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Did you know that a dandelion flower is many flowers that make up a single head? Getting curious and paying attention to flowers that pop up during the spring and summer can help us become more mindful of the seasons, weather conditions, and plant species. Our front lawns, local meadows, and even cracks in the sidewalks can be a great place to start simple lessons in botany!

For as long as human history has been recorded, the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been used as food and medicine across the globe. While not native to this continent, this nutritious golden flowering plant arrived with the European colonization of the 1600’s and is now commonplace in lawns and meadows across North America. In the spring, the dandelion is one of several common wild edibles foragers look for to supplement their dinner plates. Here’s a helpful list, which includes, of course, DANDELIONS!

Looking through the lens of dandelions, interests in culinary arts, pastry arts, baking, and even home brewing can be supported. Within these interests, lessons in chemistry and math are implicit, while the art of taste and texture is an explicit driving force…

World History and the Dandelion

Once respected around the world for its nutritional value and medicinal properties, today, the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is seen by many as a noxious weed. Why? We have the rise of “lawn culture” to thank whose origin stems back to 17th century England where lawns were a status of wealth. Before this landscaping trend took root in the U.S., we might have seen dandelion varieties in seed catalogs and homegrown samples entered in the county fair during the 1800s. But here we are 200 years later, and this delightful and tenacious little flower has been hexed by many as undesirable. And to add insult to injury, the cost of herbicides spent each year to kill this gift from nature is in the millions, impacting far more than just the dandelion. Learning about history through the lens of the common dandelion can help us understand how our culture has gone from loving to hating (and hopefully back to loving) this flowering herbaceous perennial plant. This approach to history might tap into your interests in nutrition, medicine, culinary arts, agriculture, social studies, ecology, and even mythology. Start your history lesson with this short video “Dandelions and Civilization: A Forgotten History” by The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered.

Spring returned on March 20. Celebrate it’s arrival with our guest DJ, Charity Kahn, sharing music and insights that lift the spirits as spring begins to emerge.

Similar to fall, the spring season is a time of transition as habitats and animals begin to respond to the change in weather and climate. Phenology-based activities coincide with the natural changing of our seasons (our ultimate accessible community-based educational resource) and are great catalysts for learning through community engagement. Maple syrup season, filled with delicious community activities and opportunities, is our first crop of the year, followed by another seasonal event as winter transitions into spring…Vernal Pools!

“Spring comes as a miraculous surprise to me every year,” writes Sarah this month in “The Good Life.” “The branches are bare and the ground is muddy, but I am intoxicated by the scent of the wind. In the bustle of my life I often overlook graceful simplicity, because I can’t seem to slow myself down to see it…”

When you think of spring, which month do you think of? March makes the most sense seeing as the Vernal Equinox is indeed in March. But here in Western MA, March teases us with the IDEA of spring, which actually arrives in April! This month in “The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons,” Sarah shares her revelation about March…

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA…

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 13th-19th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, nearly 60 Summer Camp Options, and our Bucket List… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 6th-12th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, nearly 60 Summer Camp Options, and our Bucket List… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 29th-July 5th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and nearly… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 22nd-28th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: 2013 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and nearly 60… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 15th-21st, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and nearly 60 Summer Camp Options. Also check our… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 8th-14th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and over 55 Summer Camp Options. Also check our… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 1st-7th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and over 50 Summer Camp Options. Also check our… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for May 25th-31st, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Mark Your Calendars, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and over 50 Summer Camp Options…. Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for May 18th-24th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Mark Your Calendars, Bulletin Board. and over 50 Summer Camp Options. Also check our weekly column, Learn… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for May 11th-17th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Mark Your Calendars, Bulletin Board. and the Hilltown Family Variety Show. Also check our weekly column, Learn… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for May 4th-10th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board. and the Hilltown Family Variety Show. Also check our weekly column, Learn… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for April 27th-May 3rd, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Mark Your Calendars, Bulletin Board. and the Hilltown Family Variety Show. Also check our weekly column,… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for April 20th-26th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Mark Your Calendars, Bulletin Board. and the Hilltown Family Variety Show. Also check our weekly column, Learn… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and during April Vacation Week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for April 13th-19th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Mark Your Calendars, Bulletin Board. and the Hilltown Family Variety Show. Also check our weekly… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and upcoming week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for April 6th-12th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Mark Your Calendars, Bulletin Board. and the Hilltown Family Variety Show. Also check our weekly column, Learn… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and upcoming week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for March 30th-April 5th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Mark Your Calendars and Bulletin Board. Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play… Read More

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and upcoming week throughout Western MA! MAP Peruse our list of Suggested Events for March 23rd-29th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Mark Your Calendars and Bulletin Board. Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local…. Read More

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: March 23 – April 5, 2013 While there still might be fresh snow on the ground, it is officially spring… and there’s proof!  High school spring musicals are happening at both Taconic High School in Pittsfield and Mount Everett Regional High School in Sheffield; Spring egg hunts are scheduled in several towns throughout the county; there’s even the annual Spring Tonic happening at the Lenox Library! Find… Read More

Listen to Podcast: SPRING EQUINOX EPISODE with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Rebroadcast from March 26th & 27th, 2011 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA Featured Video: Gustafer Yellowgold – “Pinecone Lovely” [Have You Never Been Yellow?] New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts ♦ Subscribe to Podcast Radio ♦ Facebook ♦ Twitter CHARITY KAHN’S PLAYLIST Wendy Waldman – “Spring is Here” [Wendy Waldman] Charity… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Spring Activities in the Berkshires Between work, soccer practices, Little League cleanups, lacrosse games and running the kids around to anywhere else they “need” to be, there is little time to enjoy the endless amount of family activities offered up in the Berkshires. But if you have a little more time on your hands, or are just crazy enough to try and schedule one more thing into your busy schedule, then here… Read More

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