Jane Goodall addresses her unwavering optimism about young people, the ongoing chimp study, the “two Janes,” and more, on WMNF’s “Talking Animals”

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Dr. Jane Goodall in Gombe (Photo: Frame X Frame Films/Jeff Orlowski)

Dr. Jane Goodall–who rose to international attention in the 1960s, propelled by her pioneering work studying chimpanzees in Gombe, Tanzania—offers her current impressions of young people’s attitudes about animals and the environment, among many other topics, in an interview on WMNF’s “Talking Animals.”

She recalls the beginnings of Roots & Shoots, a youth program of the Jane Goodall Institute, launched in 1991 with 12 students in 1991, and notes that this dozen (and others that were part of those earliest days) have gone on to be leaders and notable figures in various fields, uniformly characterized by kindness and compassion.

Dr. Goodall discusses Roots & Shoots USA Basecamp, a once-cancelled, recently-revitalized program built around local, grassroots efforts to amplify the impact of Roots & Shoots.

She explains the thinking behind selecting Tampa as a future site of a Roots & Shoots USA Basecamp, saying it’s precisely because Gov. DeSantis’s policies stamp Florida as a state increasingly known for intolerance of the LGBTQ+ community, for immigrants, for “others,” generally—in direct conflict with the Jane Goodall ethos—that it’s important to locate a Roots & Shoots USA Basecamp in The Sunshine State.

Mentioning that she returns to Gombe twice a year, visiting with the researchers and hearing about their latest findings—I observe it may not be commonly known that this constitutes the longest-running chimpanzee study in the wild; Dr. Goodall adds that it’s the third longest study of any wild animal—she singles out some recent results about striking chimp behavior.

In a segment about how her travel schedule seems to have ramped up to nearly the level she maintained before COVID changed everything, she confesses that where people might have imagined she had a relaxing hiatus of sorts during the pandemic, she was never busier, doing four Zoom interviews or lectures per day, continuing at that pace, with nary a day off, for two years.

Dr. Goodall observed that she feels there are two Janes: Just Jane, a shy, quiet woman who’d prefer to be by herself with the chimps in Gombe…and Jane The Icon, an unlikely creation of the first Jane, who delivers lectures to packed theaters, appears at fundraisers, gives interviews, meets with classes and other groups, and otherwise engages in activities ordinarily associated with energetic extroverts.

We concluded with an exchange about her nightly ritual of drinking a glass of whiskey at 7pm, toasting others elsewhere doing the same, and raising a glass to departed loved ones.

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