Category Archives: Animal Issues

Nature parked in A.I! … Enjoy Free Admission, Guided Nature Walks and Family Activities at Broad Meadow Brook this Saturday, April 9



Enjoy Free Admission, Guided Nature Walks, and Family Friendly, Hands-on Activities at Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary this Saturday, April 9.

Mass Audubon protects the nature of Massachusetts for people and wildlife, through conservation, education and advocacy.  Their land conservation efforts have resulted in a system of wildlife sanctuaries that is now the largest private ownership of conserved land in Massachusetts. 

In addition to protecting critical habitat for native species, Mass Audubon’s land conservation efforts provide many quality-of-life benefits, including places to learn about and enjoy nature, like Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester, aka “Your Sanctuary in the City.”

“Broad Meadow Brook is not only a wildlife sanctuary, but a place where people can find sanctuary, too,” says Outreach and Marketing Coordinator Janice Schlickman.  “You don’t have to plan for months, travel for hours, nor spend lots of money to get away, enjoy some recreation, reach for better health, and experience peace.  You can do it all right here, right now.  The nature trails are well marked and easy to travel; some are especially designed for folks with baby strollers and assistive devices, so the whole family can enjoy a walk together.”
This year marks 100 years of Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries …

… and on the 100th day of the year – Saturday, April 9 – Broad Meadow Brook is celebrating. 

Admission is free all day, and between 11 am and 2 pm, you can enjoy these special celebration activities:
Guided Nature Walks (Depart at 11:30 am and 1:00 pm

Get to know “Your Sanctuary in the City” with an experienced teacher-naturalist as your guide.  Walk along Broad Meadow Brook’s accessible and sensory trail, for all persons with all abilities.  Explore several habitats including a woodland forest, wetland and pond. This walk is appropriate for all ages and will last about one hour. Participants are welcome to continue their exploration on their own, when the walk concludes.
Hands-on, Nature-themed Activities (Ongoing from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm)

Make your own pine cone bird feeder or create your own bookmarks using tracking stamps.  Read a nature story together.  Help create a list of “100 Great Things about Broad Meadow Brook”, by adding your thoughts on a butterfly shaped post-it.   Stop in the nature center, grab a trail map, scavenger hunt, Quest or Discovery booklet and embark on a self-guided exploration. 
With 5 miles of walking trails over 430 acres, Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary is New England’s largest urban wildlife sanctuary.

Located at 414 Massasoit Road in Worcester, it is easily accessible from Routes 122, 20, 290 and the Mass Pike.  It is also on the WRTA Millbury bus line #22.  (The bus stops directly in front of the Nature Center.) 
“Most people can’t believe it once they finally get out on the sanctuary; they always wish they had found Broad Meadow Brook sooner,” says Schlickman.  “Don’t wait.  Carpe diem… and celebrate with us on April 9!”
To learn about Mass Audubon’s work and statewide system of sanctuaries, visit

Assumption parked in A.I…Helping kids with Autism – Go, Assumption College, go!!!!

In recent years, there has been a rise in Autism across America, and now 1 in 68 children are diagnosed on the Autism spectrum.

In Central Massachusetts alone, 3,000 families are estimated to have a family member diagnosed with Autism.

Due to the rising number of families with children who have been diagnosed with Autism in need, waitlists grow longer and more therapists are needed. HMEA is dedicated to helping these families in Central Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island.
Through a $56,700 grant from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, HMEA has been able to expand the Students for Higher: Rising Up for Autism program in partnership with Assumption College.

Dr. Jan Yost, President & CEO of The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, remarked “with the increasing number of children presenting with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, we commend HMEA for partnering with Assumption College to develop a creative approach to alleviating the challenges these children and their families face, while also providing college students with exposure to children with Autism and a job as they are studying to be therapists.  The ultimate goal is to increase the number of therapists who are skilled in Applied Behavioral Analysis, which is proven to help young children with Autism. Once a successful program is established at Assumption College, it is hoped that HMEA will be able to implement the program in other colleges in Central Massachusetts.” 
The Students for Higher program specifically trains students in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABA therapy has proved to be an effective treatment for Autism, especially when used during Early Intervention and is endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General.

Students are taught ABA training techniques such as personalized brain games and positive reinforcement. Students shadow Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) at first. Once students have gained adequate training and observation, they take care of specific clients independently and check-in with a supervisor.
The Students for Higher program is making an impact on those with Autism, their families, and Assumption students. Kate Colburn, project leader of Students for Higher, happily reported that “the Students for Higher:  Rising Up for Autism program has helped provide Behavior Therapy services to all of the children that HMEA supports in the Worcester area.” It has certainly made the impact it intended on families and the unnerving waitlist.
Students have the opportunity to gain real-life, hands-on experience that is much needed in the job market. They are able to receive ABA training and practice with the supervision of BCBAs, helping them to determine their career paths while helping those in need. “After participating in the Students for Higher program, I feel like I’m more prepared for the real world and I have the experience I need to do what I love” says Abigail, an Assumption College sophomore, “I also like how my daily experiences with my client connects with what I’m learning in my Human Services and Psychology classes.”

Michael Moloney, CEO of HMEA, said “through this program, HMEA has been able to provide more ABA trained therapists to families in need across Worcester County, the MetroWest region, and parts of Rhode Island. Not only are Assumption College students gaining needed real-life work experience, but they’re also helping HMEA achieve its mission of giving children with autism and their families, help, hope, and a future filled with promise.”
About HMEA:
HMEA was founded in 1961 on the basic principle that people diagnosed with Autism or other developmental disabilities have dreams for their lives. Our mission is to help them live that dream and our 700+ caring, committed and competent staff are dedicated to achieving that. We treat each person diagnosed with Autism or a developmental disability as an individual, with talents, abilities and challenges. And our care spans his or her lifetime — from the first few months of life through adulthood. HMEA serves over 4,000 people who have Autism and other developmental disabilities throughout 110 communities in Massachusetts. For more information, visit

ACE and Jim parked in AI



Congressman Jim McGovern Applauds $317 Million New Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Institute

New Institute Includes UMass Amherst, Quinsigamond Community College

Congressman Jim McGovern applauded last week’s announcement that Massachusetts has been selected by the Department of Defense to host a $317 million public-private research partnership called the Revolutionary Fiber and Textile Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

The Institute will be based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with participation from UMass Amherst, Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester
, and a total of 89 manufacturers, universities, and non-profits.

“Massachusetts has long been a leader in innovation, and this public-private partnership will continue that tradition. Powering the 21st century economy starts with strong investments in the technology of tomorrow and this will ensure that Massachusetts continues to be on the front lines, as we write the next chapter in fiber science,” Congressman McGovern said. “I am proud that UMass Amherst and Quinsigamond Community College will be part of this exciting manufacturing partnership. I thank Secretary Carter for recognizing the incredible work of our Massachusetts schools and look forward to all we will achieve through this partnership.”

UMass Amherst will be committing $1 million to the initiative and will focus on research in polymer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering and computer science. UMass Amherst projects in the initiative will include fiber-integrated sensors, energy generation and storage systems, thermal camouflage and other areas. Quinsigamond Community College will support the education and training of a skilled workers in advanced textiles manufacturing.

“We look forward to accelerating the fiber and textile manufacturing workforce in the US, and across Massachusetts,” Dr. Gail Carberry, QCC President stated. QCC will help develop a national community college network and co-develop industry recognized curriculum modules for accelerated, stackable certificates based on local fiber and textile industry demands to crate career pathways through 2-year colleges and beyond. “This Advanced Manufacturing Institute allows us to leverage the significant State and industry investment for QCC’s Innovative Technology Acceleration Center (ITAC) in Southbridge,” Dr. Carberry added.

The institute will bring together nontraditional partners to integrate fibers and yarns with integrated circuits, LEDs, solar cells, and other capabilities to create textiles and fabrics that can see, hear, sense, communicate, store energy, regulate temperature, monitor health, change color, and more.

For example, the institute will pair the likes of leading audio equipment maker Bose, computer chip maker Intel, and nanofiber manufacturer FibeRio with textile manufacturers and textile users like Warwick Mills, Buhler Yarns, and New Balance. In doing so, the institute will accelerate technology transfer to enable revolutionary defense and commercial applications such as shelters with power generation and storage capacity built into the fabric, ultra-efficient, energy-saving filters for vehicles, and uniforms that can regulate temperature and detect threats like chemical and radioactive elements in order to warn warfighters and first responders. The combination of novel properties such as exceptional strength, flame resistance, reduced weight and electrical conductivity through this institute will lead to significant advancements in this industry.

2016 Farmers Gala!! … parked in A.I.


May 19, 2016

6:00 – 9:00 PM

At Tower Hill Botanic Garden
11 French Drive
Boylston, MA 01505

REC and Tower Hill Botanic Garden
invite you to support urban agriculture and Worcester’s food justice movement at our upcoming event!

2016 Farmers Gala!!


Spring tasting menu, by Pepper’s Fine Catering!

Local beer wall!

Silent and live auctions!

Live music!

All in a beautiful indoor/outdoor setting!

We hope to see you there!


Tickets available now!

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets!

Questions? Contact the REC:


WSU parked in A.I. … Worcester State University students and faculty join fossil fuel divestment fund

The Worcester State University divestment team will start investing in the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund.

It will join 29 other universities across the country to ensure that donations go to investments that uphold the university’s core values rather than to the Worcester State Foundation’s current portfolio, which includes fossil fuel stocks.

“Students and faculty have worked since the spring of 2013 to persuade the
university’s president and foundation board that Worcester State must divest of its fossil fuels portfolio,” said Patricia Benjamin, associate professor in the Department of Earth, Environment and Physics. “The science is overwhelmingly on our side. We
must leave the oil in the ground and invest in wiser energy choices.”

The student-led divestment effort has included talks in classes, meetings
with university leaders, and a die-in at the university’s Board of Trustees meeting in March, said Ashley Seymour, a junior student divestment leader and biology major.

“One of the university’s core values is engaged citizenship,” Seymour said.
“WSU says it is preparing students to be active and informed citizens. It wants us to be involved in community service, the democratic process and environmental
sustainability efforts.”

The group’s divestment efforts yielded no results.

It will join the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund so those who want to support the university can do so
without violating their own moral principles.

Tax-deductible donated funds will be held in escrow in a socially responsible
investment account that does not invest in fossil fuels. These escrowed donations will be released to the Worcester State Foundation if it pledges, before the end of
2017, to divest from fossil fuels.

“The foundation must publicly announce that it has halted new investments
in the fossil fuel industry and present a plan to withdraw all existing investments in this sector within five years,” Benjamin said. “The Divestment Fund will then turn over the escrowed funds to Worcester State’s foundation.”

At the current rates of fossil fuel burning, the earth’s temperature could rise by 4 degrees Celsius by 2050, which is 2 degrees Celsius warmer than an
internationally agreed-upon limit. The World Bank has called this amount of
warming “devastating.”

The WSU student-led divestment site is

For further information about the Multi-State Fossil Fuel Divestment Fund, see

WPL news parked in A.I! … New Worcester Public Library school branch to open Friday!!!!!

The new WPL branch at Burncoat Prep! Go, Worcester kids, go!! pic:R.T.


Newest Elementary School-Based Library to Serve the City of Worcester
as Part of the “One City, One Library” Initiative

WHAT: The opening of the Worcester Public Library Burncoat Branch at the Burncoat Street Preparatory School on Burncoat Street will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting and ceremony.One City, One Library is a private-public partnership focused on improving literacy skills citywide.
The Burncoat Branch includes all new books, iPads, computers, electronic literacy stations, a SmartBoard, and comfortable seating.

Public hours will begin April 1, 2016 at 4 p.m. 

During the school year the branch will be open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. 

Additional hours will be added during the summer months.
The One City, One Library collaboration between the City of Worcester, the Worcester Public Library, the Worcester Public Schools, and other organizations dedicated to education, has opened public library branches in four of the city’s elementary schools.

These branches offer the wealth of resources found at the public library, including technology, new materials, and professional librarians, and bring them into our schools.

These resources are accessible to students and teachers during the school day. The library is open to the public when school is not in session.
WHERE: Burncoat Street Preparatory School, 526 Burncoat Street, Worcester
WHEN: Friday, April 1, 2016     
9 a.m. Library Opening Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting with Mayor Joseph M. Petty, City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr., and representatives from the Worcester Public Library, Worcester Public Schools, and community partners.

Rosalie at the Worcester Public Library Greendale branch yesterday – returning materials, checking out cool new stuff. This WPL branch, located on West Boylston Street, is ALWAYS BUSY! Go Celtics!

Editor’s note:
Why isn’t this happening in GREEN ISLAND, LOWER VERNON HILL, GRAFTON STREET, PIEDMONT/CROWN HILL, VERNON HILL, QUINSIG VILLAGE??!!!!!! So many poor/needy kids in these neighborhoods NEED and WOULD LOVE TO HAVE such a wonderful neighborhood resource!
– Rosalie Tirella

Woo news you can use parked in A.I!

Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) 1
Clark University students to host ‘Splash,’ offer free workshops to area youth on April 10

Clark University’s Educational Studies Program, a student organization, will host Splash on Sunday, April 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on campus at 950 Main Street, Worcester. This day-long event enables hundreds of area students in grades 5-12 to take free classes taught by Clark students.
More than 75 Clark students will teach classes and workshops. Splash workshops include lmao (laughing my anxiety off), Silly Putty Chemistry, Introduction to Parody Song Writing, Basic First Aid, and Climate Change and the Future of Human Civilization.
Clark junior Corey Bernstein is the director of the Splash program; he has also taught Splash classes, including The Psychology of Optical Illusions.
“We believe that by giving students the opportunity and freedom to take classes outside of the traditional K-12 curriculum, they will become more curious, motivated, and engaged learners as they kindle new and old passions,” said Bernstein.
Splash also offers a program for the parents of Splash participants, which features workshops on secondary education.

Registration for Splash workshops ends Monday, April 4.

To register, visit the program’s website; the course catalog is available online. 

Food and beverages will be provided.  For more information, email
Splash was started at MIT and has since spread to over 20 colleges nationwide, including Clark, Boston College, and Smith College by way of a nonprofit organization called Learning Unlimited, founded by MIT graduates. Clark’s Splash program began in the spring of 2012.



Putting a rosary into the hands of every member of the U.S. Armed Forces around the globe who wants one.
Operation Ranger Rosary will hold their next meeting on April 9, from 1 to 3:00 p.m., Phelan Center, Blessed Sacrament Church, and 551 Pleasant St.

We have also added to our program: Prayer Shawl knitting or crocheting

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Information/Support Group

Specializing in Helping Grandparents Connect with Community Resources
1st Saturday of each month**

**April MEETING 4/2/16

**May MEETING 5/7/16**
Please let us know if you plan to attend!

10:45 am-11:15 am

at 484 Main Street Suite, 460

Call 508-796-1411 for more information or to RSVP*

**When the Center is open. *You MUST RSVP.  Bring new resources that you know of or questions about resources you are seeking. Enjoy a light snack and build on your contacts and supports.


Boston LUNG FORCE Walk Slated for May 12 at Boston Common

BOSTON – The American Lung Association of the Northeast is pleased to announce that Lahey Health has signed on for the next two years as presenting sponsor of the LUNG FORCE Walk at Boston Common. The 2016 event will take place the evening of Thursday May 12.  LUNG FORCE, launched in May of 2014, is the American Lung Association’s singular movement to unite women to stand together against lung cancer and for lung health. Lahey Health presented the inaugural LUNG FORCE Walk Boston in 2015 which welcomed 500 participants and raised nearly $100,000.

“Lahey Health has been a partner with the Lung Association to help smokers quit for good with our Freedom From Smoking Program and educate the public about lung cancer screening,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast.  “We’re pleased to expand our partnership with Lahey and to step up efforts to fight lung cancer.”  In addition to its presenting sponsorship, Lahey will participate with a walk team.

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC) in Burlington, MA, is a pioneer in low-dose CT lung screening, and has offered its screening program to eligible patients since January, 2012.

The Rescue Lung, Rescue Life team at LHMC has screened more than 3600 men and women and has detected more than 91 cases of lung cancer. Three out of four of these lung cancers have been Stage I, the most curable stage of the disease. In addition, LHMC’s team has shared information on how to activate similar programs at more than 600 hospitals in the United States and abroad. Programs like Rescue Lung, Rescue Life have the potential to save at least 12,000 lives across the United States each year.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, exceeding the number of deaths from cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate combined,” said Andrea McKee, MD, chair of the Radiation Oncology department at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “We are proud to continue our sponsorship of the LUNG FORCE Walk because it shines the light on the fight against lung cancer, and helps pave the way for the research and innovation necessary to eradicate this awful disease.”

To learn more about LUNG FORCE or to sign up for the LUNG FORCE Walk in Boston, visit  

About the American Lung Association of the Northeast 
The American Lung Association of the Northeast serves CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI and VT.  We are part of the American Lung Association, the oldest voluntary health organization in the U.S. established in 1904 to combat tuberculosis; our mission today is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.  The focus is on air quality, asthma, tobacco control, and all lung disease. 

SeaWorld must empty its tanks

By Jared S. Goodman

Even though SeaWorld was the last to accept it, the corporation has finally conceded: Orcas do not belong in tanks. And just as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus did when it announced the end of its elephant shows, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby admitted that an “attitudinal change” in the public prompted the decision.
As almost everyone knows by now, SeaWorld has announced that it has ended its orca breeding program. This means that this generation of orcas should be the last to suffer in SeaWorld’s tanks.
While welcome, the decision does not go far enough. Instead of forcing orcas to continue suffering for years, perhaps decades, in cramped tanks, SeaWorld must take the next logical step and begin the development of coastal sanctuaries that would allow the remaining orcas to become reacquainted with their natural ocean home.
Such protected seas pens would give orcas greater freedom of movement and many opportunities that they are now denied: to see, sense and communicate with their wild relatives and other ocean animals; to feel the tides and waves; and to engage in other natural behavior that is not possible when confined to a tank. They would have a degree of autonomy and self-determination. Family groups could be preserved, and incompatible animals wouldn’t be forced to live together. Caregivers would remain at a safe distance but could monitor the orcas and provide them with food as well as veterinary care if necessary. Visitors could observe them from viewing platforms. 
Orcas can recover their sanity, even after years in captivity. Let’s not forget Keiko, a wild orca who was captured near Iceland and sold to a series of aquariums, where he was forced to perform tricks for food. He became sick and severely depressed. After the movie Free Willy prompted the call for his retirement, he was moved to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and successfully rehabilitated.

Then in 1998, he was transferred to an ocean pen near Iceland. While his adjustment wasn’t completely trouble-free, Keiko was nevertheless able to communicate with nearby orca pods. He didn’t have to perform. He learned to catch his own food. Even though he was still being monitored by his rehabilitators, he navigated more than 1,000 miles of open ocean and was living free when he died in December 2003 — nearly eight years after he was rescued from his tank in Mexico City and five years after he was first placed in the sea pen.

Orcas Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka and Ulises—like Keiko, all torn from their ocean homes and forced to spend their lives in tanks—could get to experience some of the same pleasures. Every orca at SeaWorld deserves this. 

Unfortunately, it will probably be too late for Tilikum. Reportedly near death, he has spent three decades in captivity, forced to perform stupid tricks and used as a breeding machine. Kidnapped when he was only about 2 years old, he has never again known the joy of swimming with his family or exploring the vast ocean. 

The tide has forever turned at SeaWorld. PETA’s celebrity supporters, including Kate del Castillo, Jason Biggs, Jessica Biel, Wilmer Valderrama, Bob Barker, Marisa Miller and Joanna Krupa, have all worked to expose the unnatural living conditions and untimely deaths of animals in SeaWorld’s tanks, and people around the world were outraged after watching Blackfish, which documented the misery.
Until SeaWorld takes the next step and does what’s right for the animals who have long served its interests, kind people will continue to stay far away.

Franny just sent us these adorable bunny photos!

Too cute! Happy Easter from Linus and pals!

Photos and text by Franny McKeever

Franny volunteers at this excellent non-profit where she adopted her beauties.



To learn about proper house rabbit care and to adopt a bunny from the House Rabbit Network, CLICK HERE!       – R.T.

This is Stella, the bunny we took in as a foster bunny, but we never could let her go! Here she is, flopped asleep on our kitchen floor.

This is Greta and Linus snuggling together. Bunnies are very social and spend most of their time together.


I adopted Linus from The House Rabbit Network. They rescued Linus from euthanization at an overcrowded shelter. He had been dumped there after spending several months in a cage in someone’s basement with little contact.

He was most likely an impulsive Easter purchase for someone who had no interest in caring for a bunny. I am very happy to say that he bonded with our female bunny, Greta, after being neutered. He now lives free-range in our home with Greta. He loves attention and is a very sweet bunny!

Linus is very relaxed, with his feet stretched out!