Learning Ahead: Feb 9th-13th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 18 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

Learning Ahead Ad: Four Sundays in Feb

Berkshire County

Monday, February 9, 1:30pm & 7pm – FILM STUDIES/ANIMATION: The Berkshire Museum is screening this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Animated Short Film. Older students interested in film can come see these short films and make predictions for the Oscar ceremony! 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Monday, February 9, 7pm – SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES/FILM STUDIES: Williams College presents the South Asian Film Series: Highlights of Indian Cinema 1955-2013. Film fans can come see key films from the past six decades at this series. On February 9, see Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), which is a Bollywood love story. Older students will enjoy this film series, and can learn about both the history of film and Indian culture through the screenings. Takes place in Paresky Center Auditorium. 413-597-3131. 39 Chapin Hall Drive. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, February 12, 10am-3pm – FOLK STUDIES/ART: Discover the art of cut paper at the Berkshire Botanical Garden’s Hearts and Flowers workshop with artists Pamela Dalton. Learn the art of Scherenschnitte (cut paper) and create your own cut paper creations in the Pennsylvania German style. Older students and adults can learn about cut paper art at this hands-on workshop! 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road. Stockbridge, MA. ($$$)

Thursday, February 12, 6:30pm-7:30pm – FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDIES/FRENCH: Adults (18+) can improve their conversational French skills at Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Those with basic French skills can attend this six-week session to expand their vocabulary, improve their speaking and listening skills, and learn more about French-speaking countries and cultures. Register in advance. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. ($$$)

ORNITHOLOGY/CITIZEN SCIENCE: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Great Backyard Bird Count takes place February 13-16, right in your own backyard! All ages can learn about birds and participate in this cool citizen science project, which creates a real-time snapshot of bird populations all over the world. Learn how to identify local bird species, and then spend at least 15 minutes counting birds on one or more days during the count. This citizen science project is great because it can be done anywhere – you can stay indoors and watch from a window, or get outdoors and go for a walk in a local natural area. Being a part of this project can influence participants of all ages to learn more about birds, their habitats, populations, migration patterns, and more. See the Great Backyard Bird Count website for details.

Franklin County

Tuesday, February 10, 7pm – FOLK STUDIES/ART: Join the Deerfield Arts Bank for an illustrated talk on the Folk Traditions of Papercut Art. Tamar Shadur will present this talk, which is about Polish paper cutting art, and is held in conjunction with the Arts Bank’s exhibition on Papercut Art. 413-665-0123. 3 Sugarloaf Street. South Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, February 13, 6pm-8pm – POETRY: Green Fields Market is hosting a poetry reading event on the market’s mezzanine on February 13. All are welcome to share poetry on the theme of love, friends met at the co-op, romance, or an ode to a favorite treat. This is a great chance for students who wrote poetry to read aloud and hear poems by others. Send up to three poems to laurarodley@hotmail.com ASAP. 413-773-9567. 144 Main Street. Greenfield, MA.

Friday, February 13, 8pm – MUSIC STUDIES: The Mandolin Orchestra will perform the first all-mandolin concert in Franklin County in over 100 years on February 13 at the Arts Block in Greenfield. Students interested in music can experience this exciting concert with a focus on the mandolin! 413-248-7668. 289 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

Monday, February 9, 7pm – NEUROSCIENCE: Nerd Nite Noho presents Nerd Nite 15 at Eastworks! Hear talks on the neuroanatomy behind the senses and how illusions can be used to trick the brain. Ph.D. candidate Kristina Curro will present a talk on neuroanatomy, reality, and perception, and Joshua Yearsley will present a talk on games and how some are redefining the medium and helping us connect with others, foster new perspectives, and become better people. Older students interested in these topics will enjoy Nerd Nite. 116 Pleasant Street. Easthampton, MA.

Wednesday, February 11, 7pm-9pm – ORNITHOLOGY: Holyoke, one of the country’s first planned industrial cities, is home to many interesting birds who thrive in the urban environment. Mass Audubon presents a talk at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary with urban birding expert Greg Saulmon, who will talk about birding in urban areas and will show photos of wildlife in Holyoke. Registration is required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. ($)

Thursday, February 12, 6pm-8pm – WORLD HISTORY: “Archaeology of the First World War: Exploring the Trenches Today” is an illustrated lecture that would appeal to older students who are interested in history. The talk will teach attendees about the Western Front and trenches of World War I. Researchers Ed and Libby Klekowski, who have spent years exploring the Western Front and making documentaries about their findings, will discuss their experiences exploring these sites and will share photographs from their trips. Learn about the archaeology of the trenches and how it is related to the practice of trench warfare during World War I. What evidence remains in the trenches? What does the layout of the trenches tell us? These are just some of the questions students can hope to learn more about at this free talk. Email friends@library.umass.edu to RSVP. UMass Amherst’s Memorial Hall (134 Hicks Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, February 12, 7pm – AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY/POETRY: Historic Northampton presents a talk by Erika DeSimone and Fidel Louis, editors of Voices Beyond Bondage: An Anthology of Verse by African Americans of the 19th Century. The book consists of 150 poems written by free and enslaved African Americans during the 19th Century. The poems were taken from African American-owned newspapers of the 1800s, almost all of which featured open calls for poetry. Poetry was submitted in droves, and this book features works that expand the field of black poetry and help us better understand the roots of African American literature by unveiling the importance of poetry to African American cultural expression. This event would be best for older students interested in African American history, poetry, and literature. Call Historic Northampton at 413-584-6011 for more information. The museum is located at 46 Bridge Street in Northampton, MA.

Hampden County

Monday, February 9, 4pm-6pm – PERFORMANCE ART/COSPLAY: What is Cosplay? According to Wikipedia, cosplay, a portmanteau of the words costume play, is a performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character or idea. Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture centered on role play and a broader use of the term “cosplay” applies to any costumed role play in venues apart from the stage. Any entity that lends itself to dramatic interpretation may be taken up as a subject and it is not unusual to see genders switched. Favorite sources are manga and anime, comic books and cartoons, video games, and live-action films. Teens who are interested in cosplay or anime can attend the Springfield Central Library‘s Cosplay Party! Create a character or dress as a favorite and come play games, make new friends, and enjoy snacks. Registration is required. 413-263-6828 x425. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

BLACK HISTORY MONTH/ART: Celebrate Black History Month. Make a collage inspired by what freedom means to you and then add it to the library’s Rewards of Freedom exhibit, which features photos from the book, The Struggle for Freedom: The History of African Americans in Western Massachusetts. This program is for teens and tweens and is taking place on the following days/locations:

Thursday, February 12, 12:15pm – ORNITHOLOGY: This week’s Museums a la Carte lecture at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts is, “Live Birds of Prey” with wildlife rehabilitator Tom Ricardi. All ages can learn about the natural history and behaviors of these fascinating birds, as well as conservation efforts to protect them. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (>$)

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