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80 Years of Jane: Why Jane Goodall is a Superstar

by: Eliza K

I have spent literally my entire life idolizing Dr. Jane Goodall. My favorite stuffed animal as a baby was a chimpanzee; 16 years later, not much has changed. My bulletin board is covered with her quotes, my shelves are stacked with her books, and my drawers filled with Roots & Shoots t-shirts. To say that Jane Goodall is a central part of my identity is an understatement.

I joined Roots & Shoots as a curious 9-year-old who loved animals and the outdoors, so loving Jane was instinctive, predictable, expected. However, as I have grown older I have developed a more sophisticated understanding of leadership and inspiration - which I partially owe to all the wonderful people at Roots & Shoots. This understanding has enabled me to see Jane Goodall in a new light, and has made me realize that as a role model, she is much MUCH more than the books and quotes I have grown up with. Dr. Jane is a trailblazer, an activist, a human. 

As April 3rd approaches, I am preparing to celebrate Dr. Jane’s 80th birthday and thinking a lot about why Jane Goodall means so much to me. I could write about why I love Dr. Jane for days, but here are three of the biggest reasons why she is an absolute champion.

1. Dr. Jane has improved the world for peopleanimals,

and the environment.

Between her work with chimpanzees at Gombe National Park in Tanzania, her commitment to Roots & Shoots, and her endless devotion to the common good, Jane’s impact stretches far and wide. Dr. Jane travels more than 300 days a year to talk with people and spread her message of hope and activism. If that’s not global leadership, then I don’t know what is. 

2. Dr. Jane is a trailblazer.

Absolutely no list of female scientists would be complete without the mention of Jane Goodall. Dr. Jane followed her dreams and travelled to Tanzania to complete scientific research during a time when the field of science was dominated by men. Jane is therefore a model for all young people striving to attain the seemingly unattainable. As a young woman with big dreams, Dr. Jane is a true inspiration and reminds me that anything is possible. 

3. Dr. Jane is a real human!

Jane Goodall is one of the most accessible heroes out there. She is genuine, amiable, funny, and passionate. She travels and gives speeches and writes books and articles. She likes Lord of the Rings and Jane Eyre. What more could one want in a role model? 

Happy birthday Jane! We can all learn how to be better advocates, activists, and people from Jane Goodall. Even if you haven’t grown up with the knowledge of her chimpanzees and her writing and her immense significance as an individual, now is as good a time as any to learn more about Jane’s life, work, and impact. 

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