41 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Fire & Ice to Cheesemaking. Draft Animals to Abolition.

Winter is a great time to look for signs of wildlife, as animal prints are temporarily preserved in snow. On Saturday, Feb 20 from 10am-12pm, join other nature enthusiasts to look for animal tracks at the Bear Hole Watershed in West Springfield.

Polymers to Draft Animals. Owls to Abolition. Fire & Ice to Cheesemaking.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 highlight this week: Amherst’s annual WinterFest (rescheduled from Feb 6) will bring much excitement to the otherwise quiet wintry golf course landscape on Saturday, February 20, 1pm-6pm. WinterFest offers fun in many forms, including sledding and cross-country skiing. A cardboard sled race happens too, combining creativity, engineering, and daring for an exciting competition. Families can also use the event as an opportunity to learn how to engage with their natural surroundings during wintertime – bird watching walks will be lead, teaching participants how to watch for winter birds common to the hills and forests of western Massachusetts. All ages. Cherry Hill Golf Course. 325 Montague Rd, Amherst, MA. (VARIES; FREE, < $, & DONATIONS)

AthleticsSports HistorySTEMChemistryAstronomyNature StudiesDendrologyDraft AnimalsPhotographyAnimal StudiesHistoryCivil WarAbolitionWinter FestivalsLanguage ArtsSkillsharingSeed SavingCheesemakingFiber ArtsBlack History MonthMusic Studies

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Saturday, February 20, 8:30am-12pm
While opportunities for girls and women to participate in sports continue to grow, we have a long way to go towards gender equality in this realm. Celebrating girls’ love of sports, encouraging their athletic participation and dedication, and providing them with female athlete role models are all important parts of creating a healthier athletic landscape for all. To celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day, Springfield College invites girls in kindergarten through grade 6 to attend clinics in sports including soccer, gymnastics, tennis, and field hockey, all led by student athletes. Participants are encouraged to bring a bag lunch and stay for the basketball game between Springfield College and Wellesley College. Advance registration strongly encouraged. 413-748-3000. Physical Education Complex (Blake Arena), 263 Alden Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 20th, 11am-12:30pm
The phenomenon of sports fandom has drawn the attention of psychologists, some proposing evolutionary explanations for fans’ loyalty. Enthusiasm for a specific team builds a sense of community and pride for a place, often determined by where fans grew up. Whether you yourself are a baseball fanatic, or you’re not completely sure how the game works, Berkshire Theater Group’s “Play Ball! Reflections on the Origins of Baseball” promises to entertain and educate. This play will explore the cultural significance of baseball in Massachusetts, enlightening audiences to the importance of a mascot not just as comic relief, but as a symbol of luck and hope that can unite cities. Stick around for the post show discussion. The Berkshire Museum All ages welcome. Call 413-443-7171 ext. 360 to reserve tickets. 39 South St, Pittsfield, MA. ($ Non Members, <$ Museum Members)

In this boy-dominated batch of new baseball books, there are picture books and middle grade novels, action packed stories and baseball history, team spirit and individual courage. So, if your in-house sluggers are baseball crazy, try pitching one of these dozen new books to them. They just might hit a home run. See our featured list in 12 Baseball Books for Kids.

Saturday, February 20, 11am-3pm
People of all abilities can enjoy outdoor winter activities at Wendell State Forest. All Out Adventures will provide instruction, adaptive equipment, and assistance for accessible snowshoeing, kicksledding, sit cross-country skiing, sled skating, and snowmobile rides. Discover the thrill of playing in the snow! Pre-registration required. Dependent on snow/ice conditions. 413-584-2052. 392 Montague Road, Wendell, MA. (FREE)

Making winter recreation accessible to all, local organizations are offering a wide array of opportunities for community members of all abilities to participate in inclusive recreational opportunities. From sled hockey and skiing to basketball and bowling, children and adults of all abilities can find activities to match their interests! Read more in our post, Winter Brings Opportunities for Inclusive Recreation

Saturday, February 20, 7:30pm
You’ve heard of skiing and snowboarding, but what about monoskiing? This mountain sport requires a single wide ski, and unlike snowboarding, the skiers’ feet face forward. In the film Chasing Shadows you will witness monoskiing, and other fringe snow sports such as powsurfing and speed skiing. This screening will take place at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center . 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA. ($)

Wednesday, February 24, 7pm
For this screening of the 2015 documentary T REX , producer Sue Jaye Johnson will be present. In T REX you will learn about Claressa Shields, and her journey to the 2012 Olympics, the first year that women’s boxing was included. At just seventeen years old, by far the youngest woman competing, her abilities are particularly remarkable. This movie’s themes reach beyond one individual, allowing for discussion of subversive gender roles and the positive impact sports can have on an individual’s life. Amherst Cinema . 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. ($)


Saturday, February 20, 10-11:30am
Learn the basics of polymer structure and molecular bonding, watch these processes in action, and transform water-like liquids into slippery, ooey, gooey slime! Participants get to bring home their creation. Buckland Library . 30 Upper Street. Buckland, MA (FREE)

Check out the interesting properties of a non-newtonian fluid with the Slow Mo guys!

Saturday, February 20, 10:30-11:30am
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, February 20, 11am-3pm
Even before school starts back up, children will still be learning: in creative, self-directed ways at the Berkshire Museum . In the ArtZoo exhibition, visitors can see familiar and exotic animals depicted in photography, painting, sculpture, ceramic, video, and more. Challenge your kids to identify their favorite animals. Families can participate in “animal yoga,” practicing positions such as downward dog and butterfly pose. In the museum’s crane room, kids will have an array of LEGOs, construction projects, and magnetic blocks at their creative disposal. Wear flexible clothing appropriate for yoga and play. The Wintergreen Trio will be performing music from the British Isles and America. You can catch them at 1:30pm. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($ Adult. <$ Child)

Sunday, February 21, 4pm
Have you ever looked at old pictures of your town and thought about what life was like there 100 or 200 years ago? Take this curiosity a few steps further by learning local geologic history. Professor Richard Little taught classes in geology and oceanography at Greenfield Community College for 34 years. He will be giving a talk at White Square Books about the geologic history of the Connecticut River. 413-203-1717. 86 Cottage Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, February 26, 10:45am-11:45am
How do you use “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math” in your everyday life? Perhaps your job requires you to have technical knowledge of computers. Keeping a budget requires mathematics, and cooking involves chemical reactions. If you’ve ever fixed a problem with your car, you can understand the importance of engineering. Show your kids how STEM concepts are everywhere, and have fun, with a hands on STEM activity at the Bushnell-Sage Library . 413- 229-7004. For children aged 2 to 5 and their caregivers. 48 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, February 26, 8pm
Williams College has reinstated its planetarium series this Winter and Spring! Families are invited to experience the wonders of our universe at the Milham Planetarium located inside the Old Hopkins Observatory. Astronomy students at the college will host free shows for the public on Friday evenings at 8pm on February 26th, March 4, 11, April 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6 and 13. The Hopkins Observatory, built in 1836-38 by the first professor of astronomy at Williams College, Albert Hopkins, is the oldest extant observatory in the United States. Shows will last about 50 minutes. For reservations (recommended) contact Michele Rech at 413-597-2188 or email mcr4@williams.edu. Others will be admitted as space permits. Large groups should call for special appointments. planetarium patrons share parking with the Williams College Museum of Art. A campus map showing the Hopkins Observatory’s location can be found on the Campus Map . 829 Main Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Being accessible to everyone, everywhere, at all times, the sky is the ultimate community-based educational resource! Using a wealth of resources from books to apps, citizen science to local planetariums, families can explore outer space together and learn experientially about the sky above us. Read more in our post, Astronomy Resources for Budding Scientists.

Nature Studies

Saturday, February 20, 10am-12pm
Winter is a great time to look for signs of wildlife, as animal prints are temporarily preserved in snow. A group of nature enthusiasts will be looking for animal tracks at the Bear Hole Watershed. Arrive at the “Four Corners,” at the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Morgan Road in West Springfield, and help us search for deer, fox, coyote, squirrel, raccoon, beaver, otter and other animals. This will be a slow, easy walk. All ages are welcome but please leave your pets at home. Sponsored by the West Springfield Environmental Committee . Registration is required. 413-788-4125. Prospect Avenue and Morgan Road, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 20, 5pm-7pm
Bizarre full moon behaviors, such as an increase in dog bites and women going into labor, have yet to be scientifically demonstrated. Still, the reputation for strange full moon happenings is strong in our culture. You can be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary at the Full Moon Snowshoe Hike at Bartholomew’s Cobble. This will be a gentle hike, appropriate for a range of ages and ability levels. Afterwards, enjoy pizza and conversation in the Visitor’s Center. 413.298.3239 x3013. 105 Weatogue Road, Sheffield, MA. (Member <$ Non Member $)

Saturday, February 20, 6:30pm
Join your fellow nature lovers for a moonlight hike at the Graves Farm Wildlife Sanctuary . Test your knowledge of tree species, or teach your friends and family the difference between the pine, beech, and oak trees on this trail. Or simply enjoy this easy walk appropriate for all ages. Dress warmly and bring a water bottle and snowshoes if you have them. Refreshments and a campfire will follow. 413-268-7523. Adams Rd, Haydenville, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 20, 10am
Witness draft animal power in action at Natural Roots Farm in Conway, MA. Come learn about the use of draft animal power for sustainable and low impact forestry. Join us as we discuss the practice of managing timber in a way that maximizes ecological diversity and minimizes ecological impact. Start the day with licensed forester and local oxen logger, Tom Jenkins and his 10am talk “Draft Animal Powered Forestry: When does it Work?” Jenkins will discuss which logging jobs are appropriate for animal power. After the discussion, watch David Fisher of Natural Roots, local farmer and logger, and his draft horses lead a one hour winter logging demonstration. Afterwards folks are invited to a Q/A session at 12pm with Jenkins and Fisher. “Draft animal power forestry is a great way for owners in the Hilltowns to log their land carefully and responsibly,” says Michael Madole, MassLIFT AmeriCorps Land Stewardship Coordinator at Hilltown Land Trust , “these demonstrations are a fun and engaging way of reaching curious landowners interested in the process.”Licensed foresters will receive 2.5 hours of Continuing Education credits for their attendance. Be sure to RSVP by February 18, contact Andrea Caluori-Rivera at Hilltown Land Trust for registration and further information: hltoutreach@thetrustees.org (413) 628-4485 ext.#3. Conway, MA. ($ DONATION. Hilltown Land Trust Members FREE)

Watch and learn how draft animals can be incorporated into farm work:


Saturday, February 20, 10:00am-12:00am
Hopefully snow will continue to fall on Graves Farm in Williamsburg before Mass Audubon’s Winter Photography Walk. Photographer and naturalist John Green will help visitors capture beautiful images of the snow covered ground, bare trees, streams, and pastoral landscapes. This is a chance for nature lovers to take a closer look at winter. Dress in warm clothing with comfortable footwear. If applicable, bring snowshoes or ice grippers. 413-584-3009. Graves Farm. Adams Road Williamsburg, MA ($ Nonmembers. <$ Members.)

Saturday, February 20, 12pm-4pm
For people who like to take pictures, developing your own photographs is a fun and satisfying way to combine art with chemistry. Cyanotype is a printing process which results in stunning cyan-blue photographs. At Makers’ Mill in North Adams you can learn several ways of developing images with this very old photographic process. You will prepare a photographic emulsion and a negative, expose an image, and finalize your print. All supplies and materials are covered in the cost. 413-749-2073. 73 Main Street. North Adams MA. ($$)

Animal Studies

Sunday, February 21, 2pm-4pm
Bartholomew’s Cobble, named in part for two rocky knolls on the land, has a high level of biodiversity resulting in a significant snake population during warm months. One reason for this is that the cobbles are composed of quartzite and marble, acidic rock and alkaline rock, creating variation in soil chemistry. Come to the Cobble for an hour long snowshoe hike, followed by an expert talk on snakes from around the world. Return in the summer months and you might see native snakes. Bring snowshoes or rent them. 413-298-3239 x3013. 105 Weatogue Road, Sheffield, MA. (Member <$ Non Member $)

Friday, February 26, 10:30am-11:30am
Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all? We’re not really asking about mealtimes; this is the sound of the barred owl’s call! How many types of owls live in Western Massachusetts? Can we find them in their tree roosts? What other owl signs might we hear on our hikes and in our own neighborhoods and yards? Learn more about these awesome animals at Kidleidoscope at the Great Falls Discovery Center. The program will include a story, games, and a craft related to the day’s topic. Meet in the Great Hall. Ages 3-6. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, February 20, 10am-3pm
Do you enjoy acting and history? Maybe you should become a historical reenactor! This hobby and profession is a prime example of learning by doing. Reenactors learn by embodying the customs of a time period, and teach others at the same time. Even if you don’t think you want to be a reenactor yourself, this is your chance to look behind the scenes and talk to reenactors who have portrayed characters from the 16th to the 21st century, at the New England Reenactors Faire. 413-668-4507. Sturbridge Host Hotel, 366 Main Street, Sturbridge, MA. (<$. Children 12 and under FREE)

Saturday, February 20, 2pm-3pm
The museum at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site was established just after the Civil War ended and holds arms and equipment that came back from the battlefields. In conjunction with the special exhibit “At Camp in the Field,” Curator Alex Mackenzie will highlight selected objects from the collection and share stories about each. Learn more about the Springfield Armory as an educational resource here. The museum’s Facebook page is an excellent resource for Civil War history, with daily posts about items in the museum’s collection and the war in general. 413-734-8551. 1 Armory Street #2, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 21, 10am-4pm
Your child can earn a Junior Ranger badge, patch, and certificate at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site while learning about walnut trees, firearms, and the inventors who worked at the Armory. Participants will have the opportunity to express their thoughts on what they’ve learned through this experience, as they write letters to soldiers. The museum’s Facebook page is an excellent resource for Civil War history, with daily posts about items in the museum’s collection and the war in general. 413-734-8551. 1 Armory Street #2, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 21, 2pm
Did you know that the Pioneer Valley has a strong history of involvement in the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad? If you want to learn more, join Bambi Miller and Mary Boehmer of Charlemont as they present Remembrance of Our Past at the David Ruggles Center in recognition of Basil Dorsey, a self-emancipated slave and teamster born in Libertytown, in Frederick County, Maryland who settled in Florence. David Ruggles Center, 225 Nonotuck Street, Florence, MA. FREE

For more upcoming community-based history events and learning opportunities, visit our History Bulletin Board.

Local Culture

Saturday, February 20, 10am-4pm; Sunday, February 21, 10am-4pm
Rounding out the winter festival season is North Adams’ WinterFest celebration. Including special events in the city’s downtown area from 10am-4pm, WinterFest offers families a chance to celebrate the coming end of the last of the wintriest months. Highlights of the event will definitely include ice sculpting, horse-drawn wagon rides, a chowder competition, a winter farmers’ market, and a community bonfire stocked with hot chocolate for all. Families can enjoy free skating and rentals at the Peter Foote Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink. Full schedules of events will be available downtown and can be read online at the North Adams Winterfest Facebook page. For more information, call 413-664-6180. North Adams, MA. (VARIES; FREE, < $, & DONATIONS)

Saturday, February 20, 11am-11pm; Sunday, February 21, 11am-9pm
Highlighting the arts and culture of the Berkshires, the 5th annual 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival offers a mostly indoor take on the winter festival. Made up of ten days chock full of community-based cultural events, the festival combines music, theater, art, local food, play, and creativity, and celebrates the rich arts and culture found within the communities of the Berkshires. Performances, exhibits, concerts, and other special events will take place every day during the festival, and family-friendly highlights include 10 Days of Play at the Berkshire Museum, the Kid 10 kid-run farmer’s market, a toddler-centric pre-naptime dance party, a special performance of Light Wire Theater’s Moon Mouse, a performance featuring local dancers, and an exciting fireworks display! Pittsfield, MA. (VARIES <$, $, FREE, DONATIONS)

Saturday, February 20, 1pm-6pm
Amherst’s annual WinterFest comes with the promise that if snow doesn’t arrive of its own accord, it will be made just for the event! Bringing much excitement to the otherwise quiet wintry golf course landscape, WinterFest offers fun in many forms. Sledding and cross-country skiing are annual favorites, while a cardboard sled race combines creativity, engineering, and daring for an exciting competition. Families can also use the event as an opportunity to learn how to engage with their natural surroundings during wintertime – bird watching walks will be lead, teaching participants how to watch for winter birds common to the hills and forests of western Massachusetts. All ages. Cherry Hill Golf Course. 325 Montague Rd, Amherst, MA. (VARIES; FREE, < $, & DONATIONS) [Rescheduled from Feb 13]

Saturday, February 20, 5pm-8pm
In wintertime we often see less of our friends and neighbors due to fewer daylight hours and cold, wintry weather. Thankfully, Red Gate Farm offers us all a fabulous reason to gather with friends old and new at its annual Fire & Ice sledding and bonfire party! Enjoy a delicious grilled dinner, a roaring bonfire, hot cocoa, toasted marshmallows, and lots of fun runs down the farm’s sledding slope. There will be faster and slower sledding paths for sledders of different ages/comfort levels, and folks may bring their own sleds (no runners) or borrow one on site. Volunteer help would be appreciated, as many hands make light work. Please contact Jake at the farm if you are interested in helping. 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road, Ashfield, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION < $)

Language Arts

Saturday, February 20, 11:30am
Writers and storytellers of all ages are invited to meet and share their ideas at the Emily Williston Memorial Library. Writing groups are a great place for inspiration, providing prompts and friendly advice. Whether you’re an experienced writer or you never write but you want to start, simply bring a notebook and an open mind! It’s not just professional writers who benefit from picking up the pen. Bill Gates, for example, writes regularly for his own personal purposes. He uses the act of writing to process his thoughts and ideas. See what writing can do for you and make some friends along the way. 413-527-1031. 9 Park St, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 20, 12pm-3pm
Did you know that the words “moose,” “squash,” and “succotash” (among others) are loan words from Narragansett? The language of the Narragansett tribe is no longer natively spoken, but as with many Native American languages, there is a growing movement to revive it. At the Nolumbeka Project’s Full Snow Moon Gathering, Jennifer Lee will discuss her Native American identity and culture. She is of Metis, Narragansett, and Pequot descent. Great Falls Discovery Center. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA (DONATION)

Interested in learning more about language preservation/revitalization? Watch this TEDx talk by April Charlo, a Bitterroot Salish, and scholar in Native American studies and language.

Tuesday, February 23, 7 pm
Falconers use a small hood, covering the eyes of their birds, to keep them calm before a hunt. This benign act of deceit brought about the word “hoodwink,” one of many falconry words or phrases which have made their way into common usage. To learn more about falconry, join the Westhampton Public Library‘s book club as they discuss H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald. This book is perfect for lovers of memoir and nature writing. After the sudden loss of her father, the author attempts a new level of challenge in her hobby of falconry: training a goshawk, one of the deadliest of raptors. H is for Hawk hit the bestseller list in the United Kingdom and is gaining attention in the United States. If this book gives you an itch to learn more about falconry at the local level check out New England Falconry for activities. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Watch a trained hawk fly with folks from New England Falconry in Hadley:

Thursday, February 25, 3pm-4pm
Some teachers and parents are disappointed to find students choosing comic books over novels. Others argue that comic books, which do typically have words in them, can help instill a love of learning in kids who might otherwise not be interested. One thing is for certain, and that is that comic book fans have a lot to discuss. Each major American comic book tends to have several iterations, by different artists, writers, directors and television creators. Just ask “What is the best batman series?” and you’re bound to start a heated, yet fun, discussion. Readers ages 9 to 13 are invited to the Lee Library to discuss their favorite and least favorite comics. 413-243-0385. 100 Main St Lee, MA. (FREE)

A fun way to learn about a local culture, people-watching can serve as a great tool for young writers and thespians too! The observations made in a particular context can help inspire or contribute to the development or portrayal of a character. Visit some of our suggested people-watching locations in our post, People-Watching! Supporting Language Arts, Theater & Community Awareness.


Sunday, February 21, 12noon-4pm
Why buy new clothes when you can mend them? Learn a new skill and make an investment in the future of your clothing by attending a “Visible Mending” workshop at the Makers’ Mill in North Adams. Visible mending is part of a “slow fashion” movement (similar to the slow food movement) in which people track the origins of their clothes and whenever possible, make and fix clothes themselves. Visible mending is a specific kind of sewing which adds new visual elements to your clothing articles each time you repair them. 413-749-2073. 73 Main Street. North Adams MA. ($$)

Wednesday, February 24, 7pm-8pm
Seed catalogs are fun to look through, but wouldn’t it be great to plant your own seeds, from last year’s crop? Grow Food Amherst is a group of local gardeners who are learning to do just that. They’re reading Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener’s Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving and will meet in the first floor conference room at the Amherst Town Hall to discuss it. Reading the book is not required for attendance, however; come listen and learn about harvesting, processing, and storing seed (Chapter 22)! 978-895-1781. 4 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Once you’ve reaped the delicious benefits of a summer’s harvest, look further than your plate in order to find a purpose for what you’ve grown. Seed saving is a fantastic way to practice self sufficiency and resilience, and also helps to preserve plant varieties for years to come. In addition to the cultural and agricultural value of holding onto these plants (and their seeds), practicing seed saving at home is a great way to engage in hands-on science learning – the digging-in-the-dirt kind that leads to some serious discoveries! Read more in our post, Seed Capital Provides Return for Nature-Based Education

Thursday, February 25, 4pm-6pm
Practice your needle-felting skills, or try needle-felting for the first time, and come home with an adorable felted owl. Needle felting is creative yet relaxing, and in this case, social too! This needle-felt class will take place at Sheep and Shawl. Ages 8 and up and their caregivers. Call 413-397-3680 to register. 265 Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA ($)

Thursday, February 25, 5pm-8pm
Since the existence of cheese predates recorded history, humans will probably never know who invented it. The emergence of cheese could have resulted from an accident involving milk left in the sun. Cheese has influenced New England history in surprising ways. Colonists in Rhode Island exchanged cheese for molasses from the West Indies, and used the molasses to make rum. Whether you want to trade, share, sell or just eat your homemade cheese, you can learn how to make mozzarella and colby at a free class in Russell. Participants will also learn how to make yogurt. This event is sponsored by the Southern Hilltowns Adult Education Center. Ron and Sandra are offering this class at their home, 655 Huntington Road (Rt 20) in Russell. (Next to Countryside Woodcraft). Please bring an apron. Huntington, MA (FREE)

Thursday, February 26, 6:30pm
How thick does ice have to be for you to walk on it safely? How can you cut a hole in ice for fishing? These are a few of the questions Allen Butler will address in his “Basic Ice Fishing” class at the Pelham Library. He will outline all the important tips for safety, including what to wear, and tell you about what kinds of fish you can catch while ice fishing. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham MA. (FREE)

Black History Month

Saturday, February 20, 1pm-4pm
How has your race informed your life experiences and perspective? The Brick House Community Center is hosting a community workshop in which individuals can engage in self-reflection and dialogue about race in a safe, facilitated environment. Conversation circles will invite participants to to share their experiences with race in a process that supports respect and honesty. This event is part of a series of Black History Month events hosted by Turners Falls River Culture. Intended for adults and older students. Registration required. 413-835-1390. 24 Third Street, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, February 24, 4pm
In recent decades, growing awareness has been drawn to the need for an “intersectional” approach towards issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Intersectionality requires people to consider the fact that each individual has several overlapping identities. In this panel discussion, Westfield State University men of color faculty and staff will discuss both race and gender, exploring current issues faced by black men in the United States. This will undoubtedly bring to light different issues than the upcoming ceremony, “Black Girls Rock,” which will celebrate women of color who engage in their communities. 577 Western Ave, Westfield, MA. (FREE)

In celebration of Black History, Hilltown Families contributing writer, Cheli Mennella shared 10 picture books featuring stories of bravery, heroism, pursuit of justice and so much more…and each one beautifully illustrated. Peruse this list in our post, Celebrating Black History with Children’s Picture Books.

Music Studies

Saturday, February 20, 1:30pm-2:30pm
What sort of concert can you attend where you might hear double bass, autoharp, psaltery, guitar, mountain and hammer dulcimer, recorder, banjo, a variety of percussion instruments, and beautiful three-part harmonies? A Wintergreen Trio performance! As a part of its Ten Days of Play series, the Berkshire Museum will host the Wintergreen Trio for a concert of traditional and contemporary music from America and the British Isles. Families can use this concert as a springboard to talk about the different ways to make sound. Which of these instruments is most like the human voice? How might these instruments evolved from (or into) other instruments? 413-443-7171. 39 South Street (Rt 7), Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

Sunday, February 21, 3pm
Fans of the band Fanny can learn about frontrunner June Millington through “story, picture, and song” at the Academy of Music Theatre. The lineup will include Holly Near, Jill Sobule, Toshi Reagon, Gail Ann Dorsey, Christine Ohlman and Sonya Kitchell as well as members of Fanny. This event will pay tribute to June Millington as a Filipina musician and LGBT rights activist. Mullington also founded the Institute for the Musical Arts, now located in Goshen Massachusetts, with her partner Ann Hackler. The Institute for the Musical Arts offers summer, residential music programs for girls and young women. Come celebrate June Millington’s ongoing musical legacy, and hear some great music. 274 Main St, Northampton, MA. ($ – $$)

Sunday, February 21, 3pm
Does listening to classical music make you smarter? In spite of what the company behind Baby Einstein claimed, there is no scientific evidence that it does. All kinds of music can, however, help you focus, as long as you find the music enjoyable. And perhaps most importantly, beautiful music can send shivers down your spine. Talented musicians dazzle and inspire audiences. As part of the Faculty Recital series you can attend a night of chamber music at Bard’s College at Simon’s Rock. You will hear combinations of clarinet, violin, cello, viola and piano. All ages; open to the public. Kellogg Music Center. 84 Alford Rd, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE).

Wednesday, February 24, 4pm-5pm
Learn to freestyle and rhyme, spit lyrics, and develop beats at Rock the Stacks!: Hip Hop at the Library at the Mason Square Branch of the Springfield Public Library. The Community Music School of Springfield will help young people develop their voice and self-confidence. For ages 6-14. 413-263-6853. 765 State Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Blandford, Bernardston, Chesterfield, Erving, Holyoke, Montague, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Warwick and Williamsburg Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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