Learning Ahead: June 29th-July 3rd, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 7 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:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Berkshire County

Tuesday, June 30. 4pm — HISTORY: Paris was full of vibrant characters at the start of the 20th century. Historian Mary McAuliffe will transport you back to those days as she shares tales of Debussy, Stravinsky, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, and others in a talk at Ventfort Hall. A social tea will take place on the property immediately afterwards. Reservations recommended. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

Wednesday, July 1. 3pm — LOCAL HISTORY: Many people enjoy visiting historic buildings and locales, but what is it that draws us to these special places? Thompson Mayes of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and composer Eric Nathan will address this in their lecture, “Why Old Places Matter.” Come to Chesterwood for the talk and stay for a reception on the studio piazza. Preregistration recommended. 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge, MA. ($)

Franklin County

Thursday, July 2. 7pm – 8pm — BOTANY: Invasive species can quickly transform entire ecosystems and wreak havoc on food webs. Sculptor Karen Jean Smith will address the ecological issues of Eurasian water chestnut, an invasive plant that exists in our watershed. Biologist Cynthia Boettner will share information about this plant as well, including encouraging news about the effects volunteers have had on mitigating its presence and impact. Hosted by the Great Falls Discovery Center. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

Monday, June 29. 7pm — FILM STUDIES: Hampshire College’s Creative Media Institute offers several summer screenings at Amherst Cinema, featuring visiting CMI artists. This week, Breaking a Monster (yet to be released) will be introduced by its creator, filmmaker Luke Meyer. This film focuses on the short and intense period of time in which a band of pre-teens comes of age and leaps into the realm of professional music. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (< $)

Wednesday, July 1. (TBA) — COMMUNITY FOOD RESOURCES: The Amherst Survival Center has organized a field trip to the Food for All Garden, a local farm operation that produces organically grown vegetables, herbs, and flowers for local relief organizations. Participants will take a tour of the property, learn about accessibility to healthy food, connect with nature, and enjoy lunch there as well. Reservations recommended. 413-549-3968. 138 Sunderland Road, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, July 1. 6:30pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT: The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum‘s Wednesday Folk Traditions concert welcomes Grammy-winning saxophonist, Charles Neville, and Grammy-nominated kora player, Youssoupha Sidibe, to its grounds tonight to share their music inspired by traditions of New Orleans, Jamaica, and Africa. Concertgoers are welcome to bring a picnic and arrive as early as 5pm to find a spot on the lawn. 413-584-4699. 130 River Drive, Hadley, MA. ($)

Hampden County

Tuesday, June 30. 6pm – 7pm — HISTORY: Older students and adults can gain a greater understanding of life in New England during the Civil War through Storrowton Village‘s interactive tour. Participants will meet “townspeople” and hear their personal stories which lends a powerful impact to the historical facts being delivered. Please note that the program’s content is historically accurate and vivid, and includes depictions of wartime violence and injury that may not be suitable for some visitors. Reservations required. 413-205-5051. Eastern States Expo, 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (< $)

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