Upcoming Educational and Community Service Highlights for Families

There are several opportunities for families you volunteer together this weekend, including Red Gate Farm’s family volunteer day in Buckland on Saturday. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Be sure to check our Best Bets for this weekend, Jun 9 & 10, for several fabulous community celebrations!  We’ve featured Riverfest in Shelburne Falls, the Children’s Book Festival Baseball Bonanza in Amherst, Bear Fest in Easthampton, Hilltown Bluegrass Festival in Goshen, and The Mount’s Family Day in Lenox. Aside from these homeruns, families can build upon their nature studies, explore local history, enjoy the outdoors and participate in community service with several community based educational and service learning opportunities, all week long!

Kids interested in insects can learn about dragonflies and damselfiles at the Millers River Environmental Center in Athol on Saturday or join in Northfield Town Forest BioBlitz, where kid volunteers can help identify the many different species of living things that are present in the forest with local experts. And later in the week, on Wednesday, Jun 13, at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst, families can learn about the Boston Museum of Science’s Firefly Watch program and join in on a firefly walk.

Young ornithologists can meet birds of prey up close at the Ramsdell Library in Housatonic on Saturday, or take part in Northfield Town Forest BioBlitz early morning bird search by helping to identify bird species with local experts. Later in the week on Thursday, Jun 14, in Leverett, the library hosts “The World of Owls,” an event all about these feathered night creatures.

Cemeteries can offer families a glimpse into early New England life.  On Saturday, the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage will be giving a tour of the Green River Cemetery in Greenfield, and the Stockbridge Library will host a cemetery tour in Berkshire County where families can learn about important historical figures and their life stories.  And on Thursday, Jun 14, older students can learn about the art, history, and symbolism of burial practices in New England from colonial times until today with Gravestone Girls in Belchertown.

On Sunday, Jun 10, families can learn about the history of the canal in Turners Falls by taking a guided walk down the canal-side trail/bike path to inspect the skeletons of the cutlery and paper industries while learning about the history of the industries, what the canal was used for, and the history of the first dam built on the Connecticut River.  And on Tuesday, Jun 12, in West Springfield, families can take an interactive tour of Storrowton Village where visitors will encounter villagers and hear each of them tell their own unique tale of life in New England during the Civil War.

During the week there are a couple of local history learning opportunities for older students. On Monday, Jun 11, Hope Church – historically Amherst’s first all-black established church, is offering a presentation on its history tonight! The church’s history dates back to the early 1700’s, though it has been officially established for only a century. And in Northfield on Tuesday, Jun 12, the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir will be discussed at the Dickinson Memorial Library.  Learn about the making of Boston’s water source with a narrated slide presentation by Historian JR Greene.

If outdoor adventures is what your family craves, on Saturday, Jun 9, there will be a day of kayaking with the M. N. Spear Library  and “Adventures In Adventure Out” at the Shutesbury town beach, a nature sensory awareness hike at Olivia’s Outlook in Lenox, and an afternoon family hike at Mt. Greylock waterfalls in Lanesborough. If you can’t make it to Mt. Greylock on Saturday, try Sunday when there will be a guided medicinal plant walk or a guided wild edible/medicinal plant walk at Bug Hill Farm in Ashfield, also on Sunday.

Community service learning opportunities happen all weekend too. Red Gate Farm in Buckland hosts a volunteer day on Saturday where families can help out with farm chores, and Stanley Park is raising community awareness on creating accessibility at their annual Wheel Walk in Westfield, and permablitz is happening in Amherst where folks can come work together on permaculture-related projects while sharing skills related to sustainable living.
Then on Sunday, families can help out at the Just Roots Food for All Garden in Greenfield (this Sunday, and every Sunday, during the growing/harvest season).

To find out about these events in Western MA and many others, check our list of Weekly Suggested Events.

Indoor & Outdoor Highlights for this Weekend

Many outdoor adventures away young naturalists this weekend, from guided wild flower walks to Family Fun Day’s at Mass Audubon Sanctuaries. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

With rain in the forecast for Saturday, June 2nd, it’s our hope that it will pass us by as there are so many great outdoor activities to enjoy with your family! In Hampshire County, young naturalists can take a guided walk to learn about wild edibles and flowers at either the North Amherst Community Farm or the Hitchcock Center for the Environment.  They could further supplement an interest in local habitats during Family Fun Day at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary.  For the more adventures ones, Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center will host a Community Day, giving families an opportunity to explore their ropes course.

In Franklin County on Saturday, young anglers can learn about fishing during Family Fish Day at the Great Falls Discovery Center, or they can discover and play Victorian Lawn Games in Hampden County at the Wistariahurst Museum.  In Berkshire County, Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary will also be hosting a Family Fun Day for naturalists of all ages.

But even if it does rain on Saturday, there’s plenty of fun opportunities happening indoors too!  There are a couple of free Learn to Felt family workshops happening in Conway, a marionette show in Lee, and a final family concert with (soon to be missed!) Royal Order of Chords and Keys in Easthampton.

In the evening there are two school productions: Gateway High School students perform “Our Town;” and Mt. Greylock Middle School students perform the musical, “Alice in Wonderland.”  Other evening options include exploring Forest Park Zoo by flashlight, and a family-friendly square dance at the Montague Grange.

On Sunday, June 3rd, get outdoors and bring the kids to the Fort River Celebration Day, or check out a number of indoor performances, including: Burchie Green‘s free performance at the Florence Community Center; classical music for kids with Beethoven’s Wig at the Wistariahurst Museum; or learn history through performance at North Hall with “They Call Me Lizzy.”

And there’s so much more happening all week, but you’re going to have to scroll through our list of Weekly Suggested Events to find out about tag sales, community service opportunitiesauditions, free events, and events just outside the area, like Strolling of the Heifers and the antique car rally at Old Sturbridge Village.

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