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Bits & Bytes: Four Freedoms Coalition anniversary; ASL for kids; “Anastasia Traina’s Fairytale Botanical World”; holiday cards for Fairview patients; nature as medicine at GB Green Drinks

The Four Freedoms Coalition held its Four Freedoms March Jan. 7, 2017, in downtown Pittsfield with more than 2,000 people in attendance.

Four Freedoms Coalition to celebrate one-year anniversary

Pittsfield — The Four Freedoms Coalition will celebrate its one-year anniversary Sunday, Jan. 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. with a “Songs and Sounds of Solidarity” concert and open house at First Church of Christ.

The nonpartisan Four Freedoms Coalition, which was formed soon after the 2016 presidential election, held its Four Freedoms March Jan. 7, 2017, in downtown Pittsfield with more than 2,000 people in attendance. A rally featuring speeches by local leaders followed the march. “Songs and Sounds of Solidarity” performers will include the Youth Alive Step Team, the Hoping Machine, the Williams College Gospel Choir, Mary Verdi and the Sacred Heart choir, a gathering of Jewish musicians from synagogues throughout Berkshire County, the Latino Ensemble from St. Mark’s Church, Linda Worster, a jazz ensemble, and three spoken-word poets. Revs. Sheila Sholes-Ross and James Lumsden will emcee the event.

The concert will begin at 2 p.m. and will be preceded by an open house at 1 p.m. featuring Four Freedoms Coalition partners NAACP – Berkshire County Branch, Multicultural BRIDGE, Berkshire Democratic Brigades, Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, Berkshire Center for Justice, 350MA Berkshire Node, League of Women Voters, WordXWord, Working Cities, Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, Berkshire Immigrant Center, Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice, Progressive Democrats of America, Indivisible Pittsfield and the Guthrie Center.

While admission is free and all ages are welcomed, advance reservations are suggested in order to ensure adequate space. For more information or to make reservations, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact


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Lee Library to offer sing language course for children

Lee — The Lee Library will offer an American Sign Language course for children ages 4­–10 on the Fridays of Jan. 5 through Feb. 9 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Singing, storytelling, vocabulary, games and basic phrases will be taught. Older children are welcome to participate. Each child must be accompanied by an adult who will take the class with them. For more information or to register, contact the Lee Library at (413) 243-0385.


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‘Anastasia Traina’s Fairytale Botanical World’ at Berkshire Botanical Garden

‘Blodeuedd’s Song of Four Faeries’ by Anastasia Traina

Stockbridge — Berkshire Botanical Garden will present “Anastasia Traina’s Fairytale Botanical World” Saturday, Jan. 6, through Monday, March 5, in its Center House Leonhardt Galleries. A reception will be held Friday, Jan. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m.

An exhibition of botanical drawings, fairies and inspirational ephemera, “Anastasia Traina’s Fairytale Botanical World” contains a collection of more than 50 depictions of botanical subjects and fairy themes in the media of pen and ink, silverpoint, watercolor, graphite and colored pencil. The main gallery will feature Traina’s relocated work desk, styled as it exists in her own studio, with tables and cloches scattered throughout. A small, naturally lit gallery and temporary home to a cyclopean tree gnome will be hung with prisms to create beams of reflected light, and a children’s art table and bench will be stocked with paper and crayons to inspire drawings of fairies, elves and flowers. The galleries will be decorated throughout with bits and bobs of natural artifacts.

Traina is a playwright, screenwriter and botanical artist. Her illustrations were published in the children’s book “Bitsy and Raff” by David Caudle. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Art, the Tri-State Botanical Artists of NYBG, the Writers Guild of America and the Dramatists Guild of America.

For more information, contact (413) 320-4794.


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Holiday cards hung in the windows of the main hall at Fairview Hospital. Photo courtesy Fairview Hospital

Students deliver holiday cards to Fairview patients

Great Barrington — On Christmas Day 2017, Monument Valley Regional Middle School seventh-graders brightened the holidays for patients at Fairview Hospital and the team of doctors, nurses and other staff who cared for them. Under the direction of seventh-grade teacher Cathy Rueger, the students made colorful cards and supplied candy canes that were delivered to patients with their holiday meals and to staff by the nursing supervisors on all shifts. Many of the cards were on display in the hallway Fairview’s main entrance.

“This was a great experience for our students. They were so happy and thoughtful while making their cards,” said Rueger.


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Green Drinks to discuss nature as medicine

Eric Krawczyk. Photo courtesy Nature Treatment

Great BarringtonGreat Barrington Green Drinks will hold its monthly meeting Thursday, Jan. 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Prairie Whale. Eric Krawczyk, a licensed mental health counselor, will discuss his Nature Treatment community health initiative, which explores natural alternatives to medicine and designs programs in collaboration with healthcare providers, land managers and community partners to inspire the utilization of parks, trails and open spaces for the purpose of improving human health. The event is free and open to all. For more information, contact Natalie Narotzky at



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