29 Community Highlights: Owl Moon to Porcupine Tracks. Youth Yoga to Family Volunteer Days.

By Richard Crossley (Richard Crossley) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Come to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary to see a magical puppet show retelling of Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon on Saturday, January 24, 5pm-7pm. Learn about Massachusetts’ seven native owl species and take a walk in the winter woods to search for them. After exploring the forest, head back inside for a warm treat. Best for ages 5-10. Registration is required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. ($)

Owl Moon to Porcupine Tracks. Youth Yoga to Whalemobile. Family Volunteer Days to Family Fun Night… 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: Search for tracks and sign of fisher and porcupine at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center on Saturday, January 24, 1pm-4pm. Hike the trails on snowshoe and learn about track patterns and tips for observing prints. Studying animal tracks is a good way to learn about animal behavior, since tracks tell you exactly where the animal has been. Beginner snowshoers are welcome, but participants should be able to comfortably snowshoe two miles. Call for more info and to register. Please pre-register. 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA. (FREE)


Service-Based LearningAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryLocal FoodYoga for YouthPreschool HighlightsTransportation/TrainsParent SupportMuseum AdventuresCostume MakingFamily Fun Night


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

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Service-Based Learning

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. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days each month throughout the year, making it easier for families to volunteer together to support The Food Bank’s mission to eliminate hunger while participating in Hilltown Families mission to support learning through service-based learning. The first Family Volunteer Day of the year will be held on Sunday, January 25 from 9-11:30am at The Food Bank warehouse. January’s volunteer day theme will be “New’s Year’s Resolution: Volunteer!” Families are encouraged to act on their intentions to give back to their community by joining us at this community-service event. Space is limited and RSVP is required. To find out about the specific activities of the day, and to RSVP, contact Molly at mollys@foodbankwma.org. The Food Bank warehouse is located at 97 N. Hatfield Road in Hatfield, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

The Bagshare Project is hosting a bag sewing event at Bullitt Reservation on Saturday, January 24, 1pm-4pm. All are welcome to come sew reusable bags to be used at stores and markets around western Massachusetts. 413-475-2234. 338 Bullitt Road. Ashfield, MA. (VOLUNTEER) [POSTPONED]

The Berkshire Humane Society presents a talk on Therapy Animals with Terry Cormier and Sullivan the Newfoundland as part of their Coffee Hour Speaking Series on Sunday, January 25, 2pm-4pm. Older students and adults can learn all about therapy animals at this program. 413-447-7878. 214 Barker Road. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Animal Studies

Come to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary to see a magical puppet show retelling of Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon on Saturday, January 24, 5pm-7pm. Learn about Massachusetts’ seven native owl species and take a walk in the winter woods to search for them. After exploring the forest, head back inside for a warm treat. Best for ages 5-10. Registration is required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. ($)

Search for tracks and sign of fisher and porcupine at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center on Saturday, January 24, 1pm-4pm. Hike the trails on snowshoe and learn about track patterns and tips for observing prints. Studying animal tracks is a good way to learn about animal behavior, since tracks tell you exactly where the animal has been. Beginner snowshoers are welcome, but participants should be able to comfortably snowshoe two miles. Call for more info and to register. Please pre-register. 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

The Whalemobile is a 43-foot, life-sized inflatable whale named Nile, modeled after a female humpback whale born in 1987 who summers off the coast of Massachusetts. This traveling educational program teaches kids all about whales – where they live, how they communicate, what they eat, what their behavior is like – and then gives them a chance to climb inside the inflatable replica to learn about whale anatomy and physiology. On Friday, January 30, the Friends of the Dickinson Memorial Library in Northfield, MA, will host The Whalemobile at the Northfield Elementary School. Whale Tours will happen every 20 minutes from 5:20 – 6:40. Registration is required to go inside the whale: stop by, call or email the library to sign up. While waiting to enter the Whale visit the oceanography related exhibits. 413-498-2455. dmemlib@gmail.com. The Northfield Elementary School is located at 104 Main Street in Northfield, MA.

Since there’s no school for students in Amherst on Friday, January 30, come have fun learning about nature and playing outdoors at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment from 8:30am-3pm. Kids ages 6-9 (in grades 1-4) can spend the day at the Hitchcock Center meeting live animals, doing a scavenger hunt in the forest, and getting creative with fun frozen crafts. If it’s snowy, kids can also build snow forts, go sledding, and do some snowshoeing. Space is limited; call ASAP to sign up. 413-256-6006. 525 South Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. ($$$)

Local History

When you think of winter, you probably think of sledding, ice skating, or snowshoeing. In the 19th Century, there was another use for all that snow and ice – ice harvesting. The Sheffield Historical Society‘s new exhibit, “The Winter Harvest: Ice Cutting on Sheffield Lakes and Rivers,” opens on Saturday, January 24 and is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-3pm through February 22. The free exhibition is about the Sheffield residents of the 19th Century who braved the cold and headed out onto the ice to cut ice blocks to be sold and used for preserving foods, cooling drinks, and making treats like ice cream. At the exhibit, visitors can see ice cutting tools, photos of the Sheffield ice harvest, accounts from those who participated, and information on how the ice was cut, stored, and used. This exhibit offers a fascinating glimpse into New England winters of the past and a look at a long-lost and now obsolete industry. Call the Historical Society at 413-229-2694. The Sheffield Historical Society is located at 159 Main Street.

Do you ever wonder what clothing looked like in the past, what materials it was made out of it, or how it was made? Historic Deerfield’s Helen Geier Flynt Textile Collection is home to roughly 8,000 objects including clothing, accessories, and domestic textiles. Learn about the pieces in the collection at the museum’s free winter lecture series focused on textiles and fashion in early America. The first lecture, which takes place on Sunday, January 25 from 2pm-3pm, will be presented by Associate Curator of Textiles at Historic Deerfield, Ned Lazaro. He will present “Exquisite Selections: Masterpieces from the Historic Deerfield Collection,” which offers a look into the museum’s fashion collection and its many unique pieces, ranging from undergarments to outerwear. Older students with an interest in history and fashion will enjoy learning about the many distinctive pieces in Historic Deerfield’s collection. Call 413-774-5581 for more information. Historic Deerfield is located at 84B Old Main Street in Deerfield, MA.

Local Food/Sustainability

CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) will have two Winter Fare events on Saturday, January 24, one at the Amherst Winter Farmers’ Market (170 Chestnut Street) from 10am-2pm, and one at the Springfield Winter Farmers’ Market (Cyr Arena in Forest Park) from 8am-5pm. In addition to regular farmers’ market activities, each of these markets will have workshops, kids’ activities, demonstrations, food swaps, and much more! Students who are interested in topics like sustainable agriculture, cooking, gardening, wild edibles, and others will find CISA’s Winter Fare events exciting and educational. Call CISA at 413-665-7100 for more information.

Yoga for Youth

The Westfield Yoga Center presents an introductory yoga class for ages 6-10 at the Westfield Athenaeum on Monday, January 26, 4pm and on Wednesday, January 28, 4pm. Call to sign up for this three-week class. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Teens in grades 6 and up are invited to the Chicopee Public Library for Yoga for Teens on Monday, January 26, 6pm-7:30pm. This is a great chance to introduce teens to yoga! Call to sign up. 413-594-1800 x120. 449 Front Street. Chicopee, MA. (FREE)

Celtic Heels studio is offering free Kids Yoga classes for new students on Thursday, January 29. Instructor, Mylène, creates a warm and encouraging atmosphere where children can be creative. The theme for class is Metamorphosis! A few of the poses the students will be practicing this month: Crescent Moon, Candle, Volcano, Frog, Snow Angel, and Butterfly-Cocoon. Age Groups: 4:45-5:15 for ages 3-5; 5:30-6:15 for ages 6-8; 6:15-7:15 for ages 9-11. 2nd Floor. 267 Main Street. Greenfield, MA (FREE)

Preschool Highlights

NATURE: Kids ages 3-6 and their families are invited to Great Falls Discovery Center for their Winter Preschool Series on Saturday, January 24, 10:30am-11:30am. Enjoy stories, crafts, and nature-related activities. Kids will learn about different types of animals each meeting. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA.

FARM: Kids ages 4 and under can explore farm life at Red Gate Farm every Monday from 10am-11:30am through March 9. Come learn about and meet the farm’s plants and animals and participate in hands-on activities. Call to sign up no later than noon on the Sunday prior. 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Buckland, MA. >$

MUSIC: The Hubbard Library is offering a music program for preschoolers every Tuesday from 10:30am-11am. Come for singing, clapping, and dancing. 413-583-5646. 24 Center Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE)

STEM: The Berkshire Museum is offering a Parent/Child STEM Session the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 10:30am-11am. Come explore science, technology, engineering, and math through books, hands-on activities, and play. Registration is required. 413-443-7171 x21. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

STORY CRAFT: The Lenox Library is offering Story Craft for kids ages 3-5, with stories and crafts every Thursday from 11am-11:45am. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

OUTDOORS: Preschool-aged children and their parents/caregivers can have fun with snow at the Griswold Memorial Library on Friday, January 30, 11am-12noon. Come to the library for this snow-themed storytime and venture outdoors if it’s snowy. Enjoy snowy stories and a hands-on activity. 413-624-3619. 12 Main Road. Colrain, MA. (FREE)

Transportation/Trains

The Amherst Railway Society’s Annual Railroad Hobby Show is January 24 and 25. This show attracts thousands each year and features real life and model railroads, historical societies, importers, modelers, and more. There will be demonstrations, exhibits, and vendors, as well as plenty of other educational opportunities and chances to learn about railroads. The goal of the show is to promote interest in railroads and teach people about their history and importance. Takes place at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds. 413-267-4555. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. ($)

Parent Support

Childcare of the Berkshires, Inc. is offering an 8-week workshop for parents on “Parenting with Positive Discipline” at the Haskins Center, beginning on Monday, January 26, 5:30pm-7:30pm. The workshop teaches parents how to focus on discipline solutions while being both kind and firm in order to teach children creative cooperation and self-discipline. Free childcare and transportation are available. Call to sign up. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

The Agawam Public Schools are hosting a parent cafe on Tuesday, January 27, 9:30am-11am & 6:30pm-8pm. Morning session takes place at Agawam Congregational Church (745 Main Street) and evening session takes place at Agawam Senior Center (954 Main Street). Call for more info. 413-821-0552. Agawam, MA. (FREE)

Come together at the Colrain Central School for a community conversation exploring the question, “How can we build a stronger community?” on Tuesday, January 27, 6:30-7:30pm. Refreshments will be served and child care will be available. 413-624-3451. 22 Jacksonville Road. Colrain, MA. (FREE)

The Gateway Family Center is offering an 8-week program for parents of children ages birth to one – “Nurturing Your Baby” beginning Thursday, January 29. Here parents can learn about infant massage, stress reduction, soothing techniques, sleep strategies, coping skills, and relevant child development information. Call to register and for more information. 413-667-2203. 9 Russell Road. Huntington, MA. (FREE)

Mark Feinberg, Ph.D. will present a workshop for parents titled, “Couple-Focused Prevention at the Transition to Parenthood,” at the UMass Campus Center, room 163C on Thursday, January 29, 4pm-5pm. The workshop focuses on the transition to parenthood and how couples can avoid stress, depression, and strain on their relationship in order to be the best parents they can be. 1 Campus Center Way. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

The Gateway Family Center will be hosting a weekly program, Nurturing Your Child, beginning Friday, January 30, 10am-12noon. This program will be focusing on the social and emotional development of children and the developmental challenges that parents face. Children’s “playshops” are theme based each week with games and activities that encourage children’s healthy development with parent guide activities. Parent Education includes a workshop with parent educators, including Scott Noyes, Caro Lambert, and Liz Liebowitz. This program is FREE and open to all families with young children. Transportation assistance available. For more information, or to register, please contact Kim Savery at 413-667-2203 or ksavery@hchcweb.org. 9 Russell Rd. Huntington, MA (FREE)

Museum Adventures

Celebrate childhood, rule-breaking, and creativity at the Berkshire Museum‘s newest exhibition, If/Then, on Saturday, January 24, 10am-5pm. Kids can climb, jump, and explore the large-scale sculptural structures in the galleries, and adults and older students can re-engage with their own childhoods. This interactive exhibition will be a blast for all ages. If/Then is on display through May 3, and there will be an opening reception on January 30 at 5:30pm (>$). Free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Costume Workshop

Easthampton City Arts+ is hosting a Wearable Arts Costume Workshop with artist Angela Zammarelli in Eastworks room 137 on Saturday, January 24, 1pm-4pm. At this workshop, you can make a costume for Easthampton’s February “Fire and Ice” Artwalk, the theme of which is “Wild at Heart.” Come make a “second skin” in the form of an animal, beast, or creative creature and get excited for the February Art Walk! Space is limited; registration is required. 413-527-8278. 116 Pleasant Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) [POSTPONED TO SAT., FEB 7]

Family Fun Night

Shake off those winter blues with a Saturday night party, Saturday, January 24, 4-7pm! Northampton Parents Center will be having a Winter Family Fun Night! Playgroup and optional potluck dinner will be from 4 to 5:30, followed by an interactive winter themed concert with the Snowflake Fairy, Su Eaton. Everyone is welcome! Northampton Parents Center is located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)

Berkshire Family and Individual Resources (BFAIR) is celebrating their 20th anniversary with a Family Fun Night at Mingos Sports Bar and Grill on Friday, January 30, 6pm-9pm. Families can come for a delicious appetizer buffet, a cash bar, bowling, pool, golf, ping pong, darts, tabletop games, a 50/50 raffle, and more. This is a fun night to support a great local organization! Call for tickets. 413-664-9382. 41 Roberts Drive. North Adams, MA. ($$)


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.

Donate Now

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

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: