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Leaving the world a better place

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

With a friendly chimpanzee greeting, Jane Goodall took the stage at Alumni Hall on September 11. The renowned primatologist enthralled an audience of more than 2,000, sharing her inspiring personal journey, and reflecting on her experiences in the wild.

A strong environmental activist, Goodall also spoke about ecological conservation and restoration. She encouraged the crowd, particularly younger audience members, to get involved in local efforts. "Every single one of us makes an impact on the earth every day, but we get to decide what impact we're going to make," she said.

Goodall began her landmark study of chimpanzees in Tanzania in 1960. Her extraordinary work at the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve revealed the complexity and richness of chimpanzee communities, and forced us to reconsider our relationship to other species - even what it means to be human.

"You cannot share your life with any animal and not know they have a personality," Goodall said.

The evening was presented by Docs4GreatApes, a local non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of Great Ape populations and the communities and ecosystems that surround them.

Proceeds from the event will support the development of three clinical facilities in rural Rwanda.

Goodall's closing remarks filled attendees with optimism and hope. "Each of you makes a difference," she said. "Together we can make a world we won't be ashamed to leave our grandchildren."