29 Community Highlights: Orienteering to Archaeological Dig. Violins to Jazz Music.

Stamell Stringed Instruments in Amherst is hosting a Violin and Viola Exhibit, Guadagnini’s Galore! through June 28. The instruments are all copies of the famous 18th century Italian violinmaker G.B. Guadagnini. A free opening will be held on Thursday evening, June 5, and all of the instruments will be offered for trial and playing in house. Learn about the historic trade of a highly regarded Italian luthier, strengthen an interest in music and music history, and engage with your community at this local music purveyor of violins, violas and cellos.

Orienteering to Archaeological Dig. Veterinary Medicine to Folk Medicine. Violins to Jazz Music…. 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:  Are you interested in stargazing? Families can learn about astronomy and the night sky with members of Arunah Hill Natural Science Center and The Trustees of Reservations at Notchview on Saturday, May 31 from dusk until 11pm. You can try out different types of telescopes to search the night sky for stars, galaxies, planets, meteors, and more. Learn about telescopes and how they work by comparing what you can see with them with what you can see with the naked eye. There are an infinite number of things in space just waiting to be discovered by people – maybe even you! Come to Notchview to spend time with family learning about astronomy at this free event. Notchview is located on Route 9 in Windsor, MA. Call 413-532-1631 x10 for more information.


OrienteeringArchaeologyLocal FoodEntomologyCommunity ServiceVeterinary StudiesSkill Sharing/CraftsHistory/MedicineLocal HistoryAstronomyPlant StudiesSTEMParent WorkshopsLiteracyMusic Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Orienteering

Learn about orienteering at a special event at Northfield Mountain with the New England Orienteering Club on Saturday morning, May 31st in Northfield! Orienteering is navigating through the woods with a map and compass only. The goal is to find a series of checkpoints and then return to the finish. All ages and skill levels will enjoy learning this interesting sport, spending time outdoors, and improving their navigation skills. There will be several courses offered (based on difficulty) of different lengths. Geocaching & letteringboxing are two other orienteering-like activities families can do together.  Read our post, Geocaching & Letterboxing Support Learning and Outdoor Adventures as a Family, for inspiration!

Archaeology

You can experience firsthand a professional archaeological dig at the Emily Dickinson Museum from May 31-June 2 in Amherst. UMass Amherst Archaeological Services will be helping the Museum excavate the Dickinson family’s conservatory, which was a source of inspiration for Emily Dickinson, who loved plants and spending time in the greenhouse. The small conservatory was built in 1855 and all that is left of it above ground today are windows, shutters, and entry doors. The Museum hopes to reconstruct the conservatory to expand visitors’ understanding of Dickinson’s home life, values, and sources of inspiration. The new conservatory will eventually be stocked with plants known to have been grown by the poet. This is both an exciting opportunity for all ages to see a real archaeological dig right in downtown Amherst, plus a chance to watch the reconstruction project from the very beginning. You can see the archaeology aspect of the project, but can also learn about plants, architecture, and construction down the line by watching the project develop. Call 413-542-8161 for more information. The Museum is located at 280 Main Street in Amherst, MA.

Local Food

Did you know that Hadley was once called the Asparagus Capital of the world? Celebrate the town’s native asparagus (which is in season right now!) at WGBY’s Asparagus Festival on the Hadley Town Common on Sunday, June 1 from 10am-4pm. The day features a yoga fundraiser and tons of activities for all ages, including art and craft vendors, delicious local food, facepainting, entertainment for kids, movement classes, music, and more. Kids can enjoy live music, crafts, and storytimes related to food and farming. The Festival celebrates some of the great local food we have right here in the Pioneer Valley and is a great way to introduce kids to phenology, the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena like the growing season for certain plants, like asparagus!

Grow Food Amherst will have a special event for kids each week at the Amherst Wednesday Market in Kendrick Park. This Wednesday afternoon, June 4, the Common School will be visiting, teaching kids about soil and planting. While parents shop for local foods, kids can learn about some of the science behind growing their own food at this free skillshare.

Entomology

The Berkshire Museum‘s newest exhibition, Butterflies, opens on Saturday, May 31 and runs until September 1 in Pittsfield. The exhibit features a live “butterfly pavilion” filled with native and exotic butterfly species. There will also be a photography exhibit by Samuel Jaffe showing the transformation of the butterfly. Families can learn all about these unique insects and even get a chance to meet them at this fascinating exhibition. Read our post, The Art and Science of Butterflies at Berkshire Museum, for more information. Check your local library to see if they have passes to the Museum so you can visit for free

Community Service

Help get Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area ready for summer at the Annual Cleanup on Saturday morning, May 31 in Florence. Pull garlic mustard, dig lesser celandine, and remove multiflora rose around the paths. No prior experience is necessary, so anyone can come help out. This service-based learning opportunity can teach participants how to identify these invasive plants while taking care of a treasured conservation area.

Another service-based learning opportunity takes place on Sunday morning, June 1. Come help The Trustees of Reservations clean up Little Tom Trail at the David Sigelman Memorial Workday in Holyoke. This workday honors longtime Holyoke benefactor Dr. David Sigelman and focuses on upgrading some sections of the trail by installing signs and controlling invasive plants. Workdays are a great opportunity to get older students interested in conservation and volunteering.

Help get Tuesday Market’s new bag share program going by attending a Bag Share Making Party on Monday & Wednesday evenings, June 2 & 4 in Leeds! 100 bags have already been collected but the goal is 500 bags. Come help sew bags or do other tasks. This community sew an excellent intergenerational opportunity to learn sewing skills, discuss sustainability issues, and take positive action while participating in a wonderful community service project! — Want to help out but can’t make it to the party? You can donate reusable bags or make your own at home!

Hilltown Families & The Art Garden present, “We ❤ the Deerfield River,” the final community-service through art event in a series of five free family community service nights! Engaging your family in community service teaches kids positive values while opening up channels of communication between parent and child, and can increase their participation as future volunteers. At this event we will be focusing on what we love about the Deerfield River Watershed and preparing for the annual Deerfield RiverFest’s Frog and Flower parade on June 7. Be a part of creating large cardboard fish, frogs and flowers for the parade, as well as individual processional artworks. All ages can participate! Materials provided. Takes place on Friday, June 6th from 4-7pm at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls, MA!

Veterinary Studies

Veterinarian Dr. Dorsie Kovacs will be at the Keep Homestead Museum to discuss home remedies for pets on Sunday afternoon, June 1. Dr. Kovacs has been working as a vet in Monson for over 30 years and has taken classes and studied natural approaches that could be used as effective treatments for animals. Come learn about some of the different home treatment options for pets, including how to fight fleas, dry skin, anxiety, ear infections, and more at this free event in Monson. Older students and adults interested in veterinary studies, or those who want to learn how to better care for their pets, would benefit from this talk.

Skill Sharing/Crafts

Kids (ages 8 and up), teens, and adults can learn about beadmaking, creating textured metal jewelry, papermaking, and upcycling fused plastic at Hadley Creates: An Afternoon of Learning and Making with Local Artisans, which takes place on Saturday, May 31 from 3pm-6pm at Stone Soup Farm in Hadley. Each workshop will be led by a local artist who will teach participants the basics of each craft and will give them a chance to get creative making things and learning new skills. Hadley Creates is a great way to support local artists and artisans, create connections with community members of all ages, participate in collaborative consumption, and discover new skills. Space is limited, so please register ASAP. Stone Soup Farm is located at 81 Rocky Hill Road.

History/Medicine

Have you ever wondered what life was like before modern medicine? How did people treat illnesses and ailments? On Saturday, May 31, 9:30am-5pm at Old Sturbridge Village’s event, “A Pound of Cure: Health Care in the 19th Century,” you can learn about the medicinal plants, remedies, and folk science that were used as ways to heal and prevent illness in the 1800s in New England. Costumed interpreters will depict medical professionals of the time, and you can meet a phrenologist, a dentist, and a surgeon, all of whom will teach you about the medicines and tools they used for treatment. There will also be a medicinal plants walk where you can learn about many of the plants used in herbal remedies of the past and present. All ages – especially those interested in history, plants, science, or medicine – will enjoy this event and learn something new! Check your local library to see if they have passes to the Village so you can visit for free! Old Sturbridge Village is located at 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road in Sturbridge, MA.

Local History

The Mill River Flood of 1874 happened 140 years ago this May. Learn about the flood at the Wistariahurst Museum’s Skinnerville Toura bus tour that takes you from the Museum in Holyoke to Williamsburg, the site of the flood, and where William Skinner used to live. The tour takes place on Saturday, May 31, and will be led by Ralmon Black of the Williamsburg Historical Society, focusing on the early history and land use of the Pioneer Valley and the transition from farming to industry that was underway when Skinner arrived in the area in the mid-19th Century. Landmarks will be pointed out along the way, and then you can see where Skinner lived in the 1800s and see the site of the Williamsburg Reservoir Dam, which failed and caused the flood in 1874. This event would be best for older students and adults interested in local history and in learning more about this important disaster that happened 140 years ago.

The Trustees of the Reservations present, “Home Sweet Home: Open House Day at Our Historic Homes.”On Saturday, May 31, you can tour many of the Trustees’ historic homes, including Naumkeag, Ashley House, Mission House, the Folly at Field Farm, William Cullen Bryant Homestead, the Old Manse, Stevens Coolidge Place, the Paine House at Greenwood Farm, and the Great House at Castle Hill. Each historic home is related to both local and national history, and has its own unique story to tell. The tale of each place uses architecture, landscape, material culture, and the stories of the people who inhabited it in order to put historical eras and events into context for visitors. Covering everything from the Mohican Indians and abolition to to The New York Evening Post, visits to western Massachusetts’ historic homes are a fantastic way for families with children of all ages to learn and explore together. All ages will enjoy this free event, which takes place all over Massachusetts. More information can be found in our featured post, Home Sweet Home Opens Doors to Historical Learning. 978-356-4351 x4049. Massachusetts

Immediately following The Trustees of Reservations‘ “Home Sweet Home” open house event at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, UMass Afro-American Studies Professor Manisha Sinha will present a lecture titled, “Did the Abolitionists Cause the Civil War?” on Saturday afternoon, May 31. Students of all ages can learn about the importance of the anti-slavery movement, who some of the most prominent abolitionists were, and how the work they did led to the official abolishing of slavery.

Astronomy

Are you interested in stargazing? Families can learn about astronomy and the night sky with members of Arunah Hill Natural Science Center and The Trustees of Reservations at Notchview on Saturday, May 31 from dusk until 11pm. You can try out different types of telescopes to search the night sky for stars, galaxies, planets, meteors, and more. Learn about telescopes and how they work by comparing what you can see with them with what you can see with the naked eye. There are an infinite number of things in space just waiting to be discovered by people – maybe even you! Come to Notchview to spend time with family learning about astronomy at this free event. Notchview is located on Route 9 in Windsor, MA. Call 413-532-1631 x10 for more information.

Plant Studies

Did you know that there are 30 types of ferns growing in Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary? You can learn about these interesting plants and how to identify them with Mass Audubon at their “Ferns at Arcadia” program on Saturday, May 31 from 9am-11am. Birder and educator Anne Lombard will teach about fern identification, features, and natural history, and then lead a walk around the Sanctuary in search of ferns like hay-scented, cinnamon, interrupted, royal, and others, that live in Arcadia’s unique habitats. This event would be interesting to older teens and adults who like plants and want to learn more about how to identify plants in this particular group. Call 413-584-3009 to register. Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary is located at 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. [CANCELED]

South Berkshire Kids is offering a series of plant programs for kids ages 3-5 at the Berkshire Botanical Garden on Wednesday mornings, June 4, 11, and 18 in Stockbridge. The free programs focus on plants, seeds, pollination, and other plant-related topics, including: Seeds Indeed!; Flying Friends in the Garden; and All About Trees.

STEM

The Community Network for Children is offering a Preschool STEM Exploration at the Wendell Free Library on Sunday morning, June 1. Parents and their children (ages 3-5) can experiment with science, technology, engineering, and math in a fun hands-on way, and parents can learn more about how to promote STEM learning at home.

Cushman Library in Bernardston is offering a preschool storyhour with the theme of “Technology for Toddlers: Magnets, Magnifying Glasses, and Measurement”on Monday morning, June 2. There will be stories, STEM activities, and a snack, and participants can take home a STEM kit to continue learning about science, technology, engineering, and math at home.

The Westfield Athenaeum is offering a STEM series for kids ages 3-5 on Wednesday evening, June 4. There will be stories, hands-on activities, and more, all related to the topic of engineering.

Parent Workshops

Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society in Springfield is offering a workshop for parents and dog owners titled, “Dogs and Storks: Preparing Families with Dogs for Life with Baby,” on Saturday morning, May 31. The workshop focuses on preparing your dog before the baby arrives, introducing dog and baby, reading dog’s body language and stress signs, and ensuring that everyone is safe and happy.

Bill Corbett presents a workshop for parents, “How to Raise a Cooperative and Resilient Child or Teen,” at the Whately Public Library on Tuesday evening, June 3. This free workshop, focused on the behavior of children and teens, will help parents understand why children can be so resistant. Parents will leave this fun and interactive workshop with a set of tools to help them understand their children’s behavior.

South Berkshire Kids is offering a free workshop for parents entitled, “Understanding Your Child: Tips and Tools for a Constructive Summer,” on Wednesday evening, June 4 in Great Barrington. This workshop will teach parents to see how simple shifts in perspective can help their children be more cooperative, satisfied, and have more meaningful fun.

Early childhood specialist Erika Frank will be at Hadley Elementary School for a special parent workshop – “Kids Don’t Come with Instructions!” Parents can come together and discuss the challenges of raising preschoolers on Thursday evening, June 5.

Literacy

Kestrel Land Trust presents a StoryWalk at Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area in Northampton this summer. On Sunday afternoon, June 1, there will be a free opening celebration for the StoryWalk, featuring face painting, live storytelling, refreshments, and a raffle for books signed by local author Jane Yolen. The StoryWalk is for the book Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Jill Dubin. Kids will love reading this story and spending time exploring this wonderful local conservation area!

Music Studies

Join Amherst Cinema for a screening of Jim Hall: A Life in Progress (1999; not rated), a documentary that shows vintage performance footage of Jim Hall, an American jazz guitarist, composer and arranger on Monday evening, June 2. The film shows interviews and explores the creation of his 1998 album By Arrangement. This screening will have commentary by NEPR “Jazz a la Mode” host Tom Reney. Older students interested in jazz and American History will enjoy this screening.

Stamell Stringed Instruments in Amherst is hosting a Violin and Viola Exhibit, Guadagnini’s Galore!, by contemporary violin maker, Douglas Cox, through June 28. The instruments are all copies of the famous 18th century Italian violinmaker G.B. Guadagnini, and will represent the span of Guadagnini’s career as he moved around Italy. A free opening will be held on Thursday evening, June 5, and all of the instruments will be offered for trial and playing in house. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see a contemporary maker’s interpretation of the work G.B. Guadagnini, all in one room, examples which will be featured will include: the “Franzetti” Guadagnini 1742 violin, the “Hobart” Guadagnini 1743 violin, the “Burmester” Guadagnini 1758 violin, the “Kripps” Guadagnini 1760 violin, the Guadagnini violin 1779, and the “Nebel” Guadagnini 1785 violin.

The Buckland Historical Society presents their Annual Program/Pie Social with American Harmony at the Mary Lyon Church in Buckland on Friday evening, June 6. This chorus of musical reenactors will perform songs from early America, as well as popular secular and sacred songs from the late-18th and early-19th Centuries. The concert will be followed by a pie social. Students interested in music, history, and American traditions will enjoy this program.


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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