Community-Based Celebration of the Autumnal Equinox at the UMass Sunwheel

UMass Amherst Sunwheel and Sky-Watching Events Mark the Autumnal Equinox on September 23, 2015

The public is invited to witness sunrise and sunset associated with the autumnal equinox among the standing stones of the UMass Amherst Sunwheel on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015, at 6:45am, and 6pm. These Sunwheel events mark the astronomical change of seasons when days and nights are of nearly equal length in the Northern Hemisphere.

At the gatherings, which have attracted more than 10,000 visitors over the past 18 years, UMass Amherst astronomer Stephen Schneider will discuss the astronomical cause of the suns changing position during the hour-long gatherings. He will also explain the seasonal positions of Earth, the sun and moon, and answer questions in astronomy such as the definition of blue moon, supermoon, and why September 23 is celebrated despite the fact that September 17 is actually the shortest day of the year.  Read the rest of this entry »

Food on the Farm: Nurturing a Sense of Place with Local Food

Grow, Cook, Eat: Trustees Offer Fall Food on the Farm Workshop Series in Holyoke

Workshop series at Land of Providence in Holyoke, MA with the Trustees of Reservations will focus on practical ways to grow and prepare seasonal cuisine.

Teaching our children to connect with their surroundings can help them to learn and grow in countless (and perhaps endless) ways. Children who understand their local landscape are much more likely to value environmental conservation as adults. Building an awareness of local culture and the cultures represented within a community can help children to appreciate and understand the place that they come from, and allowing them to use their knowledge, skills, and time for the benefit of their community helps them to grow deep roots and develop a strong sense of belonging.

However, there is a difference between teaching these things and living them. It is one thing to share ideas, and quite another to live in a way that allows our children to discover these ideas themselves by experiencing them. One way in which to practice a strong understanding of place at home is by using local and seasonal foods into your family’s meals. Committing to eating locally can seem challenging, as the New England climate’s guidelines for growing seasons are strict. However, building a connection between local soil, the seasons, and your dinner plate doesn’t mean that you have to endure tomato-free winters and salad-filled summers; incorporating local foods into your family’s diet can be as simple as tossing greens into basic cheese-and-pasta meals, growing some herbs in your kitchen, and learning to substitute ingredients in your favorite recipes.

This fall, the Trustees of Reservations offer a host of opportunities for families to learn about growing and eating local foods simply and deliciously…

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HFVS Spring ’09 Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Listen to podcast:


Saturday from 9-10am
March 21st, 2009
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Good Morning Dear Earth

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  • Imagination Movers – “Springtime!” [Eight Feet]
  • The Sippy Cups – “Springtime Fantastic” [Electric Storyland]
  • Frances England – “Spring Has Sprung” [Family Tree]
  • Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck – “Come On Out” [Special Kind of Day]
  • STATION ID: Harmonica Pocket
  • Peter Himmelman – “My Green Kite” [My Green Kite]
  • Mr. Ray – “When The Spring Comes” [Family Ride]
  • Maria Sangiolo – “Lady Spring” [Fairy Moon]
  • Judy Collins – “So Early, Early In The Spring” [The Very Best of Judy Collins]
  • Ben Rudnick & Friends – “Coming of Spring” [Grace’s Bell]
  • Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra – “It’s Spring!” [Beethoven’s Wig 2]
  • Station ID: Steve Weeks
  • Jim Weiss – “Johnny Appleseed” [American Tall Tales]
  • David Grover & The Big Bear Band – “Johnny Appleseed” [Watch Me Now!]
  • Gertrude Crampton – “It Was Spring and Brook Was Full” [The Little Golden Treasury Collection]
  • Frances England – “Tugboat” [Family Tree]
  • Billy Jonas – “Hollow Bamboo” [Happy Accidents] Music

Celebrating the Seasons with Your Family

Nature Tables & Seasonal Literature
By Tony(a) Lemos, HF Contributing Writer

Photo credit: Tony(a) Lemos


Creating simple rituals and seasonal celebrations have always felt important to me. The seasons are an important part of our lives here on earth, and living here in New England we get to experience the beauty of all four seasons. In our home, creating a seasonal Nature Table display is a part of that experience, keeping us aware of the changing cycle of the year.

Our Nature Table dioramas are always evolving throughout a season. For instance, in the early Spring we may include something that reminds of the maple syrup season, and in later Spring may include seedlings bursting forth.

While many of us value nature, it can be difficult to find the time enjoy a deep connection with it. By keeping a Nature Table we have created a constant connection in our home, forming a communion from the inside to the outside. For us it is especially important in the Winter. New England winters can feel endless at times. Experiencing the small changes of the season we bring to our Nature Table brings us hope that Spring will indeed come.

Photo credit: Tony(a) Lemos

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