34 Community Highlights: Tulips to Jazz. Irish Dance to Asian Art.

Explore another culture by introducing a new tradition to your family, Ukrainian Easter Eggs, also know as Pisanski eggs. This month there are several community classes and workshops taking place. Check out our post, The Tradition of Pisanski Eggs, for both a list of upcoming opportunities in Western MA and a video showing you how to make them at home.

Culinary Arts to Forensic Science. Tulips to Jazz. Teen Brains to PreK Friendships. Irish Dance to Asian Art…

These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play!

Be sure to check our list of supporting book & DVD 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!

STEM ♦ Plants & Animals ♦ Films ♦ Parent Workshops ♦ Culture: Asian & Irish ♦ Art ♦ History ♦ Outdoor Adventures ♦ Literacy, Nutrition & Social Studies

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)

The Williston Library in Easthampton is hosting their annual Chemistry Passport event on Monday evening, March 4th. Kids can learn from Mt. Holyoke students all about electromagnetic radiation outside of the visible spectrum. The free workshop will include a look at infrared technology and its use in the field of art history and art restoration.

Learn about changes in matter by studying food! Kids in grades 2-7 can join in a Sprout Homeschool Science field trip to the Whole Foods Market kitchen in Hadley on Thursday morning, March 7th, where they will get to do three different delicious and scientifically fascinating activities related to changes in states and matter.  Then in the afternoon on Thursday, Monson Library hosts a free science club for kids ages 7-10yo where the kids will be dissecting fresh frozen squid!

MCLA in North Adams hosts the Region I Massachusetts State Science Fair on Friday afternoon, March 8th.  The fair is a showcase of projects, investigations, and experiments all done by local high school students. Families can attend this free fair and learn about a wide variety of scientific principles and phenomena, and the projects will serve as a perfect example of self-directed work and academic initiative.


Visit Mt. Holyoke’s Talcott Greenhouse for the botanic garden’s 2013 bulb show, opening Saturday, March 2nd in South Hadley. With a Mediterranean theme, this free flower show features a wide variety of spring-blooming bulbs, as well as other beautiful flowering plants and shrubs. Families can learn about unique types of plants, and a visit to the show can be used to supplement studies of biodiversity and phytotomy.

The Smith College Botanic Garden’s annual spring bulb show begins on Saturday, March 2nd in Northampton. Visit their greenhouses to see beautiful spring bulbs in bloom and to see about the growing process of bulbs. Pair a visit to the show with a family study of how plants grow and compare seed growth to bulb growth.

Explore animal adaptations with the Hitchcock Center’s Helen Ann Sephton at the Leverett Library on Sunday at noon, March 3rd.  In this free presentation, youth participants can learn about the ways that animals have adapted in order to survive New England winters.

Explore Mount Tom in Holyoke on Sunday afternoon, March 3rd, and learn how plants and animals have adapted to survive to cold, snowy winter here in Massachusetts. This free program is sponsored by the Massachusetts DCR.

Older students interested in obscure science can learn fascinating facts at the OEB Science Cafe hosted by Esselon Cafe in Hadley on Monday evening, March 4th.  This month’s topic is animal communication. Hampshire College’s Sarah Partan will share information on everything from the meaning of squirrels’ tail waving to the challenges that urban birds face in mating at this free event.


Amherst Cinema screens, “Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer,” as part of the Jazz a la Mode Film Series on Monday evening, March 4th. The film tells the life story of the iconic jazz singer, whose unique style inspired an entire type of jazz to be born. A great film to supplement studies in both music history and women’s studies.

The Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield is hosting a free film series titled, “Cinema of Law: The Law as Seen by Hollywood Movies” beginning Tuesday evening, March 5th. The series will include well-known movies with law-related themes, each one introduced by a member of the Berkshire Bar Association. Tuesday’s screening is The Last Campaign, a documentary about a West Virginia Supreme Court justice’s 2004 campaign for re-election. Best for older students interested in law studies.

In Amherst on Thursday evening, March 7th, the Amherst Cinema, along with the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, screens, “A Place at the Table,” a documentary about hunger and food insecurity in the United States. One in five children in the United States (and nearly 50 million others) don’t know where their next meal will come from on a regular basis. The film follows three people from across the country – two children and one mother – who struggle with food insecurity, and helps to bring light to the issues that really contribute to hunger and the toll that it takes on society as a whole when we fail to provide for all.


The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering a free parent workshop titled, “The Active Child.” Taking place on Tuesday evening, March 5th at the Palmer-Monson Family Network in Three Rivers, the workshop is designed for parents with kids who are very energetic and high-spirited. Parents will learn tips and tricks for dealing with children’s behavior, as well as strategies for creating a positive home environment.

Author Bill Corbett offers parents advice on some of the challenging behaviors that kids present at The Montessori School of the Berkshires in Lenoxdale on Wednesday evening, March 6th. Titled, “Positive Solutions for Getting Children to Cooperate,” the workshop will offer tips, strategies, skills, and more.

Great Barrington Waldorf High School hosts a free evening talk on Wednesday, March 6th titled “Keeping Ideals Intact,” with David Sloan. Author of “Stages of Adolescents” and “Life Lessons: Reaching Teenagers through Literature,” David will speak about fostering the natural idealism of youth as an antidote to cynicism and apathy.

On Wednesday evening, March 6th, Tim Hope presents a talk for preschool parents and guardians, “Preschool Friendships: Supporting Your Child’s First Relationships.” Happens at The Little Red Schoolhouse at Amherst College.

The Gateway Regional School District and Gateway School-Based Health Center are partnering to bring a free presentation on the Adolescent Brain on Thursday evening, March 7th in Huntington.  Two guest speakers will give presentations on the developing teen brain. This topic has had considerable interest among parents over the past two years, as ImPACT testing has been implemented at Gateway among all student athletes, in accordance with a new law in Massachusetts.


Explore the art of Asia at the Smith College Museum of Art’s Free Family Day on Saturday, March 2nd in Northampton. Families can visit the museum’s current exhibit, Collecting the Art of Asia, to learn about artistic techniques and traditions from a handful of Asian cultures. There will be drop-in activities throughout the day, too. It’s a great chance for families to learn about art appreciation and world cultures.

Get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday afternoon, March 3rd as the Academy of Music hosts Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company in Northampton. The group will be accompanied by Emerald Rae, a Scottish fiddle champion, and the performance is sure to provide lots of hand-clapping, toe-tapping traditional Irish dance.

Chinese Theaterworks presents Toy Theater Peony Pavilion at UMass’ Bowker Auditorium in Amherst on Thursday morning, March 7th. The show is an adaptation of the 16th century Chinese epic, Peony Pavilion – re-worked and re-vamped. The production combines traditionally dressed (and made-up) actors alongside beautiful and artistic puppetry.


It’s Family Curiosity Day at the Williams College Museum of Art on Saturday, March 2nd in Williamstown. Visit the museum to learn all about art – there will be gallery activities, artistic experiments, and lots of art projects.

The Norman Rockwell Museum hosts Kids Create, a special art-making event for preschool kids and their accompanying adults, on Wednesday morning, March 6th in Stockbridge, MA. Kids can create masterpieces of their own, while helping their young brains to grow!

The Northampton Center for the Arts’ first ever art show made up entirely of works of art from students in Northampton’s public schools opens Friday afternoon, March 8th. The show includes 60 pieces created by students in grades K-8 at the city’s elementary and middle schools, in both 2- and 3-D! Stop by the center to see the creativity and skill of young students.


Old Sturbridge Village is hosting Native American Weekend on March 2rd & 3rd. Along with the village’s ongoing opportunities to learn about life and culture in early New England, this special weekend offers families a chance to learn about Native American history and cultural traditions, something often left out of studies of American history. The village hosts Native American doctress Molly Geet, who will share winter stories and tales of Native American maple sugaring, snowshoeing, and more. There will also be flute-making demonstrations, and demonstration of other traditional crafts and skills. The event is a great way for families to supplement their studies of American history, and to build knowledge about the rich history of Native American traditions and their influence on the development of New England culture.

Celebrate National Women’s History Month with Western Gateway Heritage State Park in North Adams on Saturday afternoon, March 2nd. The park is offering a special program on women’s role in the field of science throughout history.

Throughout history, communities have grown and changed all over the world as a result of their physical surroundings. Our communities here in Western Massachusetts are not exception! On Saturday evening, March 2nd, families can learn about the history of the town of Conway’s relationship with the South River at Conway Town Hall. The Historical Society and Historical Commission are presenting a free talk, which will share lots of interesting information about the town’s past. Discussion will follow. Best for older students.

The Wistariahurst Museum is hosting a lecture series on the history of transportation in the Pioneer Valley on Monday evening, March 4th in Holyoke. Tonight’s lecture is on the role of Westover Field in the Cold War. Author Steve Jendrysik will speak about the three-decade relationship that local communities had with the US effort in the Cold War as a result of the Air Force’s presence in Western Massachusetts. Best for older students, the event can help to supplement studies of modern American history.

The Springfield Museums’ Museums a la Carte Lecture on Thursday afternoon, March 7th, features the Graveyard Girls, a group dedicated to sharing and understanding the rich history of cemeteries. Thursday’s lecture will teach visitors about the art and symbolism found in cemeteries through a virtual tour of photographs. The event will also compare modern burial rituals and markings with those of our ancestors. Great for those interested in cultural history.


Take a snowshoe trek at Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield on Saturday morning, March 2nd. Join the Trustees of Reservations in exploring the beautiful fields, forests, and streams of the cobble.

Snowshoe through the Windsor Jambs State Forest with Mass Audubon and Aimee Gelinas of Tamarack Hollow, also on Saturday morning, March 2nd. The three mile trek will help participants learn about the unique ecology and landscape of the area.

Join DCR MassParks staff and Great Barrington Trails & Greenways volunteers for a guided hike along the Benedict Pond Loop Trail in Beartown State Forest in Monterey on Saturday afternoon, March 2nd. This free guided hike is an easy 1.7 miles, about 1.5 hours in duration. For Ages 12 and up.


Families with kids ages 6+ are invited to take part in a free 6-week workshop series with professional storyteller John Porcino at the Dickinson Library in Northfield starting Saturday morning, March 2nd. Porcino will share beautiful children’s books with families, and the events are a celebration of stories – each week will focus on a new theme.

The Storrs Library in Longmeadow hosts Kids Cuisine on Saturday morning, March 2nd, a fun, nutrition-focused workshop where kids will learn about making healthy & delicious choices about food. Participants will get to prepare lunch and some snacks, too.

Have you ever wished that a book would converse with you, instead of just laying there waiting to be read? What if checking out a book meant getting your questions answered rather than searching through pages? Visit Williams College’s Human Library on Saturday afternoon, March 2nd in Williamstown. Instead of checking out books, patrons will check out actual people, who have been pre-designated to talk about specific topics – mainly based on unique life experiences. Visitors to the library can check out their human books for 15-20 minutes each, and will be able to gain firsthand information from each interaction.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and other events & activities happening all next week in our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday.


[Photo credit: (ccl) Amanda Woodward]

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