BITS & BYTES: Roy Boutard Day, plant sale at BBG; Lola Jaffe celebration; Skills Share virtual auction; Hoffmann Bird Club events

Berkshire Botanical Garden hosts Roy Boutard Day, annual plant sale

stockbridgeSunday, May 1 marks the start of Berkshire Botanical Garden’s (BBG) 88th outdoor season and its annual Roy Boutard Day, a community celebration that honors one of BBG’s most influential past directors. Admission to the Garden is free all day, 9 am to 5 pm

Visitors can stroll the 24-acre grounds, enjoy the spring blooming bulbs and trees, visit the Visitor Center Gift Shop, and attend the Horticulture Certificate Program graduation, followed by a reception hosted by the Herb Associates, a volunteer group that, for 65 years , has created herbal products from the Garden’s 1937 herb garden. Members of the Herb Associates will serve an assortment of herb-infused cookies and Mai Bowle, a May wine punch. The day will also include activities for children.

The Garden’s Leonhardt Galleries will feature the first artists of this year’s ART/GARDEN season. The theme for the season is Symbiosis. The first exhibit, “Shimmer,” curated by Sue Muskat and Phil Knoll, brings together 38 artists whose art is ignited by paying attention, being present and chronicling the condition of life.

Roy Boutard Day honors the Swedish horticulturist who came to the United States from Canada in the 1950s after graduating from England’s Royal Horticultural Society Gardens. I have served as the Garden’s executive director from 1955–1985. Under his direction, the Garden expanded its grounds and educational offerings, and won numerous gardening awards.

Schedule for May 1

  • 9 a.m. – Garden opens for the season
  • 10 am – Garden tour led by Chris Ferrero
  • 12-1 pm – Spring into the Garden (children’s activities)
  • 11-1 pm – Horticulture Certificate Program graduation
  • 11:30 am-12:30 pm – Lee Buttala workshop: Direct Sowing (pre-registration required)
  • 1:30-2:30 pm – Eric Ruquist workshop: Propagating Dahlias (pre-registration required)
  • 1-3 pm – Mai Bowle reception

On Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7, the Garden will hold its 45th-annual Plants-and-Answers Plant Sale, featuring hundreds of perennials, annuals and vegetables with a focus on diversity and nature-based landscaping. This year, BBG will feature a new community project, in collaboration with Two-Thirds for the Birds, known as Garden in Your Arms. This initiative features site-specific plant lists from local designers created with pollinators in mind. The event kicks off on Friday, May 6, with Garden members’ early buying from 9-11 am The sale is open to the public Friday from 11 am-5 pm, and Saturday, May 7, from 9 am-5 pm All proceeds support the Garden’s education and horticulture programs. Admission and parking are free.

—AK

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Lola Jaffe celebration to be held at Mahaiwe Sunday, April 24

Lola Jaffe. Photo: Michael Lavin Flower, courtesy The Mahaiwe

Great Barrington — A celebration of the Mahaiwe Performing Art Center’s founder Lola Jaffe (1926–2021) will be held at the theater on Sunday, April 24 at 5 pm The event will include live performances by the Paul Taylor Dance Company and Deborah Grausman, as well as virtual tributes by Emanuel Ax and Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes.

“Without Lola, there would not be this vibrant performing arts center anchoring Great Barrington today,” said Executive Director Janis Martinson. “She foresaw the appetite for year-round programming, she believed that others would cherish the historic building as much as she did, and expected that high standards coupled with variety would win the day. And she was proven right on every count. Given Lola’s lifelong generosity de ella to the communities in which she lived and her de ella full-hearted dedication to the performing arts, it is fitting that this program, organized by her family de ella and full of world-class performances, be open to there.”

Jaffe was the Founding President of The Mahaiwe, where she led the campaign to restore the 100-year-old theater. Among her other cultural involvements, she was an Overseer Emeritus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Vice President and Treasurer of The Jaffe Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee at Jacob’s Pillow, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Berkshire Opera, Secretary of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and a member of the Board of Directors of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.

The program is supported by a fund established by Lola and her late husband Edwin at the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. Attendance is free but registration is required online or by calling 413-528-0100 during box office hours, Wednesdays–Saturdays from 12–4 pm

—AK

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Local nonprofit to host Skills Share virtual auction

Cummington — It Takes a Village, a nonprofit that provides free postpartum and early partnering support to families with babies and young children in Western Massachusetts, is hosting its first ever Skills Share Auction to raise funds for its free family programs.

Starting Monday, April 25, the public can bid on items donated by community members. However, these are not physical items — they are lessons in skills and talents taught by the donors. Items include lessons in knitting, baking, gardening, and writing, plus more unusual skills such as goat-keeping, changing your car’s oil, and financial planning. Many skills can be shared virtually, so community members from all over are invited to bid.

Several local businesses have also donated free passes to classes, including a month of unlimited classes at Northampton Martial Arts, a mountain biking package at Berkshire East, and a Beginner Rider motorcycle lesson from Trailing Wheels in Pittsfield.

It Takes a Village’s Development Director Mollie Hartford came up with the idea for the auction from a group of local mothers in the nonprofit’s Post Bedtime Parents Group, which meets online on Thursday nights. “The idea behind It Takes a Village is that we all have a role to play in helping families with young children,” Hartford said. “We all have something we can do to help.”

The $3,000 fundraising goal will go towards It Takes a Village’s free programs, which include the Home Visit program for families with infants in the Hilltowns, free in-person and virtual parent support groups and workshops, and the Village Closet donation center in Huntington, Massachusetts , full of free baby and kids’ clothing, diapers, and supplies. All items can be viewed online, and bidding will run April 25–May 1. Monetary donations without bids are also appreciated.

—AK

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Hoffmann Bird Club announces field trips and events for May–July 2022

Berkshire County — The Hoffmann Bird Club, established locally in 1940, has announced its outings for May–July 2022. Please register for all events by emailing the Club.

Saturday, May 7, 7 a.m.
Leader’s Choice in New Ashford
Explore a spot in the New Ashford area at the leader’s discretion. Meet at JW Kelly’s Real Estate, Rte. 7, New Ashford. Please register to obtain the leader’s contact details.

Saturday, May 7, 6:30 p.m.
HBC Annual Meeting, virtual
Capturing the Spirits of Birds: Wildlife photographer and author Marie Read will share what it takes to create photographs that reveal the essential spirit of birds. Using her back stories to her compelling images of her, including some from her recent book, “Mastering Bird Photography: The Art, Craft, and Technique of Photographing Birds and Their Behavior,” she will discuss field strategies and photographic techniques.

Wednesday, May 11, 6:45 am
South Stream Road, Pownal, Vermont
Scope out waterfowl and bullfrogs at South Stream Pond, stroll wooded paths in search of warblers and flycatchers. Meet at the Williamstown Public Library, 1095 Main Street at the intersection of Routes 2 and 7 to carpool to the site. This trip is a great warbler tune-up before the Bird-a-thon and Century Run trips. Trip ends before lunch. Please register to obtain the leader’s contact details.

Friday and Saturday, May 13-14
Bird-a-thon/Century Run
Join a team and support Mass Audubon’s annual Bird-a-thon to benefit the local sanctuary. Contacts, count format and other details will be announced in the Hoffmann eNews. Sign-up sheets will be available at the banquet. Please register to obtain the leader’s contact details.

Wednesday, May 18, 7 a.m.
tyringham
Search for summer residents at several sites in the Tyringham Valley. Meet in the Big Y parking lot on Rte. 102 in Lee. Please register to obtain the leader’s contact details.

Thursday, May 19, 7 a.m.
Hand Hollow Conservation Area & Ooms Pond, East Chatham, New York
Morning walk in search of warblers and other migrants. Hand Hollow portion is an easy 2-hour walk. Please register to obtain the leader’s contact details.

Saturday, May 28, 6 a.m.
October Mountain
Join the annual trip to October Mountain State Forest. Meet at Washington Town Park on Rte. 8 in Washington. This trip involves driving to multiple birding spots and some walking along roadsides. Please register to obtain the leader’s contact details.

May/June, TBA
Bobolink Trip to Field Farm, Williamstown
The timing of this trip will be announced in eNews. View breeding bobolinks at the peak of their activity. Easy walking through grassy fields and meadows. Field Farm, 554 Sloan Road, Williamstown. Please register to obtain the leader’s contact details.

Sunday, June 12, 6 a.m.
Birds & Breakfast on Mt. Greylock
Meet at the Greylock Visitor’s Center, on the Lanesborough side, at the base of the mountain. The group will bird Rockwell Road at several stops, driving up the mountain to the summit. Breakfast at Bascom Lodge will follow. Please register to obtain the leader’s contact details.

Sunday, June 19, 7 a.m.
Top to Bottom Walk, Williamstown
June is perfect for finding active family groups, parents feeding chicks, and fledglings begging for food. The leader will choose an active road, where the group will meet at the top and walk leisurely to the bottom, while watching and listening to the activity taking place. Location TBA. Please register to obtain the leader’s contact details.

Saturday, July 9, 7 a.m.
Hopper Road & Money Brook Trail, Williamstown
Meet at the Hopper Road parking lot near the trailhead, off Green River Road on Route 43 in Williamstown, to look for nesting and juvenile birds. The walk is easy, past fields, and along a grassy and rocky old road to the base of the Money Brook Trail. There will then be a moderate hike up Money Brook Trail with tree roots, rocks and a narrow trail. Trip ends before lunch. Please register to obtain the leader’s contact details.

—AK

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