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New York Audubon education coordinator Larry Federman will lead a birding expedition, 'Birding 101,' on Wednesday, April 8, from 9 - 11 a.m. at the Wagon House Education Center, at Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, N.Y.

Bits & Bytes: Birding at Olana; Homespun Theatre at Lauren Clark Gallery; Holocaust Remembrance Day; Ventfort Hall – Treasures of Bellefontaine

By Tuesday, Apr 7, 2015 News
Birding 101 with Audubon NY at Olana

Hudson, N.Y. — The Olana Partnership is proud to offer the program Birding 101 with Audubon NY education coordinator Larry Federman on Wednesday, April 8, from 9-11 a.m. at the Wagon House Education Center at Olana State Historic Site. Larry Federman will speak about local birds found here at Olana, and in the Hudson Valley. Following the presentation participants will be led on a guided walk near Olana’s lake area in the beautiful artist-designed landscape. We will be looking for the Eastern Phoebe and Palm Warbler, both early migrants. Bring sturdy walking shoes and binoculars.

Larry Federman is the Education Coordinator for three upstate New York Audubon sanctuaries. His history with Audubon goes back almost 20 years. He has served his chapter in numerous capacities and is currently president, newsletter editor, council delegate, and field trip leader.

Registration is requested but not required. Register online at Eventbrite.com. The workshop costs $5 per person. For more information and to register contact the Education Department at education@olana.org or call (518) 828-1872 x 105 during business hours.

Wagon House Education Center programming is made possible in part through support provided by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency; the Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation; the Educational Foundation of America; the John Wilmerding Education Initiative, and the members of The Olana Partnership.

— D.S.

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Homespun Theatre: ‘The Language Archive’ by Julia Cho

HomespunGreat Barrington – Homespun Theatre is returning to the Lauren Clark Fine Art gallery on Railroad Street for a staged reading of The Language Archive by Julia Cho.

The play tells the story of George, a man consumed with preserving and documenting the dying languages of far-flung cultures. Closer to home, though, language is failing him.  The cast, directed by Amanda Steurer, includes Samantha Cullen, Joshua Briggs, Hana Kenny, Glenn Barrett, Deborah Morris, and Annie Considine.

The readings will take place Saturday, April 11 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 12 at 3 p.m.

Tickets will be available at the door 30 minutes prior to the show at a suggested donation of $15 per person. Homespun Theatre’s reading in December of Dead Man’s Cellphone sold out so plan to arrive early!

— D.S.

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Holocaust Remembrance Day: Film and candle lighting ceremony

b-2247Lenox – The Jewish Federation of the Berkshires will present a community film screening of B-2247: A Granddaughter’s Understanding on Sunday, April 12 at 2 p.m. at the Lenox Town Hall Auditorium, 6 Walker St. in commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day (“Yom Hashoah” in Hebrew). The film will be followed by a discussion exploring the impact and intergenerational legacy of the Holocaust with the film’s producer Sara Greenberg (a granddaughter of survivors) and Judy Levin, an interviewer with the Transcending Trauma Project.

A candle lighting in memory of Holocaust victims will be led by Rabbi David Weiner of Congregation Knesset Israel. The entire program is free and open to the public.

Filmmaker Sara Greenberg

Filmmaker Sara Greenberg

As a member of a generation Greenberg terms “the last living link to the survivors,” she feels strongly about her responsibility to relate her grandparents’ Holocaust experiences to the world and to future generations. Since 2009, her short documentary has screened at the United Nations as part of the annual international Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies and at numerous film festivals. The Anti-Defamation League’s Bearing Witness program uses the film as part of their effort to teach Catholic school educators how to incorporate the Holocaust into their curricula, and Steven Spielberg’s USC Shoah Foundation Institute is using the film to inspire other grandchildren of survivors to create similar multimedia projects.

Greenberg is currently pursuing a joint Master’s degree in public policy and business administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Business School. The program will also include an interview of Greenberg by Judy Levin, a retired clinical social worker who has for 15 years volunteered in a long-term intergenerational Holocaust research project entitled  “Transcending Trauma: Survival, Resilience, and Clinical Implications in Survivor Families.”

For more information, contact the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires at (413) 442-4360, ext. 10.

— H.B.

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Tea & Talk at Ventfort Hall: Treasures of Bellefontaine
Bellefontaine estate, currently Canyon Ranch.

Bellefontaine estate, currently Canyon Ranch.

Lenox — Illuminating a splendid decorative arts exhibit at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum, “Treasures of Bellefontaine: Giraud Foster’s Legacy” will be the topic of a Tea & Talk on Saturday, April 11 at 3:30 p.m, 104 Walker St. The talk will be presented by Richard S. Jackson Jr., co-author of Houses of the Berkshires. 

Bellefontaine was an estate neighboring Ventfort Hall on Kemble Street, which is now Canyon Ranch Health Resort. Architects “Carrere & Hastings’ dazzlingly formal Bellefontaine…reveals a wholly original confection of 18th-century French elements and strict axial planning of facades, driveways and formal gardens that exemplifies the training of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts…” Jackson wrote. Later, the architects were awarded commissions to design The New York Public Library and the mansion that houses the Frick Collection in New York City.

Jane Foster of Palm Beach, Fla., will add a personal commentary about her grandfather’s exquisite and carefully chosen possessions that belonged to one of Lenox’s grandest estates. A Victorian tea will follow the talk. The Foster dinner services, Venetian crystal, family silver, lace fans, portraits and other memorabilia are on loan to Ventfort Hall from to Ms. Foster.

Giraud was married to Jean Van Ness Foster, who was considered the last of the Gilded Age social leaders. She died in 1945 at the age of 94.

An early photograph of Bellefontaine’s magnificent dining room was enlarged to nearly fill two walls of the upstairs Lilac Room.  Ancestral portraits of the Fosters hang on other walls and a dining table is set for a dinner party with objects from the collection.

The table was part of a generous gift to the museum, an elegant suite of Federal-style dining room furniture belonging to the Roscoe Bonsal family, who owned Ventfort Hall from 1925 to 1945.  The furniture was presented to the museum by the Patricia Bonsal Estate.  An adjoining room contains glass showcases displaying a wide array of decorative objects from the Foster family, and will be open for viewing, while a selection of items will be on view in the library.

Tickets for the Tea & Talk are $22 for advance reservations and $27 day of the event.  Reservations are highly recommended, as seating is limited.  For information or reservations call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206 or visit info@gildedage.org. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

— H.B.

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