Tuesday, April 29, 2008

RECALL: High-Boy Beach Chairs Due to Fall Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Rio Brands of Penn, today announced a voluntary recall of about 800 Rio Beach® High-Boy Folding Beach Chairs. The rear leg of the chair can break, posing a fall hazard to consumers. Rio Brands has received one report of an incident involving minor bruises. This recall involves the Rio Beach® High-Boy folding beach chairs with UPC and model numbers listed below. The chairs have aluminum tubing frames, striped or solid color fabric slings, and wood arms with an attached storage pouch with cell phone pocket. “Rio Beach® High-Boy,” the UPC number and the model number can be found on the hand tag and on a sticker on the rear leg.
UPC # --- MODEL #
SC640-702 --- 0-80958-26396-2
SC640-812 --- 0-80958-26465-5
SC640-818 --- 0-80958-26466-2
SC640-8182 --- 0-80958-27165-3
SC641-084-BB --- 0-80958-27015-1
Sold at retail stores nationwide from January 2008 through March 2008 for between $40 and $50 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately stop using the chairs and return them to the location where purchased for a full refund. For additional information, call Rio Brands at 800- 866-8520 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.riobrands.com/


Still Time to Sign Up for Applewild Summer Adventure Camps in Fitchburg

There is still time to sign up for the Applewild Summer Adventure Camp at the Applewild School in Fitchburg.
There is a traditional camp for children entering 2-9 grade in the fall. It features arts & crafts, sports programs, magic, climbing wall, woodworking, computer quests, swim lessons, Mad Science, and more. There is also a Jr. Camp for children pre-K grades.

The school is also offering a drama camp, for children entering grades 2-9 in the fall. The camp features a full day of dance and/or drama with a swim break during the day. Each 2-week session ends with a public performance.

Two-week sessions starting June 23rd through Aug. 1
There is a sibling discount.

For more information call 978-342-6053 (ext. 103) or visit www.applewild.org

The Truth About Violent Video Games & Children

Massachusetts General Hospital researchers dispel myth about why children play violent video games, which children are at risk, and offer practical advice for parents
BOSTON – With last night's release of Grand Theft Auto IV, millions of parents are deciding whether to give in to children’s pleas to buy the game, and are worried about how to set limits.
A new book by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do (Simon & Schuster), may be just what parents are looking for.
The book’s common-sense advice is based on a two-year, $1.5 million research program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as a review of relevant studies from around the world. Authors Lawrence Kutner, Ph.D. and Cheryl K. Olson, Sc.D., are a husband-and-wife research team at MGH’s Center for Mental Health and Media, which is part of the psychiatry department. They are also the parents of a teenage boy who plays video games.
Using extensive surveys and focus groups with 7th and 8th grade children and their parents, Olson and Kutner studied how and why children play video games, and looked for patterns of play linked to greater risk of school or behavior problems. A survey of over 1,200 children showed that - although most of children’s top 10 games were rated Teen (for ages 13+) or below - Grand Theft Auto was by far the most popular game series among boys.
In fact, 44% of them reported playing at least one game in the series “a lot in the past six months.” (Similarly, a 2005 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that over 3/4 of boys in grades 7 to 12 had ever played a GTA game.) Surprisingly, Grand Theft Auto was the second most popular series among girls, after The Sims.
“Parents told us they were concerned about violent games, but frustrated by their lack of knowledge and their limited control,” says Kutner.
As one parent lamented in a focus group, “I know that my son does not play Grand Theft Auto in my house. But he seems to know all the characters and what they say, so he must be playing it someplace.” Another noted, “He may bring a Mario game to his buddy’s house and bring back a Grand Theft Auto when I’m not aware of it.”
If you are the parent of a young teen, there’s a good chance that your child will play Grand Theft Auto IV - if not at home, then at a friend’s house. Here are some points to keep in mind, drawn from the book Grand Theft Childhood:
What attracts children to Grand Theft Auto games?
Grand Theft Auto IV is rated Mature (for ages 17 and older), with six content descriptors including “intense violence,” “blood,” and “strong language.”
“Boys’ comments suggest that the open environment, rather than the violence, may be the key to the series’ appeal,” says Olson. “Boys told us they liked the freedom either to carry out missions and win the game, or to explore the wide variety of places, vehicles, weapons and characters.”
One boy in their study explained, “If you happen to get a police car, or a tank, or a fire truck, or ambulance or whatever … you press a button, and all of a sudden, you’re working for them. You can catch criminals, or drive people places, or put out fires. It's more creative than just walking around, than shooting people, and doing a mission when you feel like it.” Another boy added, “And you can be a good guy and a bad guy at the same time!”
Parents may worry that if their child enjoys playing a thug in Grand Theft Auto IV, it might inspire similar behavior in the real world. “In focus groups, boys told us repeatedly that they liked the ‘unreality’ of games such as GTA,” says Kutner. “As one said, ‘You get to see something that, hopefully, will never happen to you. So you want to experience it a little bit without actually being there.’”

What can parents do to monitor game play and minimize problems?
* Get familiar with the content of the game. Parents can find plot details, screenshots, videos and reviews at WhatTheyPlay.com and CommonSenseMedia.org, or at web sites aimed at game players such as Gamespot.com.
* Talk with your child about aspects of the game you like (such as humor), and aspects that offend you or go against your values.
* Keep video game consoles in common areas, such as the living room. Game consoles in bedrooms are associated with more M-rated game play. This also allows parents to monitor game content over time; objectionable behavior or language may not appear until higher levels of the game.
* Ask older children and adult relatives to keep an eye on their games. M-rated game play is more common among children who often play with older siblings.
Because GTA games are so flexible, watching how children choose to play may give insights into their thoughts and feelings. “Our research found that many children play Grand Theft Auto to deal with stress or get out anger; others enjoy competing with friends,” says Olson. If your child seems more angry or stressed after playing a violent game, consider locking the game away until he or she is older.
For more information for parents, see <http://www.grandtheftchildhood.com/>.

About the Massachusetts General Hospital Founded in 1811, the MGH is the third oldest general hospital in the United States and the oldest and largest in New England. The 900-bed medical center offers sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic care in virtually every specialty and subspecialty of medicine and surgery. Each year the MGH admits more than 46,000 inpatients and handles nearly 1.5 million outpatient visits at its main campus and health centers. Its Emergency Department records nearly 80,000 visits annually. The surgical staff performs more than 35,000 operations and the MGH Vincent Obstetrics Service delivers more than 3,500 babies each year. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the country, with an annual research budget of more than $500 million. It is the oldest and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, where nearly all MGH staff physicians serve on the faculty. The MGH is consistently ranked among the nation’s top hospitals by US News and World Report

Monday, April 28, 2008

CONTEST: Enter to Win A Barney Let's Go To the Beach DVD

Bay State Parent magazine and HIT Entertainment has teamed up for an exclusive contest for our readers. Four readers will each win a copy of the Barney: Let's Go To the Beach DVD. ( 2007, $14.99) Let's Go To the Beach with Barney and his pals BJ and Baby Bop with this awesome DVD, if you child is a fan of Barney! When Barney and his friends go to the beach, the group discovers all sorts of tee-rific things to do! From flying kites to wind-surfing to a trip in a sailboat, join Barney for all sorts of fun-in-the-sun activities. For a dino-mite day, by the ocean or the bay, Let's Go to the Beach with Barney! BONUS DVD features include Barney's Jukebox, Build a Sandcastle, and Barney's Sea Shell Mix up.
To enter, fill out the survey at http://www.baystateparent.com/common/entry_form.html. Don't forget to select the Barney beach DVD in the pulldown bar. The deadline to enter is June 30 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Contest is open to Massachusetts residents only. Winners names and hometown will be posted on this blog. DVDs will be mailed to winners.

Saturday, May 3: International family Fun in Framingham

This Saturday, May 3 spend the day with the whole family at the Framingham Public Library.
At 10:30 a.m., Deraldo Ferreira and the Afro-Brazilian Ensemble presents a high-energy, all-ages Capoeira program that combines Brazilian martial arts, dance, and music. Maestro Ferreira is joined by two other capoeiristas in this dynamic and culturally rich performance.
Then at 2 p.m., International storyteller Valerie Tutson brings stories to life with her energetic and captivating performance of myths and folktales indigenous to Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas.
Both programs are sponsored by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Framingham Cultural Council.
Visit the Web site for a complete list of spring events. www.framinghamlibrary.org

Friday, may 2: Family Fun at the Farm

On Friday May 2, Mass Audubon will celebrate all its spring births at Drumlin Farm. From the squealing piglets and peeping chicks to the leaping lambs, the farm is abuzz with all things spring. New this year are the calves, born just a few weeks ago. And it’s not just about the animals, come learn about veggie babies and insect babies too! The event will feature a passport for collecting stamps at our many learning stations and a surprise treat to decorate and eat.

The farm will close to all visitors at 3:30 p.m. and re-open at 4 p.m. for the special Bringing Up Baby event, which runs until 6 p.m.
Pre-registration is suggested but not required.Please call 781-259-2206 to register.
Admission is $10 for members and $12 for non-members. Children under 3 are admitted free.

Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Mass Audubon’s only working educational farm, practices sustainable farming that supports native habitat. As a leader in environmental education, the sanctuary strives to build awareness of the interdependence among people, land, and wildlife. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary is located at 208 South Great Road (Rt. 117) in Lincoln. To learn more about our programs, call 781.259.2200 or visit http://www.massaudubon.org/drumlinfarm.

Mass Audubon works to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and wildlife. Together with more than 100,000 members, we care for 33,000 acres of conservation land, provide educational programs for 200,000 children and adults annually, and advocate for sound environmental policies at local, state, and federal levels. Mass Audubon’s mission and actions have expanded since our beginning in 1896 when our founders set out to stop the slaughter of birds for use on women’s fashions. Today we are the largest conservation organization in New England. Our statewide network of 45 wildlife sanctuaries welcomes visitors of all ages and serves as the base for our conservation, education, and advocacy work. To support these important efforts, call 800-AUDUBON (283-8266) or visit www.massaudubon.org.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Things to Do on Saturday: April 26

Daffodil Days. Long Hill, Beverly. 10 - 11:30 a.m. Experience Sedgwick Gardens in early spring bloom. Walk among carpets of spring bulbs and more. Bring home a daffodil. Great for families. A$5, C free NM. Pre-register. 978-921-1944 x 8815.

Family Day: Art in Bloom. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Nearly 60 New England garden clubs create vibrant floral interpretations of works from the Museum's collection, from Asian sculptures to world-renowned European paintings. Lively programs include demonstrations, illustrated lectures, guided tours, and master classes. Also kid-friendly tours at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m., performances, and nature/flower-related activities for children. Artful yoga, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Kids can also design stained glass flowers, have sidewalk chalk fun, and take a family nature walk. A$17, St. (7-17) $6.50, ages 6 and under free. 617-369-3169. http://www.mfa.org/. Also April 27, 28, and 29.

Robots. Boston Children's Museum. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Join the champion Quincy FIRST Robotics Team and learn how to build or drive a robot. A$10, C (2-15) $8, C (1) $2, Under 1 free. 617-426-8855. http://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/.

Play Dates at the ICA:Good Theater Cheap. The Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave., Boston. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Held on the last Sat. of each month. Make your own theater props and join the Rough and Tumble theater group on stage and throughout the building. Performance by Rough and Tumble Theater at 12 p.m. (tickets are free but first-come, first-served in the main lobby). Guerrilla performances throughout the day. Free to families the last Sat. of each month. Contact ICA for details. 617-478-3100 or http://www.icaboston.org/.

The National Day of Puppetry. Puppet Showplace Theatre, Brookline. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Performance of Snow White and Other Tales, 1 & 3 p.m. $10pp for the show. The Boston Area Guild of Puppetry and the Puppet Showplace Theatre will present workshops and demonstrations free of charge. 617-731-6400. http://www.puppetshowplace.org/.

2nd Annual Cambridge Science Festival. MIT Museum, Corner of Amherst & Ames Streets, Cambridge. Runs through May 4th. All morning thru evening throughout the city. A celebration of science and technology, the first science festival of its kind in the United States. There's something for everyone including creative exhibits, plays, animals, robots, concerts, lectures, debates, demonstrations, a 50ft inflatable whale, a 2-mile genome trail, and more.Most events are free. 617-258-9109. museum@mit.edu. For a complete schedule of events, visit http://www.cambridgesciencefestival.org/.

10th Annual Boston College Arts Festival. Boston College, Chestnut Hill. Children's activities today.

"Welcome to Our Home" A Living History Tour. Orchard House, Home of Louisa May Alcott, Concord. 4:45- 5:45 p.m. Take a trip to the past on this interactive tour with an expert, authentically costumed guide portraying an Alcott family member or one of their famous friends. Hear fascinating anecdotes and learn first-hand about their lives and times. A$12, C (6-17) $8, C (2- 6) $4. Family Rate (2A/2C) $30. Reservations: 978-369-4118 x106.

Free Earth Day Festival. Garden in the Woods, New England Wildflower Society, 180 Hemenway Rd., Framingham. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Animal shows and festivities. 508-877-7630. http://www.newfs.org/.

Records and Burpee traveling Children's Zoo. Pinefield Plaza, 1 Nicolas Rd., Framingham. .

Celebration of Spring. Weir River Farm, Hingham.10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Welcome the new growing season and watch as sheep are sheared. $3NM. 781-740-7233.

Weather Wonders. Providence Children's Museum, Providence, RI. 1 - 4 p.m. Ages 5 - 11. Families track the "April showers" and learn about wild weather with Channel 12 meteorologist Tony Petrarca and the Pinpoint Weather Mobile. $6.50pp. 401-273-KIDS or http://www.childrenmuseum.org/.

Origami Now! Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. 11:30 - 5 p.m. Artist demonstration, drop-in art activities and workshops. Reservations req. for some activities. Visit http://www.pem.org/ for details. A$15, Sr. $13, St., $11, (C 16 and under) free. 866-745-1876.

Charles River Cleanup. Cedariver, Millis; Moody Street Bridge, Waltham. Times TBA. Pre-register: 508-785-0339

Thursday, April 24, 2008

WEEKEND PICK: 2nd Annual Cambridge Science Festival

This weekend, make plans to attend the 2nd Annual Cambridge Science Festival, which runs through May 4 at the MIT Museum in Cambridge.
This celebration of science and technology is the first science festival of its kind in the United States.
There's something for everyone including creative exhibits, plays, animals, robots, concerts, lectures, debates, demonstrations, a 50-foot inflatable whale, a 2-mile genome trail, and more. Most events are free.
For a complete schedule of events, visit www.cambridgesciencefestival.org.

WEEKEND PICK: Sunday's Walk Benefits Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts

This Sunday, April 27 consider taking part in The Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts' 2008 Community Walk for Autism Awareness from 1 to 3 p.m.
To register, visit www. arccm.org/reg08.pdf
The event will be held rain or shine at Quinsigamond Park in Worcester.
April is National Autism Awareness Month, and the organization is also hosting a family celebration that day from 3 to 5 p.m.
For more information visit http://www.arccm.org/

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Contest: Opportunity to Sing at Fenway Park and to sing National Anthem at a Lowell Spinners Game

The Lowell Spinners are hosting Spinners Idol on Wednesday, May 7 and Thursday, May 15 at the Skybox Restaurant in Tewksbury.
The winner will have the opportunity to sing at Fenway Park before the "Futures at Fenway Game" on Saturday, August 9 and have the opportunity to perform the National Anthem prior to the 2008 Lowell Spinners opening night.
On top of both of those prizes the winner will receive complimentary studio time and a free demo tape from MusicBall Entertainment in Boston.
Additionally, all “Spinners Idol” finalists will be invited to sing the National Anthem prior to a 2008 Spinners home game.
To register for a time-slot, candidates must return the registration form posted at the Lowell Spinners website (www.lowellspinners.com).
The first 50 registrations for each night will be given the chance to audition. Each contestant may only audition once.
At this time, there is already 30+ people registered for each night, so don't wait to register.
It is free, but the organization CAN NOT accommodate more than 50 people per night, due to time constraints.

EDY's Ice Cream SCOOP DAY on Saturday, May 3 Benefits Jimmy Fund

WHAT: Scoop Day: Treat yourself to EDY’s® winning American Idol ice cream flavor and limited-edition CD at participating Stop & Shop stores and support fight against childhood cancer
WHEN: Saturday, May 3
WHERE: Participating Stop & Shop stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, & Rhode Island
DETAILS: Donate $1 for a scoop of SLOW CHURNED® ice cream or $3 for scoop of SLOW CHURNED ice cream and a CD of former American Idol performers, and EDY’s will donate 100 percent of the proceeds and $25,000 to children’s cancer research. Participants will be able to treat themselves to a scoop of Take the Cake yellow cake flavored light ice cream with frosting swirls and multicolored sprinkles. American Idol CD features 8 full-length previously unreleased tracks from Kimberly Caldwell, Chris Richardson, and others
EDY’s will donate all proceeds from Boston and New England area Stop & Shop stores to The Jimmy Fund.

WEEKEND PICK: Earth Day Saturday at Garden in the Woods

Celebrate Earth Day Saturday, April 26 with New England Wild Flower Society and Garden in the Woods from 1- a.m. to 4 p.m.
This FREE event for families features a fresh breath of spring at Garden in the Woods, with guided tours every half hour of the magnificent Garden filled with emerging spring wildflowers and ferns. Go on the “Signs of Spring” Scavenger Hunt for all ages. Purchase native plants, gifts and books. Membership helps to protect the environment and members receive discounts and unlimited free admission to Garden in the Woods.
Meet MOTHER NATURE and learn to juggle as she does from 10 to 10:30 a.m.
From 11 a.m. to noon, enjoy a LIVE animal show from Jungle Encounters and meet an African fox, ringtail cat, hedgehog, chinchilla, and a Patagonian cavy.
Attend “Animal Adventures” from 1 to 2 p.m. to meet a giant anaconda and a 6-foot long monitor lizard.
From 3 to 4 p.m., don’t miss the exciting Rain Forest Reptile Show, which includes a monitor lizard, 7-foot boa constrictor, red-foot tortoise, and 3-foot alligator.
New this year ─ Visit the “Green Way” and learn how to make sustainable choices with recycling games for all ages. Meet some amazing recycling worms who help the environment. Encounter organizations at the Green Way exhibits committed to good environmental practices. Have your face painted and say “hello” to costumed creatures such as Ant Mini, Dani the Monarch Butterfly, and Dottie the Ladybug, welcoming everyone to a day of exciting family activities. They’ll introduce the upcoming BIG BUGS exhibit and web-of-life extravaganza opening July 12, featuring live “BEETLES” music at the opening, and 13 GIANT bugs throughout the show.

Admission and programs are FREE.
Seats for live animal shows are on a first-come basis, one performance per family; rain or shine. Sign up early to ensure admission to a specific show.
New England Wild Flower Society’s Garden in the Woods, 180 Hemenway Road, Framingham. For additional information visit www.newenglandWILD.org.

Special Princess Lunch Cruise Saturday, April 26 Aboard the Spirit of Boston

The Spirit of Boston is offering a special cruise on Saturday, April 26 for little princesses.
Every little princess will want to wear her prettiest princess dress on this very special Princess Lunch Cruise. Join Cinderella and her princess friends for a royal afternoon of dancing, dining and fun. Don’t forget your camera. There are sure to be magical moments to capture forever.
Characters Provided by: Characters4Kids plus a DJ for Dancing•
Boarding: 11 a.m.
Cruising: noon to 2 p.m.
Cost: $30.90 per adult & $15.90 age 3-11 (prices does not include tax)
PRINCESS LUNCH CRUISE MENU: Open Juice & Soda bar • Tossed Garden Salad• Vegetables with dip• Pizza • Chicken Tenders • Mac & Cheese • Dessert

Call 866.310.2469 or Make Reservations Online! The cruise is booking quickly.
For additional information visit, http://www.spiritofboston.com/bo/special_cruises.jsp

WEEKEND PICK: Sunday's Walk Benefits Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts

This Sunday, April 27 consider taking part in The Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts' 2008 Community Walk for Autism Awareness today from 1 to 3 p.m.
To register, visit www. arccm.org/reg08.pdf
The event will be held rain or shine at Quinsigamond Park in Worcester.
April is National Autism Awareness Month, and the organization is also hosting a family celebration that day from 3 to 5 p.m.
For more information visit http://www.arccm.org/

10th Annual Boston College Arts Festival

Thursday, April 24 through Saturday, April 26: The 10th Annual Boston College Arts Festival will be held at the Chestnut Hill campus from noon - 10 p.m. Explore exhibitions and demonstrations in photography, ceramics, painting and drawing. Enjoy performances in Shakespeare to contemporary theater as well as ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, Irish dance, swing dance and much more. Events for all ages, including special children's activities on Saturday.
Free admission.
For a complete schedule visit http://www.bc.edu/offices/artscouncil/festival/schedulecurrent.html
Saturday, offers special family events.
Some of the events include:
O'Neill Plaza at noon: Kids Carnival Parade
The Boston College Marching Band will lead kids on a parade around campus!
O'Neill Plaza from noon to 4 p.m.: Arts 'n' Crafts
Cookie Decorating, Face Painting, Sidewalk chalk, Coloring contest, and more!
Gasson Hall at 1 p.m.: Children's Story Hour for preschool and elementary students.
Gasson Hall at 1 p.m.: Meet Author Mike Lupica
Young adult novelist and best-selling author Mike Lupica )Boston College Graduate 1974) talks about his books, his ideas, and his career as a sportswriter. A book signing will follow the discussion.
O'Neill Plaza at noon: Boston College Marching Band
The BC Marching Band will entertain you with some of your favorite songs from BC football games. Then join the parade as the Marching Band takes a short trip around campus!
O'Neill Plaza at 12:15: Dance Showcase*
In one of our most popular events, thirteen dance ensembles and intercultural groups will present ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, swing, step, and hip-hop along with Irish, Latin, African, Japanese, Philippine, and other traditional dances.
O'Neill Plaza at 1:15 p.m.: A cappella Showcase: The Bostonians and The Heightsmen
The Bostonians are BC's oldest a cappella group. For twenty-one crazy years, they've been making music, traveling from coast to coast, and having a whole lot of fun along the way. Their classic co-ed sound has been heard from Mexico to Montreal and on eight studio recorded albums. Sit back, relax and enjoy their unique brand of modern a cappella. The Heightsmen is Boston College's only all-male a cappella group - dedicated to musical excellence and brotherhood. Founded in 1990, they have established themselves as a prominent musical group on the BC campus, while maintaining a diverse musical repertoire and entertaining fans throughout the world.
O'Neill Plaza at 2 p.m.: The Emperor's New Clothes
BC's Creative Dramatics class presents a live performance of The Emperor's New Clothes. This play is most appropriate for children ages 7 and older.
O'Neill Plaza at 3 p.m.: Dance Showcase*
In one of our most popular events, thirteen dance ensembles and intercultural groups will present ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, swing, step, and hip-hop along with Irish, Latin, African, Japanese, Philippine, and other traditional dances.
Gasson Honors Library at 3;30 p.m.: Voices of Imani Gospel Choir - New Fisk Jubilee Singers
This small choral group is based on the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a group of nine men and women who were former slaves or children of slaves and began singing together at Fisk University in Nashville during the late 19th century. The original Fisk Jubilee Singers are credited with first introducing African music in America, and Professor Hubert Walters (Director of Voices of Imani) has assembled this group as a contemporary remembrance of this very old tradition.

Earth Day Celebration in Topsfield on Sunday, April 27

Continue the celebration of Earth Day and connect with nature this Sunday, April 27 at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield. There will be ongoing activities from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. including:
* Join one of the sanctuary docents at a vernal pool to look for frogs, salamanders, and their eggs.
* Observe nesting bluebirds and tree swallows through our spotting scope, and talk with our docent to learn how you can attract these beautiful birds to your yard.
* Guided Nature Walks: These walks are FREE to members and and to nonmembers with regular admission - and last about 60 minutes.)
* 11 a.m. Observation Tower at Bunker Meadows: Take a walk to the observation tower at Bunker Meadows to look for waterfowl, herons, egrets, and more wetland wildlife.
* 1 p.m. Rockery Pond: Walk here to discover beaver lodges and dams!

For more information visit www.massaudubon.org/ipswichriver

Walk/RunTo Benefit Middleboro-based School on May 3

The Samuel Fuller School is hosting a 5k walk/run and a 10k run at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 3, 2008. The race celebrates the opening of the new Samuel Fuller School and also serves as a fundraiser for scholarships. Both the 5k and 10k have the same start and finish: the pastoral First Congregational meeting house which was built in 1828 and has been newly refurbished this past year.
For those avid – or not so avid - runners out there, this is a diverse and exciting course that begins and ends at the First Congregational Church in Middleboro and winds through some beautiful woodlands. The race is a true cross country course that runs largely through the Pratt Farm in town. It is a great chance to add a little diversity to your spring/summer running schedule or to just get outside and enjoy the day while supporting a worthy cause.
Food and live music will be at the finish line. The board of the school will be available after the race to share information about the school and show off their model classroom.
The fee to register is $18 for the 5K and $20 for the 10K. Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in several age brackets for men and women.
To pre-register for the race log on to www.samuelfullerschool.com or register in person at 9 a.m. on May 3.
The 5K and 10K races are sponsored by: Cranberry Chiropractic of Middleborough; Dr. Stephen Couet of East Grove Family Dental in Middleborough; Hometown Mortgage of Middleborough; R. A. Jackson Plumbing & Heating of Middleborough; Shotgunflat Creative Agency of Middleborough; Topnotch Design Studio in Easton and Winberg's True Value in Lakeville.

About the Samuel Fuller School: Opening in September 2008, Samuel Fuller School will begin with grades K through 3 and add a grade each year thereafter. Classes will be held in the Christian Education Building of the First Congregational Church, 6 Plympton Street, Middleborough, Mass.For additional information about the race or the school, contact Samuel Fuller School, 508-715-4256, info@samuelfullerschool.org or visit www.samuelfullerschool.org.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Saturday, April 26 is Brookline Day of Puppetry

Town of Brookline’s Board of Selectmen has declared Saturday, April 26, as “Brookline Day of Puppetry.”
This proclamation was requested by the Sarah Lamstein, Board President of the Puppet Showplace Theatre, and John Lechner, President of the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry.
The Puppet Showplace Theatre and the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry will present a community event on April 26 in celebration of the 10th Annual National Day of Puppetry. The event will take place at the Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brookline Village from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The National Day of Puppetry was instituted by the Puppeteers of America in 1998 with the purpose of promoting and elevating the art of puppetry through awareness and education.
The Pupper Showplace Theatre and the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry are proud to receive this endorsement and recognition from Town officials. As well, both organizations are honored to have received support for the event from the Brookline Commission for the Arts, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, as state agency. The Day of Puppetry is also sponsored by local businesses, including Inner Space, Chobee Hoy Associates Real Estate, Dr. Haleh Azar, Ligris & Associates LLP, Urban Realty, Whole Foods Market, and Feet of Clay Studios.
Free workshops, demonstrations, and hands-on activities in the art of puppetry will be presented throughout the day. Two performances of the award winning Perry Alley Theatre’s Snow White & Other Tales will be presented at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets for these performances are $10 general admission, $8 for PST members.
The Brookline Day of Puppetry activities are designed for families with children ages 3-10.
Reservations for the performances are strongly recommended. The Puppet Showplace Theatre is located at 32 Station Street, Brookline across from the Brookline Village T Stop on the
Green D Line and is wheelchair accessible.

Child Safety Seat Event in Auburn

This week, through Saturday, April 26 Fuller Auto Body, SpeeDee Oil Change at 505 Washington Street (Route 20) in Auburn is hosting a Child Safety Seat event in conjunction with the Auburn Police Department. (www.fullerautomotive.com)
From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekkdays and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
On Friday from noon to 2 p.m., meet Twister from the Tornadoes.
Saturday, free Hot Dogs & Refreshments for lunch.
Enter to win Red Sox and Tornadoes tickets and a Catered Clam Bake for 10!
This is a free event. For more information call 508-832-6352.

Monday, April 21, 2008

School Vacation Events at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is hosting the Cogan Family Foundation Vacation Week Adventures during school vacation week, Tuesday, April 22 through Friday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There are several family workshops, stories, and gallery talks. Activities include printmaking, calligraphy, and stamping.

Meet local artist and author Clair Walker Leslie as she demonstrates drawing techniques in an interactive workshop for families.

Join a story hour or a family gallery talk led by Museum educators, and participate in a paper-making workshop with SMFA students.

All vacation week activities are free with admission.

Art-Making Activities

Screens, Fans, and Calligraphy: Oh My! 10 a.m. t 4 p.m.

Searching and Stamping 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Printmaking 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Special Events

Story Hour 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.

Discovery Tours noon

Paper-Making Workshop 3 p.m.

Drawing Workshop 1:30 p.m. (except Tuesday)

For even more specifics on family-friendly activities and events, visit: http://www.mfa.org/calendar/sub.asp?key=12&subkey=63

To plan your visit to the museum, visit http://www.mfa.org/visit/index.asp?key=3

Celebrate Earth Day at the Boston Children's Museum on Tuesday

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY AT BOSTON CHILDREN’S MUSEUM tomorrow, Tuesday, April 22. Festivities kick off Green at Home Fairs sponsored by National Grid
Join us as we celebrate Earth Day 2008, the first Green at Home Fair at Boston Children’s Museum.
Families will have a chance to explore animal habitats, learn about water quality testing, decorate reusable bags, and learn how to pack a waste-free lunch. Visitors will also be able to hear stories about the environment and tree planting. Jim Hunt, Chief of Environment and Energy for the City of Boston, will attend.
BONUS: Each family that visits the museum on Earth Day will receive a tree as they leave, along with information about proper tree care. Boston Children’s Museum will be giving away 1,500 trees in all.
Sponsored by National Grid, Green at Home is a series of “green fairs” that educate visitors about the ways they can decrease their impact on the environment. Earth Day event supporters include Ameriprise Financial, The Arbor Day Foundation, and IzzitGreen.

About Boston Children’s Museum Boston: Children’s Museum exists to help children understand and enjoy the world in which they live. It is a private, non-profit, educational institution that is recognized internationally as a research and development center and pacesetter for children's exhibitions, educational programs and curriculum. Boston Children’s Museum incorporates two strategies - engaging families and building communities - to impact five outcome areas for children: Creative Kids, Curious Kids, Global Kids, Green Kids and Healthy Kids. More information about Boston Children’s Museum can be found http://www.BostonChildrensMuseum.org.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

CONTEST: Win a 2-pack of Tickets to the Children's Museum in Easton

Tomorrow starts school vacation week. Nine-days with the kids home from school. If you are looking for something to do with the little ones, consider a trip to the Children's Museum in Easton. (http://www.childrensmuseumineaston.org/home.asp)
Housed in a charming Old Fire Station in historic North Easton,, the Museum offers a warm and friendly environment for children and families to explore together. Climb the fire pole, create a theatrical show in the performance center, visit The FETCH! LAB , or spend some time exploring The Wild Place, the Museum's new Outdoor Learning Center .

Bay State Parent magazine and the Museum have teamed up for a School Vacation Contest. Four winners will each receive 2 free tickets to the museum ($12 value).

To enter:
Send an e-mail to editor@baystateparent.com
Put Easton Museum Contest in the slug.
Inside the e-mail, provide your:
e-mail address
tell us your favorite feature in Bay State Parent magazine and where you pick up the magazine.

DEADLINE EXTENDED to Saturday, May 3 at 11: 59 p.m.
Winners will be e-mailed and announced on this blog.
Tickets can be picked up at the Museum with an ID.

For more information about the museum, including hours and directions, visit: http://www.childrensmuseumineaston.org/PlanYourVisit.asp

WEEKEND PICK: Consider a Day Trip to Davis' Farmland

Today is Opening Day at Davis' Farmland. This Sterling attraction for children is one of my favorites. Admission is $13.95 for those age 2-59 and $10.95 for those 60 and older. The farm offers half price admission after 2 p.m. on weekdays in April & May and host special events on many weekends. The farm is open to 5 p.m. most days through the end of the school year, and then switches to summer hours.
For more information visit: http://davisfarmland.com/new-site/guest_info.html
For special events, check out their calendar at: http://davisfarmland.com/new-site/events_apples.html

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Massachusetts is One of The Best States for Children

Massachusetts is the second best state in the nation for U.S. children, based on a diverse set of 10 child well-being standards, including lack of access to prenatal care, premature deaths, malnutrition, poverty, child abuse and teen incarceration, according to a major new report released by the non-profit and non-partisan Every Child Matters Education Fund.
In revealing a nation that is starkly divided with what are often "deadly differences" in how it treats its youths, the report shows "geography matters" greatly when it comes to the ability of U.S. children to be healthy and survive to adulthood.
For example, children in the bottom of all the states are three times more likely to die before the age of 14; five times more likely to be uninsured; and eight times more likely to be incarcerated as teens.
The states with the best performance for children are (in order) Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, & Maine.
In fact, all 6 New England states made the top 10, making it the best region in America for children.
In Massachusetts. there are 1,458,036 children under age 18.
According to the Fund's report, here is the Bay State's ranking in the categories:

Deaths of infants per 1,000 live births -- #4
Deaths per 100,000 Children Aged 1-14 -- #2
Deaths per 100,000 Teens Aged 15-19 -- #4
Births to Teen Mothers (15-19) per 1,000 Teen Girls -- #3
Births to Women Receiving Late or No Prenatal Care --#6
Children Living in Poverty --#5
Uninsured Children - #11
Juvenile Incarceration Rate (per 100,000) -- #12
Child Abuse Fatalities per 100,000 Children -- #6
Per Capita Child Welfare Expenditures -- #7
Child Vulnerability Index -- #2

To read the entire report, visit: http://www.everychildmatters.org/homelandinsecurity/index_geomatters.html

The Every Child Matters Education Fund (ECMEF) is a 501(c)(3) organization focused on making the needs of children and youth a national political priority and promoting the adoption of smart policies for children, youth, and families-including stopping child abuse, helping working families with child care, expanding pre-school education and after-school programs, and ensuring that children receive good health care.

WEEKEND PICK: Earth Day Celebration at The Roger William Zoo in Providence, R.I.

Celebrate Earth Day in Providence, R.I. at the Roger Williams Zoo on Sunday, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There is an Environmental Fair with themed displays, giveaways, and demos from local environmental organizations
Ten31 Productions giant butterfly puppet, from noon to 2 p.m.
Peace Flag Project: Create your own peace flag with your personal wish for the planet, from 11 a.m. t 1 p.m.
Environmentally themed chalk art drawing by Michael Macaulay
Environmentally themed tape art mural by the TapeArt Group
Will Machin, Environmental Artist, will run demos on how to make birdhouses from found objects
Animal Encounters - 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. in Australasia
Year of the Frog Education Station on the Wetlands trail, weather permitting (indoor location TBD). What is Year of the Frog? Click here to learn more.
Hear a talk by Lou Perrotti, RWP Zoo's Conservation Coordinator, at 1 p.m. about the amphibian crisis and what we are doing to help.
"How the Zoo Recycles" by our building & grounds crew; noon to 2 p.m.
Watch a Conservation Connection recycling skit by the WILD Bunch on the Farmyard stage at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Check out the animal enrichment program:
10 a.m.: Moon Bears & Snow Leopards
11 a.m.: Wild Dogs
noon: tropics
1 p.m.: Gibbons
2 p.m.: Elephants
3 p.m.: Kangaroos & Emus

The Roger Williams Zoo is visited by more than 650,000 people annually and is the state's #1 tourist attraction. The zoo is open every day except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving. It is conveniently off exit 16 off interstate I-95, about one hour from Boston or Worcester. General admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children (3-12) and $8 for seniors (62+). For additional information visit: http://www.rwpzoo.org/visit/main.cfm

WEEKEND PICK: Spitballs, Paper Dolls & Cut-Ups Event Saturday

Saturday, April 19, consider dropping into the the Worcester Center for Crafts' family fun event, Spitballs, Paper Dolls, & Cut-Ups, any time from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Explore contemporary and traditional techniques in paper craft all with an eye for the recycled. Try paper making, folding, cutting, and making mosaic murals from recycled paper, furniture from cardboard as well as creating paper jewels and designer paper clothes.
Step inside a recycling truck for a bird's eye view of how Worcester recycles.
Learn about conserving natural resources from Mass Audubon's Broadmeadow Brook.
For more information about this free day, visit www.worcestercraftcenter.org

Coco Key Water Resort Springs Into Charity Event for Katie's Big Give

This week (through April 18) Coco Key Water Resort at the Sheraton Ferncroft/Boston is offering a special daily admission ticket of $30 per person. By purchasing one of these tickets, during the designated dates, 5% of gross ticket sales will be donated to Katie's Big Give's charity Why Me in Worcester (www.whyme.org.) an organization that was conceived and created by 13-year-old Sherry Shepherd during her four year struggle with cancer. She wanted to lift the spirits of her fellow child cancer patients as a means to ease their suffering and isolation.
Since 1985, Why Me has provided hundreds of CENTRAL NEW ENGLAND children and families with the emotional and financial support they need to fight cancer. With the completion of Sherry's House, the Why Me organization is now able to provide eight bedrooms for families whose child is receiving treatment at Umass Medical Center in Worcester or at Boston area hospitals.
To learn more visit www.whyme.org or www.katiesbiggive.com.

Congrats to Our No Child Left Inside Contest Winners

Congrats to:
Heather Fernald of Westford & Leslie Genova of Melrose

They are the winners of Bay State Parent magazine's
NO Child Left Inside contest. Each will receive a copy of Bill Thompson III's Peterson Field Guides' The Young Birder's Guide to Birds of Eastern North America book.

Congrats to everyone who entered the contest and thanks to Houghton Mifflin Company for generously giving the magazine two copies of Thompson's book for the contest.

Thompson spoke at Harvard University's Museum of Natural History on Sunday.
Like so many parents, Thompson, who is editor of Bird Watcher's Digest, was worried that his kids were not getting outside enough. How could he open their minds to the world outside the window? In writing this book, Thompson found the answer to that question. He spent three years working with his daughter Phoebe's elementary-school class to create The Young Birder's Guide.
The book, written for children ages 8 to 12, is kid-friendly and meant to be durable enough to carry outdoors. The book highlights 200 of the most common birds in eastern North America. Each species is engagingly described on a full page that is jam-packed with information. There are 300 color photographs, 200 black-and-white line drawings, and easy-to-read range map and lots of facts!
There is even a box at the bottom of each page for a child to check off they discovered the bird and to write when and where.
The book is not yet available to the public. Its release date is April 30. It retails for $14.95
To pre-order visit: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Young-Birders-Guide-to-Birds-of-Eastern-North-America/Bill-Thompson-III/e/9780547119342/?itm=1

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

May 3: American Idol Finalist To Sing At Autism Benefit Concert

The Autism non-profit organization, The Friendship Network for Children, Inc., will host a benefit concert with guest performer 2006 American Idol contestant Ayla Brown. The Saturday, May 3 concert features Alexis Ohanian, experienced vocalist and Massachusetts native, and other New England musicians, too . The concert runs from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Medway High's theater and is made possible with the support of the Medway Public School’s Special Education Parent Advisory Council. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at http://www.networkforchildren.org/ Red Sox memorabilia, gift baskets, and gift certificates will be given away as door prizes. There will be meet and greet time with Ayla Brown, too.
“We want to do more than just raise money,” says Nancy Swanberg, Founder and Executive Director of The Friendship Network. “We want to raise awareness of the emotional world of children with autism. Many interventions try to correct symptoms without regard to feelings; we take the whole child into consideration.” Swanberg said she founded this organization because of the extreme loneliness and isolation that often goes untreated in children with autism.
Alexis Ohanian, music therapist at The Friendship Network, explains the need for this concert. “Working here, I have seen first-hand the confusion of the children when they first arrive. After working with them, I see their quality of life dramatically improve.”
Ohanian said she is happy to use her singing to support a cause she deeply believes in.
For additional information on The Friendship Network for Children, to buy concert tickets, or make a donation, visit http://www.networkforchildren.org/

About The Friendship Network for Children, Inc: An award-winning non-profit organization in Central Massachusetts serving children with autism, families, and professionals.

Rally for Rett Fundraiser on Saturday

Rally for Rett in Worcester: Fundraiser to benefit Children's Hospital Boston's Rett Syndrome Program

When: Saturday April 19th, 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Where: Beechwood Hotel, Worcester
What: Silent Auction, Children's Auction, Hors d'oeuvres & Great Swing Music by Red Riders with swing dance demonstration
Why: Near Christmas of 2005, at age 18 months, a girl named Lillian was diagnosed with a debilitating neurological disorder called Rett Syndrome. There were no experts or specialist available locally … until now. Families on the East Coast of the US & Canada needed a clinic to help manage the day to day medical and developmental difficulties that girls with RS face. That need was met by the new Rett Syndrome Project at Children's Hospital Boston, which began operation September of 2006. The project targets the treatment and support of the sufferers of Rett Syndrome and their families as well as the advancement of clinical, medical and scientific research with the long-range goals of symptom remediation and cure for this most debilitating disease Please join the Courtney family for cocktails & fabulous hors d'oeuvres, live swing music, dancers and an inspired silent auction as we raise money to directly support the Rett Syndrome Project.
Cost: $50 per person
Contact for Tickets or Donations: Leslie or Pat Courtney 508-757-9952 or patandleslie@charter.net

About Rett Syndrome: Rett Syndrome (RTT) is a debilitating neurological disorder diagnosed almost exclusively in females. Children with RTT appear to develop normally until 6 to 18 months of age when they enter a period of regression, typically losing speech and motor skills. Most develop repetitive hand movements, irregular breathing patterns, seizures, gastro-intestinal problems and extreme motor control problems. RTT leaves its victims profoundly disabled, requiring maximum assistance with every aspect of daily living. There is no cure. http://www.rettsyndrome.org/ and for event info: http://rettsyndromemass.org/events.aspx

Monday, April 14, 2008

May 4: Champagne Shopping Brunch to Benefit The Ellie Fund

When you Celebrate the Women in Your Life this Mother's Day, you'll also be fighting Breast Cancer!
Donate $25 to The Ellie Fund (www.elliefund.org) in honor of a special woman in your life and this fabulous organization will send a beautiful card acknowledging your donation.
PLUS, you'll also receive two tickets to The Ellie Fund's exclusive Neiman Marcus Champagne Shopping Brunch on May 4 from 10 a.m. to noon. The May 4th event includes complimentary brunch hors d'oeuvres, champagne, makeovers, personal shopping, gift bags, and fabulous raffle prizes.
And best of all, 100% of the proceeds will benefit The Ellie Fund's Care for the Caregiver program.
This private party is being held before the store opens to the public at Noon. There is free parking outside the Neiman Marcus Natick Collection front entrance and in the parking garage below the building.

Click here to make your donation OR mail check made out to The Ellie Fund to 475 Hillside Avenue, Needham, MA 02494 (Donations must be received by May 2 in order to receive card by May 11.)
Additional tickets are available in advance by clicking here.
Please note that tickets will not be mailed.
After making a donation, you will receive a thank you e-mail asking that you RSVP for the event, which will guarantee that your name is placed on the guest list at the door.
(Reservations are transferable and we can change the name on the list in advance at your request.)
If you have questions, please e-mail info@elliefund.org

Earth day Events at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln on April 20

Come Celebrate Earth Day at Drumlin Farm!
Think Globally, Act Locally!

Drumlin Farm in Lincoln is celebrating Earth Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 20. Test your Eco-IQ with fun crafts, games, and scavenger hunts; play in our solar sculpture garden; taste some locally-grown farm treats; see our native plants and animals up close; and experiment with ideas for green living for both kids and adults. With your help, we can preserve the nature of Massachusetts, and our planet!
All Day
Play in the solar sculpture garden, featuring our new kinetic sculpture by Greg Curci (funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative)
Test your Eco-IQ with fun crafts, games, and scavenger hunts
See what native plants are sprouting in our garden and farm fields
Visit with our animals and learn how to protect the habitat of local wildlife
Look for our roving naturalists and farmers and ask them your questions

Special Programs Throughout the Day
10 a.m.: Eco Artistry:
Join us for the unveiling of our new solar kinetic sculpture and create some eco-inspired crafts to take home
10:30 a.m.: Stories in the Sun: Warm up with a story or two in the sun... or shade!
11:15 a.m.: Seeing Seedings: See, smell, and touch some of our native plants, and bring home a seedling for your own garden
11:30 a.m.: Morning Chores: Watch our farmers and wildlife care staff feed the animals and do their morning chores
noon: Cooking with the Sun: Participate in our solar oven building contest and enjoy a home-cooked morning snack (weather permitting)
1:15 p.m.: I's Not Just Dirt: Lessons in home composting and sustainable gardening
2 p.m.: Home Grown: Raising your own eco-friendly food, from veggies to chickens
2:30 p.m.: Water Water Everywhere: Visit the unique habitat of our vernal pool and other wetland areas
3:15 p.m.: Wild About Food Webs: Up close with some of our local wildlife
3:30 p.m.: Afternoon Chores: Watch our farmers and wildlife care staff feed the animals and do their afternoon chores
4:00 p.m.: Foxprints and Footprints: What can we learn from how Red Foxes limit their resource usage?

All activities are free with admission of $6 for non-member adults; $4 for non-member children (3-12) and seniors. Free for members. Event runs rain or shine.

Go On A Vernal Pool Safari on Saturday

Ipswich River, Mass Audubon's largest sanctuary, is hosting a Saturday Explorations—Vernal Pool Safari on Saturday, April 19 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The safari is for children ages 5 and older. The event will feature an afternoon walk to a vernal pool, where participants will discover what this unique habitat is all about and the interesting critters (frogs, salamanders, and more) that depend on vernal pools to complete their life cycle. Pre-registration is required. The non-member cost is $9 for adult and $7 for children.

Ipswich River, Mass Audubon’s largest sanctuary, offers more than 10 miles of interconnecting trails that invite you to explore the forests, meadows, and wetlands. Canoe along eight miles of the Ipswich River that run through the sanctuary and camp on Perkins Island, located a half-mile up the river (members can rent canoes from May through October). Members can also rent a cabin that is conveniently located close to the sanctuary’s office and program facilities and sleeps four. In April, listen for the chorus of American toads and pickerel frogs. Watch for river otters, painted turtles, and great blue herons at various times throughout the year. Climb the drumlin and esker, landscape features created by a glacier 15,000 years ago. Huge rocks and exotic trees and shrubs that were part of a former arboretum provide an adventurous walk along the Rockery Trail. This sanctuary also has restrooms, a barn, and an education center.
It is located at 87 Perkins Row, in Topsfield. For more information call 978-887-9264 or e-mail ipswichriver@massaudubon.org

sanctuary admission is $4 for non-member adults and $3 for non-member children (3-12) and seniors.

For directions, more family and child-friendly programs, and more information, visit http://www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Connection/Sanctuaries/Ipswich_River/index.php

Sunday, April 13, 2008

CHEER ON THE SOX CONTEST: Red Sox Coloring & Activity Book

Peg Connery-Boyd, a Springfield native, a mom, and an artist said when her family moved to Mystic, Conn the family's hearts still belonged to the Boston Red Sox (and always will!). Preparing for a long summer road trips with her three sons, she went looking for a coloring and activity book to keep her three boys, who love baseball, busy in the car. She said she was surprised to find that the only book of this kind was a coloring book about the History of Baseball, which was not going to keep anybody very interested for long. So, she decided to try to create a Red Sox Coloring and Activity Book. She did the illustrations, depicting all of "our" favorite players, and she recruited her nephew, Brendan Fitzgerald, a college senior at the time, to work on the project too. After a year of working on the project, they sent samples and a proposal to Major League Baseball. Miraculously, the family was licensed by Major League Baseball last spring and just in time for the start of the new season, fans can NOW order the new 2007 Red Sox Coloring and Activity Book. (See sample pages at: http://www.hawksnestpublishing.com/?q=view_red_sox)
Major League Baseball loved the idea so much they licensed the family to create books for all of Major League Baseball, so Peg and her family established the Hawk's Nest Publishing Company (http://www.hawksnestpublishing.com/) and hired other artists to do a similar book for (okay, don't get offended her, a mom needs to make a living) the Yankees and Mets.
The 64-page 2007 Edition Collectible Red Sox Coloring & Activity Book contains more than 20 pictures to color of current players and scenes from the ballpark, as well as crossword puzzles, word searches, mazes, and games about the team's players, history, and the game of baseball.

Peg has generously donated a copy of the Red Sox Coloring & Activity Book to Bay State Parent magazine.
To be eligible to win the book (an $11.95 value) please fill out the survey at http://www.baystateparent.com/common/entry_form.html
Please be sure to pull down the bar to select Red/MLB Coloring & Activity Book.
One winner will be selected and the book will be mailed to them.
Winners name will be posted on this blog in May.
Deadline to enter is April 30 at 11:59 P.m. EST.

Friday, April 11, 2008

WEEKEND PICK: Harvard Square's First Bookish Ball

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 12, from 3 to 9 p.m. consider attending The Bookish Ball: A Community Celebration of the Bookstores of Harvard Square. Pick up a FREE “Passport to Wisdom” at the First Annual Bookish Ball, a community-wide celebration of the Book Stores of Harvard Square. The Bookish Ball will feature a “Book Stroll” from 3 to 7 p.m. and A Grand Public Ball from 7 to 9 p.m. All events are free and families are encouraged to attend.
Harvard Square, a place of books, learning, and public discourse for almost 400 years, is currently celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Harvard Coop, the 75th Anniversary the Harvard Book Store, the 60th anniversary Harvard University Press Display Room, the 30th anniversary of Newbury Comics, the 25th Anniversary of The Globe Corner Bookstore and the 15th Anniversary of James and Devon Gray Booksellers. The Harvard Square Business Association is sponsoring the Bookish Ball to celebrate the significant anniversaries of our long-standing bookstores, and to honor and acknowledge the enormous importance of all of the bookstores in Harvard Square.

The Harvard Square Business Association Kiosk will be set-up in front of Holyoke Center (Forbes Plaza – 1350 Massachusetts Avenue) from 1 p.m. on Saturday to distribute the Bookish Ball “Passport to Wisdom.” The passport will feature a map of all participating Harvard Square bookstores, newsstands, and comic book stores, as well as showcase our restaurants featuring Bookish Ball menus and special offers. In addition, the passport will provide information about timed in-store author readings and performances happening in the bookstores and throughout the square. We anticipate that many stores will have special events and others will offer music and refreshments. The exact details will be published on www.harvardsquare.com in advance of the event.
Book Stroll participants will be encouraged to browse all of the bookstores and get their passbooks stamped. Stamped passports must be returned to the Kiosk by 8 p.m. the same day to be entered into the free Bookish Ball prize drawing. Prizes will include (2) Round Trip Jet Blue Tickets and a “Fabulous Shopping and Dining Spree” in Harvard Square.
Later Saturday evening, April 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. the Harvard Square Business Association will host an outdoor celebration with a stage featuring musical group The Sweet Divines, as well as a surprise host and guests, a cake-cutting ceremony, presentation of awards, and our “Passport to Wisdom” drawing.

The Bookstores and Printed Word Shops of Harvard Square:
Harvard Coop est. 1882
Harvard University Press Display Room est.1913
Grolier Poetry Book Shop est. 1927
Harvard Book Store est. 1932
Schoenhof’s Foreign Books est. 1945
Out of Town News est. 1955
The Crimson Corner est. 1962
Harvard Book & Binding Service est. 1970
Million Year Picnic est. 1974
Newbury Comics est 1978
Revolution Bookstore est.1979
The Globe Corner Book Store est. 1982
New England Comics est.1988
James and Devon Gray Books est.1992
Tokyo Kid est.1993
Curious George Goes to Wordsworth est. 1995
Lame Duck Books est. 2005
Raven Used Books est. 2005
The Papercut Zine Library est. 2005

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Advocating for A Better Children's Mental Health Plan in Massachusetts

"Children can’t vote, so they are often overlooked in the legislative process. We as pediatricians must speak for them," said MassGeneral Hospital for Children resident Anna Rosenquist, who helped organize yesterday's Residents and Fellows Day at the Massachusetts Statehouse.
At this annual event, she was joined by more than 50 residents and other physicians from Baystate Medical Center, Children's Hospital Boston, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Tufts Medical Center, and UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center. The event familarized these child health experts with the legislative process and connect them with their legislators during afternoon meetings.

Below is the reason why one resident is an advocate for better services for children:

By Catherine Aftandilian
A MassGeneral Hospital for Children Resident

"It was a Friday night, and I was partway through my shift on the inpatient pediatric unit at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children when I got the call: “We have a 15-year-old female we’re admitting to you after a suicide attempt. She’s medically stable, but we can’t find a psychiatric bed for her.”
Mary, as I’ll call her, had spent the past four days in the emergency room while numerous psychiatrists and case managers scrambled to get her admitted to a psychiatric facility that would be covered by her insurance. By Friday evening, the emergency room staff decided that they were unlikely to find a bed over the weekend, so Mary was admitted to the pediatric floor for monitoring and observation while the hunt for psychiatric placement continued.
When I finally met her late that Friday night, it had been more than 4 days since her suicide attempt, and she and her family looked exhausted. As I interviewed them, I learned that Mary had been feeling depressed for over a year. Her family had been aware that Mary seemed down, but did not understand the extent of her depression. She had not received any outpatient treatment because it was not covered by her insurance. It was frustrating and sad to watch the story unfold and realize that this could have been caught much earlier. It was even more frustrating to not be able to get Mary the treatment she needed in a timely fashion.
It is because of my experience with patients like Mary that I have become involved in pediatric advocacy.
As a new pediatrician, much of my time is spent learning the intricacies of the body, and I am only now realizing that I must begin to understand the intricacies of politics as well. Children cannot speak for themselves and so pediatricians must speak for them.
Through the MassGeneral Hospital for Children Advocacy Group, I have recently become aware of a bill currently under consideration: “An Act Relative to Children’s Mental Health, S.2518.”
This bill dates back to a 2002 class action lawsuit, Rosie D vs. Romney, which was filed on behalf of eight children with serious psychiatric problems who were unable to obtain services at home. The lawsuit claimed that the Commonwealth violated the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) program of the Medicaid Act which is designed to assure availability and accessibility of health care resources for low-income children. The trial began in 2005 and involved more than 30 witnesses over 6 weeks testifying about the need for home-based services and the harm that occurs when these services are not available.
In early 2006, Judge Michael Ponsor ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and went on to say that Massachusetts did not provide adequate screening, in-home behavioral and crisis services, case management and care coordination for an estimated 15,000 children with serious emotional disturbances.
This landmark decision resulted in a flurry of activity to remedy the situation.
After 2 years of work and numerous revisions, “An Act Relative to Children’s Mental Health” is currently under review. This bill would improve and expand mental health services for children in Massachusetts by mandating early screening for behavioral health problems, ensuring children are treated in the most appropriate setting, improving insurance coverage and broadening delivery of state services.

Yesterday on Tuesday, April 8, I and other pediatricians from across Massachusetts gathered at the Statehouse to advocate for this bill and others like it. April 8th was Residents and Fellows Day at the State House. It is organized by the residents at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and sponsored by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This event is an opportunity for new pediatricians to gather at the State House for lobbying workshops from leaders in the field, learn about pediatric-relevant bills currently undergoing review, and meet with their own legislators.

Politicians need to hear from parents and other pediatricians about the importance of bill S.2518.
As a parent, if you are interested in supporting this bill, please find your elected officials at http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.php.
To contact them, please visit http://www.mass.gov/legis/memmenu.htm.

Hopefully through our joint efforts, other families will not have to experience a suicide attempt, 4 days in the emergency room and 2 days admitted to the hospital in order to get their daughter the help that she needs.

Wearing Red Sox Gear Raised More than $375,000 for The Jimmy Fund

Boston Red Sox fans hit a home run in the fight against cancer by raising more than $375,000, so far, for the Jimmy Fund during this year’s Rally Against Cancer. Now, Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will visit the top fundraising Rally teams.
During the season he’ll head to Essex Elementary School in Essex. The school’s team, called Brodie's Buddies, raised $34,125. Brodie Tolo is a two-and-a-half-year-old Essex boy who is undergoing treatment for leukemia at the Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His two older brothers are students at Essex Elementary.
Pedroia will also visit the John Hancock Long Term Care division in Boston. They topped the business category raising $16,545.
All the money raised in the Rally Against Cancer benefits the Jimmy Fund, which supports cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

To participate in the Rally, employees and students each pitched in a minimum of $5 for the Jimmy Fund, and then as an incentive team players got to wear Red Sox gear to work or school on April 8, the day of the Sox home opener. Furthermore, the school and the company that raised the most money will earn a visit from Pedroia.

“This was an impressive year for the Rally Against Cancer and I can’t wait to visit the winners,” says Dustin Pedroia, Rally Against Cancer honorary spokesman. “Red Sox fans, businesses and schools all stepped up to the plate to Rally and support the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber in its mission to conquer cancer.”

The Jimmy Fund has been an official charity of the Boston Red Sox since 1953. The Rally is just one program that exhibits the strong partnership between the two, and due to its success, another Rally Against Cancer is being planned for next year’s Red Sox home opening game.

Although winners were already selected, contributions will continue to be accepted until June 1, and can be made online at www.rallyagainstcancer.org, or sent via mail to Rally Against Cancer c/o the Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th floor, Brookline, MA 02445. Checks should be made payable to the Jimmy Fund.

Coco Key Water Resort Springs Into Charity Eveny for Birthday Wishes

This week (through April 11) Coco Key Water Resort at the Sheraton Ferncroft/Boston is offering a special daily admission ticket of $30 per person. By purchasing one of these tickets, during the designated dates, 5% of gross ticket sales will be donated to Birthday Wishes (www.birthdaywishes.org), an organization that provides birthday parties to homeless children. Birthday Wishes recognizes the importance of a birthday in a child’s life, and believes that the gift of a birthday party provides normalcy, joy, and hope in their otherwise unsettled lives.

April 15 is Deadline to Register for START Youth Leadership Conference

For a registration fee of just $25, ninth grade students can register for the START Conference for youth leadership at Nichols College in Dudley. More than 85 New England high schools were represented at last year's conference. The two-day residential experience on June 8th and 9th includes all meals, lodging, and materials.
Students complete exercises in identity building, team building, situational leadership, ethics and goal setting, as well listen some stellar guest speakers: WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Ron Sanders, State Representative Karyn E. Polito, Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr, Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, President & CEO of the Worcester Chamber of Commerce Richard Kennedy, CFO of New York Life Investment Management David Bedard, and motivational speakers Katelyn Weymouth and Nelson Lauver.

The START Conference is co-sponsored by Nichols College and the Student Leadership Training Program (SLTP).
Interested students and parents must contact their high school principal or guidance counselor for registration information before the April 15th deadline.
Each high school may nominate one person and an alternate.
For more information, call 1-800-600-7223.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April 12: Assabet Valley Area Family Network Family Fun Day

The Assabet Valley Area Family Network will host its Second Annual Family Fun Day on Saturday, April 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. at the gym inside the Kane Elementary School at 520 Farm Road in Marlborough.
Families with children, from birth through age 5, will have an opportunity to talk to child-care providers and preschool centers, and obtain information from area family-focused businesses and organizations. There will be lots of free prizes and giveaways.
Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate to our local food pantries. For more information please contact the network at 508-485-0085.
This is a free event and open to the public.
For additional information visit http://www.avafamilynet.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 7, 2008

Cheer on the Sox Contest!

The Red Sox started the afternoon celebrating its second World Championship in 5 years. The team ended the afternoon with a 5-0 win over the Detroit Tigers.
To celebrate the start of the baseball season, Bay State Parent magazine has rounded up 8 products in honor of the 2008 season to giveaway to readers.
The first product is Fisher Price's ESPN Better Batter Baseball Trainer for preschoolers through first graders.
In my opinion, it is the best product on the market for this age group to learn how to hit a ball. It is a great toy for both girls and boys. I love the tee-free design, which helps little ones keep their eye where it should be when they're learning to bat - on the ball and not the tee. By tapping the plate the arm reloads the ball. I also love that the height is adjustable, so it grows with your child. It also means it can be moved to fit multiple siblings.

To enter the contest, fill out the survey at http://www.baystateparent.com/common/entry_form.html
Please pull down to select this product when entering
One winner will be announced by May 1 and the name will be posted on this blog.

Winning product will not be mailed and must be picked up at the magazine's main office on Elm Street in Millbury. (The art department opened the box for a Bay State Parent photo shoot.)

Stay tuned to this blog for the next Red Sox-themed product giveaway announcement.

Don't want to miss the contest announcements? Sign up for the blog's e-newsletter feed at the top right corner of Bay State Parent's blog. An e-newsletter is sent out each time an item is added to the blog but not e-mailed more than once per day.

WEEKEND PICK: No Child Left Inside Contest

Each month, the Harvard Museum of Natural History presents a Sunday afternoon program for children and their families on Sunday at 2 p.m. Renowned authors, Harvard faculty, and other scientists offer educational and entertaining presentations on their latest work. The program is free with museum admission ($9 for adults and $6 for children ages 3-18.)
This Sunday's program - "No Child Left Inside" features author and bird expert Bill Thompson III.
"Kids are fascinated by birds, which makes bird watching an excellent way to get kids out of the house and into the natural world. Author and birder Bill Thompson III spent three years working with his daughter's elementary-school class to create a new bird book for kids, The Young Birder's Guide to Birds of Eastern North America (Houghton Mifflin). He'll discuss how to get kids interested in nature, and offer some insight into countering the growing trend of "nature deficit disorder."
Thompson's lively guide is an invitation to get kids outside and to look at birds.
"At the heart of bird watching is the excitement of seeing a new species. Bird watchers keep a Life List of all the birds they have seen once in their life. There are more than 800 species that nest or occur regularly in North America and it takes even hard core birders to see most of them. This collecting of a list of birds is easy for young birders to get into. Each species account in The Young Birders' Guide has a space at the bottom of the page to check off that species once it's seen and to note the date and the place..."
Thompson offers the following tips to get kids interested in birds and bird watching:
* Start at home in the backyard searching for birds
* Put out bird feeders or seed feeders
* Point out obvious birds close to home - ie Canada Geese, Rock Pigeons, etc
* Get them tools - binoculars, a field guide or a bird book.

Publisher Houghton Mifflin has generously donated 2 copies of Thompson's book to be given away to Bay State Parent readers.

To enter, e-mail editor@baystateparent.com

In the slug put - No Child Left Inside Contest.

In the e-mail, put your name, e-mail address, and tell us what your favorite feature in Bay State Parent magazine.

Winners will be announced on Monday, April 14 on the magazine's blog.

For directions and parking information on Harvard Museum of Natural History visit http://www.hmnh.harvard.edu/plan_your_visit/directions_and_parking.html
To learn more about the museum's family programs visit: http://www.hmnh.harvard.edu/kids_and_families/kids_and_families.html

CONTEST: Win A Go Diego Go DVD

In Go Diego Go: Moonlight Rescue DVD, 8-year Old Diego, the cousin of Dore the Explorer tells the story of the day he and Tuga were at the beach waiting for the baby sea turtle eggs to hatch. In this 45-minute never-before-seen episode on DVD, suddenly, a big lightening storm comes and breaks Luna (the moon) into four pieces and they drop from the sky. Now, Diego must work to help get Luna back together because once the baby turtles hatch, they’ll need moonlight to find their way into the ocean – their new home. Preschoolers and toddlers will want to stay up past bedtime to watch this night time Diego adventure.

Released a couple weeks ago, Bay State Parent magazine is giving away a handful of copies of this new DVD available in stores now.

To enter the giveaway, fill out the form at this link: http://www.baystateparent.com/common/entry_form.html

Make sure to select the Go Diego Go in the DVD pulldown bar.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Glimpse of Green Gables

It's been a long time since I thought about Anne of Green Gables, the first book in the series by L.M. Montgomery. I loved the books as a child, and I jumped at the chance to take my first-grade daughter to Theaterworks USA's musical adaptation today in Lowell. The production, which premiered Off-Broadway in 2007, was part of the UMass Lowell Center for the Arts 2007-2008 Discovery Series season.

I had forgotten how much was in the novel, which I poured over so many years ago, and this production reminded me. Trying to condense a 300-page book into a 60-minute performance for families cannot be an easy task. It would be easy to point out things that were left out, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss some of them. But the basic story of Anne Shirley, the orphan girl sent by mistake to an aging pair of siblings with a farm to tend to, came through even in the shortened timeframe. Even though they wanted a boy, the Cuthberts can't bear to send away a child who has never had a permanent family. Anne brings them more than they bargained for -- not only endless aggravation, but also love and joy. In turn, Anne finds friendship, love and acceptance from others and within herself.

It was an enjoyable production for all ages in the audience, although the generations may have experienced the story on different levels. The set was quite bare and left a lot to the imagination, almost to the point that, to a child, it might be confusing. When a buggy ride was necessary, a bench and a set of reins were all that was necessary. I thought that was clever, but to my daughter, a buggy is a Volkswagen Beetle rather than one of the horse-drawn variety. And she wasn't quite sure what it meant when the lights dimmed slightly and a character who died got up and walked off the stage. I'm sure others her age and younger had similar reactions. They just don't have enough experience with live theater to interpret those things confidently.

There was plenty of movement on the set to indicate the change of scenes, though, with actors quietly moving table and chairs, or desks and chalkboard, on and off the set as necessary. The songs were well-done and came frequently enough that the pacing kept the interest of even the youngest in the audience. Eva Berger conveyed Anne's dramatic personality and propensity for exaggeration and intense feeling; she made Anne seem immature, but not overly silly. Yet, I was a little thrown by the fact Anne, who is just 11 when she meets the Cuthberts in the novel, begins the play already looking like a grown woman, albeit with a pair of long red braids and an abundance of energy and impertinence. Sixty minutes later, she is 16 and a half and doesn't look appreciably different.

The production retained some key dialog and showed just enough of Anne's character to see her lack of judgement getting her into trouble: accidentally dyeing her red hair green in the heat of emotion caused by a neighbor-boy calling her Carrots, then making her "bosom friend" drunk on what she thought was a special, but non-alcoholic, beverage. Both incidents got laughs from the audience -- they were funny -- but resulted in Anne's estrangement from those involved, a heartbreaking, even "tragical" circumstance for a girl who so yearned for close relationships. She is, after all, an orphan who has been passed from one family to another with no real love or stability in her life until she arrives at Green Gables with the old, worn, broken carpet bag that contains all her "worldly goods." (I couldn't help but think of today's foster children who are often moved from one home to another with nothing but a trash bag for their belongings). The audience was also able to see Anne's deep feeling and capacity to love winning the hearts of those around her -- mellowing even Marissa Cuthbert's strict and pragmatic nature.

As a child, I read Anne's personality as spunky, fun and imaginative. As a member of the audience today, I saw her much more as a girl with a desperate need for love and acceptance. As the story unfolds, it's clear that she's not the only one with that need. I hope the show will inspire many children in the audience to take a look at Montgomery's original novel and experience the full version of Anne Shirley and her beloved Green Gables. Perhaps adults, too. I know I'll be reading it again.