Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jane Goodall in Buffalo.................

One of the benefits of living in Buffalo is that there are so many colleges in this area, and several offer free lectures to the public. I attend as many as I can and I was thrilled to learn that Jane Goodall was coming to Canisius College.

I have always been in awe of Jane’s lifestyle and personal journey in life. When I was very young I was filled with admiration of her life in Africa, and her study of chimpanzees, and how she soon became their leading crusader. Her research work expanded to include numerous conservation efforts in Africa and worldwide.

Jane was born very near to my place of birth in London. Stories of her work in Tanzania came to us via Geographical magazines and in later years from the British Broadcasting Company. (BBC) She has lived for many years on the southern coast of England in Bournemouth, a town where several members of my family now live.

I had always felt some sort of kinship with Jane even though our paths had never actually crossed – and now here she was – coming to Buffalo to talk about her travels and work in Africa.

I hurried along to the college and did not realize that so many people would also be there waiting to hear her speak. We queued in line for an hour and a half and many people were turned away. The wait was worth it for the more than 3,000 people who did get to hear her. Her audience ranged from kindergarteners to very elderly senior citizens.

She has a soft voice, and the crowd listened in total silence as she gently recalled her personal story of travelling to East Africa as a young woman. As I listened to her I realized that she is 76 years of age - she looks much younger – maybe the many years in isolation with only primates to interact with had reduced the stress from her life.

In the summer of 1960, 26-year-old Jane Goodall arrived on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in East Africa to study the area's chimpanzee population. Although it was unheard of for a woman to venture into the wilds of the African forest, the trip meant the fulfillment of her childhood dream and her work in Tanzania would prove more successful than anyone had imagined. At first, the Gombe chimps fled whenever they saw Jane. But she persisted, watching from a distance with binoculars, and gradually the chimps allowed her closer.

She stated that she gives talks for 300 days every year. This means that she travels in many different countries to spread her message and she encourages the advancement of individuals to take informed and compassionate action to improve the environment for all living things.

She is a Wildlife Researcher, Educator, and Conservationist. Her research work has expanded to include numerous conservation efforts in Africa and worldwide. Her global nonprofit Institute empowers people to make a difference for all living things, by creating healthy ecosystems, promoting sustainable livelihoods and nurturing new generations of committed, active citizens.

In 1965, Jane earned her Ph.D in Ethology from Cambridge University. Soon thereafter, she returned to Tanzania to continue research and to establish the Gombe Stream Research Centre.

Today, the Jane Goodall Institute (founded in 1977) is a leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats and is widely recognized for establishing innovative community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa and the Roots & Shoots education program in nearly 100 countries.

Jane Goodall spends much of her time lecturing, sharing her message of hope for the future and encouraging young people to make a difference in their world.

I encourage you to read one of the many books that she has written and check out the following sites: and

At the end of her lecture she opened the floor to questions and did not hesitate to answer all of them.

A wonderful evening in the presence of an outstanding person.

Tomorrow I will tell you about the third person that I was so fortunate to see and hear.



karima said...

this is good!.....all good!....goodall!......very informative and a lovely tribute....did you know that she and her sister suffer from PROSOPAGNOSIA (sp?) or FACE BLINDNESS?.....check it out....

peacesojourner said...

Yes, I did know that - I have often wondered how life would be to have prosopagnosia. I read an account of one woman who did not know she had it until she was 25 years old. She worked at a reception desk and a man had visited her office every week for months. She kept introducing herself to him each week when she saw him - he told her that he had met her many times before. She was puzzled and went to see a Dr. to ask what is wrong with her. Turned out that she just did not retain facial features. She said that she learned how to identify voices and peoples body sizes.