Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dr. Jane Goodall visits CMU

There may not be a more well known living biologist than Jane Goodall, and she is recognized by most people around the world. After a lot of planning, Dr. Goodall spoke to a crowed of more than 4,000 people tonight at Central Michigan University and I was lucky enough to be in attendance. As you can see, many people from around the mid-Michigan area drove to CMU to hear her speak.

She began her talk by explaining how her love for animals came at an early age and eventually blossomed into a career. Of course her most well known contribution to science was her discovery of tool making behavior in chimpanzees, which was a ground breaking to primatology. 2010 marked the 50th year of Jane's research on the complex social structure among chimpanzees and at the age of 77, she spends more than 300 days of the year traveling to promote her Roots & Shoots program. As the heart of this program is the simple sentence, "make a difference." Dr. Goodall spent the majority of her hour long talk encouraging people today to strive to make a difference, no matter how big or small. From volunteering, raising public awareness about ecological and conservation issues, to doing things like taking individual steps to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Though her message is extremely simple, the ramifications of what she has to say are important for the future of our planet. She commented that many people say we are "borrowing the future from our children," when in fact we are "stealing it from them." They way the human race treats the natural environment already has and will have sever consequences. And taking action now to come together and live by more sustainable means is necessary for well being of future generations.

She also told a story about how many people used to laugh at her when she was young and told them she wanted to spend her life in the forest studying animals. And it was her mother than constantly supported her and her dreams and helped make her into the conservationist and activist she is to this day. I never though than my childhood love of wildlife and herpetofauna would bloom into a career choice, but it was through the support of my friends and family that I'm heading in that direction. Doing something as simple as writing this blog to raise public awareness about reptile & amphibian conservation is the least I can do, and I should be doing more in the means of restoration work with organizations like the Nature Conservancy and Michigan Nature Association. If you have young kids, support them in their dreams and future endeavors and help them to become future stewards of the environment and also do your part in helping to support causes that Dr. Goodall fights for to this day. Make a difference, no matter how big or small.


  1. The line about us not inheriting our planet from our parents, but stealing it from our children was my favorite. What an amazing speaker. I'm glad I got the opportunity to see her.

  2. Well-written, Nick, and a great message. I would have loved to have seen her. The amount of work she's done to get chimps out of labs is incredible.