John Morano, Professor of Journalism, Monmouth University
Monday, July 25, 2022 10:18 AM

John Morano, a professor of journalism at Monmouth University, spoke to the LSRPA New Jersey Site Remediation Conference about his own path from a basketball player in East Rockaway, NY, and the son of a marine patrol officer and a teacher to becoming an acclaimed author on endangered species.

His Eco-Adventure series of novels, using journalistic techniques, speak for the imperiled creatures and habitats that can’t speak for themselves and has been endorsed by the Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Ocean Conservancy, ASPCA and several other organizations.

But before that, Moran went to college to play basketball and graduated as a film critic. On spring break one year, he saw a news report about a lone animal, the last one in the world. He put his surf board away and spent the rest of the vacation in the local library researching animals that are endangered, threatened or extinct.

From that came his first novel. His sense of the success of his writing comes from the feedback he receives, including the excerpt below from his speech.

“When my youngest son was in sixth grade - today, he's a fourth year PhD student at Johns Hopkins, studying physics. But back then I went to pick him up at the end of the school day. And he came out to my car excited, imploring, that he had to show me something, he led me into the building, walked me to his classroom and said, “This is my class.”

“There were drawings on the door, and little phrases written on cards. There were posters and dioramas inside the room. As I looked closer, I realized these were quotes from my books, drawings of my characters, dioramas of some scenes I had written. My son looked up at me beaming and said, “Dad, we study your books in my class.”

“That's a royalty that reaches far beyond what any cheque can accomplish. These are the differences that I want to make. I'm not sure that they can be measured precisely. I don't know what they will lead to in the end. But it feels right to me.”

Speaking to the LSRPs, regulators, vendors and professionals in attendance, Morano said: “As I said in the beginning, I'm here because of you. Your stewardship inspires me. It gives me hope. It shows me that when things are done, right, with care, with concern, with creativity, with collaboration with integrity, we can progress in a sustainable way. There is one thing left for me to do at this point and that is to thank you, and beseech you to continue to maintain the highest standards as guardians of evolution, diversity, and tomorrow. Thank you for making the difference that you make every day.”