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Owen Poirier, 4, tries out the hopscotch court on the Born Learning Trail last week as his mother, Aimee Poirier, watches.
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Mayor Thomas Bernard and NBUW Executive Director Krista Collier explain the Born Learning Trail.
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North Adams' Born Learning Trail Offers Creative Activities

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Mayor Thomas Bernard, Aimee and Owen Poirier and Christa Collier cut the ribbon.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Four-year-old Owen Poirier skipped along the hopscotch court doing exactly what the city is hoping children will do: get engaged with the activities along the new Born Learning Trail.

The trail that opened at Noel Field Athletic Complex last week isn't just for children, though. It's meant to be a family affair.

"This engages parents in their child's world of fun activities that also gets them ready for school while also getting exercise," said Amy Hall,  program director of the Family Center, a part of Child Care of the Berkshires.

Born Learning Trails are a United Way campaign for developing early childhood learning and parental engagement with community partners. Started in 2005, there are trails across the United States and in a number of countries.

The trails are accessible, low-impact, and have signage suggesting ways to interact with the brightly colored pathways and encourage children's curiousity.

The North Adams trail was sponsored by the Northern Berkshire United Way, one of the ways the nonprofit fundraising agency is seeking to more directly give back to community.

"Born Learning Trails are a United Way worldwide initiative and there are hundreds of them throughout the United States," said NBUW Executive Director Krista Collier. "I'm so happy we now have one in the Northern Berkshires."


Hall said she'd heard about the trails for along time and worked with Collier to get one in North Adams.

"We thought this location ideal with Child Care of the Berkshires right here so that the child care center can come out and the children experience that," she said. "Also the families that come to our Family Center as well can come to a playgroup and then come out and do our learning tail as well so it ties in very nicely."

The trail runs along the paved pathway at Joe Wolfe Field behind Child Care of the Berkshires on State Street. The path is a bit truncated now as work has started on the new splash park and basketball court, but it's long enough for nearly a dozen activities ranging from alphabet play to hopscotch to singing songs and telling stories.

"I love the location of this trail being here at Joe Wolfe Field, being part of the larger Noel Field Athletic Complex where the city's made some really intentional investment over the past couple years," said Mayor Thomas Bernard. "And I love the way that this harnesses that really vital connection between literacy and activity and it's such a great place ...

"We're going to be able to harness the energy and creativety and motion of young people and tie that into learning and literacy in a way that's low impact."

MountainOne provided the financial support for the project and the city's Department of Public Works installed the signage. Volunteers from the North Adams Rotary Club and Child Care of the Berkshires worked on the stencils and the painting.

"Amy and I talked about this for a long time getting it into our community and she worked really hard with [NBUW officer manager] Patti Messina to get the layout and the stencils together," said Collier. "This is one place where children and caregivers can come in the community and actually have some places where learning can happen in a community setting."


Tags: children & families,   NBUW,   

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North Adams Rallies For Win in Rain-Shortened La Festa Baseball Exchange

By Rick DuteauiBerkshires.com Sports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass - North Adams struck just before Mother Nature did on Saturday night, as the local team rallied to a 9-5 victory over the Boston North End Dodgers, just before weather shortened the first game of the annual La Festa Baseball Exchange at Joe Wolfe Field.
 
The two sides met for the 29th straight season in the yearly event in which each club travels for a two-game series. Although Saturday’s action was halted in the top of the sixth inning due to a lightning storm that swept quickly through the area, the teams meet again on Sunday morning for the second game. North Adams will also travel east in August for a pair of games hosted by the Dodgers in Boston.
 
Things may have ended in a draw had North Adams not struck for its final scoring burst in the bottom of the fifth inning, as it scored four runs to break open a 5-5 score with the deciding margin of victory. Landon Champney got it going after he led off by slicing the ball past third base for a double, and he then scored the winning run on a throwing error after Tristan Garner walked and attempted to steal second to draw a throw.
 
The home team kept piling on in the fifth to increase its lead. Garner came in on a passed ball, Chase Vanderwoude walked and later stole home and Owen Gagne smacked a single past third, advanced on a balk and then crossed the plate following a wild pitch.
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