20 Community Highlights: Monarchs to Macroinvertebrates. 19th-Century Chores to Food Traditions.

Pictured here are Hilltown Families’ volunteers at The Food Bank of Western MA last September. Join The Food Bank this Sunday, September 8th in Hatfield for a Family Volunteer Day.

Monarchs to Macroinvertebrates. 19th-Century Chores to Food TraditionsIntergenerational Story Swap to Nature-Based StoryWalk

These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week is service based learning at The Food Bank of Western MA. On Saturday, September 7th, Hilltown Families and Whole Foods in Hadley are hosting a Kids’ Day of Community Service, gleaning left over organic vegetables at Atlas Farm to donate to The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. With 100 folks signed up to help, the event is full on Saturday; however, on Sunday, September 8th, The Food Bank is holding Family Volunteer Day in Hatfield for family members of all ages – even toddlers can help out! Activities include touring the Food Bank warehouse, sorting food (including organic vegetables gleaned the day before), educational opportunities for kids, a screening of the documentary A Place At the Table, and more. It is important that kids understand the value and importance of volunteering and community service, and this is an excellent opportunity to give them some hands-on experience volunteering to help improve food security for area residents. This free all-ages event shows that no one is too young to start making a difference in their community.

Entomology ♦  Transportation History ♦  Archeology ♦  Culinary Arts & Food History ♦  Fashion ♦  Storytelling ♦  Immigration Studies ♦  Cultural Celebrations ♦  Ornithology ♦  Colonial History


Wild and Scenic Westfield River is hosting “Macroinvertebrate Madness: Learn to Love Our Water Bugs” on Saturday morning, September 7th This free workshop in Chester will teach participating families the basics of finding and identifying macroinvertebrates (invertebrates that are large enough to be seen without a microscope) in the Westfield River and its tributaries. This workshop would be great for students interested in insects and their life cycles, teaching them how their presence (or lack of) tells a story about the health of our waterways.

It’s September, which means the monarch butterfly is beginning its 2,500-mile migration to central Mexico. Butterfly enthusiasts of all ages can come out to Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center for an afternoon all about monarchs this Saturday! This free program will start indoors with hands-on activities, and then move outdoors in search of monarchs to tag for the Monarch Watch citizen science program. Those who attend this program will learn about monarch butterfly life cycles, what their long journey is like, and how tagging helps scientists learn more about them.

Enjoy an evening with music and moths at Project Native in Housatonic on Saturday! Using a light trap, participants can see night insects up close. A family event, so bring a chair/blanket and something to grill (BYOB). S’mores and campfire too. A fun way to learn about what creatures living in our local habitat and a bit about entomology. Check out their new butterfly house while there too!

Transportation History

Saturday, September 7th is Springfield’s 10th annual History on the Move Car Show, which is meant to pay tribute to Springfield’s role in transportation history. The car show features pre-1980 automobiles, including some Springfield-built vehicles! Learn about Springfield’s history and the history of the automobile industry while getting to see some cool old cars!  Happens at the Springfield Museums.


Learn about the history of human beings at “Becoming Human: A 500 Million Year Fossil Journey” at Western Gateway Heritage State Park in North Adams on Saturday afternoon. This is part of a two-part series (second event on 9/14 at 2pm) on the evolution of modern humans, as seen through fossils.

Culinary Arts & Food History

Chandler’s Restaurant in South Deerfield offers a Kids Cooking class for families to explore the art of cooking, proper use of kitchen tools, and raw ingredients that go into delicious dishes on Saturday morning. A brief tour of their professional kitchen follow the class. Great firsthand introduction for children to the world of culinary arts!

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge presents a talk by Rockwell Center curator Dr. Joyce K. Schiller – “Food at Home and at War During WWII.” This illustrated lecture on Sunday afternoon, September 8th, will discuss food, supplies, recipes, and rationing both at home and for the troops during the second World War. Schiller will use war posters and magazines to illustrate her main points. Best for adults or older students interested in food history.

Join the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke on Monday evening, September 9th, as they kick off their fall lecture series, “Historical Culinary Incidents: An Exploration of Food and Culture in the Pioneer Valley.” This week, Sara Jonsberg will be at the museum presenting her talk, “The Seminary Kitchen,” which is all about food at Mt. Holyoke College during its early days. Jonsberg will focus on many of the food-related traditions that have been carried over at the school since the 1800s.


North Hall in Huntington presents “Fashion in Fiction,” an interactive one-woman show about women’s and men’s fashion during the time of Jane Austen novels on Sunday afternoon, September 8th. This event is best for older students and adults interested in literature, fashion, and/or history and is a great way to connect these three interests.


Children up to 8yo and their families can join the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Program for a free nature based StoryWalk at DAR State Forest in Goshen on Saturday morning, September 7th. The story will focus on trees and animals and there will be live creatures to observe, fun activities, and a free book for each family.

The Pioneer Valley Folklore Society’s Song and Story Swap is back after a summer hiatus on Saturday evening, September 7th. The Swap is centered on a theme, where everyone introduces themselves and shares a song or story relating to the theme (it’s also okay to just listen!). After this warm-up round, the performer – this week it is Jay Mankita – plays a 30-minute set, which is followed by another song and story share. The Song and Story Swap is a free opportunity for intergenerational fun and a great way to hear stories about the region and from your neighbors. Takes place at the Nacul Center in Amherst.

Immigration Studies

The Norman Rockwell Museum and the Berkshire Immigrant Center will be a hosting a naturalization ceremony in the galleries of the Museum on Saturday morning, September 7th in Stockbridge. Berkshire residents who immigrated to the United States will be sworn in as naturalized citizens in front of Rockwell’s iconic “Four Freedoms” paintings – “Freedom of Speech,” “Freedom of Worship,” “Freedom from Want,” and “Freedom from Fear.” The paintings are based on Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union address, in which he outlined those four freedoms as essential human rights to be protected. This is the second annual naturalization ceremony at the museum – last year 23 Berkshire residents became citizens in front of the “Four Freedoms.” This is a rare opportunity to witness and learn about modern day immigration.

Cultural Celebrations

The Glendi Greek Festival happens Friday, September 6th-Sunday, September 8th in Springfield! The celebration features Greek food, dance, music, pastries, theater, Greek lessons, an iconography workshop, and a tour of the St. George Cathedral. This family-friendly festival celebrates everything about Greek life and culture.

St. Joseph’s National Catholic Church is holding their Polish Harvest Festival on Sunday afternoon, September 8th, in Westfield! Stop by the church for homemade Polish food like pierogies, galupki, and kapusta, a performance by the Leo Murawaski band, Polish dancers and singers, games, and more, open to all.


Join staff at the Mt. Tom State Reservation in Holyoke for a birding hike around the lake for beginning and intermediate birders on Monday morning, September 9th. Practice your birding skills and learn about new species while hiking around the Reservation. Later in the afternoon, search for hawks at Mt. Tom too! Many birds of prey depend on Mt. Tom for their fall migration, and this “raptor hunt” is a great chance to learn to identify them and how to spot them.

Colonial History

The Drummers’ Call at Old Sturbridge Village this Saturday, September 7th, features many of New England’s best fife and drum bands. Visitors will see a parade, watch each group perform, and learn about the role of musicians in the lives of early New England soldiers. This is a great way to learn about this unique aspect of the region’s history.

Tuesday, September 10th is Home School Day at Old Sturbridge Village. There will be hands-on studios and activities throughout the day, all relating to the role of children in the 1800s. Spend time doing 19th-century childrens’ chores like helping with laundry, churning butter, stacking wood, helping in the garden, assisting farmers, milking cows, and much more! A fun day of hands-on and engaging ways for kids to learn more about what life was like in the past in New England.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and many other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. All of our listed events are “suggested.” Please take a moment to confirm that these events are happening as scheduled, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.

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