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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Family Volunteer Day Summer Series Supports Food Security All Summer Long

Hunger Doesn’t Take a Summer Vacation

During the summer months of June, July and August, food pantries and meal sites across Western Mass. see a 45% increase in visits over the holiday season. (Photo courtesy of Feeding America)

By now, you’ve probably heard the national news about a public school kitchen manager in Colorado who was fired for giving a free lunch to a crying first grader who was hungry. The manager was fired because the child wasn’t officially qualified for the federally-subsidized lunch program. However, what you may not have heard is that thousands of kids in schools across Western Massachusetts are in this same situation. They are relying on cafeteria staff, teachers and even their classmates to feed them because they don’t have enough food at home.

With so many families struggling with free or reduced school meals, image the challenges they face in the summer when those meals disappear. June, July and August are, by far, the busiest months for our member agencies in Western Massachusetts (which includes food pantries, meal sites and shelters). Approximately 44,665 individuals were served at our member agencies during those three months last year. That’s nearly a 45% increase over the winter months of December, January and February.  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

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Berkshire Family Fun: July 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
July 2015

“I love receiving Hilltown Families as it give me ideas to share with my family and others around me. We should all support Hilltown Families so they can continue and be an asset to our community. ” Susan Robert (Cheshire, MA)

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of July. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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 »

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 »

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 »

Family Volunteer Day Summer Series Supplements Food Deserts in Western MA

Food Deserts in Western MA Leaves Many Families Without Access to Healthy Food

Residents of a Springfield community line-up to receive fresh and non-perishable healthy food from The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ Mobile Food Bank. To learn more about Family Volunteer Day, including other dates throughout the summer, check out the post, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days!.

The USDA defines a food deserts as a part of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods. They are typically found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers. These areas rely heavily on local convenience stores that provide a wealth of processed sugar- and fat-laden foods that are known contributors to our nation’s obesity epidemic. The USDA has identified several areas right here in Western Massachusetts considered to be food deserts.

As the leader of emergency food assistance in our region, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts has been working to reach these communities to ensure that everyone has access to fresh, healthy food. It’s been nearly two years since we launched our pilot program for the Mobile Food Bank — a delivery truck full of fresh and non-perishable groceries from our warehouse in Hatfield, shipped directly to a community site. The program reaches underserved populations throughout our region that don’t have access to fresh, healthy food. These food deserts lack local grocery stores, farmers’ markets and other healthy food providers. 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 »

Take Me to the River: Honor Your Watershed at Shelburne Falls RiverFest

Local Celebration Inspires Community-Based Education

Celebrate the role of water in our local landscape at Shelburne Falls’ RiverFest, an annual community event celebrating local culture and local water. Families can learn about the local landscape, celebrate local history, and participate in the annual Frog and Flower Parade, which showcases community spirit and beautiful (and funky) handmade representations of familiar river creatures.

The rivers of western Massachusetts run like veins through our local landscape, each one giving life to the valleys through which it flows. Families can celebrate the life-giving nature of our local waterways at the Deerfield River Watershed Association’s annual RiverFest, a community celebration of the river’s role in local life. While RiverFest specifically celebrates the village of Shelburne Falls’ relationship with the Deerfield River, the Deerfield’s watershed feeds directly into the Connecticut River, a body of water whose currents have helped to define much of life in our part of the state. So no matter how near or far from the river your home may be, it’s still important to honor the river!

Held primarily on Saturday, June 6th, RiverFest offers a wide variety of events, including opportunities for both celebration and community-based learning. With the bulk of the festival’s excitement taking place on (and very close to) Shelburne Falls’ Main Street, it’s easy for families to explore and learn on foot. Main Street highlights will include live music and dancing throughout the day, fly-casting, river rafting, Native American storytelling, birds of prey demonstrations, various kids’ games and activities, as well as vendor tents and tables. Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: June 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
June 2015

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of June. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

“First thing I check in the morning… last thing I check at night.. Hilltown Families is my constant check in to keep [my family] out and about. It’s a great way to meet other local families and stay connected with all our friends spread out through these hills. Thanks for all the great ideas and insight!” Brehan Bruce of Becket, MA


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for May 30th-June 5th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Your newsletter helped us get our act together for summer camps for my son. We hope to get involved in other things as well – especially volunteer efforts… Thank you for putting the effort into compiling the info into one place for so many to use.” – Pam M. (Hadley, 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

May 31

Spring Farm Festival! Sunday, May 31, 10am-3pm at Abundance Farm, 253 Prospect Street in Northampton. Abundance Farm, a food justice farm and outdoor classroom, is holding a festival for all ages. From 10am-12pm, they will have a work party where volunteers will help plant, mulch, weed and build–with jobs for all ages and abilities. From 12-pm, there will be a free lunch for volunteers. From 1-3pm, a party with lots of fun farm-based activities for kids and adults including herbal medicine workshop, seed art, terrarium making, cob oven baking and much more! There will be great live music and local food and drink vendors. Suggested donation $5 a person. For more information check out www.abundancefarm.org or contact info@abundancefarm.org.

Jun 6

Renowned ecologist & educator Tom Wessel is coming to Ashfield on June 6 as part of the Bug Hill Farm On-Farm Workshop Summer Series. Set on 50 acres of fields, forest & trails, Bug Hill Farm is a certified organic, PYO uncommon fruit & edible flower farmstead, crafting healthy value-added products in their commercial kitchen. Serving as an educational center for visitors interested in the complementary aspects of ecological restoration, sustainable small-scale farming & local micro- businesses, the farm serves as a model for environmental, agricultural & social sustainability. Wessels is just one of many talented workshop presenters hosted by the farm. Find out about this series & to register at www.bughillfarm.org, or call 413-628-3980.

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 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

Featured Ad: Hartsbrook Farm CampA 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

Jul 21-27

ibmeThis summer teens can unplug & tune in at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), July 21-27, at Powell House in Old Chatham, NY. Teaching mindfulness helps lay down the foundation for a successful life by building emotional resiliency, developing self-awareness, and strengthening communication skills. iBme teen retreats offer a life transforming experience in the serenity of nature through meditation & mindfulness that is both interactive & fun. Teens return home having learned valuable skills and techniques to calm and focus their minds. Supporting diversity, iBme welcomes all backgrounds & abilities. Affordable financing for all families. No teen is turned away due to lack of funds. For info/register: 978-254-7082. contact@ibme.info.

May 23- 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 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
May 30th-June 5th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

What to do with Fiddleheads?

Fiddlehead Arugula Salad

One of the most joyous culinary moments of the year for me is the arrival of the season’s first fiddleheads. It’s among the first of the “just-picked” cooking rituals that will continue to unfold until late autumn. Each year I repeat the simplest of preparation techniques for my first fiddleheads of the season: blanch (cook in boiling water) for 4–5 minutes; drain well; sauté briefly with butter or olive oil and salt. Simple, elegant, and delicious. Then I move on to soups with fiddleheads. Last week, Amy and I were inspired to create a new dish, Fiddlehead Arugula Salad. We wandered the aisles of the Old Creamery and gathered ingredients that “spoke to us.” We found some fresh and crisp arugula, organic hazelnuts that had just arrived (now less expensive than many of the other nuts), perfect ricotta salata cheese from Italy, and some Cattani white balsamic vinegar and aged Castello d’Este balsamic vinegar that had just been featured in our vinegar tasting. With the addition of a couple of other standard Old Creamery ingredients, we prepared a stupendously delicious salad! We enjoyed it so much, I’m going to prepare it again for lunch today.

♦  Print Recipe: Fiddlehead Arugula Salad [Vg/GF/WF]

Vegetarian (V) | Vegan (Vg) | Nut-Free (NF) | Gluten-Free (GF) | Wheat-Free (WF)
Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for May 23rd-29th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is THE place to find out what to do with your kids… All year long I turn to Hilltown Families to find something fun to do, especially on weekends and school vacations. Thank you!” – Niki Lankowski (Whately, 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

Nearly 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

May 23

This Memorial Day weekend make your memories at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst! The Berkshire Theatre Group presents Atlantis, Lost! And Other Legends of the Strange Waves on Saturday, May 23 at 11am & 1pm. Atlantis, Lost! is a collection of stories about historical wonders and the waters of the world. This assortment of wet and wonderful tales includes the lost civilization of Atlantis, the life of a pirate, the origin of surfing and the Loch Ness monster. Ride the strange waves and discover a whole new view of the world through these inspired episodes of modern mythology. Tickets are $6.50 (Members $5.50) and may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or by calling 413-658-1126. www.carlemuseum.org

Jun 6

Renowned ecologist & educator Tom Wessel is coming to Ashfield on June 6 as part of the Bug Hill Farm On-Farm Workshop Summer Series. Set on 50 acres of fields, forest & trails, Bug Hill Farm is a certified organic, PYO uncommon fruit & edible flower farmstead, crafting healthy value-added products in their commercial kitchen. Serving as an educational center for visitors interested in the complementary aspects of ecological restoration, sustainable small-scale farming & local micro- businesses, the farm serves as a model for environmental, agricultural & social sustainability. Wessels is just one of many talented workshop presenters hosted by the farm. Find out about this series & to register at www.bughillfarm.org, or call 413-628-3980.

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

Jul 21-27

ibmeThis summer teens can unplug & tune in at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), July 21-27, at Powell House in Old Chatham, NY. Teaching mindfulness helps lay down the foundation for a successful life by building emotional resiliency, developing self-awareness, and strengthening communication skills. iBme teen retreats offer a life transforming experience in the serenity of nature through meditation & mindfulness that is both interactive & fun. Teens return home having learned valuable skills and techniques to calm and focus their minds. Supporting diversity, iBme welcomes all backgrounds & abilities. Affordable financing for all families. No teen is turned away due to lack of funds. For info/register: 978-254-7082. contact@ibme.info.

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
May 23rd-29th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for May 16th-22nd, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

My family recently relocated to Western Mass and I am LOVING Hilltown Families – so many great ideas for weekend activities, I just wish the weekends were longer! Katie D. (South Hadley, 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 55 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

May 15 & 16

CATS, let the “Memory” live again! The magical legendary Broadway hit by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which ran for 21 years in London and 18 years on Broadway, will come alive on stage at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton by the talented Starlight’s Youth Theatre on May 15 & 16! This song and dance masterpiece of second chances and unconditional love, based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, tells of Jellicle cats and the quest to be the lucky one who will ascend to “the Heaviside Layer.” Come support over 60 teens from across the Pioneer Valley! This show is the purrfect opportunity for the entire family to create a “memory” that will live forever. Tix: www.academyofmusictheatre.com. Questions: starlights.yt@gmail.com

May 16

Pioneer Valley Ballet is hosting an open house on Saturday, May 16, 10am-12noon. Tour PVB’s studio in Easthampton, meet the trainers, and sample a class. At 11:30am, children ages 4-6 can participate in a FREE 30-minute Creative Ballet Class—an excellent introduction to PVB’s training programs that create exceptional young dancers. For more information, call 413-527-6363 or visit PVB online at www.pioneervalleyballet.org.

May 16

The OnTrend Spring Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, May 16 at the Hadley Farms Meeting House in lovely Hadley, MA. The fair will showcase talented indie crafters and makers of all kinds from throughout New England and New York. Shoppers will find high-quality handmade jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, home goods, ceramics, and much more. Come support our talented local artisans — shop local, shop small! Free to attend. Free gift for the first 100 shoppers! For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

May 20

Open School Day at the Montessori School of Northampton: On Wednesday, May 20 at 9am, the Montessori School of Northampton at 51 Bates Street will host a morning Open School Day. This is an opportunity for parents to spend time in classrooms and observe Montessori in action. The visit will also include a tour of the school, which includes programs for students age 2 through 12, and a group parent meeting with the Head of School and Director of Admissions. The morning will end at 11am. Parents must register in advance with the Director of Admissions at laura@northamptonmontessori.org or at 413-586-4538 x103. More information on the school can be found at northamptonmontessori.org.

May 10-25

Mother’s Day to Memorial Day Discount! Oak Meadow is offering 10% off enrollment and 15% off materials in their Bookstore from May 10 to 25. Their student-centered, nature-based homeschooling curriculum for students in K-12 allows families to set their own natural rhythm of learning and encourages creativity, critical thinking, and intellectual development through hands-on activities and interdisciplinary projects. Use their curriculum independently or enroll in their fully accredited distance learning school.

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

Jun 27

Join us this 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
May 16th-22nd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for May 9th-15th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I have been referring to Hilltown Families for years — I make my weekly calendar from the suggested events list! As a mother of 3, 5 and under, it has been an invaluable resource for our family.” – Ellen Ferris (South Hadley, 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 55 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.

Hilltown Families Event: Saturday, May 9

May 9

Join us this Saturday, May 9 from 9-11:30am 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, May 9th, 9-11:30am with a community potluck and volunteer day. 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)

Bulletin Board

May 8

Platypus Police Pizza Party with Jarrett Krosoczka at Odyssey Bookshop, Friday, May 8th at 6pm. FREE. Join the Odyssey Bookshop in the celebration of the release of Platypus Police Squad: Last Panda Standing, the third installment in the hilarious, high-action illustrated middle grade series featuring two platypus detectives, perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, and Jarrett’s own Lunch Lady series. Hear from Jarrett and two South Hadley Police officers, decorate your own police academy badges and have all you can eat pizza (no synthetic fish guarantee)! Perfect for ages 7+. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. RSVP required. Email RSVP@odysseybks.com

May 9

Saturday, May 9, 1-2 pm, Radical Renewal. Six Steps to Nourish the Heart and Soul of Mothering. For Mothers of all ages and stages. Gift yourself an hour to step away. Step away and remind yourself of what you need to sustain your joy and resilience as a mother. Radical Renewal is a way to reframe your relationship to mothering, profoundly impacting what you know to be true in the journey of nurturing your children as you nourish yourself. Bring your sister, your mother, girlfriend or daughter and renew yourself in the holistic environment of Eastover Retreat Center in Lenox, MA. Refreshments served. Free Mother’s Day program. Registration requested: eastover.com/marilyn-taylor.html; Marilyn@confident-directions.com.

May 10-25

Mother’s Day to Memorial Day Discount! Oak Meadow is offering 10% off enrollment and 15% off materials in their Bookstore from May 10 to 25. Their student-centered, nature-based homeschooling curriculum for students in K-12 allows families to set their own natural rhythm of learning and encourages creativity, critical thinking, and intellectual development through hands-on activities and interdisciplinary projects. Use their curriculum independently or enroll in their fully accredited distance learning school.

Open House: May 9

Ashfield Community Preschool invites families to their annual open house on Saturday, May 9 from 9:30am-Noon. This event is for families with young children ages 15mo-5yo who are looking for quality care & small class sizes in the rural Hilltown of Ashfield (103 Baptist Corner Rd). Children who attend the preschool participate in a hands-on gardening program, growing a sunflower house & pumpkin patch. Their developmentally appropriate curriculum is inspired by the natural world. In this pastoral setting the preschool offers a 6 week summer program with walking trips to visit local Ashfield artists. Open House on May 9. Tour their facility & grounds and register for summer & fall sessions. 413-628-3248. New Toddler Program Opening Fall 2015!

May 15 & 16

CATS, let the “Memory” live again! The magical legendary Broadway hit by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which ran for 21 years in London and 18 years on Broadway, will come alive on stage at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton by the talented Starlight’s Youth Theatre on May 15 & 16! This song and dance masterpiece of second chances and unconditional love, based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, tells of Jellicle cats and the quest to be the lucky one who will ascend to “the Heaviside Layer.” Come support over 60 teens from across the Pioneer Valley! This show is the purrfect opportunity for the entire family to create a “memory” that will live forever. Tix: www.academyofmusictheatre.com. Questions: starlights.yt@gmail.com

May 16

The OnTrend Spring Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, May 16 at the Hadley Farms Meeting House in lovely Hadley, MA. The fair will showcase talented indie craters and makers of all kinds from throughout New England and New York. Shoppers will find high-quality handmade jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, home goods, ceramics, and much more. Come support our talented local artisans — shop local, shop small! Free to attend. Free gift for the first 100 shoppers! For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

May 16

Pioneer Valley Ballet is hosting an open house on Saturday, May 16, 10am-12noon. Tour PVB’s studio in Easthampton, meet the trainers, and sample a class. At 11:30am, children ages 4-6 can participate in a FREE 30-minute Creative Ballet Class—an excellent introduction to PVB’s training programs that create exceptional young dancers. For more information, call 413-527-6363 or visit PVB online at www.pioneervalleyballet.org.

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

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
May 9th-15th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Recognizing and Supporting Seniors during Older Americans Month

‘Get into the Act’

Senior volunteers have fun and prepare bags of groceries to be distributed through The Food Bank’s Brown Bag: Food for Elders program. Click here to register to join The Food Bank and Hilltown Families for another free Family Volunteer Day on Saturday, May 9 from 9-11:30am.

In May, the nation will be celebrating Older Americans Month to recognize seniors’ contributions and provide them with resources to stay healthy and active. Older adults are a vital part of our society. Since 1963, communities across the country have shown their gratitude by celebrating Older Americans Month each May. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Get into the Act,” to focus on how seniors are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others.

Throughout the country, older Americans face a number of unique challenges that contribute to food insecurity. Many seniors are living on fixed incomes that often force them to choose between paying for healthcare or prescriptions and buying groceries. Although food insecurity affects people of all ages, seniors are particularly vulnerable because they have unique nutritional needs related to aging and/or medical conditions.  Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for May 2nd-8th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I especially love the summer camp information all in one place! It’s good to know about parent/child craft classes too… Thanks for all you do!” – Martha Lorantos (Sunderland, 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 55 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.

Hilltown Families Event

May 9

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, May 9th, 9-11:30am with a community potluck and volunteer day. 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)

Bulletin Board

May 2-3

The Alchemy Artisan Fair is proud to present it’s second annual show at Gateway City Arts at 92 Race Street in Holyoke from 10am-6pm on Saturday, May 2nd, and 11am-4pm on Sunday, May 3rd. Shop the work of over 30 local artisans, participate in a hula hoop jam with Kimqui Hoops, master your yo-yo skills with the A-Z Science and Learning Yo-Yo School, learn how to make your own mini-comic book with My Monster Hat, paint your own one of a kind stoneware bowl with The Celadon Studio or just chill in the beer garden and enjoy the day. Tickets are $5 at the door, free for children under 12. More information at www.alchemyfair.com

May 3

Sunday May 3, 2015 from 11am- 4pm: The Massachusetts Renaissance Center invites you to a day of music, theater, juggling, falconry, dancing and more at the 13th Annual Community Renaissance Festival in Amherst! Fun for all ages! Free admission and Free parking! Phoenix Swords returns with their popular swordsmanship demonstrations that are fun for the whole family! Robie Bones is back to lead music making! Play Renaissance games with Mutton and Mead! See demonstrations by local artisans and try your hand at one of these Renaissance crafts! There will be a Renaissance Poetry Performance Contest with cash prizes to win! For a complete schedule and parking info visit www.umass.edu/renaissance and click the festival link, or call 413-577-3600.

May 3

It’s a… Book! Book Launch with Angela DiTerlizzi at Odyssey Bookshop, Sunday, May 3rd at 3pm. FREE Join book lovers for the ultimate “book shower” with local author, Angela Diterlizzi. The author who brought you, Say What and Some Bugs, has returned to celebrate the joys of a new baby in her latest picture book, Baby Love. From bubble baths & baby kisses to chubby thighs & lullabies this book will delight babies young & old! A wonderful event for new parents, new babies and children of all ages, celebrate the arrival of this new creation. With sweet treats, book shower games and a toddler bubble dance party, this event will be fun for the whole family. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St., South Hadley. RSVP required. Email RSVP@odysseybks.com

May 8

Platypus Police Pizza Party with Jarrett Krosoczka at Odyssey Bookshop, Friday, May 8th at 6pm. FREE. Join the Odyssey Bookshop in the celebration of the release of Platypus Police Squad: Last Panda Standing, the third installment in the hilarious, high-action illustrated middle grade series featuring two platypus detectives, perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, and Jarrett’s own Lunch Lady series. Hear from Jarrett and two South Hadley Police officers, decorate your own police academy badges and have all you can eat pizza (no synthetic fish guarantee)! Perfect for ages 7+. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. RSVP required. Email RSVP@odysseybks.com

Open House: May 9

Ashfield Community Preschool invites families to their annual open house on Saturday, May 9 from 9:30am-Noon. This event is for families with young children ages 15mo-5yo who are looking for quality care & small class sizes in the rural Hilltown of Ashfield (103 Baptist Corner Rd). Children who attend the preschool participate in a hands-on gardening program, growing a sunflower house & pumpkin patch. Their developmentally appropriate curriculum is inspired by the natural world. In this pastoral setting the preschool offers a 6 week summer program with walking trips to visit local Ashfield artists. Open House on May 9. Tour their facility & grounds and register for summer & fall sessions. 413-628-3248. New Toddler Program Opening Fall 2015!

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

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation is happy to announce that it will provide $4000 per year to qualifying younger students and $5000 to high school students who attend one of the region’s Jewish day schools. Ensuring small classes, excellent teachers and a nurturing environment, Jewish day schools can provide your child with a superb secular and Jewish education. Participating schools include: Heritage Academy, Longmeadow; Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy, Longmeadow; Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Northampton; and Hebrew High School of New England, West Hartford. For more information, visit www.hgf.org/TIP

Preschool Openings

Preschool Openings at the Common School in Amherst. What is the best way to insure a quality education for your child? Invest in it early. The Common School provides the foundation for life-long learning by emphasizing how to learn. Experiential activities, a strong social curriculum, environmental awareness and imagination are hallmarks of our pre-school program- paving the way for strong academic success. Openings for 3 – 5 year olds for fall 2015. Call for a tour 413-256-8989 and visit their website www.commonschool.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
May 2nd-8th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: May 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
May 2015

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of May. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

“First thing I check in the morning… last thing I check at night.. Hilltown Families is my constant check in to keep [my family] out and about. It’s a great way to meet other local families and stay connected with all our friends spread out through these hills. Thanks for all the great ideas and insight!” Brehan Bruce of Becket, MA


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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 »

Suggested Events for April 25th-May 1st, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“When you travel you think to find out about all the interesting places to visit; sometimes you forget to look around in your own backyard. Hilltown Families is a wonderful resource that reminds me of all the fun things to do right here in the region.” – Heather LaPenn

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 50 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

Apr 24

Come sing and dance at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art this Friday, April 24th at 11am and 1pm with Mister G in Amherst! Mister G is a 2014 Latin-Grammy nominated artist who was recently named one of the “Best Live Acts for Kids and Families.” Called “irresistible” by People magazine, his original music is a true delight for the whole family, and has won praise from The Boston Globe, LA Times, Chicago SunTimes, and The Washington Post. Join The Carle for an interactive concert experience that’s not to be missed! Advance tickets contact 413-658-1126. For more information, visit www.carlemuseum.org

Apr 28

Parent Workshop on Montessori: What is a Montessori education? What is the Montessori difference? The Montessori School of Northampton is offering a free workshop for parents with Elizabeth Slade, Montessori consultant, trainer and teacher, to answer these questions. The workshop will be held at the Montessori School of Northampton, 51 Bates Street, Northampton, MA, on Tuesday, April 28 from 5:15-7pm. It is open to current and prospective parents and anyone who is curious about the Montessori philosophy, materials and curriculum. Admission is free; participants are asked to register in advance through Brown Paper Tickets at http://bpt.me/1451689 or by calling 413-586-4538 x103. More information can be found at northamptonmontessori.org.

Apr 30

Parent of a 12-18 yr old? Want to win a $100 VISA Gift Card & $100 Big Y Shopping Spree? Take Northampton Prevention Coalition’s Parent Survey by June 1st! Want more? Here are some great upcoming NPC Events for Parents of Teens: Youth Marijuana Use: What’s the Big Deal? A Community Meeting w/ Rick Cresta – LICSW, MSW/MPH, Thursday, April 30th, 7pm, Northampton High School’s Little Theatre at 380 Elm Street in Northampton. Childcare available, call 413-587-1366. Also, How to Help Your Teen Make Healthy Choices: A Taste of Motivational Interviewing w/ John Brelsford, PHD, Saturday, May 16th, 10:30am–2pm, Collaborative for Educational Services at 97 Hawley St, Northampton with lunch provided. Visit NPC at northamptonprevents.org to register!

May 3 – Jun 7

Biocitizen School presents Drawing on Nature: Art in the Woods: a class devoted to nurturing biophilia (love of life) and the skills of transporting nature’s beauty to the sketchbook with pencils, paints & clay—that includes hikes and plein aire activities, tracking and capturing nature’s emergencies through high Spring. Introductory concepts of composition, line, form, value, texture, color and pattern are used to inspire students’ imagination and expression. Students are provided with a notebook and a travel watercolor set that they get to take home. Tuition: $250 for 24 hours instruction & all materials. Dates: Classes are Sundays, 10am–2pm, from May 3-Jun 7. Age range: 9-12. Contact: 413-695-7994. info@biocitizen.org. www.biocitizen.org

May 3

Sunday May 3, 2015 from 11am- 4pm: The Massachusetts Renaissance Center invites you to a day of music, theater, juggling, falconry, dancing and more at the 13th Annual Community Renaissance Festival in Amherst! Fun for all ages! Free admission and Free parking! Phoenix Swords returns with their popular swordsmanship demonstrations that are fun for the whole family! Robie Bones is back to lead music making! Play Renaissance games with Mutton and Mead! See demonstrations by local artisans and try your hand at one of these Renaissance crafts! There will be a Renaissance Poetry Performance Contest with cash prizes to win! For a complete schedule and parking info visit www.umass.edu/renaissance and click the festival link, or call 413-577-3600.

Open House May 9

Ashfield Community Preschool invites families to their annual open house on Saturday, May 9 from 9:30am-Noon. This event is for families with young children ages 15mo-5yo who are looking for quality care & small class sizes in the rural Hilltown of Ashfield (103 Baptist Corner Rd). Children who attend the preschool participate in a hands-on gardening program, growing a sunflower house & pumpkin patch. Their developmentally appropriate curriculum is inspired by the natural world. In this pastoral setting the preschool offers a 6 week summer program with walking trips to visit local Ashfield artists. Open House on May 9. Tour their facility & grounds and register for summer & fall sessions. 413-628-3248. New Toddler Program Opening Fall 2015

Preschool Openings

Preschool Openings at the Common School in Amherst. What is the best way to insure a quality education for your child? Invest in it early. The Common School provides the foundation for life-long learning by emphasizing how to learn. Experiential activities, a strong social curriculum, environmental awareness and imagination are hallmarks of our pre-school program- paving the way for strong academic success. Openings for 3 – 5 year olds for fall 2015. Call for a tour 413-256-8989 and visit their website www.commonschool.org

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation is happy to announce that it will provide $4000 per year to qualifying younger students and $5000 to high school students who attend one of the region’s Jewish day schools. Ensuring small classes, excellent teachers and a nurturing environment, Jewish day schools can provide your child with a superb secular and Jewish education. Participating schools include: Heritage Academy, Longmeadow; Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy, Longmeadow; Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Northampton; and Hebrew High School of New England, West Hartford. For more information, visit www.hgf.org/TIP

May 9

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, May 9th, 9-11:30am with a community potluck and volunteer day. 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
April 25th-May 1st, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering Springfield’s Victorian Opulence

Exhibit Shows How the Rich & Famous Lived in Springfield

Exploring the lives of the rich and famous of Springfield’s past, the Springfield Museums’ newest exhibit is made up of items demonstrating the luxury with which Victorian-era elite lived their lives. Explore the exhibit to use material culture as a lens for learning about the people behind Springfield’s 19th century economic success!

For some members of 19th century Springfield’s community, the Victorian Era was an especially lavish and luxurious time. Artifacts from the results of the booming industries of 1800’s Springfield are showcased currently at a newly opened exhibit at the Springfield Museums. Titled, “Victorian Opulence: Springfield’s Industrial Elite,” the exhibit includes a wide variety of high-end items once owned and used by some of the most prosperous families of Victorian-era Springfield.

Open through early April of 2016, the exhibit uses examination of material culture to teach about the city’s industrial history and provides a look at day-to-day life in the households of the time period’s most elite. The items included in the exhibit – everything from top hats and jewelry to ornate grandfather clocks – project an obvious air of wealth, and their origins speak volumes to the economic privilege that their owners enjoyed. Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for April 18th-24th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

We recently attended an event at the Discovery Center in Turners Falls that was all about animals and baby animals. Our daughter had a great time and we enjoyed the museum after the event. I also really enjoy reading about dinner time suggestions from one of your contributors; and look forward to getting out to Shelburne Falls — SO excited to find out about the Art Garden through Hilltown Families. What a stellar idea and liked reading about the mitten project! Thank you for inspiring good family times for our family! – Sarah Czerwonka (Shutesbury, 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 50 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.

Hilltown Families Events

Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids with the second in our series happening on Saturday, April 18 from 10am-12noon. Mark your calendars and make plans to come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Apr 18

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, April 18th, 9-11:30am, celebrating National Volunteer Month. 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)

Bulletin Board

School Vac

This April vacation, join the Springfield Museums for their amazing Puppet Festival, April 20-24. Performances included the timeless classic Peter & The Wolf by the National Marionette Theater, plus fun on the high seas with Everybody Loves Pirates by Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers, and many more. There’s also live animal demonstrations from Dave’s Soda & Pet City and plenty of hands-on science and art activities, all free with museum admission! For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

School Vac

April vacation at The Carle! Join The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst for a week of live entertainment and fun-filled activities! On April 19th, Nutshell Playhouse presents the swashbuckling adventure: Pirates! And on April 21st Cactushead Puppets performs Little Red Riding Hood. Then, everyone’s favorite, Mister G returns to play two concerts on April 24th. Plus, discover three galleries of picture book art, including Eric Carle’s new exhibition: Bees, Butterflies and Other Bugs. Get lost in a project in the Art Studio! Enjoy a story time, a film or a scavenger hunt. Picnic in their orchard! For additional information on performances, please contact 413-658-1126 or visit www.carlemuseum.org.

School Vac

New England Air Museum will hold April Vacation Break Programs April 20th- 24th. The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will be open each of these days between 11am and 4pm. The Flight Sim Spot allows visitors to use state-of-the-art simulators with real cockpit controls. Monday, April 20th– Wednesday, April 22nd- Open Cockpits & Museum Tours; Thursday, April 23rd– Great LEGO Race; Friday, April 24th- Straw Rocket Competition. Activities are included with the price of admission on the day of your visit unless noted. Each day docents will be on hand to provide information and to interact with the visitors. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT. For more info call 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org.

School Vac

Vacation Break camps at SHOW are a great place for kids to express themselves creatively and to be a part of a community steeped in circus culture and traditions. Campers 6-12yo have the opportunity to try a variety of circus skills, including aerial and ground work, and then choose their favorite activities to focus on for the final performance. Each week has a different theme for the final circus show and campers are challenged to incorporate the theme into their circus act, making each session and final show unique! Spring Break Camp (Apr 20-24) and 5 Weeks of Summer Camp (Jul 13-Aug 14) available in Easthampton. Mon-Fri, 9-3pm. For more information and registration visit www.showcircusstudio.com, or email/call: info@showcircusstudio.com; 413-527-6901.

School Vac

Vortex Dance Fitness Studio is having a Kids Cabaret Dance Program during school vacation week, running 2-3:30pm on Monday April 20, Wednesday April 22, and Friday April 24, and 9:30-11am on Tuesday April 21 and Thursday April 23. There will be a performance for family and friends from 3:30-4pm on Friday, April 24, the last day. Cabaret Style dance is a mix of jazz, ballet, lyrical, and hip-hop which uses props such as hats and canes. Cost: $100/per student. Ages 8-12. Dancing is a fun way to exercise and make new friends. Vortex Dance Fitness Studio is located on the 2nd floor of the Eastworks Building, 116 Pleasant Street, Suite 251, in Easthampton. Sign up today by email: fontaineangela7@gmail.com or through www.vortexdancestudio.com.

Apr 28

Parent Workshop on Montessori: What is a Montessori education? What is the Montessori difference? The Montessori School of Northampton is offering a free workshop for parents with Elizabeth Slade, Montessori consultant, trainer and teacher, to answer these questions. The workshop will be held at the Montessori School of Northampton, 51 Bates Street, Northampton, MA, on Tuesday, April 28 from 5:15-7pm. It is open to current and prospective parents and anyone who is curious about the Montessori philosophy, materials and curriculum. Admission is free; participants are asked to register in advance through Brown Paper Tickets at http://bpt.me/1451689 or by calling 413-586-4538 x103. More information can be found at northamptonmontessori.org.

May 3 – Jun 7

Biocitizen School presents Drawing on Nature: Art in the Woods: a class devoted to nurturing biophilia (love of life) and the skills of transporting nature’s beauty to the sketchbook with pencils, paints & clay—that includes hikes and plein aire activities, tracking and capturing nature’s emergencies through high Spring. Introductory concepts of composition, line, form, value, texture, color and pattern are used to inspire students’ imagination and expression. Students are provided with a notebook and a travel watercolor set that they get to take home. Tuition: $250 for 24 hours instruction & all materials. Dates: Classes are Sundays, 10am–2pm, from May 3-Jun 7. Age range: 9-12. Contact: 413-695-7994. info@biocitizen.org. www.biocitizen.org

Open House: May 9

Ashfield Community Preschool invites families to their annual open house on Saturday, May 9 from 9:30am-Noon. This event is for families with young children ages 15mo-5yo who are looking for quality care & small class sizes in the rural Hilltown of Ashfield (103 Baptist Corner Rd). Children who attend the preschool participate in a hands-on gardening program, growing a sunflower house & pumpkin patch. Their developmentally appropriate curriculum is inspired by the natural world. In this pastoral setting the preschool offers a 6 week summer program with walking trips to visit local Ashfield artists. Open House on May 9. Tour their facility & grounds and register for summer & fall sessions. 413-628-3248. New Toddler Program Opening Fall 2015!

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation is happy to announce that it will provide $4000 per year to qualifying younger students and $5000 to high school students who attend one of the region’s Jewish day schools. Ensuring small classes, excellent teachers and a nurturing environment, Jewish day schools can provide your child with a superb secular and Jewish education. Participating schools include: Heritage Academy, Longmeadow; Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy, Longmeadow; Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Northampton; and Hebrew High School of New England, West Hartford. For more information, visit www.hgf.org/TIP

Jul 6-10

Journey Camp returns to Cummington for Hilltown families this summer. The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12,June 29-July 3, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill, Deerfield. Hilltown Journey Camp, boys & girls, 7-12, July 6-10, 8:45-4, Taproot Common Farm, Cummington. Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, 11-18, July 27-July 30, two overnights & campfires, Woolman Hill. Girls Week, 7-13, Aug. 3-7 & Aug. 10-14, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

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
April 18th-24th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

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Suggested Events for April 11th-17th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As each weekend approaches, I immediately look to Hilltown Families to see if there are events & happenings that might interest us. We have often found really fun things to do that we may not have heard of otherwise and many times events are free which is an added bonus! I have recommended the Hilltown Families site to countless families that have moved to the area and are looking for fun things to do. Thank you Hilltown Families–you are a fabulous resource!” – Sara Cahillane (Whately, 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

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.

Hilltown Families Events

Apr 18

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids with the second in our series happening on Saturday, April 18 from 10am-12noon. Mark your calendars and make plans to ome enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Apr 18

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, April 18th, 9-11:30am, celebrating National Volunteer Month. 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)

Bulletin Board

Apr 11

Saturday, April 11th, 11am-12:30pm — Girls in Science! The Hilltown Land Trust is bringing local author Jeannine Atkins to Williamsburg to read from and discuss her children’s book Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists. Following the reading, there will be a guided exploratory hike up Petticoat Hill, where kids will have the opportunity to uncover the natural world—perhaps it will be waiting for you under a rock! Signed books will be available for sale. RSVP with Nicole Rhodes at hltlandsteward@ttor.org or 413-628-4485 x4. For more information: www.hilltown-land-trust.org. Location: Meekins Library and Petticoat Hill Reservation, Williamsburg, MA (FREE).

Apr 11

Odyssey Bookshop: Middle Grade Mash-up! Saturday, April 11th at 4pm. Baseball feats to witches treats and twinkie pies to record highs, this middle grade mash-up has something for everyone! Celebrate Odyssey’s first middle grade mash-up! Odyssey brings you four middle grade authors, Howard Bryant from ESPN, Natasha Lowe, Kat Yeh and Molly Burnham. Whether you’re a baseball fan or love a silly story, believe in witches or like to cook we have something for you. See author info and book synopsis at www.odysseybks.com. For ages 7-12. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. RSVP at rsvp@odysseybks.com

Apr 11 & 12

Do you sleep under a quilt every night? Have you ever thought about who made that quilt? The Hands All Around Quilt Show, April 11 & 12, at the UMass Amherst Campus Center, will surprise and amaze you – modern quilts, pictorial quilts, and yes, great traditional quilts too. Introduce your child to the wonderful world of homemade quilts! Many quilters will be on hand to discuss and explain their wonderful craft. Something for everyone – 300+ quilts, quilting demonstrations, kids activities, a modern quilt exhibit, a mini-quilt sale, and much more. April 11 & 12, UMass Amherst Campus Center, don’t miss this quilt show. www.handsacrossthevalley.org

Apr 14

More than a Story Hour! Parents and caregivers with their children ages 5 and under are welcome to attend a story hour on Tuesday, April 14 at 9am in the library of The Bement School in Deerfield, MA. The story hour features the book Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest. After reading the story, there will be a craft activity and light refreshments. Stay for a performance of Coyote performed by Bement’s kindergarten. The event is free, but please RSVP so the may plan accordingly: 413-774-4209. Directions and more information can be found at Bement.org.

Apr 15

Amherst Montessori School has openings for children ages 15 months through 5 years for Fall 2015! Open House on Wednesday, April 15, 9-10:30 AM. 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. To register for the Open House, call 413-253-3101 or email Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

School Vac

New England Air Museum will hold April Vacation Break Programs April 20th- 24th. The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will be open each of these days between 11am and 4pm. The Flight Sim Spot allows visitors to use state-of-the-art simulators with real cockpit controls. Monday, April 20th– Wednesday, April 22nd- Open Cockpits & Museum Tours; Thursday, April 23rd– Great LEGO Race; Friday, April 24th- Straw Rocket Competition. Activities are included with the price of admission on the day of your visit unless noted. Each day docents will be on hand to provide information and to interact with the visitors. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT. For more info call 860-623-3305 or visit www.neam.org.

School Vac

Vortex Dance Fitness Studio is having a Kids Cabaret Dance Program during school vacation week, running 2-3:30pm on Monday April 20, Wednesday April 22, and Friday April 24, and 9:30-11am on Tuesday April 21 and Thursday April 23. There will be a performance for family and friends from 3:30-4pm on Friday, April 24, the last day. Cabaret Style dance is a mix of jazz, ballet, lyrical, and hip-hop which uses props such as hats and canes. Cost: $100/per student. Ages 8-12. Dancing is a fun way to exercise and make new friends. Vortex Dance Fitness Studio is located on the 2nd floor of the Eastworks Building, 116 Pleasant Street, Suite 251, in Easthampton. Sign up today by email: fontaineangela7@gmail.com or through www.vortexdancestudio.com.

School Vac

Vacation Break camps at SHOW are a great place for kids to express themselves creatively and to be a part of a community steeped in circus culture and traditions. Campers 6-12yo have the opportunity to try a variety of circus skills, including aerial and ground work, and then choose their favorite activities to focus on for the final performance. Each week has a different theme for the final circus show and campers are challenged to incorporate the theme into their circus act, making each session and final show unique! Spring Break Camp (Apr 20-24) and 5 Weeks of Summer Camp (Jul 13-Aug 14) available in Easthampton. Mon-Fri, 9-3pm. For more information and registration visit www.showcircusstudio.com, or email/call: info@showcircusstudio.com; 413-527-6901.

May 3 – Jun 7

Biocitizen School presents Drawing on Nature: Art in the Woods: a class devoted to nurturing biophilia (love of life) and the skills of transporting nature’s beauty to the sketchbook with pencils, paints & clay—that includes hikes and plein aire activities, tracking and capturing nature’s emergencies through high Spring. Introductory concepts of composition, line, form, value, texture, color and pattern are used to inspire students’ imagination and expression. Students are provided with a notebook and a travel watercolor set that they get to take home. Tuition: $250 for 24 hours instruction & all materials. Dates: Classes are Sundays, 10am–2pm, from May 3-Jun 7. Age range: 9-12. Contact: 413-695-7994. info@biocitizen.org. www.biocitizen.org

Open House: May 9

Ashfield Community Preschool invites families to their annual open house on Saturday, May 9 from 9:30am-Noon. This event is for families with young children ages 15mo-5yo who are looking for quality care & small class sizes in the rural Hilltown of Ashfield (103 Baptist Corner Rd). Children who attend the preschool participate in a hands-on gardening program, growing a sunflower house & pumpkin patch. Their developmentally appropriate curriculum is inspired by the natural world. In this pastoral setting the preschool offers a 6 week summer program with walking trips to visit local Ashfield artists. Open House on May 9. Tour their facility & grounds and register for summer & fall sessions. 413-628-3248. New Toddler Program Opening Fall 2015

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation is happy to announce that it will provide $4000 per year to qualifying younger students and $5000 to high school students who attend one of the region’s Jewish day schools. Ensuring small classes, excellent teachers and a nurturing environment, Jewish day schools can provide your child with a superb secular and Jewish education. Participating schools include: Heritage Academy, Longmeadow; Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy, Longmeadow; Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Northampton; and Hebrew High School of New England, West Hartford. For more information, visit www.hgf.org/TIP

Jul 6-10

Journey Camp returns to Cummington for Hilltown families this summer. The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Session One, boys & girls ages 7-12,June 29-July 3, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill, Deerfield. Hilltown Journey Camp, boys & girls, 7-12, July 6-10, 8:45-4, Taproot Common Farm, Cummington. Moonseed Teen Leadership for Girls, 11-18, July 27-July 30, two overnights & campfires, Woolman Hill. Girls Week, 7-13, Aug. 3-7 & Aug. 10-14, 8:45-4, Woolman Hill. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399, marsha.journey@gmail.com.

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.mps and Programs in Western MA. 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
April 11th-17th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Build Community & Inspire Change During National Volunteer Month

National Volunteer Month provides opportunities for the entire family to support the community

Families from across Western Massachusetts joined together at a recent Family Volunteer Day held at The Food Bank to sort and pack fresh produce. The food is distributed through The Fook Bank’s ‘Mobile Food Bank’ and ‘Brown Bag: Food for Elders’ programs, to food insecure families throughout the region.

April in National Volunteer Month — a time when we celebrate and honor the people who dedicate themselves to taking action and support their community. The month-long celebration is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. By working together, we can meet our challenges and accomplish all of our goals.

One of the best aspects of volunteering is that there are so many different reasons to get involved. It’s a fun opportunity to meet new people, network and gain new working skills. It’s also a great way to help an organization that aligns with your personal values and beliefs. Most importantly, volunteering is the best way to support your community.

At The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, we rely on the continued efforts of our volunteers to help us provide healthy food to the more than 235,000 people in our region struggling with food insecurity. We asked some of our volunteers why they donate their time to us. Here’s what they had to say:  Read the rest of this entry »

GIVEAWAY: CSA Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm

Enter to Win a Farm Share from
Crimson & Clover Farm this Summer!

Enter for a chance to win a Small Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm in Florence, MA for the 2015 season by sharing ways your family engages in our local food culture and the learning you glean from your experiences in the comment field. Deadline: April 28th, 2015.

Locally grown food is a great community connector! This past winter families could enjoy Winter Farmers’ Market in the Pioneer Valley while connecting with friends and neighbors during these festive weekly markets.  And during the growing and harvest season Farmers’ Markets happen nearly every day of the week and have quickly become places the community not only shops for fresh produce and local products, but a place they can participate in collaborative consumption by taking free workshops and learning from farmers who freely share their knowledge on growing a better garden or preserving food.

But Farmers’ Markets aren’t the only way the community can participate in farm-based learning while connecting with their neighbors and supporting local farmers… Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is another fabulous way families can support, participate and learn through the lens of our local food culture.  By purchasing a CSA share, shareholders pledge their support of a local farm and receive weekly shares of fruits, vegetables, herbs, cut flowers, honey, eggs, dairy and meat products.  For a list of CSA’s in the Pioneer Valley, check out CISA’s list of local farms.

FOOD-BASED EDUCATION

How does your family participate in our local food culture?  Maybe you have a garden in your yard, a plot at the community garden or container pots on the front stoop or windowsill? Do you engage in with farmers, buying your food at farmers’ markets or roadside farm stands? Is volunteering to support food security in our region a priority to your family?

We invite our readers to share ways your family engages in our local food culture and how you use this lens of community engagement as a way of supporting the interests and education of your children. Hilltown Families sponsor, Crimson & Clover Farm, a community based farm on the Northampton Community Farm land, is partnering with us by offering an incentive to our readers to share their stories. Share ways your family engages in our local food culture and the learning you glean from your experiences, and be entered to win a Small CSA Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm, a $420 value!  Deadline to enter to win: April 28th, 2015, by 11:59pm (EST). Details on how to enter to win are below.

Read the rest of this entry »

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