Jane Goodall Shares Her Reasons for Hope at FAU

Jane Goodall

by Polly Burks | Thursday, Mar 21, 2019

Jane Goodall, Ph.D., the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, and a devoted conservationist, spoke to a sold-out crowd of 2,500 people at Florida Atlantic University on March 19, 2019. She shared her reasons for hope for our world, and her belief that every person can make a difference in slowing the effects of climate change. She noted that there is more awareness around the world about the climate, and that this could make the difference.

"We have a window, but I don't think it's a very big window," said Goodall. "What's so desperately important is we get together and try to make a difference.”

Goodall, who at 84 has spent the last 60 years studying chimpanzees. Her love of animals started when she was a child, and read books like “Dr. Doolittle” and “Tarzan and the Apes.” At the age of 26, she followed her passion for animals and Africa to Gombe, Tanzania, where she started her landmark studies of chimpanzees in the wild. Her discovery in 1960 that chimpanzees make and use tools rocked the scientific world and changed the relationship between humans and animals. In 1977, she established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to advance her work around the globe.  JGI continues the field work at Gombe and builds on Goodall’s innovative approach to conservation, which recognizes the key role that humans play in the well-being of animals and the environment.

"Every individual matters,” said Goodall at FAU. “Every single one of us has a role to play -every single one of us makes some impact on the planet every day."

Goodall’s visit to FAU was organized by FAU’s department of anthropology in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. Kate Detwiler, Ph.D., professor of anthropology, has studied extensively in Gombe National Park and with JGI, and in 1994 documented two different species of monkeys mating and producing hybrid offspring. Detwiler joined FAU in 2011, and since then has taken her students with her to study at Gombe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

From the JGI website: “Kate, a longtime Gombe researcher, is a trailblazer just like Jane, and is not only growing what we know about the ecosystem and its inhabitants, but is also a strong voice for women in science.”

The event at FAU was generously supported by Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life and Dick and Barb Schmidt, with Distinguished Research Support from Jim and Marta Batmasian and Dan and Debra Cane, and Research Support from Andrea Kline, Kari Oeltjen and Dr. Jeff Berman, Terri Mersentes, and Laurie Udine.


For more information about FAU’s department of anthropology, visit fau.edu/anthropology.