Clean Water Volunteer Needed for the Watershed Action Alliance


The Watershed Action Alliance is looking for some talented volunteers to help with important work in protecting the water resources of southeastern Massachusetts. If you have skills in the following areas and would like to do some meaningful fun work, this could be a great fit for you!
media outreach to local and regional newspapers.

1)  Excellent phone/communications skills and strong administration skills.
2) Research and writing about local watershed issues. We will be creating a series of ‘did you know’ brief writeups for the papers and for our blog and Facebook pages that describe watershed related information about southeastern Massachusetts. We will also be writing a series of issue-based fact sheets.
3) Support in setting up presentations about watershed issues to venues such as churches, garden clubs, cable tv stations.
4) Help in organizing volunteer days for the local watershed organizations, for which we can post event happenings to your site and many others.

If interested, contact:

Jill Buchanan
Watershed Action Alliance Outreach Coordinator



Black macaque takes self-portrait with photographer’s camera

July 4, 2011. The primate went to investigate the equipment before becoming fascinated with his own reflection in the lens.

And it wasn’t long before the crested black macaque hijacked the camera and started snapping away sending award-winning photographer David Slater bananas.

David, 46, said: “One of them must have accidentally knocked the camera and set it off because the sound caused a bit of a frenzy.

“At first there was a lot of grimacing with their teeth showing because it was probably the first time they had ever seen a reflection.

“They were quite mischievous jumping all over my equipment, and it looked like they were already posing for the camera when one hit the button.

“The sound got his attention and he kept pressing it. At first it scared the rest of them away but they soon came back – it was amazing to watch.

“He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus. He obviously hadn’t worked that out yet.

“I wish I could have stayed longer as he probably would have taken a full family album.”

David, from Coleford, Gloucestershire, was on a trip to a small national park north of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi when he met the incredibly friendly bunch.

The crested black macaque is extremely rare and critically endangered. These were part of a study group near a science base in the region, home to researchers from Holland.

David added: “I teamed up with a local guide because I knew about the apes and wanted to photograph them.

“I walked with them for about three days in a row. They befriended us and showed absolutely no aggression – they were just interested in the things I was carrying.

“They aren’t known for being particularly clever like chimps, just inquisitive.

“Despite probably never having any contact with humans before they didn’t feel threatened by our presence, and that’s why I could walk with them during the day.”

(Link to original story:

What is Emotional Contagion?

The upright ape uses a wide variety of facial expressions to communicate emotion.

Emotional contagion is the transference of an emotion from one animal to another or from group to group. The emotion may be expressed through facial expressions, body language, vocalizations, behavior and words. Because of primates’ ability to empathize and propensity for social behavior, humans are primed to “catch” others’ emotions. In a survival situation, this can be useful to ensure that all members of a group act in concert, and research suggests that emotional contagion is heightened when subjects feel threatened. For instance, if the approach of a large predator causes fear to spread, elevating the sympathetic nervous system in preparation for fight or flight, and that fear turns to rage, the group will be better prepared to act together to battle the foe and more likely to succeed. Here is an unusual example of this.

Perhaps not surprisingly, researchers have found that emotional contagion can spread even when there is no physical proximity of individuals, through telephone conversations and even email. Emoticons are not necessary (although they are fun! 😉

It’s not always in one’s best interest to pick up on others’ emotions, especially when they are negative. Gretchen explains how to avoid this in this short video.

If you think animals have fewer facial expressions than humans, think again…