I recently got an interesting email that made my day:
My name is [REDACTED] and I am currently working as a consultant biologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Kabul, Afghanistan. I hope you don’t mind me writing out of the blue – I received your contact information via the Tree of Life web project and Flickr. com websites, and would like to request your permission to use one of your excellent photographs of the Gazelle species (Gazella subgutturosa) for a WCS/Government educational project in Afghanistan.
In summary, WCS is working with the Government of Afghanistan to list a number of threatened animals and plants on the country’s first Protected Species List.Â So far, 33 wild species have been formally declared as Protected, therefore prohibiting any hunting or trading of the species within Afghanistan (see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8091095.stm). One of the species to be likely listed as Protected in the Second round of listing is the Gazella subgutturosa. We are planning to produce a poster to present all these species to the Government and wider public; and it would be fantastic if we could use your photograph to represent this species on the poster (with full copyright details of yourself included). If this would be at all possible and you have the high resolution version available of the attached photograph, or you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to let me know – I would be very happy to send you a picture of the finished poster too if you would like?
Many thanks, in advance, and best regards.
I love being able to help in situations like this, so I reprocessed the photo and sent along a high res version along with my blessings (and formal permission to use); i may only help a little, but it’s great to be able to help at all.
To me, this is an aspect of paying forward; doing stuff that helps others not because of any expectation of a return but because it seemed the right thing to do. It has a nice karmic benefit that if someone doesn’t follow through, you never know, so you’re not disappointed in your fellow mankind — which keeps you from deciding that doing things like this aren’t worth it….
For the curious, here’s the updated version of the photo:
The real payback for doing these things? Sometimes it’s the knowledge that you can, and that it helps. Maybe in a little way, but the world is a little better because of it. And how do you know it helps?
because sometimes someone sends you an email like this one:
You don’t actually know me–but you’ve been helpful and kind several times to me.
I love the new design at Chuqui 3.0. I’m glad to see you’re at Palm–I’m on my second Palm, a TX, which I wanted just for reading e-books on planes, and ended up using for lots more.
Plaidworks was one of the first places I contacted when a client wanted a Web site, back in the mid 90s. You gave me helpful, friendly, thoughtful advice. Your blog was the second or third one I ever saw, and has been a model that I’ve sent people to over and over.
And you’ve had consistently good advice about email lists and community management.
I hope you and Palm succeed. And I love the bird pictures!
And it’s things like that that leave you grinning for days…