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Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News! Each month, community-based education specialist and Hilltown Families’ Founder, Sienna Wildfield, joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, November 26th with Sienna and Danny talking about explore the changing seasons through the lens of evergreens

Click on the video below to view.

In Western Massachusetts there are many places one can explore the beautiful evergreens and winter pines that create our enchanting forests. Like Thoreau, bring along a nature journal to jot down a few inspiring notes along the way.

Some of our holiday traditions today are a result of folklore and myth. For example, the contemporary Christmas tree has an interesting past with a story and history that has been passed down from generation to generation. From its original form with the ancient Norse pagans to its present day form in the houses of those who celebrate Christmas, the Christmas tree, like many folktales, has changed shape and meaning as it has been adapted to new cultures, people and places.

Where does the Christmas tree come from? Did you know that the origin of the Christmas tree has roots in ancient Norse paganism from Northern Germany? Learn more about the origins of Christmas traditions and symbols…

Did you know Christmas wasn’t always celebrated on December 25th? Get the whole story behind the holiday.

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.

Looking through a seasonal lens, our Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for November and December includes…

Linking the holidays and environmental science, an examination of evergreen tree farming can help children learn about a non-food related form of sustainable farming. Tree farming contributes to oxygen production, provides food and habitat for variety of animal species, and doesn’t have a huge impact on the location in which it takes place…

How It All Got Started Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness…. Read More

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