21 Community Highlights: Magic Flute to Sound of Music. Electricity to Telescope

The Magic Flute to The Sound of Music. Electricity to Telescope. Garlic Mustard to Bat Houses.

These are just a few of the community 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:  Transport children into an enchanted world that blends myth, fairytale, and the archetypes of good vs. evil this Sunday afternoon, March 30th while exposing them to the wonderful world of opera! Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls presents a free screening of the Metropolitan Opera’s performance of The Magic Flute. Mozart’s famous fairytale opera features magic bells, dancing animals, dragons, a hero and heroine, and much more. This production was directed by Julie Taymor in 2004 and is adapted for children.. This production is ideal for introducing children to opera – it is funny and engaging, yet it also teaches important lessons about patience and distinguishing right from wrong.


Community ServiceGeologySpace/AstronomyEnvironmental ScienceAnimal StudiesSTEMHistoryOutdoor AdventuresFashion StudiesTheaterParent WorkshopMusic Studies


Community Service

Garlic Mustard. For some, just the name of this invasive species stirs up fits of rage. For others, it’s a tasty wild edible that grows in places it’s not wanted. If you’re not familiar with this invasive species, come find out how this plant threatens butterflies, jack-in-the-pulpit, native oak seedlings, and more at the Dinosaur Footprints in Holyoke on Saturday afternoon, March 29. “Property Protectors: Garlic Mustard Grab” is a great outdoor community service learning opportunity for all ages. You can help prevent these negative impacts by helping the Trustees of Reservations in removing garlic mustard while learning about the benefits of native species.

Is your kid begging for a pooch? Or maybe you have a pup and you’d like your child to have a better understanding of dog behavior? This month, the Berkshire Humane Society is offering a Humane Hero workshop on dog behavior and training. Their “Humane Hero” program gives kids ages 10-14 the opportunity to volunteer at the Humane Society, learn about the responsibilities of pet ownership, how to be an advocate and educator, and how to effectively fundraise in order to create change in their community. Takes place in Pittsfield on Saturday afternoon, March 29 at the Berkshire Humane Society.

Geology

What sort of minerals can we find underfoot here in western Massachusetts? Babintonite, prehnite and rhodonite… just to name a few. But are these minerals or gemstones? What’s the difference, or are they the same? Find out this weekend at the Western Mass. Mineral, Jewelry, and Fossil Show taking place on Saturday, March 29 and Sunday, March 30, in the Conference Center at the Clarion Hotel in Northampton. Hosted by the Connecticut Valley Mineral Club, this event features vendors from all over New England, displaying minerals, fossils, and jewelry from around the world, with a special focus this year on minerals from Massachusetts.

Space/Astronomy

The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT, is hosting a Space Expo, on Sunday, March 30th. Co-sponsored by the Connecticut Space Grant Consortium and UTC Aerospace Systems, many exhibitors from around New England will be present and there will be hands-on activities for all ages. You can meet R2D2, pilot a spacecraft simulator, touch a meteorite, learn about the atmosphere and geology of Mars, meet NASA astronaut Daniel Burbank, and much more. This expo will get kids and adults of all ages excited about space!

There is a lot to learn about the night sky and the tools we use to observe it. Have you ever looked through a telescope? How does what you can see differ from what you can see with the naked eye? There are many different types of telescopes, and you can learn about some of them at the Springfield Museums‘ monthly “Stars Over Springfield” event on Friday evening, April 4. This month, Tim Connolly, from the Electron Microscope Lab at Baystate Medical Center, will present “The Pathology of Our Night Sky,” a talk on telescopes and how what we can see with them differs from what we can see with our eyes alone. This introductory talk and star viewing takes place at the Science Museum’s observatory and is recommended for kids 8 and up, but younger children are welcome. If it is cloudy or rainy, a planetarium show will be presented in place of the live star viewing.

Environmental Science

Project Native is holding their 4th Annual Environmental Film Festival on March 29 and 30. This free Festival offers an opportunity for community members of all ages to see films on a variety of topics related to the environment – everything from butterflies to fisheries, tar sands to GMOs, and more. The festival kicks off with a screening of Rob Stewart’s Revolution the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, on March 29 at 7pm. Revolution is not just about the environment—it’s a film about hope and inspiration. It is an urgent call-to-action with an uplifting message that tells us it’s possible to alleviate the damage already done. The film festival continues on March 30 from 10am-10pm at the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington, with eight different films. Revolution is not just about the environment—it’s a film about hope and inspiration. It is an urgent call-to-action with an uplifting message that tells us it’s possible to alleviate the damage already done.

Animal Studies

Did you know that bats are the only mammals capable of true and sustained flight? Attract these amazing creatures to your home with bat houses! Not only are they interesting creatures to have around and observe, but their populations have decreased significantly over the year and a bat house provides secure housing to help protect them On Saturday afternoon, March 29th, families can attend a Bat House Making Workshop at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox. Participants will learn about bats and the benefits of bat houses, and then make one of their own! The workshop is for beginner and expert woodworkers.

Explore the magic of vernal pools during an enchanted evening for the whole family this Saturday evening, March 29 in Easthampton at the annual “The Big Night” at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary! Meet characters come to life that live in vernal pools, like spotted salamanders, wood frogs, and fairy shrimp on a guided 45-minute tour around the Sanctuary grounds. Learn about these animals and their lives and habitats through short skits, as well as games, slide presentations, and meeting live critters before and after your tour. This event is a fun way for families to learn about vernal pools and the species that rely on them for survival.

STEM

Is your teen interested in science, technology, engineering, and math? Students in grades 10-12 are invited to Science Quest at UMass Amherst, where they can take part in hands-on science activities, demos, and lab tours. Topics of these include renewable energy, food science, nanotechnology, wind energy, physics, biology, animal science, and more. UMass undergraduate science students will be present to talk about their experiences as science majors and an admissions representative will be on hand to discuss preparing for college and applying to UMass. This event helps engage high schoolers in many different scientific fields through hands-on learning and participation in a variety of activities. High schoolers who are interested in science (or even teens who could benefit from more exposure to STEM) will ENJOY from this free event. Science Quest takes place on Saturday, April 12 from 9:30am to 3:40pm in the UMass Integrated Science Building (661 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA). More information and the registration form can be found on the Science Quest website.

History

When you think of the history of electricity, who comes to mind? Thomas Edison? What about George Westinghouse? Veteran actor Douglas Weeks will perform a one-man show titled “Westinghouse and Edison: War of Currents” at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum on Saturday afternoon, March 29th in Lenox. Weeks will take on the role of George Westinghouse, 19th century inventor, industrialist and a pioneer in the early days of the electrical industry (who also summered in Lenox). Although Westinghouse invented a wide range of mechanical equipment including the railroad air brake, Weeks will focus on the titanic battle between Westinghouse and Thomas Edison in creating a system for distributing electrical power. Older youth with audience skills interested in learning about history and the industrial revolution will enjoy this living history program. A Victorian tea will be offered after the performance.

Westfield State University presents a free public lecture by Susanna Ashton, Professor of English at Clemson University. “Was Uncle Tom from South Carolina?: The storied life of fugitive slave, international activist, and Springfield resident John Andrew Jackson” is the title of Ashton’spresentation, which tells of Jackson’s 1846 escape from a South Carolina plantation and subsequent journey to Western Massachusetts, his time spent in hiding with Harriet Beecher Stowe, his trip to England and Scotland, and his life in Springfield when he settled there in 1867. This talk takes place on Monday evening, March 31, and would be interesting to older students and adults interested in US history and African American studies

Discover an interesting bit of local history at a Holyoke Library History Room guest lecture by Amanda Rookey, entitled “The Olmsted’ Brothers’ Legacy in Holyoke.” On Wednesday evening, April 2, Rookey will discuss the history of Holyoke’s parks in the early 20th Century. Nathan Avery, the city’s mayor from 1904-1910, requested the Olmsted brothers’ provide recommendations for improving outdoor life in Holyoke. Rookey will discuss some of the recommendations and their effects on the city in her talk. Older students and adults interested in local history and landscape architecture will enjoy this free talk.

Outdoor Adventures

As the temps begin to rise and the snow starts to melt, waterfalls spring back to life! This Saturday afternoon, March 29th in Sheffield, see two great Berkshire waterfalls with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council on a hike at Race Brook Falls! This beautiful water fall has three tiers in the middle of the forest and a moderate three mile hike will take you on a tour. The hike features some steep elevation gains and would therefore be best for older tw/eens and adults.

Fashion Studies

Hats Off! Discover the fascinating world of hats at the Norman Rockwell Museum with Curator Joyce K. Schiller at the Norman Rockwell Museum on Sunday afternoon, March 30 in Stockbridge! For both men and women, hats of all kinds were an essential aspect of dress during much of the twentieth century. Join Curator Joyce K. Schiller, Ph.D., to explore what hats reveal about their wearers in this lively talk about haberdashery in art. This talk would be best for older students and adults interested in fashion studies.

Theater

  • Saturday, March 29-Sunday March 30 in North Adams: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Puppet Fest presents, Who’s Hungry.
  • Friday, March 28-Sunday, March 30 in Westhampton: Hampshire Regional High School Music Department presents a production of The Sound of Music.
  • Thursday, April 3 in Amherst: Go, Granny D! at the Hampshire College Red Barn.
  • Thursday, April 3-Saturday, April 6 in South Hadley: Mt. Holyoke College presents a performance of Rent.
  • Friday, April 4 -Sunday, April 6 in Sheffield: Mt. Everett Regional School‘s presents Grease.

Parent Workshop

Hands in the air if you find yourself drained after caring for everyone else in you family! The Gill-Montague Family Center in Turners Falls is offering a self-care workshop on Monday evening, March 31, with Katherine Golub titled, “Winding Down, Filling Up.” Golub will talk about how you can wind down and center yourself in order to create more energy for yourself. Childcare and dinner provided and workshop is presented in English and Spanish.

Music Studies

Tune in to the Hilltown Familly Variety Show (HFVS) Sat. 9-10am & Sun. 7-8am! Pioneers of Sound Episode with guest DJ, Elska. This weekend listen to the modern “Pioneers of Sound!” with Elska as she takes us on a sonic journey into the world of early electronic music, synthesizers, micro-beats, bells and more. Broadcasting from her Arctic island home, Elska teaches us about the origins of the most innovative sounds in pop music, how they were made, and then she plays us fascinating examples from pop music, art music, classical and some music that defies classification all together. Get ready for a true sonic journey with “Pioneers of Sound!” — Tune in to 103.3FM WXOJ Valley Free Radio, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Playlist and podcast posted to www.hilltownfamilies.org immediately following Sunday encore broadcast!

Transport children into an enchanted world that blends myth, fairytale, and the archetypes of good vs. evil this Sunday afternoon, March 30th while exposing them to the wonderful world of opera! Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls presents a free screening of the Metropolitan Opera’s performance of The Magic Flute. Mozart’s famous fairytale opera features magic bells, dancing animals, dragons, a hero and heroine, and much more. This production was directed by Julie Taymor in 2004 and is adapted for children.. This production is ideal for introducing children to opera – it is funny and engaging, yet it also teaches important lessons about patience and distinguishing right from wrong.

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.


Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Charlemont/Hawley, Chesterfield, Conway, Heath, Leyden, Montague, Montgomery, South Hadley and Shutesbury Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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