Free Hilltown Adult Ed classes for April are great way to kick off spring

WESTFIELD – The Southern Hilltowns Adult Education Center (SHAEC) has announced new classes beginning in April taking place at various locations in the hilltowns, including early gardening tips, how to create a business plan, where to look for mushrooms, and GED preparation.

Master garden Kenneth Conway will teach a class on how to start vegetables and flowers from seed. (Photo submitted)

For those who can’t wait any longer to get their hands dirty, master gardener Kenneth Conway will teach a class on how to start vegetables and flowers from seed on Tuesday, April 3, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Village Enterprise Center (VEC), 26 Main Street in Chester. Later in the month, (Friday, April 20, 4 to 6 p.m. at the VEC), Conway will give a talk on perennial vegetables that grow well in the area, and will come back for years to come.

Got a great idea for a small business, but not sure where to start? Join Hilltown Economic Development Director Jeanne LeClair for a three-week class on creating business plans with an executive summary, marketing plan, budget and more. Also for people who are looking to grow their businesses. The classes will be held on Wednesdays, April 4, 11, and 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the VEC.

Hilltown Economic Development Director Jeanne LeClair. (WNG File Photo)

LeClair will also offer two Biztros: Drop-In small business support on Mondays, April 16 and 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the VEC. A more informal session, participants can come and ask for help on business websites, advertising and marketing, or just to chat about a great business idea with someone. LeClair will help find an answer, or share resources available in the area.

SHAEC Computer teacher Heather Morgan will teach a two-day class on PowerPoint presentations at SHAEC’s Huntington classroom, Room 152 in the Gateway Regional High School on Wed. and Thurs., April 25 and 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. Learn how to create an engaging presentation adding text, bulleted lists, images, charts and videos to slides, and how to play back your presentation.

Also in Huntington, there is still time to register for the GED/HiSet Reading Language Arts class – At the Hilltown Community Center/ Social Service Center, 9 Russell Road on Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to noon. This is the first time that SHAEC has been able to offer free on-site childcare, as the family center has a play group during class time. The GED class is free and limited to Hilltown residents in the Gateway district. Individual assistance in registering or preparing to take the HiSet test may also be scheduled by calling SHAEC at 413-685-1052.

Other April classes include:

At Essential Oils and the Great Outdoors on Thursday, April 5, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Middlefield Senior Center, 169 Skyline Trail, Middlefield, Clinical Aromatherapist Kay Judge will teach how to safely use Aromatic essential oils as an effective deterrent for pests and insects. Participants will make a bug repellent spray to take home. A materials fee of $15.00 will be collected.

Preregistration is required to go fly fishing with Tim Vogel of Tekoa Mountain Outdoors. (Photo submitted)

Hike Round Top Hill in Chester with Western Mass Hilltown Hikers on Saturday, April 21 at 10 a.m. Follow a section of Unkamit’s Path, a white-blazed scenic trail that includes the top of Round Hill, with a spectacular 360 degree view, the highest point in Hampden County at 1,780 feet (this hike has 100 foot elevation gains to the summit – be prepared for uphill climbing). Meet at the old cemetery on Round Hill Road, and park at the State Road parking lot, Round Hill Road and Park Knox Road. Dogs are welcome.

Seasonal Mushrooms: a month-to-month introduction to medicinal and edible fungus, taught by Mycophile and Chesterfield resident Maya Greene. Learn where to look, what to watch out for, and how to preserve big finds. April 28, 3 to 5 p.m., VEC in Chester.

Fly Fishing/Fly Casting on Sunday, April 29 taught by Tim Vogel of Tekoa Mountain Outdoors. Meet at VEC in Chester at 8 a.m., then travel to a fly fishing spot. Preregistration is required, as there is a 6 person limit to the MA Angler Education class, first preference given to Hilltown residents. Bring waders, hip boots if you have them, plus two water bottles, snack lunch and personal needs in a daypack. Fishing license is not required, and all fishing equipment will be provided, although if you have a rod, you can bring it.

For more information on all classes or to register for classes, visit the website at, email Sou[email protected], call 413-685-1052, or visit on FB at

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