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By Beth Doane & Kelly Gibbons, Features Editors

In July 1960, Jane Goodall began her pioneering study of chimpanzee behavior, in what is now Gombe National Park in Tanzania, and in 1977 she established the globally recognized Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). Today, the institute continues her research and is a world leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats using holistic community-centered approaches informed by cutting edge science and technology.

Dr. Goodall travels nearly 300 days per year, speaking about threats facing chimpanzees, other environmental crises, and her reasons for hope that humankind will solve the problems it has imposed on the earth. Dr. Goodall stated in a recent interview, “We are destroying forests and other wilderness areas, polluting air land and water, burning fossil fuels recklessly, fresh water supplies are shrinking worldwide, climate change is exacerbating the loss of biodiversity, species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate, and we are using up our natural resources faster than Mother Earth can replenish them.   If we do not work together to conserve and restore nature now, it will be too late.”


Dr. Jane Goodall in Gombe National Park, Tanzania

In her book, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey, Dr. Goodall discusses human’s capacity for making a difference: “It is these undeniable qualities of human love and compassion and self-sacrifice that give me hope for the future. We are, indeed, often cruel and evil. Nobody can deny this. We gang up on one another, we torture each other, with words as well as deeds, we fight, we kill. But we are also capable of the most noble, generous, and heroic behavior.” This belief is evident in every aspect of her work.

Dr. Goodall’s honors include the French Legion of Honor, the Medal of Tanzania, and Japan’s prestigious Kyoto Prize. In 2002, Dr. Goodall was appointed to serve as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and in 2003, Queen Elizabeth II honored her as a Dame of the British Empire in recognition of her outstanding service and commitment to our planet.

“We have a choice to use the gift of our lives to make a difference. It’s up to us to decide what kind of difference we’re going to make.”


Jane Goodall with rescued chimpanzee LaVielle at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of the Congo.