Hilltown Families


Now in its 9th year, Earth Hour is a worldwide event intended to make a symbolic statement about climate change. Participants – from families to entire cities – are asked to darken their homes for 60 minutes as a powerful reminder of climate change. Families can join in on the global observance of Earth Hour, and in doing so, can create opportunities for meaningful place-based learning.

What will the Pioneer Valley look like 1,000 years from now? Artist Jonathon Keats and Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum are committed to finding out – with a Millennium camera, and an exhibit on the process of deep time photography. A 1,000 year community project that integrates art, citizen scientist, climate change, culture and history.

Public art is designed to make us think. Whether it’s about local history, traffic safety, or our cultural heritage, public artwork sends a message. Children have the opportunity to create public artwork to send a message about climate change by participating in UMass Lowell’s Cool Science contest! Young artists can learn about climate science and art with a purpose by creating entries, and winners might get to see their art made public.

Every day we make decisions. Some are habitual and some require a lot of thought and deliberation. There was a little of both mixed in when Hilltown Families contributing writer, Angie Gregory, and her family decided to join the hundreds of thousands of people gathering in NYC for the recent climate rally. Mixed in with the inspiration and magic found at the march was a realization of what drives our decisions and how we can become our own advocate without compromising our values.

Young paleontologists unite! Resources for learning about dinosaurs abound here in western Massachusetts. From museum exhibits to hands-on paleontology activities to natural wonders, our region is rich with experiential and place-based opportunities for learning about the prehistoric creatures of the past. Learners of all ages can learn about the science of fossilization, dinosaur species and their adaptations, and the history of the discovery of fossils and footprints right here in western MA – all by utilizing educational resources available locally.

This is an eye-opening piece by Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, Angie Gregory, in “Parenting Green” this month. Status quo capitalism provides regular obstacles to addressing the alarming change in the earth’s natural conditions. However, a culture of calling for positive change has had impact and families continue to have a voice that can be heard.

Angie invites our readers to an event in NYC in September called the People’s Climate March that has the potential to be the largest rally of its kind in history. This family friendly event will bring families into contact with like-minded advocates for change. If your family can’t make this event, you can support efforts at home. Angie reminds us that families have a voice, and that your kids can have a voice too!

Sex, drugs, death… The BIG conversations with your growing children can be a daunting prospect. Climate Change has become a subject to add to this list, carefully addressed and broken down. There are subtle ways to open up constructive dialog to build fulfilling and enriching critical conversation. This month in “Parenting Green: Earth Friendly Ideas for Raising a Family,” Angie shares her strategies for breaking down the topic and finding small opportunities to address climate change with her kids.

Teaching moments are found everywhere, especially in our gardens and natural surroundings. This month in “The Garden Plot,” Jim writes about climate change and the changes to insect populations this brings. What changes might this bring to our landscapes and abilities to grow crops? Challenge kids to think of the many examples of species that Jim outlines to better understand their adaptability and possible changes – there are lots of possible choices to examine…

IceWatch: Citizen Scientist Project Exams Ecosystems via Ice This winter, families can contribute to climate studies by participating in IceWatch, a citizen science initiative that works to collect information about the ice-in and ice-out times of various bodies of water across the continent. By regularly observing a lake, pond, river, or bay, families can help to inform scientists about the length of the cold season which, when compared to data from past… Read More

At the turn of the year, Hilltown Families will be turning five years old … and we will be celebrating all year long! To start the celebration, we have invited five Hilltown mompreneurs to partner with us. These five crafty businesses, located here in the Hilltowns of Western MA, create handmade products that kids will enjoy receiving — and we have one of each to giveaway to one lucky family!  It’s our… Read More

350.org International Climate Action Day in Western Mass – This past Saturday, families and neighbors from all over Western Massachusetts gathered to take action in a world wide grassroots demonstration on climate change. Several of these events in Western Mass were posted here. On this day, people in 181 countries came together for the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet’s history. At over 5200 events around the world, people… Read More

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