An early mentor was the spark plug that set me on my pathway to becoming a scientist.
During a recent summer camping trip, my partner and I visited Rocky Mountain National Park. The visit was a particularly emotional experience for me because, about 70 years ago at the age of 10, my parents took me to the Rocky Mountain National Park Moraine Museum (now called the Moraine Park Discovery Center). At the Moraine Museum, I learned my geology from a ranger whose name was Beverly. I have never forgotten Beverly or the experience because Ranger Beverly put me on a lifelong track of pursuing a scientific career. I became her legacy. While standing in the Moraine Park Discovery Center some 70 years later, I was brought to near tears as I relived my time with Ranger Beverly. I felt the great power of her legacy that has inspired me to become a scientist and an environmental educator in my later years as I work with high school young people in hopes that they will carry on in my stead. I have been blessed with other influential mentors over the course of my life. But, Ranger Beverly was the spark plug that set me on my path.
During my summer travels in my camper in the United States, I frequent national parks. I make it a point to stop by park visitor centers to talk with park rangers and to observe their work with youth through the Junior Ranger Program. Park Service Rangers are now trained to utilize Socratric (inquiry-based) teaching methods that pose questions to the students rather than lecturing to them. This powerful teaching method builds critical thinking skills and helps build a consciousness for Nature and Her interdependent character in the minds and souls of young people. Through their important work, these US Park Service rangers are creating a legacy much like the legacy I acquired from Ranger Beverly some 70 years ago. I respect and praise their work. Their efforts have the potential of building a new and sustainable consciousness for Nature within our youth.
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My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.