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Jane Goodall Kicks Off Service Learning In Tahoe

Primatologist Jane Goodall speaks to students about conservation at a school in Incline Village.
Paul Boger
KUNR Public Radio
Primatologist Jane Goodall speaks to students about conservation at Lake Tahoe School in Incline Village.

Some students in Incline Village are among the newest members of an organization dedicated to promoting humanitarianism, conservation and environmentalism. As KUNR’s Paul Boger reports, the group’s founder, famed primatologist Jane Goodall, was in town to welcome them aboard.

Carrying a proverbial herd of stuffed animals, including a pig, a rat, and a chimpanzee, primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall began speaking to the students of Lake Tahoe School.

"Good morning, everyone," Goodall said. "Now, we'll try another kind of good morning, the kind of good morning I got to know very well when I was in Africa with the chimpanzees, and it goes 'oooooo OOOOOoooo oooooOOOooooooo oooo!' That means, 'This is me. This is Jane.' "

While the 85-year-old spoke to the young elementary-aged students about her decades-long mission to educate the world about chimpanzees and other primates, there was a hushed silence among the children. 

“Every single individual, every one of you, matters,” Goodall says. “You all have a role to play in this life and what you do makes a difference.” 

Taking Goodall’s message as a call to action, officials announced the school will become the newest chapter of her non-profit, Roots and Shoots, an organization dedicated to encouraging students of all ages to choose service projects for their community.

Goodall says students will learn they have the power to drive change where they live.

“You will get together in a group, and you will choose three projects," she said. "One will be to help people, one will be to help animals and one will be to help the environment. We don’t tell you what to do, you decide. You people living here near Lake Tahoe will choose something very, very different from the children where I just come from in Phoenix, in the middle of the desert.”

Founded in 1991, there are chapters of Roots and Shoots in more than 140 countries reaching nearly 150,000 children worldwide.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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