12 Community Highlights: Honey Bees to Katydids. Shady Porches to Tomatoes.
Pollinators to Nocturnal Insects. Historic Homes to Historical Societies. Tomatoes to Honey. These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play! And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week. Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public library!
Pollinators play an important role in our ecosystem! This Saturday, Aug. 25th, families can learn about pollinators in the Berkshires. In the morning families can learn about bees, hornets, and wasps at Field Farm with the Trustees of Reservations in Williamstown – scary though their sting may be, the science behind pollinating creatures is fascinating! Then in the afternoon at the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield there will be a special program on honey bees! The event is part of the village’s Return and Learn series, and will teach visitors about the role these pollinators play in the ecosystem, and all about beekeeping (and its history at the village). Great information for older students to pair with studies of local agriculture and entomology!
On Tuesday, August 28th, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton hosts an evening of nocturnal summer bugs! There will be an informational slideshow about katydids and grasshoppers, then a trip outside to listen to (and perhaps find!) some of the noisy summer critters. Designed for adults, the program is best for older students interested in wildlife biology and entomology
Many artisanal skills, now rare, were once necessary for survival. On Saturday, Aug. 25th, the Ashley House in Sheffield will host a day where families can learn about the many different skills necessary for running a household. Visitors can try spinning wool, caring for animals, cooking, and more! There will also be demonstrations of all sorts for families to view. Just a further north, Shady Porches happens in Stockbridge on Saturday too. Tour the town and learn about the Stockbridge’s history from residents, past and present, found on porches of historic homes. The tour, hosted by the Stockbridge Library, features actors playing Stockbridge residents – doctors, lawyers, bakers, etc., – and offers a fun and exciting take on local history.
On Sunday, Aug. 26th, several historical societies will offer free afternoon learning events. Learn about local history and Native Americans by visiting the Agawam Historical Association’s Firehouse Museum where there will be displays, artifacts, and more from which visitors can learn about the first residents of what is now Agawam. The Plainfield Historical Society will be offering a guided hike to explore former mill sites along the Mill River! The event begins with a talk on the many former mills and their sites, and is followed by a trek through the woods. Families can learn about the industries that helped to bring people to the area and build community, and learn about how the area has changed! The Buckland Historical Society is open in the afternoon! Families can visit to learn about local history from the many different artifacts, pieces of memorabilia that the museum is home to. Kids can learn about how their community has evolved and learn about how significant national and international events and changes have affected where they live.
On Tuesday evening, Aug. 28th, the Emily Williston Memorial Library in Easthampton will host “Civil War Field Artillery: The Guns, The Equipment, and the Men” with award-winning historian, Civil War expert, Norbert Rieke. Mr. Rieke will review the different types of field artillery often displayed at our National Parks, giving older students insight into the history of the Civil War through these historic artifacts for their visits to these national treasuries.
Katywil Farm Community in Colrain is hosting a day long block party on Saturday, Aug. 25th, filled with community skillshares and other fun activities! Families can learn weaving and dying, go on a medicinal herb walk, learn to extract honey and make pickles, and more! Visitors are also welcome to share their own skills.
Tour The Folly, a post-modernist home on the grounds of Field Farm in Williamstown, also on Saturday, Aug. 25th. The Trustees of Reservations will be offering midday tours of the home, and visitors can learn about its unique architectural style and compare it with the farm’s guest house, designed in the American modern style. Great for older kids interested in architecture, design, and engineering.
Find out about these events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. And don’t forget about our Bucket List of 60 recommendations of things to do and places to see in Western MA in the summer by Hilltown Families readers (and add you’re own recommendation too!)
- Wasps (Bugs, Bugs, Bugs!) [Ages 4+]
- The Life and Times of the Honeybee [Ages 5+]
- Honey Bees: Letters from the Hive [Ages 11+]
- The Backyard Beekeeper – Revised and Updated: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden
- Guide to Night-Singing Insects of the Northeast [Book/CD]
- The Songs of Insects [Book/CD]
- Hasty Pudding, Johnnycakes, and Other Good Stuff: Cooking in Colonial America [Ages 5-12]
- A Walking Tour of Stockbridge, Massachusetts (Look Up, America!) [Kindle]
- Agawam and Feeding Hills Revisited (MA) (Images of America)
- The Civil War for Kids: A History with 21 Activities (For Kids series) [Ages 9+]
- American Civil War Artillery 1861-65 (1): Field Artillery
- Cool Tomatoes from Garden to Table: How to Plant, Grow, and Prepare Tomatoes (Cool Garden to Table) [Ages 8+]
- Tomatoes, Potatoes, Corn, and Beans: How the Foods of the Americas Changed Eating [Ages 12+]
- The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture, and Cookery