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					                                      Lend a Hand!
                                          By Jeff Skousen

                                 MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR
                            Reclamation Matters Magazine, Issue 1, 2008

About a month ago, I received a copy of my           me my first job in reclamation with the Utah
alma mater’s alumni magazine and saw that            Wildlife Resources, taught me the importance
two of my favorite professors in range science       of good experimental design and correct data
were retiring. One of these professors had a         gathering techniques, and he convinced me that
particularly strong impact on my undergraduate       I could do graduate work. Chris Call and
experience so I wrote to congratulate him on         James Coker helped me as I continued my
his retirement. Among other things, I said           graduate training at Texas A&M and as I
“…for our assignment in your wildlife                worked at Texas Utilities. John Sencindiver
management class, I chose to observe pheasants       gets my everlasting gratitude for his constant
and document their habitat and behavior. At          encouragement, much-needed advice, and
the end of the semester, the report was written      unwavering support when I arrived at West
and you gave me an A. You wrote a note on            Virginia University. Much of what I know
my report saying the data were very interesting      started with John’s mentorship of a young and
and encouraged me to prepare an article to           very inexperienced faculty member.
submit to a journal. I took your comment
seriously. I prepared a manuscript and, with a       I suspect each of you have had similar mentors
lot of help from my advisor and the journal          in your life in a variety of settings. Some were
editor, the article was eventually accepted and      coaches of sports teams who gave you an
my first journal article was published in            optimistic “can do” attitude, some were
1982...”                                             religious leaders that helped you gain
                                                     perspective on life’s meanings, some may have
As I reflected on Jerran Flinders’                   been family members or good friends who
encouragement, I realized that many other            came to your aid during personal trials, and
individuals at various stages in my life had         some showed you the way when you needed it
significant effects on me. Jim Davis, who gave       most. Some of our deepest friendships and
enduring relationships were forged by someone       As I get older, I find myself wondering about
extending comfort, guidance and service at          my legacy and the contributions I have made to
pivotal periods.                                    society. The good work I have tried to do will
                                                    not survive me by very long unless I pass it on.
Recognizing these dramatic and life-changing        But remember, mentoring is a two-way
influences that people have had in our lives, all   process; a cross-pollination takes place between
of us should seek to do the same for others.        mentors and apprentices, especially when we
The challenge is to recognize those who are in      both listen carefully to questions and share
need and to lend a hand even when we do not         ideas.
feel we can spare the time. Each of us has
expertise and knowledge that others need or         So I encourage you to share your knowledge
want. By mentoring others, we can in a small        and experience with others, especially the
way repay all those who have done the same          younger people, because your influence or your
for us.                                             action might make the difference!

				
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