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TEDx talks include weekend tours in area

SHELBURNE FALLS — Have you ever seen an American chestnut orchard, or Benson Place, the majestic Heath setting that inspired local artist Robert Strong Woodward?

These and 13 other special places in western Franklin County will be the settings for TEDx Shelburne Falls adventures, as part of this weekend’s “A Sense of Place” conference.

On Saturday , 13 presenters will tackle aspects of what defines a place, what is the nature of the places you most love and most dislike and how can you make the places where you live and work better. Also explored is: How can we afford to repair and preserve the special places and buildings that define our community character without breaking the bank? These talks are scheduled in Memorial Hall from noon to 6:30 p.m.

Participants at the event will also get their choice of tours to some of the favorite places in West County. Saturday morning tours include a riverside hike of the Mahican-Mohawk Trail, Brian Clark’s American chestnut breeding orchard in Ashfield, the South River State Forest (for an invasive bug and forestry tour), Benson Place, High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary and Catamount Hill. There will also be a botanical tour of the Bridge of Flowers, a tour of the Ashfield Stone Factory and the Lamson & Goodnow Cutlery.

Sunday’s adventures include an 8 a.m. Buckland Hills Run of 4.7 miles with runner Janice Sorensen, a visit to American chestnut breeding orchard near South River State Forest, a hike to the stone Fire Tower as well as Buckland’s Wilder Homestead Colonial Day.

A full-conference ticket includes entry to live TEDx sessions, a post-party, a Saturday morning pre-conference tour and a longer Sunday adventure. General admission is $41. However, organizer Stacy Kontrabecki has announced that any government employee who is on furlough can come admission-free.

The conference will be live streamed beginning at noon. Tickets to the limited seating event may be ordered by phone at 800-838-3006 or online at www.TEDx-Shelburne-Falls.com.

TED — which stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design” — was founded in 1984, and is a nonprofit organizer of private conferences. All its talks are available free on the Internet. Since 2009, more than 7,600 TEDx events have been held around the world.

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