Learning Ahead: November 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 22 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.

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Berkshire County

Wednesday, November 4, 5:30pm-7pm
Learn how to preserve foods at the Mason Library on November 4th. Make apple butter and sauerkraut and discover other things to can. Bring a pint jar and lid, a knife, and a cutting board. Best for self-directed teens with knife skills/cooking experience. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, November 5, 10am-12noon
Join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council for a hike at the Clam River Loop Trail. The easy, 1.5-mile hike will take you through beautiful evergreen forests with nice views of Clam River. 413-499-0596. 66 Sandisfield Road. Sandisfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, November 6, 7:30pm-9pm
The Clark Art Institute presents a performance by cellist Edward Arron, pianist Jeewon Park, violinist Jesse Mills, and violist Ara Gregorian on November 6th. This chamber music concert will feature pieces by Franz Joseph Haydn, Bohuslav Martinů, Joaquin Turina, and Antonín Dvořák. Older students with audience skills and an interested in music would enjoy this exciting performance. Tickets available in advance. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. ($$)

Franklin County

Friday, November 6, 7pm
Learn about living sustainability at the annual Pioneer Valley Transition Towns Film Festival. See some great local films on the topic of “How Communities are Working toward Sustainable Living.” The films focus on food and farming, health and medicine, education, the economy, transportation, energy, and housing, and would appeal to self-directed students and adults interested in sustainable living and the transition town movement. Takes place in the Greenfield Community College dining commons. 413-775-1671. 1 College Drive. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, November 6, 8pm
Enjoy a night out watching the Arena Civic Theatre‘s performance of Steel Magnolias, a show that celebrates friendships and community connections. Six stellar local actresses have feature roles in this moving comedy-drama. This show will run on November 6th-8th and 13th-15th. 413-233-4368. Katherine Sloan Theater, Greenfield Community College,Greenfield, MA. ($)

Hampshire County

Tuesday, November 3, 7pm-8pm
Are you interested in learning about seed saving? Join Grow Food Amherst at Amherst Town Hall for a Seed Saving Forum on November 3rd. Learn the basics of saving seeds, discuss seed swaps and projects, plan for future events, share your favorite seed saving books, and more. All are welcome! 413-259-3149. 4 Boltwood Avenue. Amherst, MA.

Wednesday, November 4, 12:30pm-1pm
Take the opportunity to relax and enjoy live music at Smith College’s Music in the Noon Hour event. Smith faculty artists and friends will perform half-hour recitals of classical music. Takes place at Sweeney Concert Hall. 413-585-3222. 122 Green Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, November 4, 3:30pm-5pm
In celebration of National Novel Writing Month, the Jones Library is hosting a writing workshop series for ages 12 and up. On November 4th, YA author Gina Damico will be at the library to talk with young writers. This series is great for teens who are aspiring writers – come spend time with other writers your age and learn tips and tricks to improve your writing. Sign up in advance. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, November 4, 6:30pm-8pm
River Valley Co-Op will host a free workshop on Animal Communication with Susan Bartfay. Learn how animals express themselves and how we as humans can better understand their desires and needs. Participants will practice telepathy to learn how to better communicate with animals. Participants should bring a pen, paper, and a photo of an animal in their life. Self-directed teens interested in learning more about animals and communication would benefit from this workshop. Preregistration is required. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, November 4. 7pm
Adults and older students are invited to the Forbes Library‘s reading series, “The Modern Real and Surreal: Writers and Artists on Our Age,” which meets on the first Wednesday of each month. This series invites the community to examine the relationships among story, art, empathy, and insight in our modern age. 413-587-1014. Coolidge Museum, 20 West Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, November 4, 7pm-8pm
Do the lilting notes of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s ukulele rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” bring a smile to your face? You, too can strum this lovely song, and many more, with a bit of practice! Teens and adults are invited to participate in a series of beginner ukulele classes at the Goodwin Memorial Library, led by local uke superstar, Julie Calamine (formerly Stepanek!). Classes will be held November 4th, November 11th, and December 2nd. You need not attend all classes to participate, and ukuleles will be provided if you do not have your own. Advance sign-up requested. 413-584-7451. 50 Middle Street, Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, November 4, 7pm-8:30pm
Writing about Health, Medicine, and the Body” is this month’s installment of Forbes Library’s monthly literary series. Three authors –Norman Johnson, Nell Lake, and Suzanne Koven–will explore the human body, from the minuscule to large scale, including the genome, diseases, and caregiving. Self-directed teens interested in science writing can learn from the authors at this event. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street.Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, November 5, 12:20pm-12:50pm
Energies and Elegies, a contemporary art exhibition currently on view at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, invites viewers to examine themes of absence, abundance, entropy, and energy. Learn about the pieces in this collection and how they inform this theme in a gallery talk with assistant curator Hannah Blunt. 413-538-2245. Lower Lake Road, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, November 5, 5pm-8pm
This month’s Amherst Art Walk will feature poetry readings by local writers who have been published in the literary magazine upstreet! The poetry reading begins at 6:45pm at the Emily Dickinson Museum’s Homestead parlor. Downtown Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, November 5, 7pm
Black Cat Theater, an organization which showcases the talent of local community members, presents Hello, Dolly!, a lively and entertaining musical about a meddling matchmaker in New York. Support local artists and performers while enjoying a fun theatre experience! The show runs November 5th-8th at South Hadley High School. 413-563-6023. 153 Newton Street, South Hadley, MA. ($)

Thursday, November 5, 7:30pm
The Munich Symphony Orchestra will perform at the UMass Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. The Orchestra will perform with renowned guitarist Pepe Romero of the Romero Quartet, and they will play pieces by Bizet, Rodrigo, and Massanet, as well as other French and Spanish music. Students with audience skills who are interested in orchestra and classical music would enjoy this performance. Tickets available in advance. 413-545-2511. 151 Presidents Drive. Amherst, MA. ($$)

Friday, November 6, 12:15pm
The Amherst Historical Society hosts History Bites, a lunchtime history talk at the Simeon Strong House. This week’s talk, “A Collector is Born: Local Landscapes, Local Collections, and Joseph Allen Skinner’s Imagination,” will be presented by Cheryl Harned, a PhD candidate in history at UMass Amherst. Tea and coffee provided. Best for self-directed teens and lifelong learners. 413-256-0678. 67 Amity Street.Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, November 6, 12:30pm-1pm
Are you interested in sustainability and building design? Tour theHitchcock Center for the Environment‘s new living building. Meet at the construction site and tour the building, learning about its unique features, what makes it “living,” what materials are used, and more. These tours are open to anyone, but would be especially interesting to those who want to learn more about living buildings. 413-256-6006. West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, November 6, 6:30pm
The ArtSalon is an event in which established and emerging local artists present on their work and ideas in the Pecha Kucha format (20 slides that are 20 seconds each). Come see the presentations, meet the artists, and talk about art at the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst. Artists include Andrea Dezsö, Benjamin S. Jones, Jenny Vogel, Olivia Bernard, and Wendy Ewald. Older teens with a serious interest in art could learn a lot at these fascinating and unique presentations. 151 Presidents Drive. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Hampden County

Monday, November 2, 6pm-7pm
What does it mean to call a place home? Artist and storyteller Jacqueline Cooper will present a multimedia look at two farm families, neighbors for eight generations, who played together and shared chores, equipment, and best practices, at “Soul of the Hilltowns/Where the Heart Is,” a lecture at the Wistariahurst Museum. Their stories will come to life in this exploration of how people connect to a place, to each other, and come to call a place “home.” 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street, Holyoke, MA. (< $)

Wednesday, November 4. 7pm-9pm
The Creacion Latin Big Band has open practice sessions every first and third Wednesdays. Enjoy salsa, cha cha, mambo, and more, and enjoy food and drink from the beer garden, too. Audience members are invited to dance to their hearts’ content! 413-650-2670. Gateway City Arts, 92-114 Race Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, November 5, 12:15pm
This week’s Museums a la Carte lecture at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts is, “Springfield Art Museums in Perspective: New Museums and Galleries of Islamic Art,” with Walter Denny, Professor of Art History at UMass Amherst. In this illustrated lecture, self-directed students and lifelong learners interested in art can learn about new ways of looking at the visual culture of the Islamic world. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (<$)

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