Dr. Jane Goodall–the ethologist, activist, and conservationist who rose to international attention in the 1960s, propelled by her pioneering work studying chimpanzees in Gombe, Tanzania—offers her current impressions of young people’s attitudes about animals and the environment.
She recalls the beginnings of Roots & Shoots, a youth program of the Jane Goodall Institute, launched in 1991 with 12 students in 1991, and notes that this dozen (and others that were part of those earliest days) have gone on to be leaders and notable figures in various fields, uniformly characterized by kindness and compassion. Dr. Goodall discusses Roots & Shoots USA Basecamp, a once-cancelled, recently-revitalized program built around local, grassroots efforts to amplify the impact of Roots & Shoots. She explains the thinking behind selecting Tampa as a future site of a Roots & Shoots USA Basecamp, saying it’s precisely because Gov. DeSantis’s policies stamp Florida as a state increasingly known for intolerance of the LGBTQ+ community, for immigrants, for “others,” generally—in direct conflict with the Jane Goodall ethos—that it’s important to locate a Roots & Shoots USA Basecamp in The Sunshine State. Mentioning that she returns to Gombe twice a year, visiting with the researchers and hearing about their latest findings—I observe it may not be commonly known that this constitutes the longest-running chimpanzee study in the wild; Dr. Goodall adds that it’s the third longest study of any wild animal—she singles out some recent results about striking chimp behavior. In a segment about how her travel schedule seems to have ramped up to nearly the level she maintained before COVID changed everything, she acknowledges that, where people might have imagined she had a relaxing hiatus of sorts during the pandemic, she was never busier, doing four Zoom interviews or lectures per day, continuing at that pace, with nary a day off, for two years. Dr. Goodall observed that she feels there are two Janes: Just Jane, a shy, quiet woman who’d prefer to be by herself with the chimps in Gombe…and Jane The Icon, an unlikely creation of the first Jane, who delivers lectures to packed theaters, appears at fundraisers, gives interviews, meets with classes and other groups, and otherwise engages in activities ordinarily associated with energetic extroverts. We concluded with an exchange about her nightly ritual of drinking a glass of whiskey at 7pm, toasting others elsewhere doing the same, and raising a glass to departed loved ones. [Photos…Gazing & Grinning: Frame X Frame Films/Jeff Orlowski…Early Jane: Hugo van Lawick…With Friend: Stuart Clarke…Speaking: Rajah Bose/Gonzaga University] (https://janegoodall.org/, https://www.facebook.com/janegoodallinst, https://www.instagram.com/janegoodallinst/)
ALSO: I spoke with Howard Baskin, Advisory Board Chairman of Big Cat Rescue, which recently announced plans to forge an alliance with Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, housing mostly big cats. The key elements of this alliance involve moving 35 of the 41 cats currently living at Big Cat Rescue cats to Turpentine Creek. Baskin explained that the recent passing of the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which he and Carole Baskin worked tirelessly on for years (as did many others), helped realize a hope they’d long espoused: the legalities and overall landscape of the big cat realm would improve to the degree they would put themselves out of business. They’ve essentially arrived there, and eventually, Baskin said, the plan calls for selling the Tampa property, using the proceeds to significantly boost their investments in people and organizations who are dedicated to protecting and otherwise assisting wild cats across the globe. (https://bigcatrescue.org/, https://www.facebook.com/bigcatrescue, https://www.instagram.com/bigcatrescue/, https://www.turpentinecreek.org/, https://www.facebook.com/TurpentineCreekWildlifeRefuge, https://www.instagram.com/turpentinecreek/)
COMEDY CORNER: Mike Vecchione’s “Running With The Bulls” (https://mikevecchione.com/)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Stephanie Seymour’s “Northern Lapwing,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.
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