Hilltown Families


The day upon which Texas slaves learned of the Emancipation Proclamation is celebrated today as Juneteenth. Find out about community-based learning events, resources and self-initiated opportunities to learn about history, reflect on freedom & celebrate an important anniversary!

Western Massachusetts is home to a treasure trove of state forests and parks. Many of them provide an excellent hands on educational platform for kids to apply what they learned in school, all year long! Reading this blog post, written by the regional educator for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, offers an insightful guide into planning a field trip to a forest or park near you this summer.

It’s hard to believe it is almost here: June 21st, the longest day, the shortest night. Summer Solstice. That in itself means there is a lot to celebrate and enjoy. It’s a great opportunity also to connect to nature and to educate your child on this seasonal phenomenon. The wealth of history and science that rows behind Summer Solstice is fascinating, and the tone is always about celebrating nature at its most abundant. There are events in the area to mark the longest day, and also resources you can access to generate dialog with your family!

Western MA has always had a great attitude towards the preservation of history and amplifying the many events and stories of the state’s rich historical past. Historical societies and museums are terrific community-based educational resources families can access to support a better understanding of where we live and strengthening a sense of place in our children and ourselves. During the warmer months the public has access to many of these resources when otherwise are closed during the colder months.

The many great institutions across the western part of the state open their doors during this time of year to the best kind of community based learning, through meticulous preservation and innovative programming. Once you read on, you’ll see you can fill up your summer calendar easily with local history, and provide an enriching learning platform for you and your kids.

Juneteenth marks an important milestone in our history. Families are invited to events to celebrate the abolition of slavery and to connect to their community via freedom stories recorded by those who experienced this firsthand. It’s a great opportunity for families to educate their children on an immense time in U.S. history and to do so in the context of their own community. It also affords some dialog on how freedom manifests itself in daily aspects of our lives. Read our post on Juneteenth and see what events are near you.

It’s now well recorded that bees are under threat and that their shrinking numbers will have a negative impact on our environment. Innovative measures are being taken and communities are being mobilized to help curb the decline of this important pollinator. Within this process, there are inbuilt community-based learning opportunities that come with these programs. Families are invited to participate as citizen scientists, documenting, analyzing and photographing bee-movements and taking ownership of an important impact that will make a difference.

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