Area Briefs: Meet the new Amherst school superintendent; Jurassic Deerfield workshops; Walking tours of William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington

The William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington.

The William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington. FILE PHOTO

Published: 07-10-2024 7:45 PM

School superintendentto attend Cuppa Joe event

AMHERST — Town Manager Paul Bockelman will be joined by new Schools Superintendent E. Xiomara Herman during a periodic Cuppa Joe with Paul event Friday.

The event, in which people can chat about town- and school-related topics, is being held at the Bangs Community Center’s Large Activity Room from 8 to 9:30 a.m., though Herman will only be present until 8:45 a.m.

Herman, who started in her role July 1, has been visiting with staff, students and members of the broader community and is in the midst of learning of the values and needs of the community.

For more information about the Cuppa Joe, contact Executive Assistant Angela Mills at or 413-259-3002.

William Cullen BryantHomestead walking tours

CUMMINGTON — A series of thematic walking tours at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in July and August exhibit the famous poet, journalist and abolitionist’s contributions to arts and social movements.

From mid-July to the end of August, Hilltown experts in music, painting, environmentalism and history lead deTours: Exploring the Bryant Homestead, five walking tours through the historic home’s wooden trails, JS Bryant School’s 300-acre farming campus or Potash Hill Road. The series is sponsored by the Cummington Cultural District and occurs on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Jazz takes center stage in first tour on July 13, where saxophonist Mike Kolodny will encourage participants to listen for music in nature on walks along the Rivulet Trail and parts of the Sugarbush Trail. Kolodny will begin the tour on the Homestead Porch of the Bryant’s home, playing saxophone to the call and response of birdsong, wind and moving water before encouraging walkers to find their own calls of sounds and silence on the property.

JS Bryant School, a gender-affirming high school for LGBTQ+ teens, partners with William Cullen Bryant Homestead for the second tour on July 20. School members will guide people through both campuses, located adjacent from each other, and show the connections between the land and the queer history of the Bryants, including queer figure and daughter of William Cullen Bryant, Julia Sands Bryant.

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The tours in August kick off with a comparison of science and environmentalism in the late 1800s to our modern understanding of the natural world. John Burns “Burnsie” will show the estate’s Sugarbush trail and elements of historical change on Aug. 10.

Artist Kim Nestor-Carlino demonstrates her connection to Bryant’s naturalist movement on an Aug. 17 morning hike. Participants will learn how Nestor-Carlino takes inspiration from nature’s forms and themes for her murals and paintings through the homestead’s scenes of nature.

The final tour on Aug. 24 at roams off the property and into Bryant’s influence on Cummington. Historian and archivist Carla Ness visits Hiram Brown’s grave in the Dawes Cemetery to dive into the abolitionist movement in the town, Frazier house of the Old School for the Arts to discuss Bryant’s poetry in the Cummington Press. and the Town Pound to look at the role of Cummington’s first church.

For more information on the tours, visit

Historical society hosts Founders Day

WORTHINGTON — Founders Day, hosted by the Worthington Historical Society, will be held Saturday at Worthington Corners with a silent auction and potluck dinner.

Children’s events begin at 3:30, with the main event beginning at 5:30.

Items from the Historical Society’s collection will be auctioned off. Guests are asked to bring a home-cooked dish or dessert. Drinks will be served by Sena Farm Brewery.

Jurassic Deerfield workshops

DEERFIELD — A free workshop for children 5 and up to learn about Jurassic Deerfield is being held at the Rock, Fossil, Dinosaur Shop, 213 Greenfield Road, on July 20.

Paul Tanner, also known as Paleo Paul, will lead hourlong sessions at both noon and 2 p.m., talking about the earth’s structure, plate tectonics, volcanoes, lakes and dinosaurs. Children participating will make their own dioramas to take home with them.