27 Community Highlights: Geology to Industrial Revolution. Peace Studies to Volunteering.

Are you teaching kids/students about their local environment at home or at school? Check out the Berkshire Museum’s “Living Landscapes: Teaching in Nature” curriculum guide as a resource. The museum will be participating in a Bioblitz on Friday, Sept 21st with a local elementary school, using a community-based education model supported by this curriculum guide of 11 lesson plans designed to offer kids a chance to discover nature while learning math, English language arts, science and the visual arts. Check it out, and then check out the Berkshire Bioblitz happening this weekend in Pittsfield! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

18th Century Neighborhood to 19th Century Sawmill. Geology to Industrial Revolution. Peace Studies to Volunteering… 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!


There are three events for families that support an interest in animals.  In the early morning on Saturday, Sept 22nd at Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield, learn to spot and identify various species of birds while learning about their habitat.  Later in the morning in Shelburne Falls, the Arms Library will offer a class for kids on animal babies, and in the afternoon, join educator Rachel Roberts at Northfield Mountain to learn about the variety of insects in our natural environment.  All three events are free.


On Saturday morning, Sept 22nd in Great Barrington, celebrate the 25th anniversary of the RiverWalk with a walk-about, taking in the natural beauty and history.  In Greenfield at GCC, families with older students can learn about Franklin County geology with a tour that reveals the area’s natural history through geological evidence.  Then on Sunday, Sept 23rd, join educator Dawn Marvin Wood for a program called “Let’s Explore!” at Lake Wyola in Shutebury for a family hike looking for creatures, listening for birds and surveying the flora and fauna.


History comes alive in Central and South Berkshire County this weekend with numerous hikes and behind-the-scene tours. On Saturday, Sept 22nd in Pittsfield, families can tour the historic Colonial Theatre and Barrington Stage Company, exploring their architecture and 100 year+ history. Other historical tours happening on Saturday include Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, Captain Truman Wheeler Farmstead in Great Barrington, and the Gould Farm in Monterey. Historical walks and hikes happening on Saturday include the historic former trolley line in Great Barrington, 18th century neighborhoods in West Stockbridge and historical burial grounds in Richmond. Then on Sunday, Sept 23rd, historical tours will take place at Cookson State Forest in New Marlborough where families can visit a 19th century sawmill and shingle shop, Hilltop Orchard in Richmond to learn about heirloom apples and how a vineyard is operated, and the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum in Lenox. Hikes taking place on Sunday include trails near the Arrowhead Museum in Pittsfield and an operating quarry in Becket. Some events require registration, and most are free. – Now the tough part… choosing which ones to go to!


There will be a few film screenings students can view to supplement various areas of study this coming week.  The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield offers a film festival on Saturday, Sept 22nd in conjunction with the museum’s current exhibit, featuring films about Native American history, culture and life in New England. Also at the museum, on Monday, Sept 24th, there will be a screening of “Side by Side,” a documentary about the evolution of digital filmmaking and the simultaneous changes seen in traditional film recording.  On Wednesday, Sept 26th Noble and Cooley Center for Historic Preservation in Granville will be screening historic and educational films on industrial manufacturing- a fun way for older students to learn about, or supplement their studies on,  industrial manufacturing and how it ties into the Industrial Revolution.


Saturday, Sept 22nd marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the historic document that eventually ended slavery.  Celebrate and learn about the history of the proclamation at the Unitarian Society in Northampton – there will be guest speakers, live music, and more.  Families can use the event to supplement their children’s studies of American history, and use what kids learn to start a family dialogue about civil and human rights.

In Berkshire County on Saturday, Sept 22nd, the Center for Peace Through Culture host a free day-long community family event celebrating International Day of Peace.  BYO picnic and blanket to The Guthrie Center in Great Barrington for meditation, peace education and song.  Three class for youth learning peace through the arts include: Peace Readings for Children, Peace through Music and Sound, and Peace through Art.


There are a few ways families can volunteer to help out our animal friends this coming week. On Saturday, Sept 22nd, teens and their adult companion can help the Zoo in Forest Park (teaming up with Habitat for Humanity) put the finishing touches on new buildings and pens during Habitat Goes to the Zoo in Springfield. Also on Saturday, Sept 22nd is the Berkshire BioBlitz where families can participate as citizen scientists by searching for and identifying as many species as possible at Burbank Park in Pittsfield. In Easthampton on Friday, Sept 28th, kids can volunteer to make a cat toy for the Dakin animal shelter after school at the Emily Williston Memorial Library.

Another volunteer opportunity is with Help Yourself!, a group of volunteers who plant fruit trees and gardens in public and private spaces in Northampton, and inspire similar work in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. Ignored and abused places like vacant lots, bike paths, road medians, and lawns of businesses and households are planted with nutritious, and abundant fruit trees, edible vines, shrubs, hedges, flowers, and perennial and annual veggies. Current projects include Ward 3, Pulaski Park, and the Manhan Rail Trail Connector. Visit commongreen.weebly.com to learn about how your family can get involved.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and over 150 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events.


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