33 Community Highlights: Glassblowing to Reuse Rally. Musical Theater to Art for Change.

Glassblowing to Reuse Rally. Polar Bears to Pumpernickel Puppets. Musical Theater to Art for Change… 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: Glassblowing is an ancient art form, dating back at least 2,000 years with origins in Jerusalem, spreading to the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC.  Originally, the craft of blowing glass was used for utilitarian purposes, like containers, table wear and window glass. It wasn’t until the late 60′s when glassblowing was raised to the level of art, lead by German artist, Hans Godo Frabel. This weekend families can try glassblowing hands-on at Snow Farm. Make your own glass ornament with the help of a master glass blower in the glass studio. Learn about the art of glass blowing and walk away with your very own holiday keepsake… a great tradition to do with your family year after year! This is part of Snow Farm’s Seconds Sale weekend where more than 150 craftspeople from across the country sell their seconds. Takes place Friday-Sunday, beginning November 14 and ending November 30. 413-268-3101. 5 Clary Road. Williamsburg, MA ($)

Nature HikesFilm StudiesAnimal StudiesLiving HistoryDendrologyAstronomyArchitectureParent WorkshopCultural StudiesActivismCommunity MealsU.S. HistoryLiteracySustainabilityPreschool HighlightsTheater

Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Nature Hikes

Explore Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary and discover the changes it goes through each fall on an all ages hike with Mass Audubon on Saturday, November 15, 10am-11:30am. Search for animal homes and signs of wildlife preparing for winter, and have fun playing games and learning about animals. Registration is required. 413-584-3009. Main Street. Hampden, MA. ($)

A lot changes in the forest between day and night – some animals go to sleep, while others wake up, and the woods are filled with many new sounds. Now that it’s getting darker earlier, it’s easier to explore the outdoors at night. Families can investigate the woods at night with Mass Audubon on a Family Night Hike at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, November 15 from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Environmental educator Rebecca Moretti will lead this hike, which is appropriate for ages 5 and up. Step out into the forest at night, adjust your eyes, and listen for night sounds and discover what can really be seen without a flashlight. Listen for hooting owls and other creatures, and do fun activities like make rock sparks and have a “sparkle party.” Learn about the animals that come out at night as well as those that head to sleep, and discuss their survival strategies. This hike is a fun, educational outing for the whole family. Call 413-584-3009 to register. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. ($)

Film Studies

Western Massachusetts has been used as a shooting location for several films within the past few years, and Northampton has been used in many over time. See Northampton on screen at Historic Northampton’s “Our Northampton, Their Northampton” event as part of their Fast Forward Film Series on Sunday, November 16, 3pm. The event features clips of Hollywood films that were shot in Northampton, giving viewers an opportunity to see how the city has been portrayed and how it has changed over time. Historic Northampton will show clips from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975), Malice (1992), In Dreams (1997), The Cider House Rules (1998), and Edge of Darkness (2010). Older students interested in film can examine how Northampton is portrayed in film on the big screen. 413-584-6011. Historic Northampton. 46 Bridge Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Animal Studies

Polar bears have become the face of climate change in the 21st Century, shown in images of melting glaciers and in documentaries about our world’s changing climate. There are many other animals that are affected by climate change, and you can learn about them with the Hitchcock Center for the Environment and naturalist Sue Morse at the US Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday, November 20, 7-8:30pm. At this free lecture, Morse will discuss how northern wildlife species have already been affected by climate change, and how they will be impacted in the future. She will share images, stories, and facts about animals like polar bears, Canada lynx, moose, American martens, caribou, arctic foxes, marine mammals, and others. All ages can come learn about climate change and how it affects these animals, and hopefully be inspired to come up with solutions to prevent climate change from further damaging our planet in the future. Call the Hitchcock Center at 413-256-6006 for more information. This program is free, but donations are appreciated.  300 Westgate Center Drive. Hadley, MA, (FREE)

Join the Berkshire Botanical Garden for a talk on listening to birdsong with Professor Bruce Byers of the University of Massachusetts on Sunday, November 16, 2pm-3:30pm. Learn about the complexity of songbird singing and how scientists are working to study these sounds, as well as the natural history of songbirds. Older students interested in birds will enjoy this informative talk. 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road. Stockbridge, MA. ($)

Living History

Learn about King Phillip’s War and some interesting local history with the Swift River Valley Historical Society on Sunday, November 16, 2pm. Storyteller Katie Green will present “Meet Mrs. Mary Rowlandson,” a free, one-person show researched, written, and performed by Green. It is about a colonial woman who was captured by Native Americans during the war and returned for ransom and returned at Redemption Rock in Princeton, MA. Hear the story of the capture and return from “Mary’s” perspective – what happened while Rowlandson was held captive? What was life like for the settlers? What led to Rowlandson’s return? What was the war like for Native Americans? These are questions that will be addressed in the show and that students can think about. The presentation is best for teens and adults interested in local or American history. Call the Historical Society at 978-544-6882 for more information. The Historical Society is at 40 Elm Street in New Salem, MA. (FREE)


Join the Sunderland Public Library in learning how to identify trees in winter with Michael Wojtech on Saturday, November 15, 10am. Learn about trees and how to identify them based on their bark, which is present in every season. Best for older students interested in plants and nature. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland MA. (FREE)


Join Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center on Saturday, November 15, 8-9:30pm for an evening of learning about the night sky. Learn about the late fall and early winter constellations, where to see them, and when. This program is a great introduction to astronomy for all ages! 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA. (FREE)


Tour some local green buildings with the Hitchcock Center for the Environment and Wright Builders on Sunday, November 16, 10am-2pm. See Village Hill in Northampton, then visit the new early childhood building at the Hartsbrook School in Hadley, and then end the tour in Amherst at the newly remodeled Unitarian Universalist Society building. Older students interested in green building and architecture will get a chance to learn about building materials and construction methods associated with these projects. Call to register. 413-256-6006. 525 South Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

This month’s installment of the Lenox Library’s Distinguished Lecture Series is “Palladian Architecture and the Beauty of Geometry,” presented by Rachel Fletcher. On Sunday, November 16, 4pm, She will discuss how mathematics factors into the human perception of beauty. This talk would appeal to older students who are interested in architecture. 413-637-2630. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Parent Workshop

Is your child a picky eater? Come to the Sunderland Public Library for “How to Please Picky Eaters,” with Joan Eckert, Healthy Eating Specialist at Whole Foods Market on Saturday, November 15, 10:30am. She will share ideas and tips for getting picky eaters to eat healthier. There will be a playtime/storytime for children whose parents are participating in the workshop. Pre-registration is required. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Are you interested in learning how to keep your kids healthy this winter? River Valley Market is offering a free workshop on Wednesday, November 19, 6:30-8pm, for parents with Jade Alicandro Mace of Milk and Honey Herbs – Winter Herbal Medicine Cabinet for Kids. Learn how to safely use herbal medicine to strengthen the immune system and ease the symptoms of colds and flus. Participants will make medicine together in the class and take samples home. Pre-registration is required. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Cultural Studies

Hear legends and tales from Poland at the South Hadley Public Library on Saturday, November 15, 11am. Historian and storyteller Stas Radosz will tell traditional Polish stories, including “The Wawel Dragon,” “Wojtek and His Unusual Pet,” and others. Anyone who is interested in hearing these stories is welcome! 413-538-5045. 2 Canal Street. South Hadley Falls, MA. (FREE)


Hear local activist Frances Crowe speak about her 60 years of activism for peace and justice at Historic Northampton on Sunday, November 16, 1pm. Crowe recently wrote a book titled, Finding My Radical Soul, which follows her journey as an activist, which began in the 1940s during World War II. Older students interested in activism, history, and peace will enjoy hearing this Pioneer Valley icon speak. 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Art for a Change is a workshop series at the Art Garden focused on developing creative ideas and addressing issues that we as community members care about. This month’s theme is Climate Justice and Environmental Issues taking place on Wednesday, November 19, 6:30-9:30pm. This workshop would be best for older teens and adults who are interested in art and environmental activism. 413-625-2782. 4 Union Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (FREE)

Community Meals

New Hingham Elementary School’s 6th grade class is hosting a pancake breakfast at Chesterfield Congregational Church to benefit their class trip on Saturday, November 15, 7:30-10:30am. Come for delicious pancakes, sausage, and syrup, and enjoy time spent with community members of all ages. 43 Main Road. Chesterfield, MA. (>$)

The Williamsburg Lions Club is hosting a spaghetti dinner at the Williamsburg Congregational Church to benefit the Christmas Stocking on Saturday, November 15, 5-7pm. Fund for the kids of families who use the Goshen Food Pantry and other Lions charities. Come to this fun community meal and support a great cause. Kids under 6 get in free. 413-563-2909. Williamsburg, MA. ($)

Earthdance is holding a community sing (5:30pm) and potluck (7pm) on Sunday, November 16. Music diva & Earthdance co-founder, Penny Schultz, brings community members together through song with her amazing abilities. This event is open to all ages, engaging children in music and singing in an intergenerational environment. 413-634-5678. 252 Prospect Street. Plainfield, MA. (>$/SUGGESTED DONATION)

U.S. History

Learn about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy at Harmony Hall on Tuesday, November 18, 7pm. The Palmer Historical Society presents a talk by Representative Todd Smola, who will discuss JFK’s lasting influence and share artifacts and memorabilia to teach about and commemorate him. Older students interested in American history would enjoy this talk, which would nicely supplement US history curriculum. There will also be a discussion on theories surrounding JFK’s assassination. 413-289-9295. 2072 Main Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)


You and your child can work together to develop pre-reading skills at the Lee Library’s “Every Child Ready to Read” workshop on Tuesday, November 18, 10:30-11:15am. The workshop is for kids birth-age through five years and runs every Tuesday from 11/18 to 12/16 (five meetings). The workshop includes a literacy workshop, storytime, and playgroup. This is a great chance to introduce your young child to the world of reading! Registration is required and you must register for the full five-week session. 413-464-5095. 100 Main Street. Lee, MA. (FREE)

The East Longmeadow Public Library and Pathways for Parents are offering a workshop for parents/caregivers and kids ages 4-8 – Beyond Phonics. This interactive program features read aloud activities to strengthen comprehension, support writing, and embed common core standards. This program meets for five weeks, on Tuesdays, November 18 and 25, and December 2, 9, and 16, from 1-2pmSpace is limited; pre-registration is required. 413-525-5400 x1506. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)


Prepping for the cooler weather by sorting through your children’s winter clothes? Realizing that some of them no longer fit? Have your children outgrown their bicycles after this summer? Let another child enjoy those gently used clothes and bikes! Northampton’s Reuse Committee will be hosting a Fall Recycling and Reuse Rally on Saturday, November 15th, 9am-12pm, a collection for Styrofoam (expanded polystyrene or EPS), bicycles, and winter clothing for children. If you’re wondering what to do with those toys still hanging around the yard from summer, there will be a take-it-or-leave-it swap event for rigid plastic items. ProShred of Wilbraham will also be offering free residential document shredding. Ensure your documents are disposed of properly and clear out your home office space. Smith Vocational High School, 80 Locust Street. Northampton, MA. (Free to attend).

Let your ideas for improving Franklin County be heard! Your ideas can help create a more sustainable future for your children and community on Saturday, November 15, 8:30am-3:30pm. Greening Greenfield: Creating a Bold New Economy will be putting on a day long forum to explore new business models to help Franklin County thrive. Marjorie Kelly, author of Own Your Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution, Journeys to a Generative Economy, will be discussing how we can simultaneously create successful local businesses and improve our communities. A panel of local leaders will also be discussing how Kelly’s ideas can be applied in Franklin County. In the afternoon, attendants will break up into groups focusing on topics such as financing the new economy, food as an economic engine, thinking like a region, and more. 413-773-0228. Lunch and refreshments will be served. Greenfield Community College Dining Commons, One College Drive. Greenfield, MA. ($)

The Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network is holding a walk along the proposed Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline project in Dalton to raise awareness about the pipeline and the communities and natural areas it would affect on Sunday, November 16, 12noon. The hike in Dalton is two miles and follows electric transmission lines in a wildlife corridor. This hike would be best for older students and adults interested in learning more about the pipeline project and the areas it would affect. 413-655-2020. Grange Hall Road. Dalton, MA.

Preschool Highlights

All ages can enjoy a performance of “Sir George and the Dragon,” by Pumpernickel Puppets, at the Hatfield Public Library on Saturday, November 15, 11am-12noon. This exciting tale will be performed with giant marionettes! 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

Learn about ducks and ducklings at Tyler Memorial Library on Saturday, November 15, 10am-12noon, Dennis Bruffee of Buckboard Eggs will bring his ducks and ducklings to the library for kids to meet. Pam Snow will also present a special duck-themed storytime, and kids can get a free copy of the book Make Way for Ducklings. 413-339-4335. 157 Main Street. Charlemont, MA. (FREE)

Families can join the Northampton Parents Center for Family Fun Night on Saturday, November 15, 4-7pm! There will be a performance by Tom Knight Puppets, dessert from GoBerry, an optional potluck dinner, and playtime. This is a great chance to hang out with other local families! 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is holding a special Family Day on Sunday, November 16, 12noon-4pm, to celebrate their new exhibition, “Madeline at 75: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans.” See the exhibition of Bemelmans’ work, learn about the author/illustrator, do watercolors in the art studio, hear Madeline stories read aloud, and get your picture taken with Madeline. Fans of the books will enjoy this fun event all about Madeline! 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. ($)

Kids can craft their own toys at the Jones Library on Tuesday, November 18, 3:45-5pm. Come get creative and build your own toy at this hands-on activity. Registration is required. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Kids ages 3 and up and their favorite stuffed animal can attend a stuffed animal pet show and sock hop, as well as a toy sleepover for the stuffed animals, at the Chicopee Public Library on Wednesday, November 19, 6pm. Call or stop by the Children’s Room to register. 413-594-1800 x4. 449 Front Street. Chicopee, MA. (FREE)


Bay Path University’s fall musical is Once On This Island, based on Rosa Guy’s 1985 novel My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl. The play, which also incorporates elements of Romeo and Juliet and The Little Mermaid, tells the story of a peasant girl who uses the power of love to bring together people of different social classes. Saturday, November 15, 7:30pm; Sunday, November 16, 2pm; Friday, November 21, 7:30pm. Tickets available in advance. 413-565-1307. 588 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. ($)

Black Cat Theater presents a production of Bye Bye Birdie at South Hadley High School, Thursday, November 20, 7pm; Friday, November 21, 7pm. The play is about a famous singer who is about to join the Army, and one final publicity stunt before he goes. 153 Newton Street. South Hadley, MA. ($$)

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.

Donate Now

Hilltown Families is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: