41 Community Highlights: Fossils to Minerals. Bubbles to Yo-Yos

Did you know there are more than 1,000 moose in Massachusetts? Come to the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center on Wednesday, November 18 at 7pm to find out about them at “Moose: Life History, Ecology and Current Research.” For ages 12 and older. 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road, Northfield, MA. (FREE)

Fossils to Minerals. Sawmill Hills to Berkshire Cottages. Bubbles to Yo-Yos… 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: The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, November 14 from 9-11am for Thanksgiving in Hatfield while supporting food security in the region! Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER) – Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden

Service-Based LearningCollege SamplerGeologyLocal HistoryMedicineSTEMFlora & FaunaArtLiteracyTheaterParenting WorkshopsLEGOsNew England HistoryCommercial-Free HolidaysOpen Studios

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Service-Based Learning

Saturday, November 14, 9-11am — FOOD SECURITY
Volunteering together as a family encourages quality time, increases communication, and provides opportunities for family members to be role models. In partnership with Hilltown Families, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts invites families to attend a series of monthly volunteer sessions where they will help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take action to help fight hunger. This month’s theme is “Giving at Thanksgiving.” Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. 413-247-9738 x135. 97 N Hatfield Rd, Hatfield, MA. (FREE) – Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden

Saturday, November 14, 9am-12:30pm — CONSERVATION
Join the Trustees of Reservations for Notchview Fall Work Day. Head for the fresh mountain air and help care for this New England winter recreation destination. Clearing the trails creates the essential base for great Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. Bring gloves, water, and snacks. 413-532-1631 x19. Notchview Reservation, Route 9, Windsor, MA. (FREE)

College Sampler

Saturday, November 14, 9am-3pm — TWEENS/TEENS
Amherst Splash! is a one-day program in which college students lead fun classes for middle and high school students. If you want to learn anything from mask-making to a cappella or zumba, Splash! is for you! Converse Hall, Amherst College, 100 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA. (<$)


Saturday, November 14, 9:30am-4pm — GEOLOGY/PALEONTOLOGY
What’s the difference between a rock and a mineral? Find out at the 19th Annual Jewelry, Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show & Sale, sponsored by the Pioneer Valley Institute. See rocks and minerals, gemstones and fossils, jewelry and fine art! View (and possibly purchase) specimens from around the world. Featured speakers, demonstrations, activities for kids, and videos, posters and books for sale. Also featuring the Jurassic Roadshow, where you can talk to professional paleontologists and knowledgeable amateurs and see and touch a range of local trace fossils, from dinosaur tracks to insect trails, mud cracks to raindrop impressions. 413-775-1671. Core Dining Commons, Greenfield Community College, One College Drive, Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, November 14, 10-11am — GEOLOGY
Animal, vegetable, or mineral? Learn all about minerals at the Westfield Athenaeum. Boys and Girls Library Activity Room. 413 568-7833. 6 Elm Street, Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Local History

Saturday, November 14, 10am-12pm — HILLTOWN HISTORY/MILL RIVER FLOOD
The Mill River Greenway Initiative offers a walk to the 1874 Williamsburg Dam Disaster Site led by Eric Weber, Williamsburg historian. Limited to 20 participants. Pre-registered participants will receive information on the meeting place and other important details. 413-268-2170. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, November 14, 10am-4pm; Sunday, November 15, 10am-4pm — BERKSHIRE HISTORY
A visit to Naumkeag provides a stylish image of life and design from a golden time. This National Historic Landmark managed by the Trustees of Reservations, is host to several landscapes designed by Fletcher Steele—the father of modern American landscape design. Designed by the firm of McKim, Mead, & White, this architectural masterpiece is a Gilded Age Berkshire “cottage,” intact with original 19th- and 20th-century artwork, furnishings, decorative arts, and the personal and household items of daily life. Naumkeag served as a summer retreat for three generations of the fascinating Choate family and their staff. Hear their stories and catch a glimpse of American history. House tours depart every hour between 10:30AM – 3:30PM and are 45 minutes in length. 413-298-3239 x3016. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA. ($)

Sunday, November 15, 1-3pm — PIONEER VALLEY HISTORY
Join John Body and Kestrel Land Trust for “The Secrets of the Sawmill Hills,” and explore this fascinating place in Northampton named for the extensive logging that was done in centuries past. Now the forest has come back and this rich and rocky landscape is prime wildlife habitat. Some steep climbs. RSVP to learn the meeting location. Maximum of 20 participants. Heavy rain or snow cancels. 413-549-1097. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, November 14, 10am-12:30pm — DOCTOR FOR A DAY
Be a “Doctor for a Day” at the Springfield Museums. Wear a lab coat, and use a stethoscope; learn about the heart, how to take a pulse, and how to read x-rays! Go through the “hospital” and help diagnose and cure “patients,” and even perform “surgery!” Discuss common illnesses and the amazing body’s natural defenses. Appropriate for ages 7-10. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($$$)

Saturday, November 14, 1:30pm — OPHTHALMOLOGY/WORLD HISTORY
Dr. Andrew Lam, a retinal surgeon at Baystate Medical Center and assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, will discuss his recently published books, Saving Sight and Two Sons of China, at the Sixteen Acres Branch of the Springfield City Library. In Saving Sight, he takes readers into the operating room, revealing the stress and joy of a job that enables him to turn darkness into light, and in which failure can mean blindness. Two Sons of China is an historical novel from a forgotten theater of World War II. The book centers on an unlikely friendship between an American soldier and a Chinese Communist guerilla fighter, who, despite their deeply held, clashing convictions, form a bond of brotherhood in battle. 413-263-6858. 1187 Parker Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, November 14, 11am-12pm — BUBBLES
Explore the world of bubbles with a story and a project at “Bubble Mania” at the Gaylord Library. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, November 14, 2pm — PHYSICS/PHOTOGRAPHY
Robert Hallock, Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Massachusetts, will present “Light: Capturing the Elusive,” a talk about the nature of light–what it is and where it comes from–and how the eye sees it at the Historic Northampton Museum. Hallock, who is also a photographer, will trace our desire to capture the images we fleetingly see, from drawings unaided or aided by simple tools to today’s more modern methods. Some of these are analogous to the eye, while others are quite different. 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, November 17, 5:30-7:30pm — 3D MODELING
Learn to draw in 3D as Holyoke Codes presents a workshop on Sketchup. There’s a reason SketchUp is synonymous with friendly and forgiving 3D modeling software: it doesn’t sacrifice usability for the sake of functionality. Start by drawing lines and shapes. Push and pull surfaces to turn them into 3D forms. Stretch, copy, rotate, and paint to make anything you like. For ages 10 and up. 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, November 17, 4-5pm — CIRCUIT BOARDS
Come to the Jones Library to assemble color-coded circuit boards and create sophisticated electronics in the littleBits™ Building Club. Ages 8 and up. 413-259-3090. Crafts Room, 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, November 20, 7-9pm — PHYSICS/YO-YO
A2Z is bringing back our Dog Bite Yo-Yo Club Skill Toy Night and hosting it at the Eastworks building! Whether you throw yo-yos, juggle, spin diabolos, or speed cube, this is a great place to come and share the joy of skilled activity with other people in our area. 413-586-1611. 116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Flora & Fauna

Saturday, November 14, 1pm — ANIMAL STUDIES/WOLVES
Come to the Sunderland Public Library for some Wolf Talk! This program clarifies many misconceptions about one of the most valued endangered species. You’ll learn all about these surprisingly friendly creatures, including their eating habits, pack structure, history, and the different wolf populations around the world. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, November 14, 9am-7:30pm; Sunday, November 15, 9am-5pm — ANIMAL STUDIES/HORSES
Are you or someone you know a horse-lover? Experience North America’s premiere equine exposition and equestrian gathering at the 52nd Equine Affaire at the Eastern States Exposition. Tour the Breed Pavilion showcasing dozens of horse breeds from North and South America, Europe, and beyond. Take part in clinics, seminars, and hands-on demonstrations on horse management and training. 740-845-0085. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, November 14. 1pm — NATURE STUDIES/SONG & HIKE
Singing to the Land, a family event at Arcadia Nature Center with Sarah Pirtle! Sarah will share songs about trees, seasons and fun in the Nature Center building first, and then hike with the group to repeat the songs in special spots along the trails. (One song involves scuffling in leaves!) Hke length will depend upon the weather, going out even briefly rain or shine. Dress accordingly. Call to register: 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA (FREE)

Wednesday, November 18, 10am-4pm – PLANT STUDIES/CHRYSANTHEMUMS
Fall Chrysanthemum Show at Smith Offers Community-Based Learning: 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’s display highlights 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 20. 413-585-2740. 16 College Lane, Northampton, MA. (DONATIONS ACCEPTED)

Wednesday, November 18, 7pm — LOCAL FAUNA/MOOSE
Did you know there are more than 1,000 moose in Massachusetts? Come to the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center to find out about them at “Moose: Life History, Ecology and Current Research.” Dr. Stephen DeStefano, one of the foremost experts on moose in the Northeast, will share current research focusing on habitat use, movements, and the status of moose in southern New England. He will also discuss how he and his graduate students tag moose and use high-tech equipment to monitor their movements. For ages 12 and older. 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road, Northfield, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, November 14, 1-3pm — MUSEUM ADVENTURES/ART
Explore the Mead Art Museum in an exciting new way during the family workshop, “Local Colors.” Organized in conjunction with the exhibition “Intersecting Colors: Josef Albers and His Contemporaries,” the workshop will include interactive, close-looking activities, sketching, crafts, and more. Early registration encouraged. Appropriate for ages 8–12. 413-542-2335. 41 Quadrangle Drive, Amherst, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, November 14, 4:30pm — LITERACY/PICTURE BOOKS
Do you love picture books? Do you read them with the wonderful young people in your life, professionally or personally? Do you wish you had a better idea of how to make the reading experience more engaging for you and your listener? If so, then please join the Odyssey Bookshop in welcoming Megan Dowd Lambert to discuss her new book, Reading Picture Books with Children and her Whole Book Approach to storytime. Megan, who has years of experience teaching at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and as a senior lecturer at Simmons College, will demonstrate how we, as adults, can make the story time experience more inclusive and interactive for the child we’re reading with. 413-534-7307. 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, November 14, 4pm and 7:30pm; Sunday, November 15, 6:30pm — SHAKESPEARE/Richard III
Treacherous, power-hungry, untempered by moral restraint, and embittered by physical deformity, Richard, the younger brother of King Edward IV, is ablaze with ambition to take England’s throne. Richard III is Shakespeare’s chronicle of Richard’s machinations to be king, a tale of murder upon murder. Richard engages in formidable confrontations with a large cast of characters, almost all of them caught up in the terrible struggle for power that dominates the play, presented by The Drama Studio. 413-739-1983. Trinity Church Chapel, 361 Sumner Avenue, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, November 14, 7pm — PULITZER PRIZE/The Skin of Our Teeth
The Simon’s Rock Theatre Program Presents The Skin of Our Teeth, a Pulitzer Prize-winning satirical play by Thornton Wilder that takes the audience on a wild and raucous tour of humanity through the ages. From wooly mammoths to an Atlantic City beauty contest to the aftermath of global war, extinction and survival race to the finish in a joyous, inspiring, and spectacular celebration of people’s resilience. 413-644-4400. Daniel Arts Center. Bard College at Simon’s Rock. 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, November 14, 7:30pm; Sunday, November 15, 2pm — LITERATURE IN THEATER/Little Women
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, the touching message at the center of this story comes alive through joyful melodies and memorable characters stepping back in time and experience family life as it was in 19th century Civil War America. 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. ($)

11dSaturday, November 14, 8pm; Sunday, November 15, 2pm — MUSICAL/Brigadoon
“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. ($$)

Saturday, November 14, 8pm; Sunday, November 15, 2pm — COMEDY-DRAMA/Steel Magnolias
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’s final run is November 13th-15th. 413-233-4368. Katherine Sloan Theater, Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, MA. ($)

Saturday, November 14, 8pm; Sunday, November 15, 3pm — SATIRE/The Producers
When scheming producer Max Bialystock and his timid accountant Leo Bloom aim to produce the biggest flop on Broadway, they certainly didn’t expect it to become a smash hit! The antics of these two memorable characters takes center stage in The Producers, a hilarious musical that’s been deemed “gloriously offensive.” See for yourself how the power of satire can transform sensitive subject matter into side-splitting laughter! This production is presented by J-Art at the Springfield Jewish Community Center. 413-739-4715 x 332. Goldstein Auditorium, 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield, MA. ($)

Parenting Workshops

Sunday, November 15, 2-5:30pm — PARENTS OF TEENS
The Easthampton Healthy Youth Coalition presents, “Motivational Interviewing for Parents of Teens,” a workshop with John Brelsford, PhD, a local therapist with years of experience in using Motivational Interviewing as a technique. This interactive, hands-on, skill-building workshop will teach parents the basics of a different way to talk with your teens about difficult subjects (or anything else!). It is non-adversarial and non-confrontational. 413-207-5725. 1 Treehouse Circle (off Park Street), Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Monday, November 16, 6-7:30pm — PARENT CAFE
Join other parents in informal conversation to share experiences, support each other through the challenges we all face, and talk (and laugh?) about the ups and downs of parenting, while you enjoy a free meal, at the “Parent Cafe,” sponsored by the Collaborative for Educational Services and held at the Belchertown Family Center. For parents of children ages birth-8. Pre-register for free childcare. 413-570-3061. 720 Franklin Street, Belchertown, MA. (FREE)

Monday, November 16, 6-7:30 pm — MEALTIMES
Could you use some strategies for introducing new foods, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding mealtime battles? If so, join the Collaborative for Educational Services at the South Hadley Public Library for “Small Victories! Getting Kids to Like Vegetables.” We’ll look at portion size and talk about how much to push your child to eat foods s/he doesn’t want. Come have fun (really!) while learning to avoid tears at mealtime. Pre-register for free childcare. 413.570.3061. 2 Canal Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, November 19, 6-7pm — NEUROLOGY
YOU are your child’s first brain architect! ​ ​Did you know that brain building happens every time and every place your child is nurtured and engaged? Join the Collaborative for Educational Services as we look at ideas for brain building that are EASY to do and will help lay the foundation for your child’s lifetime of success. We’ll also look at: how, exactly, the brain develops; how to help your child make positive brain connections; events that can interfere with healthy development; and activities to promote your child’s healthy growth​​. For parents of children birth-5. 413-586-4900 x5568. Palmer/Monson Family Network, 4 Springfield Street, Three Rivers, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, November 19, 6-7:30pm — NEUROLOGY
Ever wonder why your child (or spouse!) behaves the way he or she does? It’s all about how the brain and environment interact. Learn how sensory processing, play, and parenting help grow your child’s developing brain in “Taking It All In: Sensory Processing and the Young Child,” presented by the Collaborative for Educational Services at the Granby Free Public Library. Discover ways to help when things aren’t going smoothly. For parents of children birth-5. 413-586-4900 x5568. 297 East State Street, Granby, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, November 14, 10:30-11:30am — LEGO CLUB
Come to the Sunderland Public Library for LEGO Club! The program allows children to explore the wonderful world of LEGOs with other interested children. A different theme is picked each session, and kids can build on that theme or build a creation of their own. After each club meeting, kids can put their LEGO creations on display at the Library for all to see until the next club. This program is geared for elementary school children (with an adult) but is open to kids of all ages. The LEGO Club will continue to meet every other Saturday. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, November 14, 11am-12:30pm — LEGOS
M.N. Spear Memorial Library LEGO Lady Jean Daley will bring thousands of LEGOs to the Town Hall; you bring your imagination. 413-259-1213. 1 Cooleyville Road, Shutesbury, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, November 14, 1-4pm — LEGO ROBOTICS
Artbotics is a program that has been designed to introduce students to art, computer science, and robotics, by creating interactive, kinetic sculptures. Join Holyoke Codes to learn how to build and program interactive robots using LEGO EV3 and WeDo robotics kits. You will learn how to build mechanisms with motors and gears to bring your creations to life and how to program your artbot to respond to interactions with people using sensors. For ages 7 and up. 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, November 17, 3:30-4:30pm — LEGO CLUB
Plan, create, and build Lego masterpieces with a friend, in a group, or independently at LEGO Club at the Meekins Library. 413-268-7472. Route 9. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)


Thursday, November 19, 9:30am-4pm — NEW ENGLAND HISTORY
The autumn harvest has begun! Homeschoolers are invited to immerse themselves in autumn traditions, crafts, and other activities at Old Sturbridge Village for a special day of learning. Participants may walk the trails, attend performances and demonstrations, and visit with costumed interpreters among the Village’s 40 original New England buildings. There will be many opportunities for hands-on learning experiences, such as stenciling, cider pressing, woodworking, and more. Pre-registration recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($; additional fees for studio activities)

Commercial-Free Holidays

Saturday, November 14, 10am-4pm — MYO GLASS ORNAMENT
Make your own glass ornament at the Snow Farm. No advance sign up necessary. Check in at the Hot Shop when you arrive to be placed on the list, do a little shopping or have lunch, then come back to the shop when it’s your turn. No experience necessary; ages 8 and up. 413-268-3101. 5 Clary Road, Williamsburg, MA. ($$)

Saturday, November 14, 10am-5pm; Sunday, November 15, 10am-5pm — SHOP LOCAL & HANDMADE/OPEN STUDIOS
Talk with distinguished artists about their work, and find local, hand-crafted treasures for yourself and those you love at the Arts & Industry Open Studios and Holiday Sale. Over 50 fine crafters and artists, including some nationally recognized clothing designers, jewelers, potters, and woodworkers, open their studios to show off their best work. With four new artists who upcycle, recycle, reuse, and repurpose found objects, there is something for everyone. Live entertainment and catered cuisine available. 413-348-7503. 221 Pine Street, Florence, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

Saturday, November 14, 10am-5pm — SHOP LOCAL & HANDMADE/STUDIO TOUR
Shop local and handmade, tour studios, and learn about the work of artisans from the craftspeople themselves on the Crafts of Colrain self-guided studio tour. The tour showcases 18 artists and craftspeople who live and work in Colrain. They welcome you into their workplaces to learn about their work and see what inspires them. See website for brochure and map. 413-624-3204. Various locations, Colrain, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

[Photo credit: (cc) JLS Photography]

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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