21 Community Highlights: Orchids to Earthworms. Hilltown History Fair to Jurassic Roadshow.
Orchids to Earthworms. Hilltown History Fair to Jurassic Roadshow. Latin American to Greek. Teens to Preschoolers…. 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!
HIKING WITH TEENS
Get outdoors with your teens/tweens this weekend! There are a number of outdoor hikes and even a canoe trip happening this weekend for families with older children. On Saturday morning, Oct. 13th in Lenox, canoe the Housatonic River with Mass Audubon Berkshire Sanctuaries through the Darey Wildlife Management Area, a spot with calm waters and lots of wildlife. A little later in the morning in Windsor, hike the highland backcountry at Tamarack Hollow and Notchview Reservation, looking for cellar holes and other signs of the abandoned homesteads throughout the reservation while learning about the boreal forest fauna and flora that make this area ecologically unique. In Lee, families can hike the Basin Pond Trail in the afternoon on Saturday – a trek that will explore a quiet beaver pond and wetland that humans attempted to dam twice (1886 and 1968).
On Sunday morning, Oct. 14th in Great Barrington, hike the Barrett Preserve, part of the Berkshire Natural Resource Council’s preserved land, learning about the history of the preserve. In Windsor, hike through upland meadows to the ruins of a former dairy farm, with great views of Mt. Greylock on Sunday morning. In the afternoon in Easthampton at MASS Audubon at Arcadia, join naturalist educator Aimee Gelinas in learning about native wetland plants and trees with a focus on Wild Rice, a native grain collected as food by native people for centuries.
BOTANY & PLANT STUDIES
The Berkshire Orchid and Tropical Show happens both Saturday & Sunday, Oct 13th & 14th at the Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, featuring numerous varieties of orchids, succulents, bromeliads, bonsai, and other tropical plants – as well as workshops on everything from dish gardens to helping orchids re-bloom! Families can supplement plant studies of all kinds by visiting the show – young students can learn about basic biodiversity, plant cells, and photosynthesis; older students can take a more in-depth look at the biology and evolution behind each species.
In Holyoke on Saturday morning, Oct. 13th, learn about native plants and native seeds with the Trustees of Reservations at the Land of Providence. This workshop will teach participants the importance of native plants and how to identify various species, as well as how to collect seeds and cuttings and care for plants grown in containers.
Families can participate as citizen scientists in Turners Falls on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 13th by helping the Great Falls Discovery Center and the New England Wild Flower Society put together a new “Go Botany” website that will help families identify local trees! Families can collect leaves and snap cell phone pictures of trees and leaves to contribute to the site.
The Hilltowns History Conference and Fair happens all day in Colrain on Saturday, Oct 13th with lots of fun activities and learning opportunities for families, in addition to a number of history workshops taking place throughout the day. There will be representatives from Hilltown historical societies, genealogy, blacksmithing, archeology, lots of local memorabilia and artifacts, and a chance to meet Mary Lyon (Hilltown native and founder of Mt. Holyoke College) herself!
In Amherst, UMass hosts a conference on disabilities in history on Saturday, Oct. 13th – the event will focus on the cultural history of people with disabilities in the United States. There will be guest speakers from all over the country, speaking on a wide range of disabilities and historical eras. Older teen students interested in the history of the human rights movement can benefit from attending – people with disabilities are an oft-forgotten group in history.
On Thursday evening, Oct. 18th in Amherst, Beatles scholar Scott Freiman (hosted by Amherst Cinema) hosts, “Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper,” a night of Beatles history! The presentation, which includes music and video, will look at the influence that the album had (and continues to have) on modern music. The talk will deconstruct everything from the album’s cover art to the chords used in the now-classic songs. A unique event older students can attend to supplement music studies.
The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association’s Jurassic Roadshow takes place on the Amherst Common all day on Saturday, Oct 13th. There will be collections of dinosaur and prehistoric fossils on display, demonstrations, games and activities for children. Bring something you’ve collected from home to be identified too! There will be live music and activities happening near by at the Beneski Museum of Natural History and the Jones Library. Amherst Area Amateur Astronomers Association will be there too with their sunscopes!
ANIMAL & NATURE STUDIES
Learn about worms – hands-on! On Saturday morning, Oct 13th kids can handle some squiggly, wiggly earthworms at the Great Falls Discovery Center, and learn all about how worms live, what they eat, the structure of their bodies, and all that they contribute to the local ecosystem. Same morning in Shelburne Falls, children can learn all about animal homes with educator Rachel Roberts at the Arms Library. This special program will teach kids (using hands-on art and science activities) about the many different types of homes that animals live in – and why.
The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation is offering weekly drop-in autumn nature classes for preschoolers at its Sheep Hill property on Monday afternoons beginning Oct. 15th. The weekly classes will include nature explorations focusing on how nature prepares for winter. Come to all or just a single class.
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING & MATH (STEM)
Baystate Medical Center hosts a lab fair on Monday afternoon, Oct. 15th, featuring lots of interesting information and activities relating to histology, cytology, chemistry, and more! Learn about what goes on in the hospital’s lab, and learn about how diseases are identified and treated. Teens can learn to match up chromosomes and identify some bacteria, too! Students interested in entering a health profession will benefit from the information and resources shared.
Open to young women in grades 9-12, Women in Engineering Career Day will take place at UMass Amherst on Monday, Oct. 19th. Activities include: hands-on engineering and computing activities; demonstrations of state-of-the-art technology, information about career opportunities; lunch chats with college students, professors, and engineers; and optional tours of engineering and computer science labs.
CULTURAL STUDIES: LATIN AMERICAN, ALGONKIAN & GREEK
It’s Family Fiesta Day at the Springfield Museum on Saturday, Oct. 13th- a day to enjoy Latin American culture! There will be live music with Bomba y Plena, food samples of traditional Latin American foods, Guiro demonstration (a Latin-American instrument), Salsa Class, parade of Hispanic Heritage, and much more!
On Wednesday evening, Oct 17th, join the Shelburne Grange for a community potluck and an evening of Native American songs and storytelling. Marge Bruchac, and Abenaki storyteller and historian, will share Algonkian songs and stories. – Beginning next Friday, Oct 19th in East Longmeadow, the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Luke hosts Taste of Greece! The event includes performances of traditional dance and a Greek market and last for three days!
Find out about these events and nearly 200 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events.
SUPPORTING BOOK TITLES
- AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Berkshires: Four-season Guide to 50 of the Best Trails in Western Massachusetts
- Orchids (Let’s Investigate. Plants) [Ages 6yo+]
- [Ages 8yo+]
- A Disability History of the United States
- When Dinos Dawned, Mammals Got Munched, and Pterosaurs Took Flight: A Cartoon PreHistory of Life in the Triassic [Ages 8yo+]
- Everything Kids’ Dinosaurs Book: Stomp, Crash, And Thrash Through Hours of Puzzles, Games, And Activities! [Ages 8yo+]
- An Earthworm’s Life (Nature Upclose)[Ages 5yo+]
- The Year Comes Round: Haiku through the Seasons [3yo+]
- Is There an Engineer Inside You? A Comprehensive Guide to Career Decision in Engineering (Third Edition)