Learning Ahead: March 2nd-6th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 15 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.

Sponsor Learning Ahead

Berkshire County

Tuesday, March 3, 6pm – FILM/LAW: The Berkshire Athenaeum’s film series, “Cinema of Law,” returns this March for its ninth year. The series focuses on films relating to the law and legal topics, and each film is introduced by a local law professional who can provide commentary on the topic of the film. The series kicks off on Tuesday, March 3 at 6pm with a screening of Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin, and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood (2008; not rated). On Tuesday, March 10, the library will screen Runaway Jury (2003; rated PG-13); on Tuesday, March 17, they will screen Rashomon (1950; not rated); and on March 24, they will screen The Rape of Europa (2006; not rated). Each film delves into a different branch of law – free speech guidelines, the jury system, how the truth is viewed through different lenses, and how to handle a large-scale theft. Older students interested in law can learn from the films and law professionals at each screening. Call the library at 413-499-9480 for more information. The Berkshire Athenaeum is at 1 Wendell Avenue in Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, March 5, 6pm-7:30pm: ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES: Mass Audubon presents a program for families about pollution and contaminants and how they affect the environment – “Wildlife, Pollutants, and Watersheds – A Sackett Brook Restoration Family Program.” This free program, which takes place at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, teaches children and their families about watersheds, pollutants, dams, and restoration through hands-on activities. Participants can build model habitats, test the models with different scenarios, and learn what makes a resilient ecosystem. Families can work together to learn about the environment and how to protect it at this engaging program. Call 413-637-0320 to register. Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is at 472 West Mountain Road in Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Monday, March 2, 10am-3pm – PLANT STUDIES: What’s in bloom in March? The Berkshire Botanic Garden‘s second annual Bulb Show runs from March 2 through March 20 with beautiful forced bulbs blooming and waiting to renew your senses and curiosity. Visit the Fitzpatrick Greenhouse to escape the cold weather and see some lovely colorful flowers and the varieties. 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)

Monday, March 2, 7pm – FILM/CULTURE STUDIES: The Williams College French Film Festival continues at Images Cinema with a screening of Hold Back (Rengaine) (2012; not rated). The film is a drama about a couple that wants to get married but faces resistance from their families due to their different ethnic backgrounds. Older teens interested in film studies can attend this series to learn about conflict and violence in new French film. Please note, this film is not rated and may not be appropriate for viewers under a certain age. Check online or call the theater to find out more about it. 413-458-5612. 50 Spring Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, March 3, 9:30am-11am – COMPUTERS: The Berkshire Athenaeum is offering a class on cloud computing. Learn about cloud computing services like Apple’s iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft’s OneDrive. Best for older students and adults interested in learning more about computers. Pre-registration is required. 413-499-9480 x202. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, March 6, 8pm – DANCE STUDIES: MASS MoCA presents a performance of “Available Light” this March. Choreographer Lucinda Childs, who is currently an artist-in-residence at MASS MoCA, will perform a reimagined version of her famous 1983 performance with composer John Adams and architect Frank Gehry. There will be a Q&A after the show. Best for older students and adults interested in dance. Tickets available in advance. 413-662-2111. 1040 MASS MoCA Way. North Adams, MA. ($$)

Franklin County

Tuesdays, beginning April 14, 2:30-6pm – ART/TEENS: ARTeens provides an opportunity for teens to cultivate an art practice in The Art Garden’s supportive, intergenerational studio. With an emphasis on personal responsibility and self-direction, teens explore and critique the world around them, develop their own voices, and share their ideas. ARTeens offers a sense of community while nurturing uniqueness and engagement in a diverse and non-judgmental group. This 6-week session runs through Jun 9. (Applications are due Friday, March 27.) ARTeens is being offered as a pay-what-you-can program. No one will be turned away because of lack of funds. Call to see if there are spots open. 413-625-2782. Shelburne Falls, MA ($)

Hampshire County

Tuesday, March 3, 10am- THEATER: High school students are invited to a attend a special matinee performance of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at UMass Amherst’s Rand Theater. This performance of Tennessee Williams’ classic play would act as a great curriculum supplement for older students in high school. The performance is followed by a question and answer session and study guides will be available. Call or email agoossen@theater.umass.edu to reserve tickets. There is a cost for each student and parents/chaperones can attend for free. 413-545-6808. Amherst, MA. (>$)

Tuesday, March 3, 7pm – FILM/CULTURE STUDIES: As part of a series of films focusing on issues of race, the Jones Library and The Coming Together Project present a screening of Smoke Signals (1998; rated PG-13) at the library. The film, which won an award at the Sundance Film Festival, was the first feature film to be written, directed, and produced by Native American filmmakers. Come see this entertaining film about family and friendship that works to debunk stereotypes about native people. There will be a discussion after the film. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA.

Wednesday, March 4, 6:30pm-9pm – EMERGENCY RESPONSE: Mature teens ages 14 and up can attend a training session for Amherst Community Emergency Response Team. Amherst CERT works to assist neighbors and community members in the event of an emergency or disaster. Those who are interested in doing this type of work can learn more and attend a training session to become certified. You must apply online to join the CERT team and begin training. 413-687-7021. 68 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA.

Wednesday, March 4, 7:30pm – POETRY: The 13th Annual Five College PoetryFest takes place on March 4 at Mt. Holyoke College’s Gamble Auditorium. The event showcases the talent of local student poets from Mt. Holyoke, Smith, Hampshire, and Amherst Colleges, and UMass Amherst. Students interested in poetry can hear from talented college students and learn more about the genre. Lower Lake Road. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Friday, March 6, 7pm – GENDER STUDIES/HISTORY: Join Amherst Cinema for a screening of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014; not rated), a documentary about the beginnings of the modern women’s rights movement. Using dramatizations, performance imagery, and archival footage, the film tells the stories of the women who started the movement and fought for their equality. The March 6 screening will also feature appearances by two of the women features in the film – Muriel Fox, co-founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW), and Marlene Sanders, a broadcasting pioneer. Older students interested in gender studies and history would enjoy this screening. Tickets available in advance. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. ($)

Hampden County

Saturday, February 28, 8:30am-4pm – SUSTAINABILITY: The Holyoke Public Library will have the 2013-2014 Northeast Sustainable Energy Association student design competition posters on display through March 21. The posters show sustainable development plans, including Net Zero Energy designs, Zero Carbon Emissions designs, energy models, and projected costs for four properties in Holyoke – Carlos Vega Park, Parsons Paper, The Alpine, and Riverside Paper. Students interested in sustainable design and planning can come check out these in-depth posters and learn about sustainable design in the city of Holyoke. 413-420-8101. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, March 3, 7pm – TELEVISION/MEDIA: Join Bay Path University for Telling TV Stories with Mary Jo Cranmore. Learn about Cranmore’s work as a television producer and how she got to where she is today. This talk would be good for older students interested in pursuing a career in television, media, or communications. Takes place in the Breck Suite in Wright Hall. 413-565-1066. 588 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, March 5, 5pm-8pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: The fifth season of Culture and Cocktails continues on March 5 at the Springfield Museums! This month’s event is “Above the Fold.” A fun night out for parents and life-long learners, full of learning highlights, including: viewing the new special exhibit, Above the Fold. Mount Holyoke College Professor, Charlene Morrow, with give a presentation, Origami Then & Now; and there will be origami demontrations by The Mountain Folders There will be live music, entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, and more. You must be 21 or older to attend this event. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)


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