Adam Ratner

Roles at NAAEE:

30 Under 30, Changemaker Grantee

Associate Director of Conservation Education
The Marine Mammal Center

2021 EE 30 Under 30 Changemaker Grant Project
Climate Literacy Collaborative

The Marine Mammal Center identified a gap in support for environmental educators and a continued need for capacity-building and created the Climate Literacy Collaborative. New capacity-building initiatives will develop a series of workshops and a climate solution toolkit that address current deficiencies in environmental education and will support resilient communities and healthy ecosystems through climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. The Climate Literacy Collective will serve as a resource for capacity building, program exhibit design, and message development. It will also serve as a community-scale model for efforts to tackle climate change education at a collective level.

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2019 #WhereAreTheyNow Update

I just entered my 11th year at The Marine Mammal Center, the world’s largest marine mammal hospital and education facility. I also recently finished teaching my 2nd 6-month long study circle course for environmental educators on best practices in climate science communication and built a climate ambassador program for high school students where 15-17-year olds engage thousands of visitors to the hospital around climate change science and solutions. Since I joined the EE 30 Under 30 community, we have continued to see increased engagement in ocean conservation among staff, volunteers, and our hundreds of thousands of visitors. Having the opportunity to see and learn from other amazing individuals in our field has provided me with such wonderful inspiration and support in my work, as well as resources to improve my own EE skills and knowledge. My advice to emerging leaders in EE is to talk to each other! Too often, we silo ourselves off within our own organizations and we lose out on the opportunity to collaborate, share ideas, and increase our collective impact. I am excited about the pace at which we can create powerful environmental movements - we are not waiting for science to save us, and instead can focus on mobilizing communities to take action on issues such as climate change and ocean trash.

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EE 30 Under 30 Biography

Adam holds the enviable role of Guest Experience Manager at The Marine Mammal Center, an educational center as well as the world’s largest marine mammal hospital. Every day he challenges visitors to think differently about ocean conservation using the stories of individual patients that are rescued by the Center. Adam’s work, directly interacting with thousands of visitors each year, allows him to make significant contributions to protecting the environment and achieving the Center’s mission of advancing global ocean conservation. His background in science and psychology inspires him to develop more effective communication practices around the complex environmental issues we see today.

Adam not only manages all of the public programming and exhibits at the Center, but he also leads numerous sustainability initiatives. He works tirelessly to incorporate topics including climate change, ocean trash, and sustainable seafood into the Center’s guest experience, in some cases exposing visitors for the first time to the simple idea that their actions have an impact on the ocean. In addition to shaping the experience of 100,000 visitors each year, Adam also volunteers weekly on one of the Center’s animal care crews, which is a unique opportunity for him to directly help the hundreds of sick and injured marine mammals that are rescued along California’s coastline each year.

Managing over 100 volunteers, Adam has strengthened the internal training programs to ensure that the Center’s visitor programs use the most current and effective communication and engagement practices. Adam has worked diligently to establish an effective interpretation framework at the Center, incorporating the most relevant, timely and critical information into messages and programs.

Adam is passionate about sustainability initiatives and collaborates with many other environmental education organizations, serving as a leading member of the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation, a member of the Bay Area Sustainable Seafood Alliance, and a founding member and Steering Committee member for the Bay Area Climate Literacy Impact Collaborative. He is also honored to work with an amazing team of educators as a Community Climate Change Fellow with the National Association of Environmental Education.

Adam started his career in research at various labs in the United States studying animal learning, behavior and sensory systems, but changed fields to conservation education as he discovered the wonder of marine mammals and the various threats they face.