It was a sell-out audience that not just came to hear Dr. Goodall speak, but to show their steadfast appreciation and support for all she has done for those beautiful mammals that share so much of our DNA, chimpanzees in particular. One teacher brought along her entire class to hear Dr. Goodall, and it wasn't even a school day.
This wonderful program would not have been possible without the dedicated and active group of volunteers from Chimps, Inc. of Tumalo. They all greeted the audience with big smiles, positive assistance that helped to make Dr. Goodall's presentation the overwhelming success that it was.
As Dr. Goodall presented a short but revealing glimpse into her childhood, demonstrating her strong desire to take an active role in the living world around her - so much so, that at age one-and-a-half, she took a handful of earthworms to bed with her one night. Another humorous anecdote about her childhood, was about the great love of her life, Tarzan - not swimmer and actor, Johnny Weissmuller, but the "real" Tarzan given to the world by Edgar Rice Burrows - also told of her ability and dedication to African wildlife.
She also recognized early on that it is the greed of profiteers that had ruined the pastoral life of the African people, and threatened the very existence of the apes she came to love. In spite of the overwhelming odds the people of Africa face, she also spoke with hope that the youth of today may some day become strong enough to fight the greed that is destroying their homelands, bringing a degree of balance to the nature of their world, and provide stability in the lives of man and beast alike.
As she studied chimpanzees, Goodall realized how much they are like us. There is a dark side to chimps as there is a dark side to us humans. Infanticide, in particular, was very disturbing to Goodall as she watched it take place in "her" chimps. It left her with realization that we humans must understand our dark side and do all we can to control those negative forces that make us what we are.
She also spotlighted the abuse of chimps by man, addressing the way chimps are treated in medical facilities, kept in tiny cages with a door just big enough for them to see their captors. Goodall and others in the animal rights league got the keepers of chimpanzees to build a larger enclosure for them, which is now up to a 5-by-5-foot cage.
"They should have saved their money, if that's all they can do," she commented. But, being the person Dr. Jane Goodall is, she doesn't give up easily, she is working relentlessly to get that cage size larger, and give more of a life to the caged-up creatures.
But now, I hear children running
And circling my trunk, hands soft and strong
People are holding to my branches
So the wind may always carry my song
Near the close of her presentation, Dr. Goodall introduced another thumbs-up idea that has caught on world-wide, the "Peace Dove;" a towering bird-like sculpture made from old bed sheets and the macramé face of a dove, a symbol of peace and life. She also asked her "Roots and Shoots" volunteers to come to the stage with her, along with all the volunteers from Chimp, Inc. to also come up.
If numbers, dedication and the will to make a change in our world will work, then Dr. Goodall's many believers and volunteers can do it. Why? This is what she says about her project:
"Roots creep underground everywhere and make a firm foundation. Shoots seem very weak, but to reach the light, they can break open brick walls. Imagine that the brick walls are all the problems we have inflicted on our planet. Hundreds of thousands of roots and shoots, hundreds of thousands of young people around the world, can break through these walls. We can change the world."
To learn more about Goodall's work, visit rootsandshoots.org/aboutus.