29 Community Highlights: Winter Wildlife to Winter Sports. LEGO Clubs to Social Justice.

Winter Trails Day happens on Saturday, January 10, a free one day event where families new to snow sports can try snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing. Simple events and demos are happening at Notchview and Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center, helping families discover the great fitness and social benefits of these easy to learn winter sports.

Winter Wildlife to Winter Sports. LEGO Clubs to Social Justice. Bagshare to Humane Hero… 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: Notchview is holding a Winter Trails Day for families this Saturday, January 10, 10am-3pm. Winter Trails Day is an annual nation-wide event that offers children and adults a chance to try snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing and the fun of getting outside in the winter. Come to Notchview and take advantage of free cross country ski lessons (10:30am &1:30pm), free guided snowshoe hike, free rentals and care clinic, and half-price trail passes for the day. Stay the day and warm up in Notchview’s new cafe featuring soup, sandwiches, and baked goods. Notchview has limited skis available for use, so come early. 413-684-0148. Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($)

Winter WildlifeOutdoor AdventuresWinter Trail DaysBonfireService-Based LearningLEGO ClubsFarmingSTEMBabysitting CourseLifestyleSocial Justice/MusicFeatured Storytimes

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

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Winter Wildlife

Brr, it’s cold outside! Luckily we humans have warm houses to escape the cold during the chilly winter months, and cozy winter clothes to keep us warm – but what do animals do? There are many different wild animals in western Massachusetts, and they either migrate for the winter, hibernate, or tough it out. Learn about what our local fauna do during the winter with Mass Audubon at their Winter Wildlife Program for ages 5 and up at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, January 10 from 10am-12noon. Kids can play games to learn about hibernation, migration, and sleepers, and to discover which animals stay here for winter and how they survive the cold. Participants can also make a jello animal and see how it fares in the cold weather! Please call 413-584-3009 to register for this program, which takes place both inside and out. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA.($)

Explore Savoy State Forest and the Hoosac Range on a winter ecology hike with Mass Audubon and Aimee Gelinas of Tamarack Hollow Nature and Cultural Center on Sunday, January 11, 10am-1pm. Learn about ecology, evergreen trees, and animal tracks on this hike. Snowshoe rentals available. If no snow, it will be a regular hike. Older teens and adults only. Register in advance. 413-584-3009. Central Shaft Road. Florida, MA. ($$)

Outdoor Winter Adventures

The Amherst Lions Club is holding a Ski and Snowboard Sale at Crocker Farm Elementary School to benefit the Club on Saturday, January 10, 9am-2pm. There will be alpine skis, snowboards, boots, cross country equipment, snowshoes, twin tip skis, skates, jackets, helmets, pants, goggles, and more for sale. You can drop off items to consign on January 9 from 4pm-6pm. 280 West Street. Amherst, MA. (SALE)

Looking to get outside this winter and try some new activities? Winter Trails Day at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center is a great chance to get outdoors with the whole family and learn how to do fun winter activities like snowshoeing an cross-country skiing. On Saturday, January 10, there will be free ski clinics offered at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm, and free snowshoe clinics at 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm. Family members ages 8 and up can try out each sport to figure out which they like best. Learning how to cross-country ski and snowshoe opens up a world of great outdoor activities for the snowy months ahead! Call 800-859-2960 to pre-register. 99 Millers Falls Road, Northfield, MA.

Notchview is holding a Winter Trails Day for families this Saturday, January 10, 10am-3pm. Get outdoors and enjoy winter with cross-country ski lessons, snowshoeing, free rentals (with purchase of trail pass), and more. There will be a limited number of skis available for use. 413-684-0148. Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($)

Enjoy a winter snowshoe hike for ages 5 and up with Mass Audubon at Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, January 10, 1pm-3pm. Learn about the history and different styles of snowshoes and their importance to early American winters. Then explore the trails and search for animal tracks and signs. Registration is required. 413-584-3009. Main Street. Hampden, MA. ($)

Community Celebration

The town of Charlemont turns 250 years old this year! Celebrate at the town’s annual Christmas Tree Bonfire on Saturday January 10 from 3pm-8pm, hosted by the Charlemont 250 Committee. Drop your tree off on Friday or Saturday, then come to the Fairgrounds to watch the bonfire and see ice sculptures, meet costumed characters from Disney’s Frozen, enjoy activities, hear live music, and enter a raffle. The Bonfire is a fun, community-oriented mid-winter celebration that all ages will enjoy. Come with friends and family and celebrate 250 years of Charlemont. Call 413-339-4305 for more information.

Service-Based Learning

The Storrs Library needs helping sewing bags for their bagshare program on Saturday, January 10, 10am-12:30pm or 1pm-3:30pm! The Library’s bagshare program has been around for four years, and in that time they have kept over 6,000 disposable plastic bags out of the environment. Come learn to sew and get creative making fun new bags for the bagshare program. Call to sign up. 413-565-4182. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

The Berkshire Humane Society’s “Humane Hero” program gives kids ages 10-14 the opportunity to volunteer at the Humane Society on Saturday, January 10, 3:30pm-4:30pm. Youth can 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. The Humane Society is offering a Humane Hero workshop – “Canine Good Citizen.” More information on becoming a Humane Hero can be found on the Berkshire Humane Society website. You can sign up anytime! 413-447-7878 x29. 214 Barker Road. Pittsfield, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

LEGO Clubs

LEGOs are much more than small pieces of plastic that clutter up your living room floor and smart something awful when stepped upon with your bare feet… they are a great creative medium for kids interested in design and architecture, and can help them develop their own creative stories based on characters and structures that they build. Studies even suggest that building with LEGOS in a group improves social skills & can build STEM education!

Here are nine FREE LEGO Clubs happening this coming week, hosted by area libraries. Most of them are ongoing during the school year:

  1. Saturdays, 11am-12noon: Forest Park Branch Library. 413-263-6843. 380 Belmont Avenue. Springfield, MA.
  2. 2nd Saturdays, 1pm-3pm: Cushman Library. Ages 5+. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA.
  3. Saturdays, 10:30am-11:30am: Sunderland Public Library. Ages 6+. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA.
  4. Mondays & Wednesdays, 5:30pm-7pm: Springfield Central Library through March 18. 413-263-6828 x471. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA.
  5. 2nd & 4th Tuesdays, 3:30pm-4:30pm: Family Resource Center. Ages 4-8. 413-664-4821. 74 Church Street. North Adams, MA.
  6. Tuesdays, 4pm-5pm: Indian Orchard Branch Library. Ages 7-12. 413-263-6846. 44 Oak Street. Indian Orchard, MA.
  7. Thursday, January 15, 3:30pm: Chicopee Public Library. 413-594-1800 x107. 449 Front Street. Chicopee, MA.
  8. Thursdays, 4pm-8pm: Gaylord Memorial Library. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA.
  9. Thursdays, 5pm-6:30pm: Mason Square Branch Library. Ages 6+. 413-263-6853. 765 State Street. Springfield, MA.


Come join the Williamsburg Agricultural Commission as they host a winter farm film series the second Sundays of January, February, and March from 2-4pm. The first film being screened on Sunday, January 11 is Root Hog or Die which follows the farming year from spring to winter. The film was shot in 1973 in the Hilltowns of western Massachusetts and Vermont. On Sunday, February 8, the film will be A Long Row in Fertile Ground, which is a WGBY documentary focusing on the landscape and local farms in western Massachusetts. The film for Sunday, March 8 is TBA. Refreshments will be served at the films and a community discussion will follow. Takes place in the community room at the Meekins Library. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (Free to attend, but donations and food items will be collected for the Hilltown Food Pantry).


On Thursday, January 15, 4pm, kids ages 6 and older are invited to come to the Greenfield Public Library for the first monthly session of “Fun with Science,” an activity using science in a craft or experiment, with educator Corissa Tripp. Learn about how snow forms through library books in a read-aloud time, then make snow and take it home in a plastic bag! This free program is made possible by the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library. This community-based STEM program happens on the third Thursday of each month through June, 2015. 413-772-1544 x5. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Babysitting Course

The Children’s Study Home is offering a free American Red Cross Babysitting Certification Course for kids ages 11-15 on Saturday, January 10, 9am-3pm. Here kids can get the information they need to babysit safely and confidently, including how to handle emergencies, important childcare skills, and kid-friendly games. In order to become certified, you must attend both parts of this two-part class (1/10 and 1/17, 9am-3pm). Please register in advance. 413-739-5626 x202. 44 Sherman Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)


Forbes Library presents an event with author Christian McEwen, who will read from her book World Enough and Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down on Saturday, January 10, 2pm-4pm. Following the reading, there will be a screening of To Spring from the Hand, a documentary film about artist, dancer, and potter Paulus Berensohn. This event would best for older students and adults interested in “slowing down” and using time in a more meaningful way. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Social Justice/Music

PJ Pals at LGA will honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with songs of peace and freedom, in English & Hebrew, for families with children ages 3-5 on Sunday, January 11, 10-11:30am. At this morning class, “Songs of Freedom: Music and Movement with Felicia Sloin,” families can make homemade musical instruments and enjoy music and movement. All are welcomed. 257 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA (FREE)


  1. Kids ages 3 and up and their families can come to the West Springfield Public Library for a weekend storytime on Saturday, January 10, 10am. Celebrate “Flying Machines” with stories, music, a craft, and a snack. Please pre-register. 413-736-4561. 511 Main Street. West Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  2. The Westfield Athenaeum is hosting a pajama storytime for kids ages 2-6 on Monday, January 12, 6pm. Kids should come dressed in pajamas and can even bring along a favorite stuffed animal. Please register in advance. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)
  3. Join the Greenfield Public Library for a weekly storytime every Tuesday from 10am-11am! This event includes stories, songs, fingerplays, and crafts for kids age five and under. 413-772-1544 x5. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)
  4. Kids can attend a pajama storytime at the East Longmeadow Public Library and enjoy activities at the library on Wednesday, January 14, 6:30pm. Bring a new set of children’s pajamas to donate to the Springfield Boys and Girls Club and make cards to be sent with the pajamas. A fun storytime for kids and a chance to help others in the community! 413-525-5400 x1506. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE/DONATION)
  5. Kids in kindergarten-4th grade can attend a super fun pajama storytime at the Monson Free Library in honor of National Hat Day on Thursday, January 15, 6pm-7pm! Come in your favorite hat and some cozy pajamas for this fun storytime. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE)
  6. Young kids can attend a weekly storyhour at the Pelham Library every Friday from 10:30am-11:30am. Come enjoy stories and crafts. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE)

Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Cummington, Deerfield, Longmeadow, New Salem, Plainfield, Sunderland, and Westhampton Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Donate Now

Support Hilltown Families, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, with your tax-deductible donation.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: