Lifetime Member Spotlight: Alan Rammer
By Megan Maynard
We’re mixing it up and shining this month’s STPS Spotlight on Alan Rammer, a lifetime member who currently lives in Washington state.
What led him to find STPS? In 2004, he traveled to Florida for the Sea Bean Symposium, and a friend brought him to the Turtle House in Indialantic. He believed in what STPS stood for and joined the organization.
Graduating from the University of Washington, Rammer earned dual degrees in shellfish biology and invertebrate zoology. He went on to study for his master’s degree but was offered his dream job before he could finish. Loving the work he has done, Rammer states he “never had Mondays, only Fridays.” For 22 years (36 in total), Rammer was the marine community outreach and environmental educator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Twice he served as president of the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators and served two terms on the board for the National Marine Educators Association representing his region.
Rammer has been passionate about beachcombing his entire life and lists his favorite hobby as collecting glass fishing floats. He is so enamored, in fact, that he has co-authored two books on the subject. December 2020 marked 50 years since he began his hobby.
For much of his life, Rammer has traveled the world. He has seen pandas in China, pink river dolphins in the Amazon, hatching giant tortoise eggs in the Galapagos, and even giant clams while surrounded by reef sharks. He has been so inspired by his travels and STPS that he overcame his fear of needles and got a sea turtle tattoo at age 60.
Though Rammer is retired, he started a private consulting business called Tidepool Discoveries, which offers private programming regarding sea life issues. He also works with minority and diversity students to introduce them to marine-related careers. Some of his favorite memories involve the young students who absorb everything — specifically, his afterschool inner city students, some of whom had never experienced the joy of seeing or visiting the beach. One of his most defining moments was being awarded the National Marine Science Teacher in 2012 after beating out the four other finalists.
Although he has amassed many accolades both professionally and personally, he still has goals to achieve. The Covid-19 pandemic has temporarily put a damper on his travel, but he is hoping his nephew can help him get to Trinidad to see leatherback sea turtles, the last species to check off his list, or Easter Island. Having visited five of seven continents, he would like to visit Africa soon. He has lived such an interesting life that author Jim Lynch, who wrote “The Highest Tide,” created one of his book characters surrounding Rammer’s experiences.
Rammer recommends everyone reach for their dreams because “the only way you can have your dreams taken away is if you let someone tell you you’re not good enough. Find those people who will tell you ‘yes’ and continue to push. Life isn’t easy or fair, but outstanding people and centers will help you achieve your goals.”