One of my most gratifying experiences happened in the late 1990s. I was working for Terminix International in Northeast Arkansas and had been toying with the idea of writing an article on local fishing. I finally wrote one and as I was driving through Harrisburg, Arkansas, I stopped by The Modern News newspaper office. I walked in, told the editor who I was, and handed him my handwritten story. I was expecting a rejection as I sat there while he read it. Without a word, he finished reading it and reached in his desk, pulled out a checkbook and wrote me a check for $10. You’d have thought I’d won the lottery I was so happy. I wrote eight more stories for the weighty sum of $10 per story and my column ran in The Modern News (Harrisburg, Arkansas) and the Trumann Democrat (Trumann, Arkansas) for 9 weeks.
Years later, when I was working on my PhD, I began publishing peer-reviewed scientific articles and non-fiction book chapters about the effects of chemicals on fish and wildlife. Currently, I have authored 20 peer-reviewed publications. It was (and is) rewarding to help build up our scientific community and have researchers from China to Africa request reprints and cite my articles. I even found where a college text book used one of my publications as an example of how to investigate an important environmental issue. (http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Fmfo283NT0QC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=first+ecology+ecological+principles+and+environmental+issues+rauschenberger&ots=vWa2dbQyjo&sig=T-R8Q73-zv1FQTDk88h_FEVI_J8#v=onepage&q=alligator&f=false).