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On the heels of a New England winter, spring in Western MA can be very engaging to the senses. This week, take inventory through your senses and notice what’s “speaking” to you.

As you move through the final month of spring, notice what you observe through your senses and how your observations might change and evolve. Our sense of place is interwoven with the seasons and our five senses, deepening our connection to place through seasonal changes. Embedded within this awareness are self-directed learning opportunities that are sparked by curiosity and supported by community-based resources.

WHAT DO YOU HEAR? Native species are a community-based resource that can deliver lessons through our senses. Take, for instance, deep listening to the frogs and toads native to Western MA. Have you ever noticed how their chorus changes through the season? How they are quiet on some evenings and very noisy on others? Pay attention to their chorus (or lack of) and let it guide your learning! It’s a great way to support interests and education in herpetology, biology, and ecology. Start by learning the calls of different native frogs in your region. This video demonstrates how their chorus blends and changes over five months (in just 22 seconds!).

As the blanket of snow gets deeper outside, frogs of all types are hibernating below the frost line or under water. And for many of us, one of the first signs of spring is the call of the Spring Peepers as they emerge from their hibernation and begin to find a mate. FrogWatch USA, a citizen science program that provides people of all ages with the opportunity to learn about amphibians and help with conservation efforts, is looking for volunteers to help collect data on the calls of frogs and toads from February through August. Find out how you can participate…

Every month, Hilltown Families features a new nature table whose contents inspire learning along a common theme easily spotted in our surroundings that month. A tradition carried out by teachers, environmental educators, and nature-curious families, nature tables bring a little bit of the outdoors inside for inspection, dissection, identification, creative play, art projects, and lots of other educational activities. Read how springtime’s spice brings a variety of life to the nature table in May!

Springtime outdoor exploration with kids is sure to lead to discoveries of egg masses if you live near still or slow-moving water. There’s a lot to be learned just from examining the egg masses themselves, but there’s even more to be learned by watching the eggs hatch, develop, and grow from a gelatinous cluster into full-sized frogs! Families can schedule regular visits to a pond or vernal pool to watch these future-frogs grow, but it’s much easier to see the small daily changes that occur if the eggs are right inside your home or classroom.

Frogs: A Chorus of Colors Springfield Museums January 21st – May 13th, 2012 The Springfield Museums will be hosting the exhibit, “Frogs: A Chorus of Colors,” January 21st through May 13th, 2012.  This is a new exhibit of live frogs that teaches visitors about the many different types of frogs found around the world and the habitats in which they can be found.  The exhibit holds fifteen different habitats filled with plants, waterfalls,… Read More

Frogs: A Chorus of Color at the Berkshire Museum This week we went to the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA. Following a wonderful production of Wind in the Willows by Berkshire Theater Festival in their auditorium, we went upstairs to check-out their exhibit, Frogs: A Chorus of Color. Wow! This is an impressive show that is both educational and visually stunning. Through a dazzling display of photos, frog colors and textures, audible… Read More

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