An Afternoon with Dr. Jane Goodall

(Above photos:  Immense Clarice Smith auditorium filled mostly with UMD students and today’s program)

My step-daughter, Dr. Cindy Clement, an economics professor at the University of Maryland, got Carl and me tickets to hear Dr. Jane Goodall speak. Dr. Goodall spoke almost 1-1/2 hrs. and we were absolutely mesmerized with the stories she shared that led to her becoming a world renowned primatologist. She told how her mother shaped her life and supported her from the time she was 18 months old and took worms to bed with her. Her mother wasn’t upset about getting the bed clothes dirty but instead told her that it would be good to take them outside again or they would die.

Dr. Goodall suggested reasons that she is hopeful about the future, despite very real problems.

  • Nature is resilient.
  • She believes in “the power of the human brain.”  Because of this, she began the now world-wide program for grades K-college “Roots and Shoots,” which relies on the actions of youth to do what is needed to help the world solve problems before it is too late. (Note to teachers: Check this out for students in your school.)
  • The human spirit is indomitable.
  • Do not do things just because you think you should, she advised.  Wait until you have a passion for action!

My notes above are incomplete because I was absolutely enthralled listening to her quiet, firm, and yet passionate voice.

A few years ago I missed hearing her at the Library of Congress and groused about it on this blog.  When one of her staff read what I wrote, he arranged for me to receive a personally signed card on which she wrote, ” For Mary—Will surely meet you next time. Never give up. Jane Goodall.” I did, and the wait was worth it!  Do check out her websites and books about this fabulous scientist and human being. And I hope you too can hear her speak.


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