33 Community Highlights: Lady’s Slipper to Bird Calls. Charcoal Industry to Historic Mill Sites.

If being in the garden with your kids is more your speed, be sure to check out the plant sales & swaps happening this Saturday in Cummington, Holyoke, Shelburne Falls, and Sunderland.

Healthy Smiles to Spring Fling. Lady’s Slipper to Bird Calls. Charcoal Industry to Historic Mill Sites… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Community Highlights

With beautiful weather in the forecast, it’ll be a great weekend to head out to any of the many annual community celebrations taking place this weekend. Community highlights include the 34th annual Longmeaddowe Days in Longmeadow, 18th annual Springfest in Northampton, Muddy Brook Elementary School PTA’s annual Mud Day in Great Barrington, and Chester On Track which this year celebrates the 174th anniversary of the coming of the railroad to Chester!  There are also a couple of museum adventures awaiting families this Saturday with Museum Day at The Clark in Williamstown, and Art Museum Day at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.

Early ChildhoodHistoryAnimal/Nature StudiesPlant StudiesLanguage ArtsCommunity ServiceParent Workshops


Celebrate springtime at the free Family Fun Festival at North Riverfront Park in Springfield as part of Bay State Bike Week on Saturday, May 18th! Families can decorate their bikes for participation in a bicycle parade, learn to row and/or paddle, get their faces painted, tour the riverwalk and the park, and more!

Are your little ones getting ready for preschool? Learn about the options available at the Early Education Community and Family Fair, at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School on Saturday in Shelburne Falls. Families can meet representatives from local preschool and daycares, and will be able to learn about the programs that they offer. Meanwhile, kids can take part in all sorts of free fun activities, including a special performance and healthy snack-making!

Enjoy a day of free fun family activities on Saturday in Orange and the added bonus of a free dental screening at Healthy Smiles Family Fun Day! There will be arts and crafts projects, face painting, a book swap, a tricycle rodeo, and information on summer activities – as well as tooth checks.  Takes place at the Athol Orange Elks Lodge.

Spring Fling! Bringing the sun into the Children’s Library at the Berkshire Athenaeum on Saturday in Pittsfield! Come for spring inspired stories, a short video, spring theme craft, and snacks! Toddler and Preschool. Free.


Ever wonder how old, abandoned towns turn into forests? On Saturday, May 18th, join DCR’s Nick Anzuoni for a free hike in the Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest in Hawley to learn about the human history and ecology of the land, like the effects of agriculture and the charcoal industry. Program attendees can either go on a short walk to visit the Forest’s beehive-shaped charcoal kiln, or take a five mile moderate hike along former roads in order to visit other historical sites, such as stone walls, cellar holes, and mill sites! All ages are welcome.

Stockbridge History Museum hosts a free cemetery walk on Saturday afternoon to tour and learn about local history through past residents. This month’s theme is, “Changed the World: Buried in Stockbridge.”

Visit Beartown State Forest’s opening day in Monterey on Saturday afternoon to learn about the history of Swann Lodge and the preservation efforts underway to ensure that the park remains a beautiful place to visit, and a local landmark, too! Free

Pothole Pictures presents a screening of “Root Hog or Die,” a 1974 film about the last of the old time horse farmers in Western MA on Saturday evening. The 56-minute film will be shown in its digitally remastered version, and a community conversation about changes in local farming will take place after the film. Takes place at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls.

A Step Back In Time: Westhampton in the 1800s. On Sunday afternoon, May 19th, take a step back in time to the 19th century at the Westhampton Library! This free hands-on event will give participants a chance to try out common 1800’s activities like churning butter and using a two-man saw, and will also include a chance to look at images under a stereoscope and lessons on writing a will, cleaning a rifle and more!


Explore West Springfield’s Mittineague Park and the arrival of spring on Saturday morning, May 18th, by observing birds, plants, insects, and wildlife as they transition into springtime! Join the West Springfield Environmental Committee and the Park and Recreation Dept for a free guided Spring Nature Walk with local naturalist Doug Guyett. All ages are welcome.

Learn to identify bird calls by ear on Saturday morning with naturalist John Green! The Hitchcock Center sponsors an expedition to Fitzgerald Lake in Northampton, where participants will learn to listen for common bird calls and will learn ways to remember which call belongs to each bird.

Go on a spring bird walk with the Berkshire South Community Center  in Great Barrington on Thursday evening, May 23rd.  Explore the trails behind the center to look for common Berkshire birds, and listen for their calls. Free.


Do you know what plant species can be found in a boreal forest is? Learn about the plants found in these types of forests here in Western MA with Tamarack Hollow’s naturalist Aimee Gelinas on a boreal forest hike. On Saturday, May 18th, families can learn to find and identify plant species such as the pink lady slipper, blue bead lilly, trout lilly, bunchberry, and red trillium! The 2-3 mile moderate hike will begin at Tamarack Hollow Nature Center in Windsor.

On Saturday afternoon, visit Naumkeag in Stockbridge for a sneak preview of the historic home’s beautiful tree peonies! Older students and parents can attend a lecture on peony gardening, followed by tea on the terrace. Great for students interested in learning to acquire their own gardening skills or plant studies.

Trees are covered with brand new leaves now that it’s spring! PreK kids can learn all about trees, their growth process, and the important habitat that they help to provide at the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls on Friday morning, May 24th. Free.


Enjoy classic poetry outdoors at the Emily Dickinson Museum’s annual poetry walk and open house in Amherst on Saturday afternoon, May 18th! The free walk recognizes the anniversary of Emily Dickinson’s death and includes readings at five locations in downtown Amherst. Participants in the walk will get to read poetry too.


Spend time giving back to your community as a family on Saturday in CummingtonBerkshire Trail Elementary School is holding their annual Community Spruce-Up Day, an event that brings together students, parents, teachers, and community members to help with maintenance and beautification of the school’s grounds.  Projects include installing a nature play area, planting fruit-bearing bushes and trees, and adding a composting station to the school’s garden.   Volunteers of all ages and abilities welcome!

Help to raise awareness of and funding for research to cure Huntington’s Disease at the annual Garbage Trail Walk on Sunday morning, May 19th in Great Barrington! The event begins at the Guthrie Center and takes participants on a tour of Guthrie landmarks – the event begins with a trip on a microbus (groovy!) to Alice’s Restaurant, and walkers will walk from there back to the church (roughly 6.3 miles). It’s a great way to get exercise, support a great cause, and celebrate folk music icon Arlo Guthrie!


Hilltown Families and Cup and Top Café are presenting a series of free talks for parents with Brooke Norton, Certified Sex Educator and Jane Fleishman, MS, Certified Sex Educator in Florence on Tuesday evening, May 21st. Continuing with this series, the third talk, Puberty for Parents, will focus on the physical changes, social impacts and emotional aspects of puberty. Brooke and Jane will also touch upon sexual orientation and coming out, and what parents can teach their kids about consent. Discussion happens after hours at Cup & Top Cafe.

The Community Network for Children hosts, “Managing the Transitions in Every Day Life with Simplicity Parenting,” a free workshop on successful daily, weekly, and even monthly routines to help parents and children handle changes big and small. Held at Erving Elementary School on Tuesday evening, May 21st, the workshop includes dinner and childcare.

On Tuesday evening, South Berkshire Kids hosts a free workshop titled, “Different Child, Different Needs,” in Great Barrington. Lead by Jeanine Fitzgerald, the workshop will teach parents about their influence over their child’s development and behavior, as well as the parts of a temperament that are often inherited. Childcare available.

When is it appropriate to give children access to technology such as smart phones, iPads, and computers? Learn about developmentally appropriate use of technology on Wednesday evening, May 22nd, at the Palmer-Monson Family Network in Three Rivers. The Collaborative for Educational Services will present, “Tech for Tots,” a free workshop on the impact of technology use on young children. Childcare is available.

Join the Crocker Farm PGO in Amherst on Wednesday evening for a free Science Night! Parents will learn ways to extend their children’s science learning at home, and will also receive information about the new next generation of Common Core science standards that will be released soon.

The Williamsburg Woodland Trails Committee is offering a free workshop on Thursday night, May 23rd, on avoiding the dangers of one of the outdoors’ smallest pests – ticks. Titled, “Ticks, Lyme Disease, and Your Family’s Health,” the workshop will cover tick identification, diseases carried by ticks, the relationship between ticks and invasive plants, and ways to protect your family and pets from the miniscule creatures. The event will take place at Goshen Town Hall.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

Find out about these events and over 100 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events.


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