27 Community Highlights: Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Butter Churns.

Do you like spooky scarecrows? What about silly scarecrows? You can make your own scarecrow and decorate it however you like at Atkin Farms in Amherst on Saturday, October 4, and the Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Sunday, October 5. Terrific intergenerational activity the family can do together while supporting creative-free play!

Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Corn Relish. Stethoscopes to Butter Churns… 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: The Hatfield Fall Festival is on Sunday, October 5 from 11am-3pm and is full of tons of fun activities and exhibits related to local history! Stop by for classic fall festival activities, like a parade, farmers’ market, cider pressing, crafts, demonstrations, kids’ activities, and others. In addition to these activities, there will be many opportunities to learn about what Hatfield was like in the past. Check out the Cutter Farm Museum to see demonstrations of historic trades, meet farm animals, learn about antique vehicles, and see the actual sleigh that Hatfield town physician Dr. Charles Byrne used for winter house calls in the late-1800s. Inside the Historical Museum (2nd floor of Hatfield Public Library), there will be a used book sale, a viewing of the exhibit, “Simple Tools, Elegant Script: The Lost Art of Cursive,” which features traditional writing implements, and an activity for visitors of all ages to use some of these tools to practice writing. The Hatfield Fall Festival is great fun for history buffs of all ages! Call 413-315-9793 for more information. Hatfield, MA (FREE)


Creative-Free PlayLocal HistoryEntomologyBiologyCultural HistoryHistoric TradesFood CultureCraftsSkillshareLanguage ArtsSTEMGeologyImmigrationPreK ActivitiesLocal/Handmade


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Creative-Free Play

Do you like spooky scarecrows? What about silly scarecrows? You can make your own and decorate it however you like at the Art Garden on Sunday, October 5 from 1pm-4pm! In order to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Mohawk Trail, individuals, families, and small groups can come to the Art Garden to build their own scarecrows, which will be on display along the Mohawk Trail from October 17-19. This is a great chance to do something free, fun, and creative together as a family! Use the materials provided to build and decorate your scarecrow however you like – it will be seen by thousands of locals and leaf peepers along the Mohawk Trail! Call 413-625-2782 to RSVP. The Art Garden is located at 14 Depot Street in Shelburne Falls, MA.

Families can spend time being creative together at the Atkins Farms scarecrow workshop, every Saturday and Sunday through October 19. All ages can work together to make goofy or spooky scarecrows at this fun workshop! Materials included in cost. 413-253-9528. Route 116 & Bay Road. Amherst, MA. $

Local History

Civil War Reenactment: The annual Battle of the Pines at Look Park places visitors in 1864 during the height of the Civil War. Held from Friday, October 3rd through Sunday, October 5th, the event brings a full encampment set-up to the park’s grounds, and will fill its three-day run with reenactments, demonstrations, parades, and even a firing competition! Families will be able to learn about everything from Civil War uniforms to battlefield medicine in an exciting and historically accurate environment. The first day of the event is specifically for school groups – classrooms and homeschool groups are invited to visit for special group-oriented demonstrations. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. ($)

The Belchertown Historical Association‘s Living History Day is on Saturday, October 4, 10am-3pm. “Bring the Stone House to Life” at this event and learn about fall activities from the past. Live reenactors will be in costume to demonstrate fall and harvest activities that would have been carried out in 19th-century New England. There will be demonstrations or lectures on topics like herb gardening, outdoor cooking, spinning, weaving, corn cob dolls, knitting, broom making, quilting, and other seasonal activities. The Stone House will also be open to display 19th-century farm equipment and a replica 19th-century garden, as well as house tours. There will also be archaeology activities for children. 413-323-6573. 20 Maple Street. Belchertown, MA. ($)

The Hatfield Fall Festival is on Sunday, October 5 from 11am-3pm and is full of tons of fun activities and exhibits related to local history! Stop by for classic fall festival activities, like a parade, farmers’ market, cider pressing, crafts, demonstrations, kids’ activities, and others. In addition to these activities, there will be many opportunities to learn about what Hatfield was like in the past. Check out the Cutter Farm Museum to see demonstrations of historic trades, meet farm animals, learn about antique vehicles, and see the actual sleigh that Hatfield town physician Dr. Charles Byrne used for winter house calls in the late-1800s. Inside the Historical Museum (2nd floor of Hatfield Public Library), there will be a used book sale, a viewing of the exhibit, “Simple Tools, Elegant Script: The Lost Art of Cursive,” which features traditional writing implements, and an activity for visitors of all ages to use some of these tools to practice writing. The Hatfield Fall Festival is great fun for history buffs of all ages! Call 413-315-9793 for more information. Hatfield, MA (FREE)

Entomology

Did you know ants raise other insects for food? This is just one way these fascinating insects are more similar to us humans than you might think! Scott Schneider will present “Builders, farmers, and relationship cultivators” at Esselon Cafe on Monday, October 6 from 6pm-7pm as part of the UMass Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Department’s monthly Science Cafes. Schneider is a Ph.D. student at UMass studying plant, soil, and insect sciences, specifically the behavior and farming practices of ants. Science Cafes are oriented towards community members without a science background, making them a great place for older students and adults to learn about the sciences. Esselon Cafe is at 99 Russell Street in Hadley, MA.

Biology

The ginkgo tree is known as a “living fossil” – a species that has not changed significantly during the course of its existence. Ginkgo fossils dating back 270 million years have been found, and now only one species of ginkgo remains. Older students who are interested in plants can learn about this evolutionarily significant tree at UMass Amherst’s Bowker Auditorium on Tuesday, October 7 at 7pm, when Sir Peter Crane, former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, presents an illustrated talk based on his book, Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot. Crane, an expert on the species, will present on the tree’s history over the past 200 million years, as well as its cultural and social significance. It has medicinal and nutritional purposes, has power as a source of artistic and religious inspiration, and is a popular street tree throughout much of the world. The history, ecology, and economics of this tree have changed over time, and Crane will discuss these changes as well as the impact of the species. Call 413-545-2511 to reserve ($) tickets in advance. Bowker Auditorium is at 151 Presidents Drive in Amherst, MA.

Hawley Bog is a unique bog that resembles those in Canada. Located at an elevation of 1,800 feet, it contains all three of the state’s carnivorous plants – sundews, pitcher plants, and bladderworts, as well as other interesting plant species. Older teens and adults who are interested in nature and plants will enjoy walking around this beautiful and unique site as they explore and learn about bogs with Mass Aubudon on Sunday, October 5, 10am-12noon. Registration is required. 413-584-3009. East Hawley Road. Hawley, MA. $$

Cultural History

The Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area presents Heritage Walks, which celebrate the communities, natural areas, history, and different cultures of the many places recognized as part of this National Heritage Area. Heritage Walks take place on Saturday, Oct 4 and Sunday, Oct 5 at many different sites throughout Berkshire County. For example, you can tour the historic Colonial Theatre, learn about sustainable land management and agriculture, tour Chesterwood, hike to a 19th-century water-powered mill site, hike a part of the Appalachian Trail, and more. Because the Heritage Area designation is about the intersections between nature, culture, and history, each walk offers something different and it is likely you will find one that fits your interests! A full list of Heritage Walks can be found here. 860-435-9505. Berkshire County.

Historic Trades

In the 1800’s, wooden buckets and barrels were need to store everything from gunpowder to water, and needed in may households to use for a variety of tasks, including churning butter and washing laundry. A cooper was a tradesperson who made and repaired these essential wooden containers. Learn about the historic trade of coopering with Neil Muckenhoupt at Historic Deerfield on Saturday, October 4, 10:30am-4pm. Muckenhoupt will demonstrate coopering techniques from colonial times. Free with museum admission. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. $

Food Culture

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the Forest Park Branch Library‘s Latin Food Festival on Saturday, October 4, 12noon-2pm! Enjoy delicious foods from local Hispanic restaurants, like foods from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and El Salvador. Come by to taste delicious traditional foods from many different Hispanic cultures. 413-263-6843. 380 Belmont Avenue. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Crafts

The Sunderland Public Library is offering a bracelet making workshop for youth ages 10-18 on Saturday, October 4, 2pm. Come get creative and make some cool bracelets while meeting other kids in the area! Registration is required. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Skillshare

Grow Food Amherst is hosting a skillsharing workshop with Peg Thibbitts on how to make your own corn relish on Sunday, October 5, 2-4pm. This workshop takes place at All Things Local Cooperative Market and space is limited, so please register ASAP. Best for older students and adults. 413-259-3149. 104 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA.

Language Arts

The Great Falls Discovery Center is offering a workshop on nature journaling for adults and youth interested in writing and drawing on Saturday, October 4, 2pm-3pm. Explore and observe the natural world, see it in a new way, and experiment with recording your observations in a journal. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Older students and adults interested in history and literature can learn about Washington Irving (1783-1859) at the Rowe Historical Society on Saturday, October 4, 6:30pm. John Dennis Anderson will perform, “A Literary Conversation with Washington Irving,” which tells of Irving’s life and experiences. Learn about his famous short stories “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” at this performance and presentation. 413-339-4238. 282 Zoar Road. Rowe, MA.

Join The Trustees of Reservations at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead for an author talk with Frank Gado, who will discuss his new book, William Cullen Bryant: The Complete Stories on Sunday, October 5, 2:30pm-4pm. Gado will talk about Bryant’s importance to American literature and will sign copies of his book after the talk. 413-532-1631 x10. 207 Bryant Road. Cummington, MA. (>$)

The Goodwin Memorial Library is offering a six-week intergenerational creative writing series with Lynn Bowmaster starting Monday, October 6, 6pm-8pm. The Woven Word Workshop focuses on on developing each writer’s creative voice. The series runs from October 6 through November 17 and registration is required. Writers of all ages interested in creative writing can develop their writing style and learn through this intergenerational workshop. 413-584-3373. 50 Middle Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Youth ages 5-10 can improve their reading aloud skills by reading to Hachi the Listening Dog at the Jones Library on Tuesday, October 7, 6:30pm. Dogs are great audiences for young readers because they are a nonjudgmental audience. Call or stop by the children’s desk to sign up for a 20-minute time slot. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

The Storrs Library is hosting a Writers Circle every other Wednesday beginning October 8 from 1pm-2:30pm. All experience levels and writing styles are welcome, making this a great place to bounce ideas off one another, read other people’s work, share your writing, and more. Homeschool students who want to gain writing experience would benefit from this group! Call to register. 413-565-4181 x1620. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA.

STEM

Learn all about the science of sound at the Edwards Public Library‘s “Seeing Sound: Stethoscope Workshop” on Thursday, October 9, 6pm-7pm. You can see how sound travels, learn about Kundt’s tubes, build a telephone, and try out a professional stethoscope. Students interested in science and in learning more about how sound works will enjoy this workshop! Space is limited; pre-register ASAP. 413-527-9480. 30 East Street. Southampton, MA. (FREE)

Geology

Join the Pioneer Valley Institute and geologist Richard Little for a boat trip along the Connecticut River in the Quinnetukut II riverboat on Sunday, October 5, 1pm-3pm. Little will discuss the geologic history and mysteries of the River, like 100-foot-deep holes in the riverbed, floodplains, abandoned waterfalls, and other evidence of Glacial Lake Hitchcock. The tour leaves from Northfield Mountain’s Riverview Dock. Call ASAP to register. 413-527-8536. Route 63. Erving, MA. $$

Immigration

Learn about the textile industry and local history at the Wistariahurst Museum’s “Threads that Bind” lecture series. On Monday, October 6, 6pm, Elizabeth Wood will present “Stuttgart to Springfield: A Visit with a 1911 German Immigrant.” Wood will portray Gertrude Failing Groff, a German woman who arrived at Ellis Island alone and then settled in Springfield. Older students can learn about immigration and the experiences of immigrants in the early 20th Century. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. $

PreK Activities

Kids ages 2 and up can come to the Odyssey Bookshop for a special storytime with author/illustrator Ben Clanton and his new book, Rex Wrecks It! on Saturday, October 4, 11am. Clanton will read from his book and join kids in building and wrecking a tower. This is a fun, hands-on storytime that kids will love! 413-534-7307. 9 College Street. South Hadley, MA.

Preschool-aged children can learn about “Magnifying Magic” at the Wendell Library as part of a series of programs focusing on science, technology, engineering, art, and math on Saturday, October 4, 11am. This is a great chance to introduce young kids to STEAM topics! 978-544-3559. 7 Wendell Depot Road. Wendell, MA. (FREE)

Preschool-aged kids can learn all about seeds at Shutesbury Town Hall on Wednesday, October 8, 1:30pm. This is part of a series of programs on science, technology, engineering, art, and math and is a great opportunity to introduce young kids to the arts and sciences. 413-259-1213. Shutesbury, MA. (FREE)

Local/Handmade

Are you an artist looking for inspiration? Or are you looking to find some on-of-a-kind gifts? LOOP is a pop-up art market featuring upcycled and vintage goods, like jewelry, collage pieces, bags, clothing, furniture, action figures, mosaics, glassworks, and so much more! Their next event takes place at Captain Jack’s Roadside Shack on Saturday & Sunday, October 4 and 5 from 10am-6pm. Come browse and buy works by over 30 vendors and support local, handmade, and sustainable goods. See something really unique? Engage in conversation with the artist to find out how they made it! Get inspired at this event and see what you can make with recycled materials. Call LOOP at 413-230-1812 for more information. Captain Jack’s is at 232 Northampton Street in Easthampton, MA.

Artisans of WMass will present their largest craft fair ever at the Yankee Candle Village Healthworks Building on Sunday, October 5, 10am-5pm. There will be 50 artisans from Massachusetts present, as well demonstrations on gourd sculpture, flamework, wood carving, weaving, papermaking, and embroidery. The craft fair is a great place to meet and support local artists and artisans, and is also a good spot to get a headstart on holiday shopping! 25 Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA.

[Photo credit: (cc) Dennis Behm]


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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1 Comment

  1. Desirae Mendez said,

    October 23, 2015 at 2:15 am

    I always used to look at the scarecrows and wondered how are they made. I always wanted to make and decorate one of my own. I am thankful that this opportunity has risen and I will definitely be there at Atkin Farms in Amherst on Saturday.


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