Author: Arete

Arete

Megan Mills Hoffman, Alaskan-born and raised, arrived in Buffalo in 2003 thinking she'd stay for a few months, much like her other brief sojourns in Missoula, Montana; Oxford, Mississippi; Portland, Oregon; and Albany, New York. Then she discovered Wegman's cheese aisle and Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House, the first of which reminded her of her mother's experience living outside Manchester, England and the second of her father's experience in construction in Alaska. While discovering Buffalo's others treasures, she worked with Buffalo Rising as it first expanded online, the Burchfield Penney Art Center's New Museum Project, Buffalo State College, Western New York Land Conservancy, Young Audiences, and The Gow School. She has served on the boards of the Allentown Association, Mandala School, Western New York Environmental Alliance, and Field and Fork Network. With a B.S. in Sociology and twenty plus years of experience working in community development and grassroots organizations, she has embraced, developed, launched, and established, to varying degrees of success, a variety of local social movements, all directed at changing the way we think about our education and learning. She lives in a small town south of Buffalo, much like the one she grew up in, with her Buffalo-born husband, daughter, and Bernese Mountain dog.

Is there any greater wonder at this time of year than a child’s fascination with the changing of the seasons? Do you notice the leaves changing to yellow and red and instantly, if only momentarily, flash back to a time when you would jump into a pile of leaves just like that?  When you were younger, and perhaps not so little? Doesn’t it bring up an irrepressible glee, joy, and delight in the world around you? Perhaps you were a city kid and the changing seasons were one of the ways you experienced nature growing up? Kids today have fewer and…

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It’s our THIRD summer season hosting Pop Up Playdate Café! If you have young children, enjoy being outside with your family and friends, and you’d love to be nearer to the lake breezes for this upcoming scorcher of a weekend, then join us Saturday morning, June 30, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Tifft Nature Preserve.  Designed to allow children to explore, experiment, and investigate, we provide a curated play space of sand, soil, water, and mud kitchen supplies. If you pre-order by midnight Friday, we also pick up your selection of delicious Butter Block pastries and Tipico Coffee iced…

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One of the best benefits to living in New York, for this Buffalo blow-in, is having local access to international networks and institutions. Growing up in a rural area, my family always looked to Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension system for well-researched resources about how to grow our favorite things better, from soil testing to best growing techniques for our region. But in times like these, with so much of our food imported from Canada, Mexico, and other foreign countries, with immigration of farm laborers becoming such a hotly debated national issue, how often do you wonder, even worry, about the bigger picture? What…

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Theatre is vibrantly alive in Buffalo already, but Medaille Summer Theatre makes it so for teenagers specifically throughout the summer. For three weeks, teens work together in all aspects of creating their own theatrical production, including writing their own original short plays. Many students return year after year to further develop their skills and experience, while also leading new students each new season. This year seven experienced students will return, with four entering their fifth consecutive year. New this year is the transformation of the former Road Less Traveled Productions Summer Institute into Medaille Summer Theatre, with Medaille College the…

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It promises to be downright balmy again this Saturday morning. If you have small children and an open morning, we highly recommend you make a point to get outside with them before the temps dip again. To ease your burden, we will bring the play supplies (Loose Parts style materials so that they can touch and create with everything). You just have to show up with plenty of warm layers and (yes, we’re hardcore) your picnic blanket. Invite your family and friends to meet you if you’re looking for a low key way to enjoy your community before the intensity…

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The birders are out in full force this weekend, thanks to the Buffalo Ornithological Society’s hosting the 70th Annual New York State Ornithological Association Meeting and Birders Conference. Yesterday they hiked through Tifft Nature Preserve to observe many rare migratory birds, and along Buffalo’s waterfront at the foot of Hertel Avenue in the hopes of seeing diving ducks, various gulls, jaegers, and scoters. In order to spot unusual waterfowl and special gulls, attendees will be meeting in Niagara Falls, overlooking the Niagara River rapids. The conference was scheduled for unusually late in the year specifically to take in the migratory…

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It’s fall and we’re keeping up the magic of child directed, loose parts, outdoor nature play with The Backyard Atelier. Here’s how it works: We bring the loose parts and café goodies, and set up play space under the trees near the lake and hiking trails at Tifft Nature Preserve, suitable for babies up to about age 7. Step 1: Check your dates and book your Saturday morning with us by registering online by midnight Friday, September 29 at www.popupplaydatecafe.com. Step 2: Invite your friends and family to meet you there with their kiddos, and breathe easier knowing that you’ve…

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We’re looking forward to a grand time this Saturday, July 29, 10 am to noon, at Tifft Nature Preserve, meeting up with other families with young children who relish opportunities for open ended outdoor play for their littles. Once a month the Pop Up Playdate Café rolls out a curated play space that includes Loose Parts items such as tree blocks, old telephones, sandpaper and boards, baking utensils, basins for pouring, water buckets, piles of dirt and sand, and all on the shady banks of Tifft’s lake, home to all kinds of animals and plant life.  Leslie and Jason have…

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We love it when our little people have a wide open spaces that are full of fun things for them to freely explore, tinker with, and imagine into their own creations. So we teamed up together with Tifft Nature Preserve, Tipico Coffee, and Butter Block to create a space for families with little ones to meet us out over scrumptious local coffee and excellent fresh pastries. If you sign up by midnight Friday, you can order up a couple of coffees and your favorite Butter Block June selections. Dress for whatever the weather turns out to be and meet us…

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Hallelujah, summer temps are coming back for the weekend with a forecasted high of 70 degrees. Join us for a Pop Up Playdate Café Saturday, May 20, from 10 a.m. to Noon at Tifft Nature Preserve. Ideal for families with young children up to about age seven, the morning provides a curated play space of Loose Parts, dirt, sand, and water for kids to meddle with as much as they please while their parents cultivate friendships and enjoy Tipico Coffee and Butter Block pastries at a respectable and safe distance. The kids love it for the number of play combinations…

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