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Peter H Raven
Engelmann professor of Botany at Washington University in St Louis, and director of the Missouri Botanical Garden

I took up science because of a curiosity about nature – birds and insects – that arose when I was about eight years old. This curiosity was encouraged in the student section at the California Academy of Sciences, which provided a mentoring situation from the first, extending through high school.

Fostering an interest in nature at an early age is a very important gateway to science, since so many fascinating animals and plants exist all around us. Whether or not a scientific career follows, anyone fortunate enough to have such opportunities will lead a full and interesting life.

Peter Raven is coauthor of Biology of Plants (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and Environment (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).