31 Community Highlights: Pollinators to Polliwogs. Seed Bombs to Black-Out Poetry.

Several vernal pool events happening this weekend throughout the region!

Pollinators to Polliwogs. Seed Bombs to Black-Out Poetry. Rockets to Knitting… 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: Celebrate Spring and all things green at Easthampton’s Waste Not Want Not Art Walk on Saturday evening, April 12th. Explore Easthampton’s art scene and do free activities, like make seed bombs with Easthampton Community Garden at Nash Gallery, learn how to build raised beds at Old Town Hall, make your own notecards and envelopes at Knack, and more! This is a fun evening out that lets you experience some of the great art- and environment-related opportunities Easthampton has to offer!

Vernal PoolsEarth DayActivismCommunity ServiceFiber ArtsSTEMCultural StudiesPoetryNature StudiesOrnithologyArtHistoryEntomologyInternet SafetyParent Workshop

Vernal Pools

Discover local vernal pools with wetland scientist and ecologist Bill Lattrell in Williamsburg on Saturday morning, April 12th, as part of the Meekins Library vernal pools workshop series. Lattrell will lead participants to a vernal pool to search for creatures and egg masses, and then learn all about them! There will be a moderately strenuous hike uphill to reach the site. Best for older students and adults.

Local naturalist Charley Eiseman will lead a Vernal Pool Exploration at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst on Saturday morning, April 12th. Learn about the natural history of these temporary ponds and the frogs, salamanders, and fairy shrimp that rely on them for survival. Participants will also learn about other animals and insects that live in vernal pools. This program is meant for adults, but may be appropriate for older teens interested in ecology or vernal pools.

Come get muddy and learn about vernal pools with the Trustees of Reservations at Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield on Saturday morning, April 12th! April is when vernal pools come alive, and they are home to many unique plants and animals. Discover some of the amphibians that live here, and search for wood frog and salamander egg masses, fairy shrimp, and fingernail clams at this intergenerational program.

The Kestrel Land Trust is holding an afternoon of Exploring Vernal Pools in Florence on Saturday afternoon, April 12th. Explore vernal pools at Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area on this short, easy walk. Learn about and observe frogs, salamanders, and other organisms that live in these temporary pools. This is a great program for families to do together!

Earth Day

Join the Zoo in Forest Park in Springfield on Saturday, April 12th for their Earth Day celebration, Party for the Planet! Come celebrate mother Earth and all she has given us, and learn how you can make things better for her by reducing, reusing, recycling, and replenishing.

Celebrate Earth Day at the Springfield Museums on Sunday, April 13th! Bluegrass trio Boys of the Landfill will perform environmental songs, Tom Ricardi will present a birds of prey demonstration, and there will be exhibitors, displays, and activities for all ages. This free event is a great chance to learn about the importance of Earth Day and taking care of our planet while having fun at one of our local museum treasures!

Make eco-friendly crafts for Earth Day at the Forbes Library in Northampton with an afternoon of recycled crafts on Friday, April 18th! Come make crafts out of recycled materials and learn what kinds of materials can be used for projects instead of being thrown out. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA.


Are you or your teen interested in learning more about what it means to be a socially conscious and effective leader? Political activist and scholar Angela Davis will present a lecture titled “Leadership in the 21st Century” at Williams College’s Chapin Hall (62 Chapin Hall Drive) in Williamstown at 6:30pm on Saturday, April 12. Her talk will focus on activism and developing a social consciousness. Davis’ activism traces back to her youth, although she is known for her work relating to prison abolition and against racism in the criminal justice system. Older students who are interested in activism and learning how they can be more socially conscious would benefit from this lecture. Seeing this prominent American activist speak will hopefully influence audience members of all ages to think critically about the issues they are facing now as well as in the future. This event is free and open to the public. Call 413-597-4277 for more information.

Join Julia Butterfly Hill, Mark Morey, and Vermont Wilderness School for “Transforming Hope Into Action,” an event focused on cultivating hope in our communities to bring about social and ecological change. On Wednesday evening, April 16th, come prepared to discuss how you can make a difference in your bioregion or community at Greenfield Community College. This event would be best for older teens with a strong interest in sustainability and building resilient communities.

Community Service

Help Mass Audubon get Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton and Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Hampden ready for spring on Saturday, April 12th during their community service day. Volunteers can help out with a variety of projects, including invasive species removal, trail clearing, landscaping, and more. Participants can also go on a nature walk with a local naturalist. This is a great volunteer opportunity for nature-loving older teens and adults.

Fiber Arts

Kids can come to the Monson Free Library on Saturday at noon, April 12th to learn how to knit or improve their knitting skills! Library staff will be there to teach the basics, including casting-on, knitting, purling, and binding off. This is a great way to learn how to knit! If possible, please bring US size #8 straight needles.


Mad Science of Western Massachusetts presents a free Rocket Building Workshop for kids in grades K-6 at the Bushnell-Sage Library in Sheffield on Saturday afternoon, April 12th. Come learn the basics of rockets and build your own to test out! This is a great way to get kids interested in physic and engineering.

Engineering and design! The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT, is featuring workshops and design challenges all next week and during April Vacation Week, April 14-18 & 21-25.  Kids can take an Aero Modeling Workshop, participate in a Glider Engineering Design Challenge, join in a LEGO Contest, interact with exhibits, take a guided tours, and check out over 80 aircraft on display.

Cultural Studies

All ages are invited to the Storrs Library in Longmeadow on Saturday afternoon, April 12th, for an interactive presentation on Native American culture, presented by the Connecticut River Inter-Tribal Counsel and Cultural Society. This intergenerational presentation is an interactive opportunity for kids and adults to learn about the different Native American tribes in the Connecticut River Valley.

This week’s Museums a la Carte lecture at the Springfield Museums‘ Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts is, “The Great Blasket to America: The Last Memoir by an Islander,” with Michael J. Carney and Gerald W. Hayes. The Great Blasket Island is an uninhabited island off the western coast of Ireland. Carney is the oldest living native Islander and his book tells of his upbringing on the island, his emigration from it, and the island’s subsequent evacuation. Carney’s brother passed away in 1947 because there was no doctor or priest on the small island, and Carney led efforts to relocate the remaining Islanders, who were living in increasingly poor conditions. Although the Island is now uninhabited, Carney seeks to keep its culture alive and preserve the memory of the Island. Older students interested in history and Irish culture will enjoy this talk.

The Mt. Holyoke College Art History department presents, “Classical Vocal Music of India,” a evening performance on Friday, April 18th, by Pandits Rajan and Sajan Mishra, with Pandit Ashis Sengupta on the tabla and Shri Vyasamurti Katti on the harmonium. Hear these talented musicians perform and learn about classical Indian music through their songs and instruments. This event takes place in South Hadley at Abbey Chapel on the Mt. Holyoke campus and is free and open to the public.


Teens and tweens can participate in a fun crafternoon at the Sunderland Public Library on Saturday, April 12th! Make collages our try black-out poetry at this fun event.

The Berkshire Humane Society in Pittsfield is hosting “Celebrating Animals in Poetry” as part of National Poetry Month, on Thursday evening, April 17th. Three Berkshire poets – Peter Filkins, Hannah Fries, and Barry Sternlieb – will read their own and others’ poetry about the animals in their lives. This free event would be great for anyone who loves animals and poetry.

Nature Studies

Explore the grounds of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site with Mass Audubon on Saturday afternoon, April 12th, searching for plants, animals, and signs of spring. Learn about these different creatures and their roles in the Pioneer Valley bioregion. All ages welcome.

Thomas F. Tyning, professor of environmental science at Berkshire Community College, will lead a free nature walk in Williams College’s Hopkins Forest in Williamstown on Sunday, April 13th. Tyning will take participants on a walk through forests, ponds, and streams in search of frogs, toads, salamanders, snakes, and turtles. Participants will learn about the habitats, lives, and histories of some of the 20 species that inhabit Hopkins Forest. This event is free and open to the public and would be best for teens who are interested in nature and animals.


Woodcocks are returning to the area, which means spring is in the air! These birds return north to forest and farmland in the early spring, where males perform their mating displays at dusk. These displays consist of a series of ground calls, followed by a spiraling flight and melodious song. You can listen and watch for this distinctive and fascinating display at Guyette Farm in Plainfield with Franklin Land Trust from 6:30pm-8pm on Saturday, April 19. Catching sight of these interesting breeding displays can teach you a lot about woodcocks – how the males attract mates, what their ideal habitat is, which mating displays seem most effective, and how females react to the mating displays. This program allows people to have the opportunity to enter ideal woodcock habitat in search of these native birds, while learning about their behavior and habitat from a Franklin Land Trust expert. Please register ASAP by calling 413-625-9151 or emailing jmorse@franklinlandtrust.org. Free and open to all.

The Hitchcock Center in Amherst is offering a birding program for kids ages 8-13 on Saturday morning, April 12th. “Birding the Valley for Youth” gives young people to witness Spring migration and learn about birding. Discover local bird species as they return to the area. What habitats are they drawn to? What do they look like? This program will get kids interested in birding and teach them about many of our local birds. This is a six-week program that runs from Apr. 12 to May 17.


Celebrate Spring and all things green at Easthampton’s Waste Not Want Not Art Walk on Saturday evening, April 12th. Explore Easthampton’s art scene and do free activities, like make seed bombs with Easthampton Community Garden at Nash Gallery, learn how to build raised beds at Old Town Hall, make your own notecards and envelopes at Knack, and more! This is a fun evening out that lets you experience some of the great art- and environment-related opportunities Easthampton has to offer!

Families are invited to the Jones Library in Amherst on Sunday, April 13th for an afternoon of art-making with Multi-Arts. Kids ages 4-13 and their families can work on collaborative projects using illustration, storytelling, and moviemaking. This free program is a fun way for families to spend time together being creative.


The Ramapogue Historical Society presents a lecture on Tuesday evening, April 15, by J.R. Greene on the local history of the Quabbin Reservoir. Greene will show slides and discuss the history of the Boston Water System and the towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott, which were destroyed in order to make room for the reservoir. This lecture is free and open to the public and would be best for older students interested in local history. Takes place at Mittineague Congregational Church in West Springfield.

Christopher Daley will present a free lecture on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at the Holyoke Public Library on Tuesday evening, April 15. He will begin with the Civil War and a little-known conspiracy to capture and kill Lincoln, which evolved into the plan to murder the President. Daley will engage audiences with photo and video footage relating to President Lincoln, the assassination, and John Wilkes Booth. This lecture could be paired with a screening of Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (2001; not rated), a documentary about the lives of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. Students in middle and high school who are learning about the Civil War would enjoy learning more about President Lincoln at this lecture, and/or through the documentary.


Join the Westhampton Public Library for “Bees: The Most Important Pollinators” on Wednesday evening, April 16th. Researchers Joan Milam and Fred Morrison will present this talk on the importance, diversity, beauty, and conservation of bees in Western Massachusetts. There will be specimens on display as well. This talk is best for older students interested in insects or nature.

Internet Safety

Hampshire Regional High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions have organized a free talk by educational speaker Josh Gunderson, who will discuss the topic of internet safety with HRHS students and community members of all ages in Westhampton on Tuesday evening, April 15th. Gunderson uses humor and sincerity to teach kids about internet safety. He will address real-life situations and their repercussions, relating to irresponsible internet behavior. This talk teaches teens and tweens the importance of internet safety and anti-bullying, which are especially important in this digital age.

Parent Workshop

Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc. is offering a free three-week workshop for parents on Positive Discipline at the Family Resource Center in Northampton on Tuesdays, April 15, 22 & 29. Learn how to effectively discipline your child while remaining kind and showing love. Transportation and childcare are available.

Clinical psychologist Sharon Saline will present a free workshop for parents, “The ABC’s of ADHD/ADD,” at the Amherst Regional High School Library on Wednesday evening, April 16th. Dr. Saline will define ADHD/ADD, explain causes and diagnoses, discuss the relationship between ADHD and ADD, and talk about how to effectively address these challenges. Parents of children with ADHD or ADD would benefit from this workshop.

South Berkshire Kids in Great Barrington is offering a free workshop for parents entitled, “Keeping Your Child Healthy is a Big Job!” with Drs. Siobhan McNally and Lara Setti. Learn about immunization, antibiotics, toxins in the home, and more at this informative workshop. There will also be a question and answer period during which you can ask questions about children’s health and how to help your kids be as healthy as they can be. Takes place at Community Health Programs, Inc. campus.

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.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: