38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Animation to Israeli Cuisine. Dragon Boats to Garlic.

If you take your family to a pick-your-own apple orchard this weekend! See how many orchard ladders you can spot and get your kids thinking about their shape and purpose.

Animation to Israeli Cuisine. Dragon Boats to Garlic. One Room Schoolhouses to Textile Mills. 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:  Local, original theater performances can connect community members with each other and with local spaces. Double Edge Theater’s show, The Springfield Spectacular, is a large-scale outdoor performance showcasing youth performers from Springfield Conservatory of the Arts Public School. A performance  on Saturday, September 24, 7pm in Forest Park will incorporate music, and explore many aspects of Latin American culture. 413-787-6440. 200 Trafton Road. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

EntomologyTextile ArtsFilm StudiesArt StudiesParentingVolunteeringIndustrial HistoryHistoric ShoolhousesLiving HistoryArchitecturePlacemakingBotanySeed SavingCulinary ArtsAstronomy

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Saturday, September 24, 12pm-2pm
You are most likely aware that honeybees are on the decline, and that these insects are vitally important to humans and other species. Pollinators are essential to the growth of many foods and flowers. Come to the “Pollinator Party” to learn about pollinators, enjoy a pollinator picnic, create a pollinator house, and find out what you can do to help! Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. (<$)

Join a kid-safe bee revival! Support local pollinators in a kid-friendly, fun and educational way from your own backyard. The building of bee condos (also know as insect hotels) mobilizes woodworking skills and the use of recycled materials. When the bees come, the whole family can observe their habits and what plants they take a shine too. Support local pollinators with their own private condo, surrounded by native plants they are best attracted to! Find out more in our post, Bee Condos: Steps Away from Sweet Educational Opportunities.

Saturday, September 24, 3pm-5pm
Veteran apiarist (beekeeper) Kenneth Warchol will be sharing his knowledge of the challenges honeybees face in a presentation at the Bushnell-Sage Library. Ken will also have a variety of honeys to sample. 413-229-7004. 48 S Main Street. Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Follow your path of interest about entomology and pollinators to learn a bit about plant biology too! In this video, visit the Milkweed plant, a vital food source to the Monarch Butterfly, and discover it’s unique pollination process and how insects are involved in a complex process:

Textile Arts

Friday, September 23-Sunday, September 25
The Hancock Shaker Village in Berkshire County has a special exhibit up through October 30, 2016: Living Designs & Shared Values: Highlights from the Jane P. Fitzpatrick Quilt Collection. This exhibit features 25 handmade quilts from Fitzpatrick’s personal quilt collection.  “Jane’s philosophy of women and work, especially the needle arts that, historically, were a source of income and esteem for women. Jane’s quilts are colorful and fun — clearly she loved textiles and believed in providing women with a source of income from their sewing and needlework.”  A great time to see this exhibit is during the opening of Harvest of Quilts on Friday, September 23rd from 10am-5pm. The show will also be on display during the HSV’s annual Country Fair, September 24 and 25, from 10am-5pm. Hancock Shaker Village. 413-443-0188 1843. West Housatonic St., Pittsfield MA (Museum Admission)

Often, math and art are seen as opposites: structure and the lack thereof. At the intersection of the two, however, lies quilting: an art form that is inherently mathematical. Families can explore everything from shape identification to tessellations by learning to create quilts together! Read more in our post, Quilting Offers Multidisciplinary Exploration of Math and Art.

Film Studies

Saturday, September 24, 10am
Fairy-tales continue to influence narrative forms across various cultures. The 2011 animated film, Tales of the Night (not rated), blends history with the magic of fairy-tales as it weaves together six exotic fables from different lands. This film could be of interest to children and adults who appreciate the visual arts. The film uses 3D animation and a shadow puppet style with black silhouetted characters. This screening will take place at Amherst Cinema. 413- 253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, September 24, 2pm and 11pm
The local, community-supported theater Images Cinema is celebrating its 100th anniversary! This year, the cinema will be participating in the nationwide event, Art House Theater Day with two special screenings. At 2pm, you can come to a family matinee of the “stop-motion animated adventure fantasy comedy family film,” A Town Called Panic: The Specials, a cult favorite that premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival as the first screening of stop-motion film at the festival. There will also be a late-night screening of the recently restored cult classic Phantasm. 50 Spring Street. 413-458-5612. Williamstown, MA. (<$)

Saturday, September 24, 5pm; Sunday, September 25, 3pm
Wes Anderson has directed eight films in the past twenty years, impacting contemporary cinematography with his distinct visual style. The Academy of Music Theatre’s Weekend with Wes Anderson will give you the chance to see three of Anderson’s most popular films on the big screen. On September 24 or 25, you can see Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou back to back. Gather with other Wes Anderson fans, or get a crash course by seeing his films for the first time. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

Wednesday, September 28, 4pm
The Northampton Film Festival will not only connect you to the latest in contemporary fillmmaking, it will also bring you together with other fans of film and filmmakers in the area. The festival will showcase the very best of Five College student filmmaking, as well as full length, professional feature films, virtual reality experiences, and more. games, participatory art projects, speakers, workshops, ticketed features and shorts will be showcased across various venues in Northampton. Check the Norhtampton Film Festival website for a full schedule of screenings and events to take place from September 28 through October 2. Northampton, MA. (Full festival pass $$; Day pass $)

Wednesday, September 28, 7pm
The 3rd Annual Spanish/Portuguese film festival at Holyoke Community College invites the entire community to learn about Spanish and Portuguese culture through contemporary films. The festival begins on September 28th with a screening of the 2015 film, Todos Se Van (Everybody Leaves). This film will be in Spanish with English subtitles. This drama portrays a family struggle in Cuba under the rule of Castro. 303 Homestead Avenue. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Art Studies

Sunday, September 25, 2:30pm
Provenance, the record of ownership for an item, is a significant part of art history. Some works of art remain in families and homes, some find their way to museums, and some are stolen. If you have visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, you may have learned that 13 pieces were stolen from the museum in 1990. Stephen Kurkjian, author of Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled off The World’s Greatest Art Heist, will be reading from and discussing his book at the Jones Library. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, September 25, 3pm
Mythology, explanatory tales full of cultural lessons, appear across the globe in all cultures. These stories often feature gods and goddesses with human qualities, giving narrative explanations for the way the world operates. In addition to mythological storytelling and writing, myths appear in all art forms. You can learn more by attending this lecture, led by Scholars of Northern European art Larry Silver and Aneta Georgievska-Shine at the Clark Art Institute. Each scholar will present their own lecture on the mythological paintings of Peter Paul Rubens. Both lectures are free with museum admission. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. ($; members, 18 and under, and students with valid ID FREE)

Learn more about the art of Peter Paul Rubens in this Khan Academy tutorial.


Friday, September 23, 7pm
The Hartsbrook School is pleased to welcome Kim John Payne, family counselor & internationally acclaimed author of Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids. In defense of the extraordinary power of less, Kim John Payne helps to reclaim the space & freedom we all need. This simplifying path allows kids’ individuality to shine & their attention to flourish. The Simplicity Parenting approach is based on over 30 years’ experience of successfully supporting busy families. For those who want to balance their children’s lives but don’t know where to start, Simplicity Parenting offers both inspiration & a blueprint for change. 413-586-1908 193 Bay Rd, Hadley. ($)

Monday, September 26, 6pm-8pm
Over the past several decades, children and teens have begun spending less and less time outdoors, and unstructured time has, for some kids, been partly replaced by structured time spent on clubs and teams. In this parenting environment, it can be difficult to go against the majority and limit screen time, or structured time, for your kids. This Brain Building in Progress workshop from the Hilltown Family Center, “Whatever Happened to Go Outside and Play, Changing Screen Time to Green Time,” will focus on strategies to develop healthy early childhood development. Child care will be provided during the sessions. Registration is required. Please contact Susan LeBarron at slebarron@hchcweb.org. 413-667-2203. 9 Russell Road. Huntington, MA. (FREE)

September 29, 9:30am-11am
Reading and comprehension of language are essential skills for functioning; these skills also open up a world of enjoyment through reading for pleasure. Parents can do a lot to encourage literacy in their children. Talking, singing, playing and reading with your child all build early reading skills. This program from the Collaborative for Educational Services will teach parents of children ages birth to five years fun activities to encourage literacy. Registration is required through the Collaborative for Educational Services website. For more information, call the Collaborative at 413-586-4900. This program will take place at the Amherst Family Center. 1200 N Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Service-Based Learning

Saturday, September 24, 9am-12pm
You can learn about ecology and biology by helping out at the Connecticut River Source to Sea Cleanup. Participants ages seven and up, and their caregivers, are invited to meet at the Great Falls Discovery Center Great Hall for a morning of improving the watershed through hands on tasks. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

Industrial History

Saturday, September 24, 9am-12pm; Sunday, September 25, 9am-12pm
This September and October, Housatonic Heritage will be offering several opportunities to learn about local history, natural history, infrastructure, architecture, ecology, and more! On September 24th, you can learn about the history of the Berkshire through the lens of 18th and 19th century industries such as charcoal, lime, glass and iron. Attendees will travel together to lime and charcoal making sites at Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Sanctuary and to the Lenox Historical Society’s iron ore sites in downtown Lenox. Visit the Housatonic Heritage website for more information. Registration is required. Email berkshires@massaudubon.org or call 413-637-0320. Lenox and Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, September 24, 9am-12pm
Textile and paper mills are a part of local and agricultural history. You can learn about the thriving woolen mill operation on the East Branch of the Housatonic River on a guided, three mile hike. This program is suitable for families. Wear sturdy footwear and bring drink and snack. Walk goes rain or shine. Call 413-394-9796 to register. Old Mill Trail. Hinsdale, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, September 24, 10am-12pm
Through the lens of local, Holyoke history, you can learn about the progression of industries such as the creation of paper. Individuals and families with children ages 7 and older are invited learn about how paper was made in Holyoke’s historic paper mills. Participants will have the chance to make their own paper, decorated with wildflowers found in Holyoke Heritage State Park. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Meet in the Visitor’s Center lobby 413-534-1723. 221 Appleton Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

One Room Schoolhouses

Saturday, September 24, 10am-4:30pm
Historical one room schoolhouses provide insight into local and New England history, as well as the history of families, childhood, and education. Harvest Day for Families at Historic Deerfield will feature visits to The Wapping Schoolhouse and early 19th-century lessons for grades one through fix. Participate in early math, reading and writing lessons, as well as recess with historic toys! The whole family can be a part of this day. Learn about early agricultural life as you celebrate the fall harvest this year. 413-774-5581. 80 Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, September 24, 1pm-4pm
Historical one room schoolhouses provide insight into local and New England history, as well as the history of families and childhood. You can find out what education was like in the late 1700s through exploration of the books, documents, maps, artifacts, clothing, tools and other historical items at the Norwich Bridge School. This tour is offered by the Huntington Historical Society. Corner of Worthington and Littleville Roads. Huntington, MA. (FREE)

Living History

Saturday, September 24, 11am, 12pm and 1pm
Join Enchanted Circle Theater and The Trustees at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead for a unique living history experience! A Fiery and Still Voice: William Cullen Bryant at Home is a site-based history play where past and present converge to bring the Homestead to life! This is a play about love, passion and social justice. The audience will travel through several rooms in the house as well as outdoors. Tickets are limited, so be sure to reserve in advance. 413-532-1631. 207 Bryant Road. Cummington, MA. ($)

Explore the poetry of Bryant in our post, Poetry of William Cullen Bryant: The Planting of the Apple-Tree.


Saturday, September 24, 12pm and 1pm
Buildings are designed with both form and function in mind, therefore, architecture can teach us about stylistic as well as practical and historic trends. Come to Field Farm to see mid-20th century sculptures and tour the guest houses. You will have the chance to view and compare the award-winning Folly guest house (post-modernist) and the American modern style guest house. For information call the Trustees at 413 458-3135. 554 Sloan Road. Williamstown, MA. (Non members <$; Members FREE)

Saturday, September 24, 2pm-4pm
Learning about the history of your town can be more fun and engaging when it is paired with visuals and exercise. You can learn about Shelburne Falls by strolling the town. Participants will architectural sites such as the Patchwork House, movie set locations, and re-purposed buildings. You will also have the opportunity to learn about geology through the so-called Glacial Potholes. Register and pay on the Greenfield Community College website. Call 413-775-1661 for details. Downtown. Shelburne Falls, MA. (<$)

Sunday, September 25, 10:30am-12pm
Junior designers are invited to Great Falls Discovery Center to learn about local history and architecture. First, participants will take a walk along the Canalside Rail Trail and learn about the history of the Strathmore Mill. Then they will return to the Great Hall to plan and design the future use of the Mill as part of Turners Falls History Month. Ages 8-12. Children must be accompanied by an adult.413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, September 24, 8pm-10pm
The night sky changes with the seasons, thus there is always something new to see and learn about. You are invited to explore stars, planets, and more at Notchview. On Saturday, volunteers from Arunah Hill Natural Science Center will teach you what to look for. Rain or heavy cloud cover cancels. 83 Old Route 9. Windsor, MA. (Members FREE. Non members <$)

Friday, September 30, 8pm
While some people lament the shorter days of fall and winter, longer nights provide more chances to learn about astronomy through observations of the night sky! The Old Hopkins Observatory and planetarium at Williams College are rich resources for learning about astronomy, as well as the history of the topic. 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. Astronomy students at the College will host this free show, open to the public. Attendees will learn about topics such as retrograde motions of the planets, phases of the moon, the varying temperatures/colors of stars, locations of neighboring galaxies, and more. 413-597-2188. Main Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)


When we reimagine the use of community spaces as hosts for community and cultural exchange opportunities, we begin to engage in placemaking. Community spaces like town commons, downtown districts, farms, rivers and parks become stages for theater, destinations for festivals, and pathways that explore art and culture. Here are a few examples of placemaking events coming up this week…

Saturday, September 24, 8am-10pm; Sunday, September 25, 8am-5pm
The Belchertown Fair will celebrate its 159th year with traditional activities such as a giant pumpkin contest, exhibit halls, photo booths and live music! There will be plenty of entertainment for people of all ages. Each day, kids can drop by the Farmer For A Day activity area and learn about agriculture in hands on ways. Check the Belchertown Fair website for a full schedule of activities. Park Street and Main Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE admission)

Saturday, September 24, 10am-4pm
The Amherst Apple Harvest Festival combines the traditional culture of a New England community fair, with art sales and fine crafts. This Amherst Family Center event brings together artisans, crafters and performers. Come to the 30th Annual Apple Harvest Festival to celebrate fall with local families! The event will feature activities for kids, local food, and a silent auction. 413-545-0865. Town Common. Amherst, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

Saturday, September 24, 10am-5pm; Sunday, September 25, 10am-5pm
The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival is a unique Western Mass tradition blending together the culinary and visual arts into one! Celebrate a favorite cooking ingredient and bountiful local crop- garlic- with silly games, an eating contest, and chef demonstrations! Browse the local artists’ booths and gain a strengthened sense of place through local artwork. The 18th Annual Garlic and Arts Festival is the perfect opportunity to support local artists, farmers, and chefs. www.garlicandarts.org Forster’s Farm. 60 Chestnut Hill Road. Orange, MA. (Admission: <$. 12 and under FREE. MARKET/SALE)

Saturday, September 24, 12pm-3pm
The practice of racing dragon boats, which are traditionally wooden boats powered by rowing, originated in China more than 2500 years ago. Paradise City Dragon Boat will be providing a more relaxed dragon boat experience, as well as some light competition, at this gathering in Easthampton. Easthampton Public School teachers will participate in a fun dragon boat “tug of war.” You and your child can go for a dragon boat ride! Admissions for the ride is a donation of a school supply or canned food item, to be collected in special dragon boxes the day of the event. Flotation devices will be provided. Nashawannuck Pond. Cottage Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, September 24, 2pm-6pm
At Shelburne Falls Art Walk you can visit seven different art exhibits in a single afternoon! This casual event can be a great introduction for kids to explore local artwork, with many different galleries and locations to explore while walking downtown. You can also explore fine cutlery and tools at Lamson Factory Outlet, or explore local restaurants, markets, and bookstores. Pick up an Art Walk Map at the Village Information Center, 75 Bridge Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, September 24, 7pm
Local, original theater performances can connect community members with each other and with local spaces. Double Edge Theater’s show, The Springfield Spectacular, is a large-scale outdoor performance showcasing youth performers from Springfield Conservatory of the Arts Public School. The performance in Forest Park will incorporate music, and explore many aspects of Latin American culture. 413-787-6440. 200 Trafton Road. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, September 25, 12pm-3pm
Fall is a time for new change- back to school for kids, changing weather, and possibly some new clothes or supplies. The community tag and craft sale at Outlook Farm’s Apple Festival is one place to look for locally sourced items. All are welcome to come and bring their own treasures to sell. Celebrate the autumn harvest with great food, and live music by Sarah the Fiddler. 413-539-9388. 136 Main Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE admission; MARKET/SALE)

Sunday, September 25, 2pm
Placemaking is a practice and a philosophy. It is an approach to both the creation and use of public spaces, aiming to promote the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Lawn concerts are one type of event which supports placemaking, by drawing people together and strengthening a connection to neighbors via community spaces. The North Adams Music Series will be running through October 16, with free live music every Sunday. Check the Levitt Foundation website for a schedule of musicians. On September 25th, indie folk group DuPont Brothers will perform. Colgrove Park. 151 Kemp Avenue. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, September 29, 5pm-8pm
Artwork benefits people of all ages and can bring people together from across communities. Budding artists and creative people can gather inspiration at the final DownStreet Art night of the 2016 season! Galleries across downtown North Adams will be open to the public and in some cases artists may be present. Pop up galleries will also be installed in other venues, giving visitors the chance to explore even further. Downtown. North Adams, 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.

Saturday, September 24, 10:15-11:15
Seed saving is a harmonious practice of taking seeds, which are reproductive material from fruits, vegetables, herbs, or flowers, to continue the cycle of growth through planting. This is how farms and gardens were traditionally maintained for thousands of years. Seed saving can help you save money on plants and gain a greater understanding of where your food comes from. Come to the seed saving social at the Gaylord Memorial Library to discuss seed saving efforts and swap stories.413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Culinary Arts

Tuesday, September 27, 6pm
Culinary arts reveal a lot about a particular culture. Every culture has its own rituals around food, it’s own signature ingredients determined by both location and beliefs. You can learn about Israeli culture through food and film at the Congregation B’nai Israel of Northampton. At 6pm there will be an Israeli buffet, followed by a film screening of In Search of Israeli Cuisine at 7pm. Award-winning director/producer Roger Sherman will be present. 413-584-3593. 253 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)


Sunday, September 25, 3:00 pm
History is not always found in books. Some of the history of the United States over the past 40 years have been captured by photographs, such as those taken by renowned photographer Diana Mara Henry. Come and enjoy a reception to highlight her work. The collection, held in Special Collections and University Archives in the W.E.B. DuBois Library, is a rich evocation of four decades of political, social, and cultural change in America, beginning in the late 1960s, as seen through the life of one photojournalist. This diverse body of work is particularly rich in documenting the women’s movement, the Women’s Pentagon Action, marches for the Equal Rights Amendment, and the political scene in the 1970s. University of Massachusetts Amherst. 154 Hicks Way. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, September 30, 10am-12pm
Do you enjoy architecture, photography, history, or all three? Individuals and families with children ages 8 and older (siblings welcome) are invited on a 1.8 mile walking tour which will explore Holyoke’s local history of textile and paper mill industry. Participants will explore the architectural and decorative aspects of old mills and capture them through photography. Bring a camera, smart phone, or binoculars. Meet in front of the Visitor Center of Holyoke Heritage State Park. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Rain cancels. 413-534-1723. 221 Appleton Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Blandford, Bernardston, Chesterfield, Erving, Holyoke, Montague, Montgomery, 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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