ORCA Outreach

Building a bridge of respect between people and animals

through knowledge and understanding!

As the head instructor of ORCA’s education department, Ron Barrett, has been involved with wildlife rescue and rehabilitation for 12 years, and was involved with the re-establishment of ORCA in Ventura County. Ron helps with evaluation, rescue, Seal Watch and transport duties, and has been developing our educational booth and other presentations, including construction of special displays designed to withstand exposure to outdoor elements. ORCA volunteers have taken the majority of photos and Ron has digitized, cropped, enlarged and mounted them for display. As a ORCA volunteer, Ron has participated at the Whale Festival at Sycamore Cove State Beach, Harbor Days Festival, Pacific Off Shore Grand Prix, SeaFest and Whale Festivals at Ventura Harbor, and Earth Day Festivals in the cities of Oxnard and Thousand Oaks.

In addition to regulatory signs for healthy “hauled out” marine mammals that ORCA Seal Watch volunteers post at a stranding location, Ron was instrumental in the development of supplemental public education signs, specific to each stranding species, that offer the beach going public additional opportunities to read about the individual seal or sea lion while it is resting on the beach.

Ron has developed several Power Point Presentations for our “Junior ORCA” program that is available, free of charge, to all Ventura County Schools. The Junior ORCA presentation focuses on the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act and includes species, sex and age recognition, the elements that cause them harm and what our organization does to help. Ron, has worked more than 20 years with our Ventura County Naval Bases and currently resides on San Nicolas Island (the location for the non-fiction novel – Island of the Blue Dolphin). This presentation is also available upon request. Each presentation can be easily tailored to a number of considerations including age, size of group and what message the teacher hopes to convey.

Ron, who is a wonderful storyteller, inspires others with his passion for marine life. He is at his best with a group of children. He says he loves a captive audience. “It’s all worth it (the effort) when you see the glee in their faces as they leave, chattering about what they have just learned,” says Ron “I love to hear the children re-telling what they have learned to their families. It’s the ultimate compliment.”

Additional background:

Besides his work with ORCA, Ron Barrett is quite an accomplished person. He has been a certified industrial instructor for the Navy for 16 years, specializing in Hazardous Material and Hazardous Waste Safety and Regulatory Compliance. He has been recognized by the Navy for providing training to thousands of Active Duty, Reserves and Civilian Personnel, many of who have gone onto perform similar duties at other military bases and ships throughout the world.

Ron has been a member of the Speakers Bureau for the Navy at Navy Base Ventura County (NBVC) for ten years, giving talks at local schools on environmental issues. Some of his Navy presentations have been used in Washington D.C. at national symposiums, in Sacramento, CA. and at local schools. He has given presentations to several classes at Oxnard College on Household Chemical Safety, Household Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Material Spill Response. For grade schools, Ronald has done presentations on Endangered Species, Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, and the importance of Wetlands.

Over a decade ago, Ron was approached by the Public Affairs Office to put a photo and text presentation together for Earth Day Festivals at Oxnard College. With development support from co-workers and friends, his first display, which highlighted the natural resources at NBVC and the Navy’s Stewardship of these resources, was well received. This was the beginning of eleven straight years of his participation in this annual event, each year updating and fine tuning the art of photo/text displays and presenting the Navy’s environmental goals and accomplishments. These presentations led to invitations to participate in other events: National Sustainability Conference, Ventura County Fair, Ventura County Economic Development Agency (Environmental Quality) and Arbor Day in the city of Thousand Oaks. Many of these entries won awards for best presentation as well garnering awards to the Navy for being good environmental stewards.

Recently, Ronald was again approached by the Public Affairs Office to develop an “Environmental Education Center” at NBVC. The target audience was again local school children. A vacant building was made available by the Naval Command. The Center was developed to tell various stories, including the rich natural and cultural resources at NBVC and San Nicolas Island and what the Navy does to protect and preserve them. The Center also includes a public involvement project, demonstrating what engineers and technicians do to comply with various regulations. The Center was completed as a self-help project with help of friends and volunteers and has hosted more than 3,300 local school children at no charge. Local organizations also, such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc., are also allowed access.