My Mentoring Story (A Series by Friends for Youth Staff)

D'Arcy's Story:

I got a degree in Literature from Pitzer College but was drawn to the Arboretum.  I spent five summers in addition to parts of the year in the native gardens there.  In part, it was a way to balance out all the time I spent sitting and reading.  But another major reason was a mentor, professor John Rodman, who was the director of the Arboretum.  He had degrees from Harvard in Political Science and was self-taught in Environmental Studies.  He was not afraid to learn, to try something new, and encouraged me to do the same.  I was never a sporty, athletic type but he put trowels, saws, and pick axes in my hand.  He taught me to use a chipper.  We dug trenches, turned compost, planted, trimmed, and took out non-native plants.  We put in and repaired irrigation.  We worked starting at 6am some days in the summer because by noon it was 105 degrees.—I never drank so much water and sweated it all away!—And I have never learned so much.  Oh, the classes and other professors at Pitzer were great too.  But John was someone who took me out of my box, who taught me that there was more to me than I had known.


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