Flying Cloud Institute Welcomes SMArt Studio Director

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Patrick O'Donnell
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Flying Cloud Institute has hired Patrick O'Donnell as director of its Science Meets Art Studio and will relaunch a makerspace program this fall in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District.
"As SMArt Studio director, Patrick will lead vacation camp programs, after school makerspaces, family STEAM challenge events, and work with the FCI team to inspire the next generation of artists and engineers. We welcome his artistic skills and cultural experiences in the Berkshires as we work to partner with local school districts to bring meaningful experiences to students," said Executive Director Maria Rundle. 
Having received his master of fine art in illustration from Savannah (Ga.) College of Art and Design, O'Donnell has completed projects for companies like HBO and The Discovery Channel, in addition to freelance work in the videogame and comic book industries. He has taught the art of figure drawing and narrative illustration at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston and elsewhere. In recent years, he taught illustration to all ages at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge through school initiatives and community outreach.
As the studio director, Patrick will lead a makerspace in the school district in Sheffield. The theme will be "Driving Tomorrow: MAG-LEV Vehicles of the Future." Registration is open to SBRSD students in Grades 3-5 and the cost is $35 per student. Register at

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MDAR Commissioner Marks 'Green Friday' at Seekonk Tree Farm

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Seekonk Tree Farm was selected for the annual 'Green Friday' pronouncement. MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux traveled to the family-owned farm to present Peter Sweet Jr. and family with the state proclamation encouraging state residents to buy their greenery local.

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — State Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux traveled to Seekonk Tree Farm to celebrate "Green Friday" with the cutting of a Christmas tree.  The day is meant to encourage residents to source holiday plants from local farms.

Lebeaux presented the owners of the farm, the Sweet family, with a proclamation that marked Nov. 26 as Green Friday and outlined the many benefits of their line of work.

This includes adding $3.5 million to the state's economy each year with the sale of about 83,000 trees, providing a renewable source of energy when burned, producing biomass and removing carbon dioxide from the air, and providing stable refuge for wildlife.

"We try to rotate every year and it was the Berkshires turn this year," Lebeaux explained.

The farm has been in business since 1979, when Peter Alden Sweet Sr. married Carol Joan Wright. With the help of a $50,000 grant from MDAR, the family was able to build a gift shop/workshop that was completed about a year ago.

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