Friday, 8 June 2012

My Jane Goodall Evening

Lynda Nanders, one of our dedicated volunteers, had an enchanting evening with Jane Goodall when she visited Toronto in March.  Below is her report:

The March 2012 evening with Jane Goodall, put on by the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, remains vividly in my mind .  She is my hero!  Her achievements are too great and too many to list here.  Her 20 years with the chimpanzees of Gombe in Tanzania led her to her present-day work as an activist on animal and environmental issues; she witnesses first-hand the threats to our planet.

From earliest childhood, Jane’s dream was to work with African animals, especially chimps!  She became the first human to discover and document the facts that chimps use and even make tools, live in complex societies, and  experience sadness, joy, fear, even compassion.  She says that they are different from us but do share many qualities that we humans, in our arrogance, like to believe are ours alone.

On that wonderful evening, we joined a reception in which we could speak with Jane.  A short talk followed, and then a film documenting her work at Gombe.  Her beautifully illustrated book, 50 Years At Gombe, was included in the fee, as was the opportunity to have her autograph the book while having our photos taken with her.

Although she knows and deeply regrets the many terrible  threats to animals and nature, she is an optimist.  During question period, a child piped up, “Do you think your work is worth it?” Her reply was and is positive.  She has established The Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots and Shoots program for young people.  Both are international.

I recommend all of her books, especially 50 Years At Gombe. 

If you see the movie, Chimpanzee, know that the battle between groups of chimps is pure Disney, not something that would happen in nature.

Andrew Westoll’s book, The Chimps Of Fauna Sanctuary, won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. It is well deserving of this prize, and I do recommend it.

Jane Goodall is a quiet, unassuming person, but a true hero of our day and age.  She says that the young must take up the torch; as we know, the future belongs to them. Her Roots and Shoots is a hands-on tool for young people in many countries of our world.

If anyone else attended her night, or has had similar thrilling encounters, please share!

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