Noted expert thrills kids at GSL's edge
May 24, 2005
LAYTON - World renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall teamed up with The Nature Conser-vancy and Westminster College Saturday to inspire local elementary children to care for the earth. With Layton's award winning Nature Conservancy visitor center as a backdrop, children from Escalante, Jackson, and Oakridge elementaries, (Granite and Salt Lake City school districts) gathered in the Great Salt Lake's wetlands to review what they had accomplished in their after-school programs.
"Children presented poems about protecting the environment to Jane," says Dr. Ty Harrison, Chair of the Westminster Biology Department, "and all year they have teamed with college students from Westminster in the "Shoots and Roots" program to maintain a trail system, and plant a garden made of native plants." Afterwards, Goodall held a question-and-answer period for them. Students from Judge Memorial High School were also in attendance.
"When I was 10 years old I read books about Tarzan, and then about apes, it was then I decided that I wanted to live in Africa and study monkeys," Goodall said. "Everybody laughed at my dreams, but my mother was different, she didn't laugh; she told me if you really want to do it you can do anything. Each one of you makes a difference every day."
Jane Goodall started the "Shoots and Roots" program in 1991 when a group of 16 concerned students talked to her about taking action on environmental issues. They expressed to Goodall their desires to do something outside of what they were learning in school, and since then more than 6,000 groups ranging from two to 2,000 have registered in more that 87 countries.
Goodall is working with Westminster College to set up her fifth regional center in the United States here in Utah, hoping to inspire youth through community services and service learning. "Resources need to come locally for the program to work," she said. "On this visit to Utah I am hoping to help raise funds for the center.
"The best thing we can do to make a difference is stay interested; it is really important. If you don't have hope you are apathetic, and apathy leads to hate - which leads to the use of guns to solve problems," Goodall said. "I like to work with youth and young adults; our best chance to get them involved will be before they graduate."
Westminster's Harrison said young people can make a difference: "The best example is at Oakridge Elementary where college students helped organize a "Roots and Shoots" program, which provided a program for the children that motivates the parents and also provides a learning experience the kids want to do; it's exciting!"
Jack Schunk, a fourth grader from Oakridge Elementary inspired by Goodall, wrote: "Protect the forest, don't cut down trees, Preserve the homes of chimpanzees, To save the chimps and love the land, We all can give a helping hand."