Back Chat #8

Adam Murray

September 25, 2018

Adam Murray is Visitor Experience and Marketing Manager at theย RSPB.ย Since gaining a degree in zoology, Adam has worked at zoos and conservation organisations all over the world. His current role sees him engaging people in the East of England with nature by connecting the dots between the RSPB, reserves and the local community. His specialisms include printed media, social media, interpretation, marketing and visitor experience planning.

04/09/2018, 09:59 - BTF:

Morning Adam! Cheers again for agreeing to do a Back Chat chat.

04/09/2018, 10:00 - BTF:

As a quick reminder, it’s super informal and is done whenever you have time – just fit it in around meetings / chores / life. Normally it takes about a day, but if it runs over to later in the week, no worries.

04/09/2018, 10:03 - BTF:

Whenever you are ready, let me know and I’ll ping the first question over ๐Ÿ‘

04/09/2018, 12:16 - Adam Murray:

Hi there – back from work and home now after interesting chat with National Social Marketing Centre. Ping away…

04/09/2018, 12:23 - BTF:

Ahoy there! What a way to kick things off ๐Ÿ˜ฎ We’ll get onto the National Social Marketing Centre in a sec, but first… can you tell us a little about yourself. What do you do for a living, on the side, and for fun?

04/09/2018, 12:32 - Adam Murray:

At school I was known as The Prof because I liked science, at Uni I was called Monkey Boy because I was interested in primate conservation. Now I am known as Daddy by my two kids.

04/09/2018, 12:33 - Adam Murray:

I have always been interested in wildlife conservation and the role of people in it. People are often the problem but also the solution to making this planet a better place.

04/09/2018, 12:36 - Adam Murray:

I have been a zoo keeper, an educator and managing projects around the world – all looking at empowering people to make change. I now work for the RSPB, encouraging people to come to our nature reserves, become connected with the natural world in their own unique way and hopefully supporting our conservation work in the long term

04/09/2018, 12:37 - Adam Murray:

The day is divided into 8 hours of sleeping (I wish), 8 hours of working and 8 hours of fun time. During my fun time I like to be part of The Old Library Wood Collective

04/09/2018, 12:38 - Adam Murray:

04/09/2018, 14:11 - BTF:


04/09/2018, 14:12 - BTF:

What a story! Where around the world have you worked?

04/09/2018, 14:13 - BTF:

Ah yes! Old Library Wood is a ‘friends of’ group for your local urban green space. How did you first become involved in that?

04/09/2018, 14:39 - Adam Murray:

From Jamaica to St Croix, Cameroon to Gabon and Fiji to Guam – many small island communities that are seeing direct impact of global warming and exploitation of natural resources.

04/09/2018, 14:40 - Adam Murray:

Meanwhile in Norwich…

04/09/2018, 14:42 - Adam Murray:

After 5 years of living in this fine city, and loving it, my wife and I decided we wanted to practice what we preached and get involved in our local community and try and make a difference.

04/09/2018, 14:46 - Adam Murray:

One fateful day I bumped into a group of our neighbours in our local park who were discussing the local antisocial behaviour problem. Next thing we know we have spoken to the City Council and had set ourselves up as an official community group. Next thing on the agenda was agreeing our vision, name and short term plan to reduce antisocial behaviour and improve the neighbourhood. The Old Library Wood Collective was born…

04/09/2018, 14:55 - BTF:

ANOTHER cracking story. Nice to see your work passion overflow into your everyday life in such a positive way.

04/09/2018, 14:55 - BTF:

And you really are a man if the world! ๐ŸŒŽ

04/09/2018, 14:56 - BTF:

Is your love of nature and the environment something thats always been part of you, from childhood, or something that’s developed?

04/09/2018, 20:29 - Adam Murray:

Honestly I think all kids have a love of the great outdoors if only they all had a chance to fall in love with it. As a kid in the 80s that’s exactly what happened to me. Maybe I was part of a smaller group who kept that passion alive throughout my teens and twenties. From catching sticklebacks in my local stream to watching, the now rare, stagbeetles do battle I have always been fascinated by the small unnoticed.

05/09/2018, 11:24 - BTF:

Well, now I just want to grab a fishing rod! (Sad fact – I have never been fishing. Would you teach me??)

05/09/2018, 11:25 - BTF:

It seems like the RSPB is the perfect fit for you. Can you tell us about a recent project you’ve worked on that you’ve found particularly important or inspiring?

05/09/2018, 14:36 - Adam Murray:

Nothing more fancy than a net and a bit of luck ๐Ÿ˜‰

05/09/2018, 14:43 - Adam Murray:

Most recently we have been looking at how we can work better with different groups of people who share the beaches with the rare and beautiful little terns. Each year we used to print the same quite shouty signs warning people about the presence of the terms during the breeding season. With the research out there on behaviour change we knew we could be more successful if we targeted our messaging at a specific group and was more useful and positive rather than coming across as only interested in the birds. So we consulted with dog walkers and came up with some alternatives that really hit the spot. And the result, happy people, happy dogs and happy wildlife!

05/09/2018, 17:14 - BTF:

This sounds fantastic (and links rather nicely to your mentioning the National Social Marketing Centre above…) ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿฆ

05/09/2018, 17:14 - BTF:

Can you show us any of the work at all?

05/09/2018, 17:14 - BTF:

(Or a picture of a tern for that matter!)

05/09/2018, 17:15 - BTF:

And is this a common shift in your sector – moving away from potentially ‘shouty’ messages to more nuanced, behaviour-focussed work?

05/09/2018, 17:43 - Adam Murray:

Yeah you can find some cool audio clip of these petite aeronautical acrobats here

05/09/2018, 17:45 - Adam Murray:

05/09/2018, 17:45 - Adam Murray:

Our Dogs Breakfast event at Winterton

05/09/2018, 17:46 - Adam Murray:

05/09/2018, 17:46 - Adam Murray:

Quick and dirty analysis of the different types of signs we produced… although you can’t beat our super volunteers who meet and greet people on the beach

05/09/2018, 17:49 - Adam Murray:

I have to say the environmental sector could learn a lot from the social sciences. The only fun example I can think of are these from the National Trust

05/09/2018, 17:50 - Adam Murray:

05/09/2018, 17:50 - Adam Murray:

05/09/2018, 17:52 - Adam Murray:

Then you also get into the wonderful world of brand and branding but don’t get me started otherwise I will geek out even more

06/09/2018, 13:07 - BTF:

Geeking out is actively encouraged! ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿค“๐Ÿค“ you’re in a safe space here…

06/09/2018, 13:08 - BTF:

This is wonderful stuff – thank you for the pictures. The down and dirty analysis is great. So simple but i imagine very insightful.

06/09/2018, 13:08 - BTF:

That national trust work is lovely and cheeky too. Great tone.

06/09/2018, 13:09 - BTF:

I recognise the little terns chirping from walks along the norfolk coastal path. Beautiful.

06/09/2018, 13:12 - BTF:

Thinking about the work you’re doing at the moment – and your comment that the environmental sector could learn from the social sciences – what do you reckon are the biggest challenges facing you, your job, or your organisation?

06/09/2018, 13:37 - Adam Murray:

Apologies for the marathon long interview – been getting the kids back to school.

06/09/2018, 13:42 - Adam Murray:

Biggest challenge generally is apathy. Trying to get people to care or understanding why people don’t care about this little blue planet of ours or even just making their neighbourhood a better place. People like ‘comfortable’ and are often not a fan of change. For me the challenge is keeping up my enthusiasm and not letting the b@stards grind you down.

10/09/2018, 12:16 - BTF:

Ah, apathy… A huge problem foR the charitable / social sector. You might find our previous chat with Emily Jeffrey-Barrett interesting – she has worked as a consultant trying to get people to care about climate change…

10/09/2018, 12:20 - BTF:

Speaking of other people – have you seen anything recently, from elsewhere in your sector or further afield, that has really boosted your enthusiasm? Who do you think is tackling this apathy problem? Who is inspiring you?

11/09/2018, 18:03 - Adam Murray:

There are some great people doing great things out there such as Hubbub, Futerra, The Wild Team, the National Social Marketing Centre and Behaviour Change to name a few. Chris Packham is also rallying folks to take part in the People’s Walk for Wildlife in London on 22 September. Now is the time to stand by what you believe in and take action.

11/09/2018, 18:09 - Adam Murray:

The People’s Walk for Wildlife

12/09/2018, 12:05 - BTF:

That statistic is terrifying – 44million bird have gone missing from our countryside in the last 50 years. Awful.

12/09/2018, 12:05 - BTF:

It’s great to see people coming together to speak on mass like this. Let’s hope it has a big impact.

12/09/2018, 16:50 - BTF:

While we’re on the subject of inspiring individuals like Chris Packham – what would you say is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

13/09/2018, 13:33 - Adam Murray:

Oooo that’s a good one, there has been lots, not sure which one of these is most relevant; the lyrics of Baz Luhrman’s Sunscreen, be happy healthy and self sufficient (my mum), be kind be useful and be fearless (Obama) or don’t worry about things you can’t control.

17/09/2018, 10:59 - BTF:

Nice range of sources there old chap! Self sufficient – now there’s a bold aim ๐Ÿ‘

17/09/2018, 10:59 - BTF:

Now one last little question before we finally leave you be – and you can interpret this however you like. What’s your one big recommendation?

17/09/2018, 13:26 - Adam Murray:

Easy one ๐Ÿ˜‰ “get outdoors”. It works, anytime of year, anytime of day, whatever you background or inclination, getting outdoors is good for you (and your loved ones). Thanks for the chat, it’s got me thinking and reminding myself about what is important.

17/09/2018, 13:35 - BTF:

Thank YOU. It’s been brilliant. Lots to ponder for us, too, and some wonderful links for inspiration. And don’t you worry – we get outdoors at every opportunity! ๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒณ

17/09/2018, 15:49 - Adam Murray:


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