

When my daughters (now 15 and 17) were little, their most magical place was Stonehouse Brook, a lively watercourse that tumbled down from pine and oak headlands. From the age they could walk by themselves until the era of afterschool sports, they were all mine and I used our time together to live halfway indoors and halfway outdoors. I, and my wife, did this because we were concerned that their cognitive development would be shunted if their senses and their consciousness were not stimulated and challenged. For this purpose, Stonehouse Brook was perfect; it was intimate and not overwhelming, and it was very alive.

Biophilia is a word that means love of life and the person who coined it, evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson, did so because he noticed that we have an innate attraction to other living beings… Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: River Therapy

Take Me To The River

(Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

I really love looking at pictures of people enjoying rivers. Lakes, ponds, pools and the ocean: these are great, but (with the exceptions of oceans) they are stagnant. I do love oceans, yet they’re too big to get a handle on and—dare I say it—beaches get boring.

Rivers, on the other hand, are dynamic and have tons of personality (Our rapid biotic assessments show us how different they are.). When we get near them after escaping buildings and cars, we experience a liberating emotional release—as Ray Davies so perfectly captures in the song, “Sitting by the Riverside” by The Kinks.

Whether it’s a leap of joy and dash to the edge, or a stoical surrender of complex thoughts to the onward round-the-bend flow, or a bright flash of sensory expansion as one is enveloped in a fresh kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and smells…People like to take pictures of themselves and their friends when they are next to rivers, and these kinds of emotional states are recorded…

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for October 12th-18th, 2013

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Ashfield Fall Festival

Ashfield Fall Festival is every Columbus Day weekend! A great small town festival to attend with your family, taking in Hilltown culture on the town common in Ashfield, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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. Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Oct 12

Do you love Llamas? Have you read Llama Llama Red Pajama? Would you like to meet the author? Anna Dewdney, author of the New York Times bestselling Llama Llama series reads from her newest tale, Llama, Llama and The Bully Goat on Saturday, October 12th at 4pm. This time Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn’t sure what to do. Enjoy a storytime-read aloud from the author herself after which she will sign books. The fun won’t end there! Activities, sweet treats and a REAL LLAMA will be present! Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA, 01075. 413-534-7307 www.odysseybks.com

Oct 14, 20 & 27

October at Hayloft Studio in Whatley, MA.Monday, 10/14 or Sunday, 10/27: Extreme Pumpkin Carving-Create a wicked scene upon your pumpkins. Learn basic carving and safety skills, as well as design and illuminating effects. Bring your own pumpkins. All ages. Children under 8 with adult. Sunday, 10/20: Day of the Dead Workshop-Learn Mexican Day of the Dead traditions while decorating sugar skulls & making Catrina dolls. Sugar skulls are decorated in memory of departed loved ones using icing, beads, feathers, etc. Catrina dolls are an icon of the joyful memories of the dead in Mexican traditions. Make Catrina dolls by recycling white plastic bags. All ages. All workshops are from 10am-2pm & $20. Go to www.darcytozier.com or email darcytozier@gmail.com

Oct 18-19, 24-26

The Doll People is a brand new children’s musical adapted for the stage by Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner. Based on the beloved series by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, it will receive its world premiere in Theatre 14 at Smith College in Northampton, MA, on October 18 at 8PM, and will continue to show at 8PM on October 19, 24, and 25. There will also be a matinee performance on Saturday, October 26, at 2PM. Tickets can be purchased over the phone at 413-585-ARTS (2787) or online at www.smith.edu/smitharts. The Box Office window is open October 14 to October 18 from 1-4 PM, October 21 to 25 from 1-4 PM, and one hour before all posted show times. Call to inquire about a group rate for schools, libraries, and community centers.

Deadline Oct 18

The Ashfield Local Goods Fundraiser to benefit Sanderson Academy is here! This is the perfect opportunity to purchase locally made gifts for the holidays while supporting education. Find unique, creative and practical items from Hilltown vendors such as handmade jewelry, pottery, books by local authors, maple syrup, gift certificates for restaurants and more! Go to www.ashfieldlocalgoods.com to view the catalog and download an order form. Deadline for orders is October 18th and needs to be returned to Sanderson Academy. Items will be ready for pick up at the Free Ice Cream Social and Distribution Event on November 16th between 9:30am and Noon at Sanderson Academy, located at 808 Cape Street in Ashfield. Call 413-628-4404 with questions.

Oct 19

Don’t miss the UMass Homecoming Hockey Tailgate & Stockbridge Pumpkin Festival, Saturday, October 19 from 4:00-6:30 p.m. at UMass Amherst near the Mullins Center. Free family fun includes music, children’s crafts, bounce houses, a mobile arcade and more! Have a great time carving pumpkins at the Stockbridge Pumpkin Festival. Pumpkins are $7 for kids and $10 for adults, with proceeds benefiting student scholarships. Grab some traditional tailgate fare at the BBQ tent including burgers & hot dogs fresh off the grill, coleslaw, fruit salad, chips and lemonade. UMass Hockey vs. Michigan State starts at 7 p.m. Ticket Pricing: $12 BBQ (kids 5 & under eat free), $20 BBQ+game, $60 4BBQ+4game. 800-456-8627 or alumni@admin.umass.edu for more info.

Oct 20

The Academy at Charlemont hosts an Open House for prospective students and families, October 20 from 1 to 3 PM on the campus at 1359 Route 2 in Charlemont. Meet teachers, students and current parents to learn about our community and program for Grades 7 to 12. At The Academy, everyone learns, everyone plays, and everyone matters. Rigorous and creative education in a nurturing community, governed by an Honor Code that works! Find details and register at www.charlemont.org.

Oct 24

Mammography is the best way to find breast cancer in its earliest stages when a cure is most likely and the treatment choices are greater. Breast cancer is the second most prevalent form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death (after lung cancer) among American women. Breast tomosynthesis has revolutionized breast cancer screening. In Breast Tomosynthesis: What, Why and How, Mansi Saksena, MD, discusses the technique, effectiveness, and applications of breast tomosynthesis. Attend a free lecture, Thursday, Oct. 24, 6–7 pm at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Registration is required at www.cooley-dickinson.org/classes or (888) 554-4CDH (234).

Dec 6-8

The LEGO® KidsFest is a giant traveling LEGO expo coming to Hartford, CT at the Connecticut Convention Center from December 6-8. This hands-on, educational, all-ages LEGO extravaganza features millions of LEGO bricks, not to mention lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays, LEGO Friends and LEGO Games, group builds such as Creation Nation, live LEGO Master Builders, and so much more covering three acres of space. There are five identical sessions available. Tickets are $18 for kids and $20 for adults. For more information and to purchase tickets, log on to www.LEGOKidsFest.com.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your afterschool class, community event, open house, auditions,homeschool program, community event, workshop, school, wellness program or business 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 enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Hilltown Families is hosting another Kids’ Winter Wear Swap at the Meekins Library on Saturday morning, October 26th from 9:30-11am. Free and open to all families with children of all ages!

JOIN 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 hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

FEATURED COMMUNITY BUILDING EVENTS


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
October 12th-18th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closings

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for October 5th-11th, 2013

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Fall festivals are in full swing, including the Conway Festival of the Hills taking place this Sunday, October 6th. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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. Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Oct 5, Nov 2 & Dec 14

Chandler’s Restaurant Kid’s Cooking Class is an opportunity for parents and their children to explore the craft of cooking in a no pressure setting utilizing ingredients and utensils safe and accessible to kids. Classes will be structured so as to provide ample opportunities for children to be involved in most of the preparation. The classes are held at 10:30am with lunch to follow. October 5th will be a cider making demonstration, November 2nd is lasagna and on December 14th the kids will be making gingerbread houses! $25 per child includes instruction, lunch, and complimentary lunch for one accompanying parent. Space is limited; call 413-665-1277 for reservations. For more information visit chandlers.yankeecandle.com. South Deerfield, MA.

Oct 6

Visit the Springfield Museums on Sunday, October 6 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. for their “Family Fiesta,” featuring the musical group Surcari and an appearance by “everyone’s favorite girl explorer.” Visitors can also enjoy the new exhibit, Fiesta: Flora and Fauna from Puerto Rico, and a variety of hands-on activities. Admission to all four Springfield Museums and the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden is $15 adults, $10 seniors/college students, $8 children 3-17, and free for children under three and museum members. General admission is free for Springfield residents with proof of address. For information, call 413-263-6800 or visit www.springfieldmuseums.org. Sponsored by Baystate Health with funding from the TD Charitable Foundation.

Oct 6

Conway Festival of the Hills – Sunday, October 6th. One of the best fall festivals around! Like their page on Facebook. The Festival has something for everyone – Covered Bridge Classic Road Race, kids activities (hill slide, hay maze, petting zoo, pony rides, and more), food (ice cream, baked goodies, fresh cider, and more), craft fair with many vendors, art exhibit and book sale, author signing with numerous local authors, live bands and music all day, Festival Parade at 1 p.m., Conway Historical Society open house, and the heralded Log Splitting and Skillet Toss competitions. 10am – 4pm. Free. Center of Conway, MA.

Deadline Oct 18

The Ashfield Local Goods Fundraiser to benefit Sanderson Academy is here! This is the perfect opportunity to purchase locally made gifts for the holidays while supporting education. Find unique, creative and practical items from Hilltown vendors such as handmade jewelry, pottery, books by local authors, maple syrup, gift certificates for restaurants and more! Go to www.ashfieldlocalgoods.com to view the catalog and download an order form. Deadline for orders is October 18th and needs to be returned to Sanderson Academy. Items will be ready for pick up at the Free Ice Cream Social and Distribution Event on November 16th between 9:30am and Noon at Sanderson Academy, located at 808 Cape Street in Ashfield. Call 413-628-4404 with questions.

Add some STEAM to your child’s education in science and art! Kathryn Roszko, a functional stoneware potter of CyclePottery in Hatfield, is offering basic wheel throwing techniques for all ages. Adults & children can learn a new art skill, pottery, while mastering the physics of wheel throwing techniques. Parent/Child, girls’ night out, workshop with a friend, homeschool classes… there are all options, it’s up to you! Only four wheels, individualized attention, and great introductory rates for customized one day workshops, mini-sessions and more! Make your own bowls and mugs together or individually. More info at www.CyclePottery.com; kathryn@cyclepottery.com; 413-219-9594

Oct 12

Do you love Llamas? Have you read Llama Llama Red Pajama? Would you like to meet the author? Anna Dewdney, author of the New York Times bestselling Llama Llama series reads from her newest tale, Llama, Llama and The Bully Goat on Saturday, October 12th at 4pm. This time Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn’t sure what to do. Enjoy a storytime-read aloud from the author herself after which she will sign books. The fun won’t end there! Activities, sweet treats and a REAL LLAMA will be present! Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA, 01075. 413-534-7307 www.odysseybks.com

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your afterschool class, community event, open house, auditions,homeschool program, community event, workshop, school, wellness program or business 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 enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

JOIN 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 hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

FEATURED COMMUNITY BUILDING EVENTS


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
October 5th-11th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closings

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for September 28th-October 4th, 2013

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Last week an energetic group of Hilltown Families’ citizen scientists and Kurt Heidinger, Executive Director of Biocitizen, conducted our fourth annual rapid biotic assessment of the Westfield River in West Chesterfield.

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. Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Oct 5, Nov 2 & Dec 14

Chandler’s Restaurant Kid’s Cooking Class is an opportunity for parents and their children to explore the craft of cooking in a no pressure setting utilizing ingredients and utensils safe and accessible to kids. Classes will be structured so as to provide ample opportunities for children to be involved in most of the preparation. The classes are held at 10:30am with lunch to follow. October 5th will be a cider making demonstration, November 2nd is lasagna and on December 14th the kids will be making gingerbread houses! $25 per child includes instruction, lunch, and complimentary lunch for one accompanying parent. Space is limited; call 413-665-1277 for reservations. For more information visit chandlers.yankeecandle.com. South Deerfield, MA.

Oct 6

Visit the Springfield Museums on Sunday, October 6 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. for their “Family Fiesta,” featuring the musical group Surcari and an appearance by “everyone’s favorite girl explorer.” Visitors can also enjoy the new exhibit, Fiesta: Flora and Fauna from Puerto Rico, and a variety of hands-on activities. Admission to all four Springfield Museums and the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden is $15 adults, $10 seniors/college students, $8 children 3-17, and free for children under three and museum members. General admission is free for Springfield residents with proof of address. For information, call 413-263-6800 or visit www.springfieldmuseums.org. Sponsored by Baystate Health with funding from the TD Charitable Foundation.

Add some STEAM to your child’s education in science and art! Kathryn Roszko, a functional stoneware potter of CyclePottery in Hatfield, is offering basic wheel throwing techniques for all ages. Adults & children can learn a new art skill, pottery, while mastering the physics of wheel throwing techniques. Parent/Child, girls’ night out, workshop with a friend, homeschool classes… there are all options, it’s up to you! Only four wheels, individualized attention, and great introductory rates for customized one day workshops, mini-sessions and more! Make your own bowls and mugs together or individually. More info at www.CyclePottery.com; kathryn@cyclepottery.com; 413-219-9594

Dec 6-8

The LEGO® KidsFest is a giant traveling LEGO expo coming to Hartford, CT at the Connecticut Convention Center from December 6-8. This hands-on, educational, all-ages LEGO extravaganza features millions of LEGO bricks, not to mention lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays, LEGO Friends and LEGO Games, group builds such as Creation Nation, live LEGO Master Builders, and so much more covering three acres of space. There are five identical sessions available. Tickets are $18 for kids and $20 for adults. For more information and to purchase tickets, log on to www.LEGOKidsFest.com.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your afterschool class, community event, open house, auditions,homeschool program, community event, workshop, school, wellness program or business 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 enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

JOIN 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 hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

On Sunday, September 29th from 1pm-4pm, the Hilltown Village will offer a free volunteer training at the Village Congregational Church, 32 Main St. in Cummington.  Hilltown Village prepares volunteers to provide weekly home visits during the first 3 months after a baby is born. A family is matched with a volunteer who visits the family home on a weekly basis. Home visits may include preparing meals, washing dishes, providing companionship, playing with older children, and helping in other ways that a good neighbor or extended family might.  Train to be a volunteer. For more info contact Anna Westley, Family & Volunteer Coordinator, at 413-625-6948 or Anna@MotherwellDoulaCare.comwww.itavillage.info.

FEATURED COMMUNITY BUILDING EVENTS


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
September 28th-October 4th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closings

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Engaging as Citizen Scientists Along the River

Hilltown Families Citizen Scientists
4th Annual Assessment of the Westfield River

A few days ago a friend of mine, the talented Northfield potter Tom White, posted a Facebook picture of himself holding a wild King Salmon he caught in Pulaski, NY, on the Salmon River near Lake Erie.

That’s what 30 pounds of pure aquatic vitality looks like—and once upon a time our CT, Westfield and Deerfield rivers were teeming with their cousins, the Atlantic Salmon, that were declared extinct last year by the National Fish and Wildlife Service.

This past Friday, Hilltown Families Founder, Sienna Wildfield, and an energetic group of Hilltown Families citizen scientists and I conducted our fourth annual rapid biotic assessment of the Westfield River in West Chesterfield, and we marveled at how alive this beautiful watercourse is! Consistent with the two assessments we’ve done since hurricane Irene, we found that the populations of crab-like bugs has shrunken while the worm-types have increased (Compare assessments: 2011 & 2013).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Though we would like to find a wide variety of river bugs, because biodiversity is a sure sign of ecological health, we did catch five types of the “most wanted” cold-water oxygen-loving bugs. They signaled that the Westfield River continues to enjoy “exceptional water quality,” the highest of EPA rankings. YAY!

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for September 21st-27th, 2013

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Discover the wonderful world of honey and honey bees at Warm Colors Apiary’s annual Honey Festival this Saturday in South Deerfield, 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. Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Sep 21

Eric Carle Book Signing! Join The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art this Saturday, Sept 21st at 10am (Members: 9am) in Amherst as it welcomes back their co-founder Eric Carle. Be the first to get his new book, Friends, at a special pre-launch book signing for his fans in the Pioneer Valley! Come buy a copy, meet Eric Carle in person & get your book signed while viewing his original artwork in the new exhibition: The Art of Eric Carle: Friends. Create tissue paper art & see a great film all about Eric’s life as an artist too. There will also be face painting, storytimes & art studio activities. Free with museum admission (Book signing is not limited to Friends books.) Visit www.carlemuseum.org for signing guidelines or call 413-658-1126.

Sep 22

SUKKOT HARVEST FESTIVAL! Sunday, 9/22, 1-4pm at Abundance Farm, 253 Prospect St. in Northampton. In celebration of the harvest, Congregation B’nai Israel and Lander Grinspoon Academy are holding a Sukkot Harvest Festival for all ages, open to the public. The Festival will launch “Abundance Farm,” a burgeoning small-scale farm and outdoor classroom. Will include apple cider pressing, wheat threshing and winnowing, cob oven baking, honey extraction, garlic planting, a fermentation workshop and crafts for toddlers. Also live music, animals and healthy snacks. Suggested donation of $5. Move inside in case of rain. For more information please contact Rabbi Jacob Fine at rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org or 413-584-3593 x203. Find on Facebook here.

Sep 27

Do you love Percy Jackson, Spiderwick or the Amulet series? Visit the Odyssey Bookshop for an evening with two highly acclaimed middle grade authors for a ‘lost things’ scavenger hunt and all the pizza you can eat! Graphic novelist Greg Ruth, illustrator of Our Enduring Spirit, written by Barack Obama, will be presenting his debut graphic novel, The Lost Boy, which explores the mystery in a magical world when a boy discovers the tape recordings of a missing boy under his floorboards. Matthew Kirby, winner of the 2012 Edgar award will be reading from his new book The Lost Kingdom, a wild adventure set in the vast American wilderness. For Ages 7-14. Friday, September 27, 6pm. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. www.odysseybks.com

Goodchild Music – Music for Life! Barbara Goodchild, a certified Simply Music Teacher, offers the following classes in Shelburne, MA. Simply Music Piano (7 yrs & up): a remarkable, Australian-developed piano program that has beginning students, playing pop, classical, blues and accompaniment pieces – from their first lessons! Play-a-Story (5-7 yrs): an improvisational introduction to piano while making music for stories. Simply Music Rhapsody (3 mos.-5 yrs): an exciting and experiential music and movement class, based on the Orff Schulwerk philosophy. Eric Goodchild offers Bagpipe, beginning Violin-Fiddle, & Clawhammer Banjo lessons (10yrs to adult). Tel: 413-625-8203, Email: ebgoodchild@hughes.net Music for all ages!

Oct 6

Only New England Appearance! Herbie Hancock performs for one night only, Sunday, October 6, 7:30pm at the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. There are few artists in the music industry who have had more influence on acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B than Herbie Hancock. With an illustrious career spanning five decades and 14 Grammy® Awards, he continues to amaze audiences. He’ll be joined by his quartet, James Genus on bass, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and Lionel Loueke on guitar. Make it a date night with a free pre-show party on the plaza for ticket-holders with appetizers, live entertainment and cash bar. Tent opens at 6pm. For tickets call 413-545-2511 or 1-800-999-UMAS or go online to www.fineartscenter.com.

Dec 6-8

The LEGO® KidsFest is a giant traveling LEGO expo coming to Hartford, CT at the Connecticut Convention Center from December 6-8. This hands-on, educational, all-ages LEGO extravaganza features millions of LEGO bricks, not to mention lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays, LEGO Friends and LEGO Games, group builds such as Creation Nation, live LEGO Master Builders, and so much more covering three acres of space. There are five identical sessions available. Tickets are $18 for kids and $20 for adults. For more information and to purchase tickets, log on to www.LEGOKidsFest.com.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your afterschool class, community event, open house, auditions,homeschool program, community event, workshop, school, wellness program or business 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 enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

JOIN 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 hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

FEATURED COMMUNITY BUILDING EVENTS


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
September 21st-27th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closings

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for September 14th-20th, 2013

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Last Saturday at Atlas Farm in Deerfield, Hilltown Families collaborated with Whole Foods Market Hadley and brought families together in the fields for a day of community service, gleaning 669 POUNDS organic kale, collards, chard and broccoli leftover from a recent harvest to donate to The Food Bank of Western MA. See photos in our follow-up post, Kids Day of Community Service Benefits Many! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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. Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Sep 14

Pioneer Valley Ballet is pleased to announce auditions for The Nutcracker are being held on Saturday, September 14, 2013. Children ages 4.5 – 12 are invited to audition and play a role in PVB’s 35th anniversary production. Unique to the region, PVB’s community productions include dancers from the community, PVB students, and professionals. Roles include Reindeer, Angels, Gingerbread, Party Children, Fleur, and Candy Canes. Auditions are held at Pioneer Valley Ballet, 116 Pleasant St, Easthampton on Saturday, September 14 beginning at 10:30am. Registration forms are available online and in PVB’s studio. For more info: pvb@pioneervalleyballet.org or 413-527-6363.

Sep 15

International Dot Day! Make plans to visit The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst this Sunday afternoon, September 15th as they celebrate International Dot Day! Every year, almost a million children and adults around the world devote a whole day to celebrate Peter H. Reynolds’ beloved children’s book, The Dot, a book that encourages personal creativity. The Museum’s celebration on Sunday, Sept 15th from 1-4pm will include films, special storytimes, art activities and a presentation and book signing with The Dot’s author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds. Visit www.carlemuseum.org for the day’s schedule or call 413-658-1126.

Begins Sep 21

ALMA is a fresh approach to Jewish education for youth and families. ALMA believes that Jewish tradition has the potential to add profound meaning and richness to peoples’ lives and be a force for positive change in the world. ALMA believes that students must genuinely enjoy themselves in order to learn and develop the love of Jewish life that they aspire to impart. ALMA staff work hard to create a culture that is joyful, where their students feel respected and not stifled. ALMA provides engaging communal experiences that inspire and support youth and families to cultivate increasingly meaningful and joyous Jewish lives. ALMA brings Torah to life through engaging each student’s mind, body and soul. More info: rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org.

Goodchild Music – Music for Life! Barbara Goodchild, a certified Simply Music Teacher, offers the following classes in Shelburne, MA. Simply Music Piano (7 yrs & up): a remarkable, Australian-developed piano program that has beginning students, playing pop, classical, blues and accompaniment pieces – from their first lessons! Play-a-Story (5-7 yrs): an improvisational introduction to piano while making music for stories. Simply Music Rhapsody (3 mos.-5 yrs): an exciting and experiential music and movement class, based on the Orff Schulwerk philosophy. Eric Goodchild offers Bagpipe, beginning Violin-Fiddle, & Clawhammer Banjo lessons (10yrs to adult). Tel: 413-625-8203, Email: ebgoodchild@hughes.net Music for all ages!

Oct 6

Only New England Appearance! Herbie Hancock performs for one night only, Sunday, October 6, 7:30pm at the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. There are few artists in the music industry who have had more influence on acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B than Herbie Hancock. With an illustrious career spanning five decades and 14 Grammy® Awards, he continues to amaze audiences. He’ll be joined by his quartet, James Genus on bass, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and Lionel Loueke on guitar. Make it a date night with a free pre-show party on the plaza for ticket-holders with appetizers, live entertainment and cash bar. Tent opens at 6pm. For tickets call 413-545-2511 or 1-800-999-UMAS or go online to www.fineartscenter.com.

3D Mammograms at Cooley Dickinson. 3D mammograms offer more detail and earlier cancer detection. And 3D mammograms are now offered at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Mammography is the best way to find breast cancer in its earliest stages, when a cure is most likely, the prognosis is better and the treatment choices are greater. 3D mammography, also known as Breast Tomosynthesis, was pioneered at Massachusetts General Hospital and is the latest advancement in breast cancer detection in more than 30 years. Is it time for your mammogram? Get a 3D mammogram exam. To schedule an appointment, call 413-582-2101 (Northampton) or 413-253-8062 (Amherst).

Dec 6-8

The LEGO® KidsFest is a giant traveling LEGO expo coming to Hartford, CT at the Connecticut Convention Center from December 6-8. This hands-on, educational, all-ages LEGO extravaganza features millions of LEGO bricks, not to mention lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays, LEGO Friends and LEGO Games, group builds such as Creation Nation, live LEGO Master Builders, and so much more covering three acres of space. There are five identical sessions available. Tickets are $18 for kids and $20 for adults. For more information and to purchase tickets, log on to www.LEGOKidsFest.com.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your afterschool class, community event, open house, auditions,homeschool program, community event, workshop, school, wellness program or business 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 enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

JOIN 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 hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

FEATURED COMMUNITY BUILDING EVENTS


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
September 14th-20th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closings

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: