In 1960, Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking research opened a window to the world of chimpanzees for a public with a strong curiosity about its closest genetic relatives. Through her books, particularly In the Shadow of Man and Through a Window, people worldwide are on a first-name basis with the chimpanzees of Gombe, what is today Tanzania’s Gombe National Park. Gombe’s greatest mother, Flo, and her offspring became internationally known. When homely old Flo died in 1972, The London Times printed an obituary.
In 1977, Dr. Goodall founded the Jane Goodall Institute. The Institute supports the continuing research at Gombe and is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. It also is widely recognized for establishing innovative community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa, and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, the global environmental and humanitarian youth program that has nearly 150,000 members in 120 countries.
In 1986, after a conference in Chicago where she learned with startling news about deforestation and the rapidly dwindling chimpanzee populations across Africa, Dr. Goodall realized she would have to leave her beloved Gombe and begin working to save chimpanzees. She continues this work today, traveling an average of 300 days per year to visit school children and speak in packed auditoriums about the threats facing chimpanzees, other environmental crises, and her reasons for hope that humankind will ultimately solve the problems it has imposed on the Earth. Dr. Goodall continually urges her audiences to recognize their personal responsibility and ability to effect change. “Every individual counts,” she says. “Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.”
2010 marks a monumental milestone for Dr. Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute as it is the 50th anniversary of Dr. Goodall’s arrival in Gombe. The chimpanzee behavioral research she pioneered there has produced a wealth of scientific discovery, and her vision has expanded into a global mission to empower people to make a difference for all living things.