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Bits & Bytes: Berkshire Natural History Conference; LitNet gala; ‘Screenagers’ at Crandell Theatre; ‘Pox, Pus and Creeping Miasma;’ ‘Talkin’ Baseball’

LitNet's gala event will honor its volunteer tutors, who share their time and talents to provide adult students in Berkshire County with free educational support

BCC to host Berkshire Natural History Conference

Jim Cardoza. Photo courtesy Berkshire Community College

Pittsfield — The third annual Berkshire Natural History Conference, featuring presentations by local and regional naturalists and acclaimed authors, will take place Saturday, Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Berkshire Community College.

Presenters will include Jim Cardoza, who was responsible for the return of the wild turkey in Massachusetts; and old-growth forest expert Bob Leverett, who identified and helped conserve the remaining old-growth forests in the Berkshires. In addition, local field biologists and naturalists will discuss topics ranging from Berkshire winter weather and rare plant communities to a design to fit the entire solar system within the confines of Berkshire County. There will also be a presentation on Ralph Hoffmann, for whom BCC’s Hoffmann Hall is named, and his contributions to the area’s natural history collection. Other programs on the agenda include “Fifty Years of Berkshire Conservation” by George Wislocki, “Natural Communities of the Trustees’ Reservations” by Julie Richburg, “Evolution of the Children’s Room: Nature Classes at the Berkshire Museum” by Thom Smith and “Orion Magazine and the Berkshire Nature Writers” by Chip Blake. The event will also feature exhibits, a book sale and a raffle.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students. Admission includes a barbecue lunch and access to all of the presentations. For more information or to pre-register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar.


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LitNet to honor volunteers at annual gala

Stockbridge — The Literacy Network of South Berkshire will hold its annual gala Saturday, Oct. 14, at 5:30 p.m. at Berkshire Country Day School. This year’s event marks the finale of LitNet’s American Dream Campaign, a fundraising effort that celebrates the core values on which the United States was founded, and is being held in honor of LitNet’s volunteer tutors who share their time and talents to provide adult students in Berkshire County with free educational support. The event will include drinks and hors d’oeuvres, silent and live auctions, and dinner by chef Peter Platt of Old Inn on the Green. Tickets are $175. For information and tickets, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact LitNet at (413) 243-0471.


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‘Screenagers’ to be shown at Crandell Theatre

Chatham, N.Y. — The Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School’s parent-teacher association and the Chatham Central School District will present a free showing of the documentary “Screenagers” at the Crandell Theatre Saturday, Oct. 14, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The film will be followed by an audience discussion facilitated by Christina Lowery, CEO of the girls’ education and empowerment campaign Girl Rising.

“Screenagers” is a film by doctor, filmmaker and mother Delaney Ruston, who turned the camera on her own family and others to reveal messy struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. The film follows individual students’ stories interwoven with cutting-edge science and insights from thought leaders and scientists who present evidence on brain changes.

For more information, contact Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School at (518) 672-7092.


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‘Pox, Pus and Creeping Miasma: Disease and Death in the Colonial Berkshires’

Dennis Picard. Photo courtesy Sheffield Historical Society

Sheffield — On Friday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Dewey Hall, the Sheffield Historical Society will present “Pox, Pus and Creeping Miasma: Disease and Death in the Colonial Berkshires,” a program presented by museum professional Dennis Picard. During his talk, Picard will discuss the different ailments and diseases that plagued colonial Americans and how they perceived and treated sickness before the discovery of germs. He will also show and describe the uses of antique medical devices.

Picard has been working in the living history field for 40 years. He began his career at Old Sturbridge Village in 1978, where he eventually spent 12 years filling various positions including lead interpreter. With a background in sociology and museum experience, Picard has authored many articles on the lifestyles and folkways of New England. He has held the position of assistant director and director at several sites, and recently retired after 27 years at Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield. He teaches the course “Museum Studies and Historic Site Interpretation” at Westfield State University.

The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the Sheffield Historical Society at (413) 229-2694 or


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‘Talkin’ Baseball’ to feature Tom Grieve

Photo courtesy Baseball in the Berkshires

Lanesborough — Baseball in the Berkshires will present “Talkin’ Baseball” with Tom Grieve Thursday, Oct. 12, from 6 to 7 p.m. at its exhibit space in the Berkshire Mall. Pittsfield native Grieve was an outfielder and designated hitter with the Texas Rangers, Washington Senators, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals. He was also general manager of and is currently a TV commentator for the Texas Rangers. For more information, contact Larry Moore at (413) 822-6738 or



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