Montana State University

Jane Goodall lectures about hope for the planet Monday at MSU

April 27, 2008

Dr. Jane Goodall will deliver the 2008 Wallace Stegner Lecture at MSU at 6 p.m. Monday, April 28, at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse at Montana State University. There is no admission fee for the lecture, but seating is limited. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.   High-Res Available

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Bozeman and Tanzania, where Dr. Jane Goodall initiated the work with chimpanzees that launched her into international renown, are a world apart but share at least one thing, Goodall said Sunday in Bozeman.

"(Gombe) is similar to Bozeman in that there has been rapid population growth, but the land there can't support it," Goodall said.

Goodall, world-renowned primatologist, environmentalist and humanitarian, is in Bozeman to deliver a "Reason for Hope" at 6 p.m. Monday, April 28, at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse at Montana State University.

There is no admission charge to Goodall's MSU Wallace Stegner Lecture, but seating is limited. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Goodall said she has been traveling since Feb. 22, speaking to audiences throughout the world delivering her message of hope for an imperiled planet. Her stop in Bozeman, her first, will include back-to-back meetings with students, whom she sees as one of the great reasons for optimism for the earth, she said.

"I travel 300 days a year, speaking to group to group to group and everywhere I see the shining eyes of youth," she said.

Goodall has organized student enthusiasm for helping the planet by forming Roots & Shoots, a program of the Jane Goodall Institute, which is a global network of more than 8,000 youth-oriented groups in almost 100 countries. The program supports service-learning projects that promote care and concern for animals, the environment and the human community.

Other reasons for optimism for change, Goodall said, is the power of the human brain, the resilience of nature and the indomitable human spirit. Goodall said a prime example of the indomitable human spirit is Bozeman's Greg Mortenson, whom Goodall had just met, who has built schools in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and a United Nations Messenger of Peace, began her landmark study of chimpanzees in Tanzania in June 1960 under the mentorship of anthropologist and paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey. Her work at what was then called the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve became the foundation of primatological research and redefined the relationship between humans and animals. In 1977, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute, which continues the Gombe research and is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. The institute also is widely recognized for establishing innovative, community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa, and the Roots & Shoots education program, which has 8,000 groups in 96 countries.

Goodall said she is now so busy traveling and speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees, other environmental crises, and her reasons for hope that humankind will solve the problems it has imposed on the Earth, and raising funds to support those causes, that she no longer is able to conduct fieldwork in Gombe.

"Although there are some very good people there continuing my work," she said.

She said one of her prime messages, at all of her talks, is that each individual, through his or her choices, can impact the future of the planet. She urges her audiences to recognize their personal responsibility and ability to effect change through consumer action, lifestyle change and activism.

Goodall's lecture is co-sponsored by MSU's Department of History and Philosophy, the Wallace Stegner Endowed Chair in Western Studies currently held by writer David Quammen, the College of Letters and Science, the President's Office, the ASMSU/ MSU Leadership Institute, as well as the Tributary Fund, a non-profit organization based in Bozeman.

Sarah Alexander (406) 994-7791,