39 Community Highlights: Grebes to Rattlesnakes. Wool to Chrysanthemums.

Fall is a great time to look for migrating waterfowl, including wood ducks, geese, and grebes, and Fitzgerald Lake in Northampton is a prime stopover for many species. On Saturday morning, November 7, join Bob Zimmerman and David Pritchard at 8am on a free waterfowl walk sponsored by the Broad Brook Coalition. Some spotting scopes and binoculars available for use. Species likely to be seen include Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, and ring-necked ducks. Other possibilities are pied-billed grebes, hooded and common mergansers, ruddy ducks, northern pintails, and even snow geese. 413-268-3668. Meet at the North Farms Road parking lot.

Grebes to Rattlesnakes. Wool to Chrysanthemums. Make Faire to Skillfair… These are just a few of the community-based 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 highlights this week:  Maker labs, tinker spaces, and STEAM labs are cropping up all over! These are spaces that allow people to explore their ideas in an open-ended, creative manner using a variety of materials and tools. This weekend, the Mini Maker Faire hosted by Barnes & Noble invites folks to watch demonstrations of 3D printing, robotics, coding, and programming, and to try these technologies out for themselves. If your child ends up having his or her interest piqued by this fun activity, you can seek out some of the other great maker space offerings happening in our local libraries. 413-584-2558. Mountain Farms, 335 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Bird StudiesNatural HistoryNew England CultureSheep & WoolColonial HistoryMYO Holiday GiftsZentangleOrigamiChrysanthemumsStoryWalkHealth & WellnessParent CafeMeditationMaker FaireIce HockeyService-Based LearningPhysicsSkillshareArt StudiesLocal HistoryFashionVictorian HistoryMilitary HistoryTheaterFood StudiesMusic StudiesSing-AlongUkuleleFlash MobIndian Culture

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Saturday, November 7, 8am
Fall is a great time to look for migrating waterfowl, including ducks, geese, and grebes, and Fitzgerald Lake is a prime stopover for many species. Join Bob Zimmerman and David Pritchard on a waterfowl walk sponsored by the Broad Brook Coalition. Some spotting scopes and binoculars available for use. Species likely to be seen include Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, and ring-necked ducks. Other possibilities are pied-billed grebes, hooded and common mergansers, ruddy ducks, northern pintails, and even snow geese. 413-268-3668. Meet at the North Farms Road parking lot.
Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Natural History

Saturday, November 7, 9am-1pm
Hike a portion of the New England National Scenic Trail with Hitchcock Center for the Environment Naturalist Ted Watt. Varied terrain with a side trek to Hermit’s Cave and views of the Miller’s River Valley and Wendell State Forest. Dress for the weather, and bring snacks, water, and binoculars. Sturdy boots recommended. Space is limited, so call to register and get directions. 413-256-6006.
Erving, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, November 8, 9am-4pm
Learn about native insects, rattlesnakes, butterflies, and fishes at the inaugural Berkshire Natural History Conference. Presenters include local and regional naturalists, as well as acclaimed authors and international nature guides Peter Alden and Brian Cassie. There will be exhibits, a book sale, and a raffle. Pre-registration strongly suggested. 413-236-4502. Bellas/Dixon Math and Science Center, Berkshire School, 245 North Undermountain Road.
Sheffield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, November 8. 2pm
The earth beneath your feet has countless stories to tell. The composition of the soil, minerals in the hillsides, and oxbowed rivers each can teach us about the land where we make our homes if we know how to interpret their tales. Local naturalist Laurie Sanders knows how to translate these stories, and she shares her expertise to help us better understand the ways in which the interactions between people and nature have shaped present-day Northampton in Rediscovering Northampton: Local History Viewed through an Ecological Lens. This six-part lecture series takes place for six Sundays (through November 22) through Historic Northampton and features a different topic each week. This title of this week’s talk is Burt’s Pit, Peat Fever, Abolitionists, and Avarice. Registration required. 413-584-6011. Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall, Smith College
Northampton, MA. (<$)

New England Culture

Saturday, November 7, 9am-5pm
Learn how animals contribute to the fiber industry through workshops and live displays of llamas, alpacas, sheep, and rabbits as the New England Sheep & Wool Growers Association and the Eastern States Exposition present the sixth annual Fiber Festival of New England. Workshops in felting, spinning, punch needle, Tunisian crochet, and rug hooking. Also, a Fiber Fashion Show, Make It With Wool Competition, Fleece Sale, and Sheep Shearing Demonstrations. 413-205-5011. Mallary Complex, Eastern States Exposition, 875 Memorial Avenue.
West Springfield, MA. (<$)

Saturday, November 7, 9:30am-5pm
Sunday, November 8, 9:30am-5pm
Experience the traditions of an early 19th-century New England Thanksgiving at Bounty: Thanksgiving at Old Sturbridge Village. Learn about 1830s dining etiquette and watch the men of the Village compete in a post-dinner target shoot. Smell the scents of roasted turkey and pies warming by the fire. Learn about Native American food traditions and customs with special guests from the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, and hear the minister talk about the true meaning of Thanksgiving in the Village’s historic Center Meetinghouse. Learn how preparations were made for this holiday meal, and learn about wedding preparations of the 1830s, as marriages often took place on the Thanksgiving holiday. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.
Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

MYO Holiday Gifts

Saturday, November 7, 10am-1pm
Explore geometry while learning new zentangle patterns and create fun and unique ornaments/gift for the holidays at the Zentangle: 3-D Ornaments workshop. Hang them in windows or on a tree, or anyplace that deserves celebration! Beginning and experienced tanglers welcome. Suggested for adults and possibly older teens. All materials provided. 800-625-7738. George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards Street.
Springfield, MA. ($$)

Friday, November 13, 10am-3pm

Create dazzling handmade ornaments using origami paper-folding techniques at the Origami Holiday Ornaments workshop. Make at least four unique pieces based on geometric origami models to use as festive ornaments, for gifts, or for just plain fun. Geared for novice folders but suggested for adults and older teens. Expect to work at a steady but relaxed pace. Bring a brown bag lunch. All materials provided. 800-625-7738. George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards Street.
Springfield, MA. ($$-$$$)

  • The math and magic of origami. TED Talk by Robert Lang:

Plant Studies

November 7-November 22, 10am-4pm
The annual Fall Chrysanthemum Show is on at the Botanic Garden of Smith College. The show runs every day until November 22 and features many beautiful flowers throughout Lyman Conservatory. This year features Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging). Great opportunity to integrate the mum into learning about history, math, culture, and culinary arts. Extended hours (4pm-8pm) on November 13 and 20. 413-585-2740. 16 College Lane.
Northampton, MA. (>$)

Literacy/Creative-Free Play

Saturday, November 7, 10:30am-12pm

Come play at the Story Walk & Kaboom! Imagination Playground at the Nonotuck Community School. StoryWalk is a chance to read, walk, and talk with your child! It is a fun, educational activity created in Montpelier, VT, that places the pages from a children’s picture book along a popular walking route. Ours will be placed outdoors, weather permitting, or indoors along a hallway if rainy. The Kaboom! Imagination Playground is giant foam blocks with interlocking pieces that promotes physical activity to stretch children’s imaginations. For families with children aged 7 and under. A Play Facilitator will be onsite to support safe, cooperative play, and parents are required to be in attendance. 413-587-1471. 221 Riverside Drive.
Florence, MA. (FREE)

Health & Wellness

Sunday, November 8, 2-4pm
Join Clare Pearson, herbalist and owner of Wilder Brook Botanicals, at the Tyler Memorial Library for “Get Healthy and Stay Healthy,” tips to keep you and your family well during the sneezy, slippery fall and winter. Clare will focus on which herbs work well for cold and flu symptoms and which are best for first aid and sprains and offer nutritional and common sense ideas to support rapid healing. 413-339-4335. 157 Main Street.
Charlemont, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, November 8, 4pm-5:30pm
How do vaccines work? What vaccination decisions are right for your children and family? How does individual vaccination relate to community health? Join pediatrician Jonathan Schwab and clinical psychologist Sharon Saline at “Let’s Talk about Vaccines: Helping Parents Make the Right Decisions for their Children,” a short presentation followed by a Q and A, for in-depth information on this topic. This event is hosted by Northampton Area Pediatrics. Reservations requested. 413-517-2226. 193 Locust Street.
Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, November 10, 6:30pm-8pm
As a caregiver, it’s important to manage your health and wellbeing. Autoimmune disorders are known for their variety of symptoms, ranging from joint and body pain to digestive issues. Learn how herbal medicine can provide natural support for you at “Herbal Approaches to Autoimmune Disorders,” presented by River Valley Co-op. Pre-registration is required. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street.
Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, November 12, 5pm-7pm
The Northampton Parent Cafe Series continues at the Bridge Street School. The theme of the series 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. Childcare and dinner provided. Open to all parents with young children. RSVP. 413-587-1471. 2 Parsons Street.
Northampton, MA (FREE)

Thursday, November 12, 7pm
Matthew Raider, MD presents the latest clinical research on how meditation can improve our physical, mental, and spiritual health at the Jones Library. This evening will offer the opportunity to learn and practice this simple technique that can reduce stress, enhance relaxation, and promote inner growth. Suitable for life-long learners and self-directed teens interested in mindfulness & psychology. Woodbury Room. 413-259-3223. 43 Amity Street.
Amherst, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, November 7, 11am/3pm/6pm
Sunday, November 8, 11am/3pm/6pm
Maker labs, tinker spaces, and STEAM labs are cropping up all over! These are spaces that allow people to explore their ideas in an open-ended, creative manner using a variety of materials and tools. The Mini Maker Faire hosted by Barnes & Noble invites folks to watch demonstrations of 3D printing, robotics, coding, and programming, and to try these technologies out for themselves. The 11am event will also include a special storytime featuring Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer, two wonderful picture books about creativity and tenacity. If your child ends up having his or her interest piqued by this fun activity, you can seek out some of the other great maker space offerings happening in our local libraries. 413-584-2558. Mountain Farms, 335 Russell Street.
Hadley, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, November 7, 11am-1pm
Your son or daughter can hit the ice at “Try Hockey for Free Day” at the UMass Mullins Center Community Rink. For girls and boys ages 4 and up. No skating experience required. Experienced coaches on hand to help. Free skate rentals, and some hockey helmets will be provided (bring your own if you have one). 413-883-9258. 200 Commonwealth Avenue.
Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Service-Based Learning/Physics

Saturday, November 7, 12pm or 2pm
Sunday, November 8, 12pm or 2pm
Dust off your bowling shoes and join Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County at the Masquerade Bowl fundraiser. Experiment with rolling the ball fast, slow, to the left, to the right — which knocks down more pins? Enjoy a costume contest and lots of spooky fun. All proceeds from the event will go to matching local children facing adversity with caring, consistent adult mentors who will make an incredible difference in their lives. Register online. 413-259-3345. Spare Time Bowling Northampton, 525 Pleasant Street, Northampton, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

  • Read more about the embedded math which can be identified in bowling: Physics Of Bowling


Saturday, November 7, 12pm-6pm
Celebrate re-skilling and the modern maker as the The Haberdashery presents Skillfair 2015. Activities include a rubber chicken toss (for kids and adults), speed knitting contest, live music, food swap, and tastings of fermented foods, preserved foods, and baked goods. 413-527-1638. 52 Union Street.
Easthampton, MA.

Art Studies

Saturday, November 7, 12:30-3:30pm
Explore themes of identity in contemporary art and discover all that’s new on every floor of the Smith College Museum of Art at Free Family Day. Enjoy hands-on activities for all ages, button-making, face-painting, a photo booth, collage figures, and more. Refreshments provided. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace.
Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, November 12, 12:15pm
This week’s Museums a la Carte lecture at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts is “Music, Poetry, Artists and Fun (A Journey from Petula Clark to Beethoven, with a Stop at an Art Museum).” Richard Mühlberger, former director of the Springfield Art Museums and distinguished author and educator, gives a wide-ranging talk on the critical role of art museums in contemporary society. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street.
Springfield, MA. (<$)

Thursday, November 12, 4:30pm
What will you learn with your own personal guide at the Williams College Museum of Art? Walk through the galleries with a Williams student and discuss highlights of the collection during “Student Guides in the Galleries.” 413-597-2429. 15 Lawrence Hall Drive, Suite 2, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Local History

Saturday, November 7, 1pm
You may know that Millers Falls was once called Grout’s Corner. It was first a stage stop and then a railroad depot. How and when did it change its name and grow into a thriving village? Delve into its history, as you learn “More about the Moores,” the family who brought manufacturing to town in the 1860s. Shari Strahan and Sara Campbell researched the clan extensively, using resources found locally and as far away as Sturbridge and New Haven. They will share their findings, including the family’s triumphs and tragedies, at the Great Falls Discovery Center. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A.
Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, November 8. 2pm
Descendants of one of Goshen’s founding families, “The Packard Bros.” ran a successful saw mill through both World Wars and the Great Depression. Learn about these creative, adventurous, larger-than-life figures, who were passionate about steam-powered cars, from family members Lawrence and Mary Packard. The Goshen Historical Society presents “The Legacy of Joshua Packard in Goshen: A Story of Innovation, Family, & Steam Technology.” Refreshments served. 413-268-7120. John James Memorial Town Hall. 42 Main Street (Rte. 9).
Goshen, MA. (FREE)

Fashion History

Saturday, November 7, 1:30pm-3pm
What was it like to live in the Victorian era? Come to the Jones Library and learn from a “Victorian Lady” herself, as Kandie Carle presents her one-woman show, “The Victorian Lady: Dressing from Corsets to Gloves.” Attired in vintage and authentically reproduced undergarments, clothing, and accessories, she’ll discuss the fashion, life, and etiquette of the mid-to-late 1800s and address the similarities and differences between that era and ours. Refreshments served. Woodbury Room. 413-259-3182. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Military History

Saturday, November 7, 2-3pm — HISTORY
Honor our veterans at the Springfield Armory Historic Site. Watch the new documentary produced by the Armory, Over Here, Over There, Letters from the Great War. A panel of veterans representing service during World War II, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Pakistan will answer questions. 413-734-8551. On the STCC campus, corner of State & Federal Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, November 8, 10am-5pm
Meet veterans of World War II and the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan during “A Tribute to Our Veterans, Servicemen & Servicewomen,” the New England Air Musuem‘s annual Veterans Day event. Sit in the cockpits of combat aircraft including the F-100 Super Sabre, the WWII Thunderbolt, the Huey Helicopter, and more. The Flight Sim Spot full-flight simulator experience will be available most of the day, and there will be hands-on activities for younger visitors. Representatives of organizations that support active-duty military, veterans, and their families will also be on hand. Refreshments for sale. 860-623-3305. 36 Perimeter Road.
Windsor Locks, CT. ($-$$)

Wednesday, November 11, 9:30am-5pm
To celebrate Veterans Day, Old Sturbridge Village will present special activities celebrating the nation’s military history. See how lead musket balls were cast in the Small House. Learn how American military uniforms and weapons have changed over the past 300 years, and see demonstrations of the weapons. Meet the U.S.S. Constitution’s surgeon from the War of 1812. Children can drill with toy muskets under the command of the Captain of the Village militia. All active, veteran, and retired members of the military and their families (up to 6 people) receive free admission on Veterans Day. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.
Sturbridge, MA. ($$)


Saturday, November 7, 7pm
Sunday, November 8, 2pm
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. ($)

Saturday, November 7, 7:30pm
What is it that makes human beings so interesting? This is the question that award-winning humorist Seth Lepore will explore in this unique interactive solo theater experience. Through the help of pre-show audience input and using a stream-of-consciousness approach, characters will be brought to life right before your eyes in a performance that is sure to delight. This show will provide audience members an opportunity to experience and participate in the complex process of character development in way that’s both humorous and insightful.The performance is presented by the Pioneer Valley Muse Group and will be held at The Hartsbrook School, Piening Hall. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or online. For more information, contact the Pioneer Valley Muse Group at pvmusegroup@gmail.com or by calling 413-992-8585. 193 Bay Road.
Hadley, MA. ($$)

Saturday, November 7, 8pm
Sunday, November 8, 2pm
Friday, November 13, 8pm
“This is what happened, the strange thing that happened, to two weary hunters who lost their way……” When Tommy and Jeff stumble into a quaint Scottish village that doesn’t seem to be marked on their map, they are invited to be guests at a wedding, and perhaps much more. In their first foray into the classics of American musical theatre, Valley Light Opera presents Brigadoon. With sumptuous costumes and scenery, a full orchestra, and a talented cast, this will be a production you won’t want to miss. 413-584-9032 ext.105. 274 Main Street.
Northampton, MA. ($$)

Thursday, November 12, 7:30pm
Friday, November 13, 7:30pm
Experience Little Women, the classic tale of 19th-century family life in Civil War America, like never before! Based on the timeless novel by Louisa May Alcott, this glorious musical for all ages follows the adventures of aspiring author Jo March and her sisters on a journey of personal discovery, heartache, hope, and everlasting love. Presented by Bay Path University. Bring non-perishable food items to Rachel’s Table (1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield) at least one hour before the performance and mention Little Women to receive a voucher for one complimentary ticket per household. 413-565-1307. 588 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA. ($)


Saturday, November 7, 7pm
Food historian Francine Segan will go beyond popcorn when she presents “Take One!: Movie Menu Moments.” Segan will amplify the fun with movie food (including a popcorn tasting), film clips (the more hilarious the better), and a movie trivia contest with prizes – a multi-sensory experience for movie buffs and food lovers! She’ll share famous foodie movie moments from such classics as Chocolat, Ratatouille, Babette’s Feast, and Big Night and discuss the role food plays in film. Reservations highly recommended. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street.
Lenox, MA. ($$)

Music Studies

Sunday, November 8, 12pm
Gateway City Arts presents Belle Epoch Chamber Music, a concert of French music for voice. Alice Jones (flute), Derin Öge (piano), and Mary Hubbell (soprano) bring the sparkling sounds of Paris in the early twentieth century to life with performances of works by Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, as well as lesser-known contemporaries Philippe Gaubert and Cecile Chaminade. These pieces demonstrate the French fascination with poetry and melody, intermingling the sounds of voice with flute and piano. Of special note is the rarely performed Debussy work Bilitis for flute, piano, and narrator, featuring actor Susanna Apgar. 413-650-2670. 92-114 Race Street.
Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, November 8, 5:30-7pm
Join Earthdance to celebrate the fall by singing songs that will make you feel like getting outside and soaking in this wild and glorious transition time. Also sing just regular great songs- for instance a new South African song. The intergenerational SING will be followed by a potluck supper, and probably dance jams for those interested in making it a total night of creativity. 413-634-5678. 252 Prospect Street.
Plainfield, MA (<$)

Wednesday, November 11, 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!). Remaining classes in the series will be held 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)

Flash Mob

Sunday, November 8th, 1:30pm — COMMUNITY DANCE/SOCIAL JUSTICE
Join your neighbors and thousands around the world who are committed to spreading kindness and compassion for the 4th Annual Dance for World Kindness Flash Mob 2015 on World Kindness Day. Sign up to learn a simple, choreographed, five-minute dance; attend a rehearsal; and then join other participants in a spontaneous freeze mob and flash mob in downtown Northampton! All kids, teens, adults, and seniors invited. 413-527-6858. Downtown Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Music & Dance/India

Sunday, November 8, 2pm
Explore The Spirit of India through gypsy tribal music and dance presented by the Masala Orchestra, led by Rahis Bahrti. Journey from the deserts of Rajasthan to the urban city of Mumbai as musicians and dancers transform the UMass Fine Arts Concert Hall stage into a lavish royal court. Mystical, bardic, devotional, and Bollywood songs highlighting unique percussive instruments accompany dancers in stunning, colorful costumes performing the snake dance, the bell dance, and more. Chamber Seating. 413-545-2511. 151 Presidents Drive.
Amherst, MA. ($$)

Monday, November 9, 7:30pm
Enjoy “A Concert of Indian Classical Music” by Pandit Sarathi Chatterjee, one of India’s premier vocalists, with Pandit Ashis Sengupta, tabla, Shri Sumit Mishra, harmonium. Complimentary chai served at 7 pm. Mt. Holyoke College Abbey Interfaith Sanctuary. 413-538-2306. 47 Morgan Street.
South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

[Photo credit: (cc) Selbe Lynn]

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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