Climate change programs planned at local libraries

Sept. 15, 2021 | Lori Szepelak

GRANVILLE – Libraries in Granville, Southwick, Tolland, Westfield and three other communities are joining forces to recognize Climate Preparedness Week, Sept. 24 to 30, with a host of educational and inspiring programs for all ages.

“We’re combining our resources so we can be more effective in reaching the southwestern Massachusetts/northwestern Connecticut area,” said Lise Letellier, director of the Granville Public Library. “Collaborating is the only way we’ll ever solve the climate issue, because there are no boundaries to climate. That means we all have to work together.”

Climate Preparedness Week is a national endeavor to help communities better understand how severe weather affects everyone locally, globally, and personally. The Pioneer and Farmington Valley Library Collaborative has planned six days of free, web-based and in-person programming on understanding unstable weather trends, savoring the outdoors, and learning what people can do to slow the effects of a warming planet.

Participating libraries include the Agawam Public Library, Granville Public Library, Southwick Public Library, Tolland Public Library, West Springfield Public Library and Westfield Athenaeum in Massachusetts, and the Simsbury Public Library in Connecticut.

The bi-state library alliance has worked closely on this endeavor with the Voices Rising Together’s Climate and Environmental Justice subcommittee, based in Granville. The subcommittee is a grassroots volunteer group whose mission is to create community conversations around climate change and what the public can do as individuals to reduce the risks associated with global warming.

Carsten Braun, a climate scientist at Westfield State University, will be among the presenters during the series.

“I think these types of events and presentations are important to offer context to some of the most recent extreme weather events that we are seeing,” said Braun, noting examples include the wildfires in California and flooding in Germany.

“Climate change to me is the great global challenge that we are facing,” said Braun. “And here I consider climate change in the broadest sense. Climate change certainly is a technological challenge related to sustainable energy and here we already have a number of realistic and practical solutions available.”

Braun added that climate change and the impacts of climate change are also reflections of environmental justice – “or lack thereof” – at the local, regional, national, and global level.

The schedule of events, which ranges from a documentary movie night at the Westfield Athenaeum to a hike in search of hawks on a Granville hilltop, includes:


Sept. 24

• “Make and Take Herb Garden,” all week while supplies last at the West Springfield Public Library, 200 Park St., West Springfield. Teens and adults will make a grow-your-own herb kit that includes seeds, a biodegradable pot, and a peat pellet. For more details, visit or call 736-4561.

• “How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide for Surviving the Chaos,” 2 to 3 p.m. on Zoom. Science correspondent and New York Times best-selling author David Pogue will offer advice on how to prepare for future climate turbulence, including what to grow, what to eat, how to build, how to insure, where to invest, how to prepare children and pets, and where to consider relocating. Pogue will also provide tips for managing anxiety, as well as action plans for riding out every climate catastrophe from superstorms and wildfires to ticks and epidemics. The event is hosted by the Massachusetts Library System. Attendees can register at

• “Chasing Ice,” an in-person film screening with a discussion to follow, 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Westfield Athenaeum, 6 Elm St., Westfield. The Emmy-winning documentary features time-lapse images by National Geographic photographer James Balog to show stunning vistas of untouched, arctic land while capturing dramatic glacial melt. Letellier, who is also a science teacher, will facilitate the discussion. The event is sponsored by the collaborative and the Athenaeum. Registration is required at or by calling 568-7833.

• “Science Rocks! Making Biodegradable Plastic,” an in-person event for children ages 9 to 12, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the West Springfield Public Library. Children will learn how and why the climate is changing, and about new research in biodegradable plastics which may offer solutions to reducing future plastic waste. The program wraps up with participants making their own biodegradable plastic out of milk and vinegar. For information, call 736-4561 or visit


Sept. 25

• Hawk Watch program at 9 a.m. at Blueberry Hill on North Lane in Granville. John Weeks of the Allen Bird Club will lead this outdoor bird watch, sponsored by the Southwick Public Library. Participants are reminded to wear sensible footwear, as well as bring items for bug and tick prevention. Also, those on the hike must be able to walk up a moderate, quarter-mile incline. All participants must sign a waiver, and those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required at 569-1221 or

• Children’s Story Hour at 10:30 a.m. at the Granville Public Library, 2 Granby Road, Granville. Interactive storytelling will introduce ways kids can help create a healthy climate. For details, call 357-8531 or email


Sept. 27

• “Code Red for Humanity: Understanding Global Warming’s Risks & What Each of Us Can Do,” at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Professor Carsten Braun, a climate scientist at Westfield State University, will explore the science underlying climate change, the current and anticipated impacts, and what the public can do individually and collectively to make a difference. A question-and-answer period will follow the lecture. The event is sponsored by the Pioneer and Farmington Valley Library Collaborative and Voices Rising Together’s Climate and Environmental Justice subcommittee. To register, send an email to Voices Rising Together at


Sept. 28

• “Make and Take Mini Planters,” an in-person craft for older children and teens, offered all day while supplies last at the Agawam Public Library, 750 Cooper St., Agawam. The project involves painting or embellishing a mini planter to take home. For more information, call 789-1550, ext. 3, or visit

• “Teens Outsmart Disposables for a Better World,” an in-person event at 2:30 p.m. at the Southwick Public Library, 95 Feeding Hills Road, Southwick. Teens will learn how to make an edible water bottle. For details, call 569-1221 or visit

• Teen Trivia Night at 6 p.m. on Zoom. The fun, online trivia game allows participants to test their knowledge of climate change. Participants will need a secondary device (phone or tablet) to submit their answers. Families and individuals in grade 5 and above are encouraged to play along. Registration is required as space is limited. For details, call the Agawam Public Library at 789-1550 or visit

•Cookbook Club at 6:30 p.m. in the Southwick Public Library. This month’s cookbook is “In the Green Kitchen” by Alice Waters. People are invited to make one regular-sized recipe for other participants to try at the library. As a reminder, neither the food served at the Cookbook Club, nor the participants’ home kitchens, nor the library facilities, have been inspected by any state or local public health agency. Registration is required by emailing the name of the recipe to be made to or by calling 569-1221.

Sept. 29

• “Mindful Outdoor Experience,” 4 to 5 p.m. on the lawn at the Granville Public Library. Colleen Mollica will lead teens and adults in present-moment awareness, deep breathing, and conscious movement to help participants awaken their senses and receive the healing properties of nature. Registration is encouraged but not required. For more details, call 357-8531 or email

• “Becoming an Outdoor Citizen,” 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Zoom. John Judge, author and Appalachian Mountain Club president, will discuss outdoor cities, sustainable food, new energy models, environmental advocacy, and spotlights of success from across the world. Sponsored by the Granville and Simsbury libraries. To register with the Simsbury Public Library, visit or call 860-658-7663.


Sept. 30

• “Resilience and Preparedness in a Changing Climate,” 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. This panel discussion will offer local, factual information on severe weather changes, how individuals and communities can prepare for natural emergencies, and what people can do to help stave off the most threatening effects. Panelists will include representatives from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, a forest consultant, and more. Sponsored by Agawam and Granville libraries. Registration is required at or 789-1550.

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