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Photo collage by Katie Malone-Smith, one of the many artists participating in the Open Studios DriveAbout this weekend in Becket, Hinsdale, Otis and Washington. Image courtesy Becket Arts Center

Bits & Bytes: Open Studios DriveAbout; gun violence discussion; Kenturah Davis at WCMA; birding talk; volunteers help oak tree

By Thursday, Oct 3, 2019 Life In the Berkshires

Open Studios DriveAbout to highlight local artisans

Becket — The Becket Arts Center has launched the Open Studios DriveAbout to showcase the work of artists in Becket and the surrounding towns of Washington, Otis and Hinsdale. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, and Sunday, Oct. 6, art lovers and autumn visitors are invited to visit the studios of participating artists and watch painters, sculptors, craftspeople, writers and musicians at work.

The DriveAbout is free and open to the public. For a map of locations and a schedule of events, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Becket Arts Center at (413) 623-6635 or office@becketartscenter.org.

–E.E.

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Jewish Federation of the Berkshires to host talk on gun violence

Pittsfield — On Monday, Oct. 7, at 10:45 a.m. at Knesset Israel, the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires will welcome Jonathan Perloe, director of programs and communications at Connecticut Against Gun Violence, for a talk titled “The Public Health Crisis of Gun Violence in America and How You Can Help Save Lives.”

Perloe’s presentation will cover a range of topics to help the audience understand the magnitude of the gun violence crisis in America, the history of gun regulation and the current outlook for stronger federal gun laws, as well as an overview of Massachusetts gun laws and the current state legislative agenda. He will also discuss the ways that citizens can get involved in the cause of gun violence prevention at both the state and federal level.

CAGV has led the effort to pass gun safety laws in Connecticut for more than 25 years. Perloe joined CAGV in 2017 after serving on its board since 2014.

The program precedes a kosher lunch at noon ($2 suggested donation for adults over 60 years of age, $7 for all others). Advance reservations are required for lunch and can be made by calling (413) 442-2200 before 9 a.m. on the day of the program. For more information, call the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires at (413) 442-4360 x10.

–E.E.

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Plonsker Family Lecture to feature artist Kenturah Davis

Kenturah Davis. Photo courtesy Williams College Museum of Art

Williamstown — The Williams College Museum of Art will host its annual Plonsker Family Lecture in Contemporary Art Saturday, Oct. 5, at 3 p.m. Artist Kenturah Davis will be the featured speaker.

Davis is an artist working among Los Angeles; New Haven, Connecticut; and Accra, Ghana. Her work oscillates between various facets of portraiture and design. Using text as a point of departure, she explores the fundamental role that language has in shaping how people understand themselves and the world around them. Davis was commissioned by LA Metro to create large-scale, site-specific work that will be permanently installed on the new Crenshaw/LAX rail line, opening in 2020. Her work has been included in institutional exhibitions in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts from Occidental College and master’s degree from Yale University School of Art. She is an inaugural artist fellow at NXTHVN, an art space housed in a former manufacturing plant in New Haven.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Williams College Museum of Art at (413) 597-2429.

–E.E.

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Bird habitat conservation to be discussed at lecture

Jeff Ritterson. Photo courtesy Mass Audubon

Pittsfield — At its monthly meeting Monday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m. at Guardian Life Insurance, the Hoffmann Bird Club will present “Foresters for the Birds: Realizing Habitat and Broader Conservation Goals” with Mass Audubon field ornithologist Jeff Ritterson.

The forests of Massachusetts face many challenges that can alter ecosystem functions and spur the loss of habitat for birds and other wildlife. Ritterson will discuss how managing forests for bird habitat can not only bolster bird populations, but also contribute toward broader forest conservation goals in the face of an uncertain future.

In his work as a field ornithologist at Mass Audubon, Ritterson focuses on working landscapes and the habitat management of forest birds. Previously, Ritterson specialized in tropical ecology and the conservation of resident and migratory birds, spending over three years among the forests and wildlife of Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica. Originally hailing from Delaware, Ritterson attended graduate school at UMass Amherst, where he investigated the winter habitat of the migratory Golden-winged warbler as well as the role of alternative coffee farming in the conservation of forest bird species in Costa Rica.

The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Hoffmann Bird Club at hoffmannbirdclub@gmail.com.

–E.E.

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Volunteers help 75-year-old oak tree

Volunteers and the 75-year-old red oak tree they helped rescue at River Walk in Great Barrington. Photo courtesy Great Barrington Land Conservancy

Great Barrington — On Sept. 28, 12 volunteers donned work gloves, grabbed tools and got to work to save a large red oak tree located between River Walk and the former Searles School. Arborist Tom Ingersoll led the effort with an explanation about the steps needed to support tree health. After Ingersoll’s talk, the hard work began. The cement-like soil was aerated with a pneumatic drill. Volunteers shoveled and raked out compost to provide nutrients and organic microbes. A layer of cardboard was covered by mulch to eliminate grass, prevent future soil compaction and aid in the absorption of rainwater. Thanks to the volunteers, the roots of the 75-year-old tree can connect with the air, water and nutrients it needs to thrive. In the future, selective pruning and the planting of a supportive understory community of shrubs and perennials is recommended.

“This effort was made possible only through community collaboration.” said River Walk director Christine Ward. “”We are extremely grateful to Tom Ingersoll for contributing his expertise and equipment and to Ward’s Nursery and Garden Center for the donation of mulch and fertilizer. The town of Great Barrington pitched in with the loan of the compressor. And none of this could have happened without the hard work of dedicated community volunteers representing the Great Barrington Tree Committee and Great Barrington Land Conservancy.”

–E.E.


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