ronnaveenRon Naveen, President and founder of Oceanites, a non-profit that monitors penguin species in Antarctica, visited with current Marine Conservation and Policy (MCP) students on October 18th.

Naveen, who collaborates on penguin research with Stony Brook professor Dr. Heather Lynch, spoke about starting and running a non-profit focused on marine conservation and policy issues. Through his extensive experience working with scientists, policy makers, lawyers, and government organizations, Naveen has learned a great deal about working effectively in this field.

“You have to be able to put science in 5 or 10 cent words,” says Naveen as he reflects on meeting with lawmakers, “using the right words is a very important skill.”

Through his work with colleagues at Oceanites, Naveen has recorded changes in penguin populations over the past 25 years. Populations of Chinstrap and Adelie penguins have declined, while populations of Gentoo penguins have increased in association with declines in sea ice. Naveen spreads that message and other discoveries in his upcoming movie, The Penguin Counters. “You might wonder,” says Naveen, “How does science get translated into policy? Are we actually conserving anything?” He answered this simply, “You just have to keep doing good work. You can’t bend a policy maker’s arm, but hopefully you can publish the information to change something.”

Naveen’s advice to students?

“Keep your eyes open and don’t get discouraged. Just keep working through the fog of people who don’t understand.”

Learn more about Oceanites and the work that they do at:

Content contributed by Sara Hugentobler and Lesley Thorne.