33 Community Highlights: Sledding to Fireworks. Food Swap to Seed Saving.

Have some winter fun at the Clark Art museum on Sunday, February 22, 12noon-4pm! Bring a sled or cross-country skis, or borrow snowshoes from the museum, and have a blast exploring the campus and all its beauty. There will be fun family-friendly activities, like capture the flag and touch football, led by the Williams College men’s lacrosse team. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA.

Sledding to Fireworks. Vintage Photographs to Antique Threads. Food Swap to Seed Saving… 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 community highlight this week: Families can have some winter fun at Red Gate Farm‘s annual Fire and Ice event on Saturday, February 21, 5pm-8pm! There will be a winter bonfire, grilled food, sledding, hot cocoa, marshmallows, and more. Bring or borrow a sled and slide down the farm’s big or small hills. This fun winter event is great for all ages! 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Buckland, MA. ($)

TrackingHistoryLocal FoodMusic StudiesSTEMWinter FunPerformancesDance StudiesSustainabilityCultural StudiesPreschool HighlightsParent Workshops

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

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens


Naturalist Charley Eiseman will lead a free animal tracking workshop for all with the Franklin Land Trust on Saturday, February 21 from 10am-1pm. Explore a unique site in Hawley (off Forget Road) and search for the tracks of many different animals and smaller critters like insects. The site is home to moose, black bear, porcupine, fisher cats, coyote, red fox, and tons of cool birds, making this a great spot to learn the basics of tracking. Time will also be given to helping participants better understand how these animals interact with vegetation, the environment, and each other. Attend this program with the whole family and then search for tracks everywhere you go – with all this snow, it’s easy to find tracks in places like the grocery store parking lot, town or city sidewalks, and right in your own backyard! Please call 413-625-9151 to RSVP ASAP.

Families (with kids ages 5-12) can learn about animal tracking with Mass Audubon and naturalist Kevin Kopchynski at Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, February 21, 10am-11:30am. Learn to read and interpret the tracks and signs left by animals in the forest. Call to register. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Hampden, MA. ($)

Learn about animal tracking with naturalist Jim Pelletier at Berkshire South Regional Community Center on Saturday, February 21, 1pm-3pm. Discover what animals live around the Center and learn how to identify their tracks and signs – scat, markings, feeding, beds, etc. Kids ages 10-14 who want to learn more about animals would like this program. Please pre-register. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. ($$)


Saturday, February 21 is the annual Antique Sleigh Rally at Old Sturbridge Village from 9:30am-4pm! Over twenty horse-drawn sleighs will be at the Village for sleigh rides, sleigh rally competitions, a sleigh procession, and more. Visitors can also learn about sleighing parties, sleigh horses, traditional dances, and more. Discover what winter life was like in 19th-century New England. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

The family photo album has changed significantly since 1895 – black and white photographs gave way to color ones, and physical photos have been replaced by digital copies, with albums shared electronically through Facebook or email. Other than the physical characteristics of the photographs and albums, what has changed about family albums in this time? Is the subject matter different? What was the goal of making these albums? Learn some answers to these questions and others at “The Family Photograph Album in Late 19th Century America” with Professor Anthony Lee at Historic Northampton on Saturday, February 21 at 2pm. This free, illustrated lecture is held in conjunction with Ellen Augarten’s exhibition of historic photos, Entering Northampton, which includes several hundred photos taken between 1895 and 1900 in Northampton. Older students with an interest in local history and photography would enjoy this fascinating talk and exhibition. Call Historic Northampton at 413-584-6011 for more information. The museum is located at 46 Bridge Street in Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Pamela Parmal, the David and Roberta Logie Curator of Textile and Fashion Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, will present the second lecture of Historic Deerfield’s free winter lecture series focused on textiles and fashion in early America on Sunday, February 22, 2pm-3pm . Her talk, titled “Boarding in Boston: Education, Embroidery, and Refinement in the Late Colonial Period,” will focus on the history of fashion in Boston. Older students with an interest in history and fashion will enjoy this informative talk. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Local Food

Starting to get a case of cabin fever from the snow and cold? Alleviate those winter blues by bringing your family to the Greenfield Winter Farmers’ Market for a special Winter Fare day, Saturday, February 21, 10am-2pm! The market will feature workshops where you and your family can learn more about the secrets of winter gardening, culinary herbs for cooking and medicinal use, and how to make your own yogurt, buttermilk, and other dairy products. There will also be plenty of opportunities for kids to be engaged in activities including basket weaving, rope making, and nature mysteries! Don’t forget to bring your home-preserved foods to the event. After the Farmer’s Market where you can stock up on fresh, local foods, Valley Food Swap will also be having a bartering event at 1pm. Swap with your neighbors to add variety to your pantry to get you through the last of winter. If you’re interested in volunteering at the event, please contact Judy at judy@buylocalfood.org. Greenfield Middle School, 195 Federal Street. Greenfield, MA. (Free to attend).

Music Studies

Join the Northampton Community Music Center for a jazz history and improvisation workshop on Saturday, February 21, 10am-1pm. Older students interested in jazz music can come learn about jazz from musician Charles Neville. Feel free to bring instruments. Call for more info. 413-585-0001. 139 South Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


The Gaylord Memorial Library is offering a new science, nature, math, and technology series for kids ages 2-5 – “Float Your Boat.” On Saturday, February 21, 11am, come learn about numbers and counting on February 21. Registration is required. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Preschool-aged children can learn about animals and insects at the Wendell Free Public Library as part of a series of programs focusing on science, technology, engineering, art, and math on Sunday, February 22, 2pm-3pm. This is a great chance to introduce young kids to STEAM topics! Call to register. 978-544-3559. 7 Wendell Depot Road. Wendell, MA. (FREE)

Winter Fun

Williams College’s Winter Carnival is this weekend on the school’s campus on Saturday, February 21, 12noon-10pm. There will be a snow sculpture contest, food, a snow bike race, a step competition, rock climbing, and more. Check out the full schedule to see all the fun stuff that’s going on. 880 Main Street. Williamstown, MA.

Young kids (ages 3 and up) and their families can join Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center for Winter Fun for Wee Ones on Saturday, February 21, 9am-10:30am. Kids can come engage in outdoor play with new friends – learn about animal tracking, make fairy houses, play winter games, hear stories, enjoy hot cocoa, and more. Snowshoe rentals available ($). Call to register. 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

The City of Pittsfield Recreation Program and the Boys and Girls Club of Pittsfield have teamed up to offer a free public skate and free skate rentals at the Boys and Girls Club rink on Saturday, February 21, 2pm-3:45pm! This offer only applies to the first 100 people to arrive, so get there early! 413-448-8258. 16 Melville Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Come to downtown Pittsfield for a bonfire and fireworks on Saturday, February 21, 4pm-6pm! Warm up with hot chocolate and s’mores at this fun community event. 413-499-9348. First Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Families can have some winter fun at Red Gate Farm‘s annual Fire and Ice event on Saturday, February 21, 5pm-8pm! There will be a winter bonfire, grilled food, sledding, hot cocoa, marshmallows, and more. Bring or borrow a sled and slide down the farm’s big or small hills. This fun winter event is great for all ages! 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Buckland, MA. ($)

Have some winter fun at the Clark Art museum on Sunday, February 22, 12noon-4pm! Bring a sled or cross-country skis, or borrow snowshoes from the museum, and have a blast exploring the campus and all its beauty. There will be fun family-friendly activities, like capture the flag and touch football, led by the Williams College men’s lacrosse team. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA.

Williamsburg Woodland Trails is hosting a family hike at Merritt Tree Farm on Sunday, February 22, 1pm-3pm. Explore the farm’s woods roads (easy to moderate hike) and enjoy a campfire with cider and marshmallows. All ages can have fun on this lovely winter hike. Please bring snowshoes. 413-268-3372. 67 South Street. Williamsburg, MA.


Berkshire Theatre Group presents Atlantis, Lost! And Other Legends from the Strange Waves at the Berkshire Museum on Saturday, February 21, 11am. The production consists of a collection of stories about historical wonders and the waters of the world. Audience members of all ages will enjoy this performance of modern mythology. Cost includes museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Westfield State University’s student-run group the Musical Theatre Guild (MTG) will perform the musical “Into the Woods” on Saturday, February 21, 2pm &  7:30pm. “Into the Woods” was first brought to the stage in San Diego in 1986 and the musical premiered on Broadway in 1987, winning multiple Tony Awards including Best Score and Best Book. Show takes place at Juniper Park Elementary School. 715 Western Avenue. Westfield, MA (>$)

The Stoneleigh-Burnham School presents a performance of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest on Saturday, February 21, 7:30pm & Sunday, February 22, 2pm in Emerson Hall on the school’s campus. Come see this classic comedy performed by talented students. 413-774-2711. 574 Bernardston Road. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Dance Studies

Older students interested in theater and dance can attend Amherst College student Valerie Rodriguez’s senior thesis performance, “Grow Up, Already!” February 19-21 at Holden Experimental Theater in Webster Hall on the Amherst College campus at 8pm. The play is about five college students trying to adjust to adulthood. Reservations are recommended. 413-542-2277. 200 South Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA.

The Five College Faculty Dance Concert is this weekend at Smith College’s Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Theatre 14 on Saturday, February 21, 8pm-10pm. Come see the distinctive individual works by Five College dance faculty and see different types of dance at the performance. 413-585-2787. Green Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

Lenox’s monthly contra dance takes place on Saturday, February 21, 8pm-11:30pm at the Lenox Community Center. There will be music and a caller. Families can come dance together at this fun series – there will be an introduction for beginners and all dances will be taught. 65 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($)

Sustainability/Plant Studies

The Hilltown Seed Saving Network will host a screening of “Open Sesame: They Story of Seeds” at the Cummington Community House on Sunday, February 22nd, 3pm. One of the world’s most precious resources is at risk. This timely and emotionally moving film illuminates what is at stake and what can be done to protect the source of nearly all our food: SEEDS. Seeds provide the basis for everything from fabric, to food to fuels. Seeds are as essential to life as the air we breathe or water we drink…but given far less attention. Come learn more and discuss with your neighbors ways you can collectively save seeds. 413-358-6919. 33 Main Street. Cummington, MA (>$ Donation)

Cultural Studies

Learn about Chinese culture while enjoying Chinese food at Ginger Garden on Sunday, February 22, 4:30pm. Their traditional lion dance takes place in the restaurant. Make a reservation and don’t miss this unique opportunity! Route 9. Amherst, MA. ($$-$$$)

Preschool Highlights

It’s never too early to get your child interested in nature and the outdoors – parents/caregivers of children toddler-aged and younger can join Mass Audubon for their “First Child in the Woods” infant/toddler walk at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, February 21, 10am-11am. Come prepared to have fun outdoors, learn about nature, and meet other kids and caregivers. This is a great way to get your young child introduced to nature! Call to register. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. ($) [Cancelled]

Join the Sunderland Public Library for a children’s concert with Dennis Caraher on Saturday, February 21, 10:30am. Young kids and families will enjoy this fun, interactive performance. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

The Frontier Regional Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Program will offer a playgroup for children ages 5 and under at the Sunderland Public Library on Saturday, February 21, 10:30am-11:30am. Kids can engage in informal play and do interactive literacy activities while parents learn about Brain Building. 413-665-8928. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Parent Workshops

Valuing Our Children is holding a cooking class for parents every Monday from February 23-March 30 at Bethany Lutheran Church from 9:30am-11:30am. Parents can sign up for the class and come every week to learn how to make healthy, delicious food. Childcare and transportation are available. Call for more info and to sign up. 978-249-8467. 62 Cheney Street. Orange, MA.

Parents/caregivers of young children can attend a Toileting Tips workshop at the Wendell Free Library on Tuesday, February 24, 6pm-8pm. Come talk about toileting with other parents and bring questions, ideas, and concerns, and learn about when to start, what to do, when to worry, and if your child is ready. Free dinner and childcare. Call to register. 978-544-5157. 7 Depot Road. Wendell, MA. (FREE)

The Northampton Parent Cafe Series continues at the Bridge Street School Library. On Wednesday, February 25, 5pm-7:15pm, 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 as part of their Puzzle of Parenting series titled, “The Worry Monster” on Wednesday, February 25, 6pm-8pm. Parents/caregivers can learn how to recognize and respond to anxious behaviors in young children and can learn how to teach them how to “fight back” against anxious feelings. Takes place at the Anne T. Dunphy school. Childcare is available. Call to pre-register. 413-586-4998 x102. 1 Petticoat Hill Road. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Parents/caregivers can attend a free workshop at the Haskins Center on Friday, February 27, 1:30pm-2:30pm. Come learn about finances and stretching your dollar at this budgeting workshop, “Dollar Cents.” Learn the basics of banking and more at this highly informative workshop. Transportation and childcare available – please register. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

[Photo credit: (cc) MOTT/Lynne Graves]

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

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