Maggie Ferrandino & Colin Battis join the PRCCEH as Climate Change & Health Communications Assistants


The PRCCEH is pleased to announce the hiring of our first Climate Change & Health Communications Assistants to support our work adding climate change as a focus area to our programming. During their 10 months, Colin Battis & Maggie Ferrandino will focus on developing materials, events and programs to engage the community on extreme heat and other impacts of climate change, as well as supporting Center programs like the Academy for Environmental Exposure Reduction. To kick off their time, we asked each of them to introduce themselves to you. First up, Colin!



My name is Colin Battis, and I’m excited to be joining the Philadelphia Regional Center for Children’s Environmental Health! I’m passionate about environmental science and building connections between people and the natural world. Through my internship at PRCCEH, I hope to turn that passion into action for city residents who are already feeling the impacts of climate change.

I’ve been drawn to learning about the natural world since I grew up exploring the woods of North Carolina, and at the same time, using writing and visual arts to explore how our experiences can be broadened past what we think we know. The farther I delved into these passions, the more I became interested in how the “wild,” living landscape interfaces with the built, human one. Majoring in Environmental Studies at Haverford College, I chose to bring these fields together by focusing on science communications. I was also fortunate enough to enter the major as it was first created, and to be part of conversations about how to shape a major that drew on a variety of disciplines and spanned across two colleges.

After graduating, I spent a year in fellowship in the Quaker Voluntary Service, where I worked at Communities Responding to Extreme Weather, a grassroots nonprofit that partnered with locally based organizations to help build social resilience against extreme weather and other climate change impacts. While based in Boston, CREW established a network of more than one hundred community hubs across the US. I oversaw that network and helped resilience hubs, such as libraries, churches, and community centers, plan for how they could prepare their neighborhoods and constituents for climate events that weren’t in the far off future, but happening now. This role taught me more than I could’ve hoped to learn about working for environmental justice. But more importantly, I saw both the great potential and the huge, unmet need for adaptation and emergency preparation measures within communities that are the first to feel the disruptions.

After moving on from CREW, I was also fortunate to work in the education department at the Morris Arboretum & Gardens, where I helped plan and facilitate classes and programs to connect visitors to the gardens and to the living world around them. With the opportunity to do educational and interpretive work in the Morris’ historic plant collection and natural areas, I was able to continue learning about how people can be encouraged to grow their connections to the natural world.

In my next year at the PRCCEH, I hope to be part of building lasting solutions for the health impacts that climate change has been creating and exacerbating for some of the most vulnerable Philly residents- kids. And in the meantime, I’m always happy to talk books, hiking, and games with anyone interested in trading recommendations!


My name is Maggie Ferrandino. I am new to Philadelphia and I love to run. Every morning I start my day with going on a run outside where I am able to enjoy nature while I meet neighbors and explore my new city of Philadelphia. On my runs, I see people of all ages value the environment by ensuring the spaces are clean and safe for everyone to appreciate. I love that outdoor spaces such as parks and trails allow for people to embrace the environment in an urban setting. Connecting with nature and green spaces is so important for mental and physical health.

My passion for the environment began in high school. Social justice issues have always been one of my strongest issues, climate change specifically is a societal issue that impacts everyone. I started making changes in my own life to minimize my personal impact on climate change. I later decided to focus my academic studies on the environment, majoring in Environmental Studies and Public Policy at Franklin and Marshall College. Following the completion of my degree at Franklin and Marshall, I was eager to continue my education at the University of Pennsylvania in the Masters of Environmental Studies program. Concentrating in Sustainability, my career goals are centered around implementing sustainable practices into society to help combat threats of climate change.

As my first semester at Penn wrapped up, I was eager to apply my knowledge to the real world any my new home. I decided to search for job opportunities within the environmental field that work directly with members of the Philadelphia community. The Climate Change and Health Communications Assistant position at PRCCEH was exactly the position I was hoping to find. I was specifically drawn to the connection between education and climate change within the role.

Both of my parents and many of my family members are teachers. Education has been a significant part of my life and climate change has been the focus of my academic studies. The opportunity to work with Philadelphia teachers to develop a climate change curriculum is quite exciting. The future of climate change still remains largely in the hands of the younger generations. Educating these students is vital to promoting a future of environmental protection. I am inspired by the PRCCEH’s dedication to assisting teachers with the inclusion of climate curriculum and grateful to have the opportunity to be part of the work.  I am looking forward to connecting with the Philadelphia community to identify and mitigate the impacts of climate change through the work of the PRCCEH.

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