28 Community Highlights: Monet to Manga. Minecraft to Aircraft.

Food Swap to Backyard Chickens. Monet to Manga. Minecraft to Aircraft… 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: CISA’s Winter Fare happens during the Northampton Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday, January 17 from 9am-2pm at the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School.  Come learn how to make homemade yogurt, herbal honeys and infused vinegars. Find out what it takes to keep chickens in your backyard and what your neighbors have made in their kitchens.  Bring your own home-preserved food and swap it with other participants. And see what the farmers’ have in their stalls that you can take home and prepare for your family dinner. This is a wonderful community-based learning event that incorporates collaborative consumption with food-based learning. 80 Locust Street. Northampton, MA (FREE)

Outdoor Adventures  ♦ SnowshoeingLocal History  ♦ GraveyardsWorld MusicPeople’s MusicPuppetryFairy TalesService-Based LearningMLK DayAnime/MangaScienceLocal FoodBackyard ChickensFather GroupsParent WorkshopsArtAviationSilent FilmReading to DogsMinecraft

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

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Outdoor Adventures/Snowshoeing

Get outside this winter at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center! The trails are open most Wednesdays through Sundays, 9am-4:30pm, during the winter months for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA.

Is your tween or teen interested in learning how to snowshoe? The Berkshire Natural Resources Council is offering a free snowshoe hike for ages 12 and up at Threemile Hill on Saturday, January 17 from 1pm-4pm. The hike is an easy, 1.5 miles and participants can learn about the ecology of Threemile Hill. There will be free snowshoes available for those who can’t bring their own. Meet at Berkshire South Regional Community Center to catch a shuttle to the trail. Snowshoeing is a great winter activity that is fun for all ages, and it’s an exciting way to spend a winter day! Call Berkshire South Regional Community Center at 413-528-2810 x31 for more information and to RSVP. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

Families can explore Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary with Mass Audubon on a Family Snowshoe Hike on Saturday, January 17, 10am-12noon. This is a great outdoor winter activity for families – the trails are gentle and great for young or beginner snowshoers. Explore the Sanctuary and see what it’s like in winter at this program. Please pre-register. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. (>$)

Local History

Western Massachusetts (as well as most of New England) is home to thousands of old gravestones, many of which have fascinating or mysterious carvings. Discover this unique history with Alfred and Betsy McKee at the Westhampton Public Library for their program, “Art in the Face of Mortality: A Sampling of Gravestone Art in the CT River Valley,” on Sunday, January 18 from 2pm-3pm. The McKees will discuss the work of some prolific 18th and 19th-century gravestone carvers, including Newell, Stebbins, Ely, Williston, Holland, and Brewer. Do you recognize any of their names from your local historic cemetery? This free talk is a wonderful opportunity for older students and adults who are interested in this unique and important aspect of Pioneer Valley history to learn more about it, its history, its evolution over time, and the meaning behind some of the carvings. Call the Library at 413-527-5386 for more information. The Westhampton Library is located at 1 North Road in Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Music Studies

Visit the Springfield Museums on Saturday, January 17 and check out a great performance by Crocodile River Music (free with museum admission, $$)! The group will perform Trinidad 2 Timbuktu for museumgoers at 11am. This concert is a musical geography lesson that kids of all ages will love – the interactive musical journey will take audience members from Africa to Brazil, and many places in between. The concert will introduce kids to music and dance styles from all around the globe, including African tribal and ritual drumming, calypso, reggae, flamenco, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban. In addition to this fun concert, the Museums will have activities like a live animal demonstration, planetarium shows, art projects, and more. Call 800-625-7738 for more information. The Springfield Museums are located at 21 Edwards Street in Springfield, MA. ($)

Earthdance is holding a community sing on Sunday, January 18, 5:30pm-7pm! Earthdance Co-Founder Penny Schultz brings us together to raise our voices in joyful harmony. Songs from around the world celebrate the earth, love, and community. 413-634-5678. 252 Prospect Street. Plainfield, MA. (>$/SUGGESTED DONATION)

The People’s Music Network’s 35th Annual Winter Concert takes place Friday, January 23, 7:30pm, at Greenfield Middle School. All ages can attend this concert, which features many artists whose music promotes a better world through music. Tickets available in advance. 195 Federal Street. Greenfield, MA. ($$)

Puppetry/Fairy Tales

Escape the cold this weekend and see a magical puppet show at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. German puppeteer Matthias Kuchta will perform Snow White at the Carle on Saturday, January 17 and Sunday, January 18 at 1pm. His life-size textile puppets will bring this classic fairy tale to life, and all ages will enjoy seeing the story told like this. Kids may even get inspired to make their own puppets and turn their favorite stories into puppet shows at home! Call 413-658-1126 for more information and to purchase tickets. The Eric Carle Museum is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. ($)

Service-Based Learning

All ages can work to help their community in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the MLK Day of Service in Northern Berkshire County, at the MCLA Church Street Center on Monday, January 19 from 9am-2pm. The whole family can volunteer by helping out with a variety of community service projects at different sites around the region. Stay at MCLA to work on sewing mittens, making military care packages, putting together meal kits for pantries, and decorating placemats for senior programs, or go off-site to the YMCA, the North Adams skating rink, the Adams Youth Center, the First Baptist Church of North Adams, the First Congregational Church of North Adams, and other places to help with projects. The MLK Day of Service is an opportunity for community members to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to work toward meaningful change in their communities. In addition to the service events, there will be a celebratory lunch with entertainment. Call 413-664-4006 for more information. Church Street. North Adams, MA. (VOLUNTEER)


Teens who love anime, manga, and comics can come to the Forest Park Branch Library on Wednesday, January 21, 3pm-4pm, for discussions, activities, games, and more. Repeats the third Wednesday of each month. 413-263-6843. 380 Belmont Avenue. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Chicopee Public Library‘s Anime Club will meet this Thursday, January 22, 3pm-4:30pm. Teens in grades 7-12 can watch anime, read manga, draw, and discuss with peers. 413-594-1800 x120. 449 Front Street. Chicopee, MA. (FREE)


On Saturday, January 17, 11am, the Gaylord Memorial Library is offering a new science, nature, math, and technology series for kids ages 2-5 – “Float Your Boat.” Come learn about building with blocks, as well as shape and math skills, on January 17. Registration is required. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Ages 9 and up can have fun learning about science at the West Springfield Public Library on Tuesday, January 20, 3:30pm-4:30pm. Come make your own lava lamp at this hands-on science program! Registration is required. 413-736-4561. 511 Main Street. West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Homeschool students of all ages can learn about science at the Carnegie Public Library every Wednesday at 1:15pm. Kids will enjoy learning about science at this hands-on program. Runs through May 13. 413-863-3214. 201 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA.

Local Food/Sustainability

CISA’s Winter Fare happens during the Northampton Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday, January 17 from 9am-2pm at the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School.  Come learn how to make homemade yogurt, herbal honeys and infused vinegars. Find out what it takes to keep chickens in your backyard and what your neighbors have made in their kitchens.  Bring your own home-preserved food and swap it with other participants. And see what the farmers’ have in their stalls that you can take home and prepare for your family dinner. This is a wonderful community-based learning event that incorporates collaborative consumption with food-based learning. 80 Locust Street. Northampton, MA (FREE)

The Northeastern Poultry Congress takes place this weekend at the Eastern States Exposition’s Mallary Complex. Families can visit the exhibition to learn about keeping chickens and other birds. Youth can learn about showing chickens by attending the Junior Show, where those who are under age 18 will show their chickens. This is a great place to learn about the basics of keeping chickens and other poultry and what work is required. It’s also a good place to ask questions! 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (FREE)


The Family Resource Center is offering a playgroup for dads and their kids at the Haskins Center on Saturday, January 17, 10:30am-11:30am! Kids walking-age to age 8 can come for indoor active play, including snowmen bowling, ice fishing, and snowball toss, as well as stories, songs, and parachute play. A great chance for dads and their young kids to have some fun together! 413-663-6593. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

The Storrs Library is holding a Dads and Donuts event for kids and their dads on Saturday, January 17, 10:30am-11:30am. Spend quality time together enjoying coffee, donuts, stories, and crafts. Call to register. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Parent Workshops

Parent Cafe Series continues at the Bridge Street School Library on Wednesday, January 21, 5-7:15pm. This month the topic is “Being a Great Parent is Part Natural & Part Learned.” Come share information and ideas to care for yourself as a parent while building strong relationships with your kids to raise children who thrive. Talk with other parents about the challenges of parenting and build the resilience needed to be a good parent. Child care and dinner provided. Open to all parents with young children. RSVP. 413-587-1471. 2 Parsons Street. Northampton, MA (FREE)

The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering a workshop for parents/caregivers on “Managing Little Ones’ Screen Time” on Thursday, January 22, 6pm-8pm. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of exposing young children to technology and screens. Childcare is available and registration is required to attend this free workshop. Takes place at Easthampton High School. 413-586-4998 x102. 70 Williston Avenue. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)


In celebration of the Monet | Kelly exhibition at the Clark Art Institute, “Monet | Kelly Drawing Day” will be held for all ages on Sunday, January 18, 1–4 pm. Sketching kits are available in the Clark Center. Participants are encouraged to visit the Monet | Kelly exhibition and think about how Ellsworth Kelly’s drawings are related to the paintings of Claude Monet—then head to the permanent collection galleries to make a contour drawing inspired by another work of art. Art instructors will be in the galleries to encourage participants to explore new ideas, make suggestions, and help beginning artists learn drawing techniques. This event is fun for all ages and a great intergenerational activity. No matter what your skill level, it’s a fun way to engage with art and think in an entirely new way. 413-458-0471. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA (FREE)


The New England Air Museum is holding an Open Cockpit Day on Sunday, January 18, 10am-5pm. Come learn about historic aircraft and climb inside the Vietnam-era “Huey” helicopter, North American F-100 Super Sabre jet fighter, the Coast Guard HH-52 rescue helicopter, and others. The Wings and Wheels Modelers Club will present a plastic scale model show featuring hundreds of model airplanes, military vehicles, figures, ships, and cars. All ages can come to NEAM for a super educational and fun-filled day! There will also be a performance of Red Headed Flying Daredevil, a play about aviation pioneer Charles Hamilton, by Alison Moncrief Bromage, at 11:30am and 1:30pm. 860-623-3305. 36 Perimeter Road. Windsor Locks, CT. ($)

Silent Film

The Yiddish Book Center presents a screening of Jewish Luck (1925) with live musical accompaniment on Sunday, January 18, 2pm. This silent film from the USSR is about a daydreaming entrepreneur and his doomed strike-it-rich schemes. Pianist Robert Humphreville will provide the musical accompaniment. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA. ($)

Reading to Dogs

The Westfield Athenaeum is hosting a Read to Rover event for kids ages 3-9 on Saturday, January 17, 1:30pm. Young readers can practice reading stories aloud to specially-trained dogs, who offer non-judgmental, non-threatening attention. This is a wonderful opportunity for kids to improve their reading skills and their confidence in reading aloud. Please register in advance. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Young readers can improve their reading skills with Ralph the Reading Dog at the Storrs Library on Saturday, January 17, 2pm-3:30pm. Kids can gain confidence in reading aloud by reading Ralph a book of their choice – he is an excellent and nonjudgmental listener! Call to register. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)


Minecraft fans can come play together at the Forbes Library‘s Minecraft Club on Friday, January 23, 3:30pm! Bring your login and a laptop if possible, and have fun playing Minecraft with others. Registration is required. 413-587-1010. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Elementary school-aged children can come to the Hubbard Library for Minecraft on Friday, January 23, 3:30pm. Bring a laptop or use one of the library’s computers. 413-583-5646. 24 Center Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE)

The Storrs Library has a Minecraft Club for kids in grades 3 and up every Friday, 3:30pm-4:30pm. Call to sign up. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

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

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