I first met Dr. Goodall back in November of 2008. She has been involved with the U.S. Wolf Refuge ever since. She is a world renown primatologist. But her life's work has now gone well beyond just saving endangered primates. Her mission today is to make the world a better place for all animals, humans and their environments.
My fight for wolves has been dramatically overshadowed by her fight for all the many environmental and social injustices that exist all over the world. Her involvement in the wolf controversy has been invaluable. She is well aware of the travesties being lodged against wolves all across the world and has spoken out against them many times. The injustices against wolves in the U.S. is worse than anywhere. This frustrates us both because of our inability to do much about it except to keep fighting. Our mutual mission is to get our government officials to recognize the verifiable science and to ignore the political pressures from wealthy and powerful special interests. If we could get our legislators to do this many of our problems would not exist.
Jane is 82 years old and has been a strong animal activist all her life. She started the Jane Goodall Institute (janegoodall.org). She now travels the world spreading her message to everyone from refugee camps in the middle east to leaders of the world's most powerful nations. She has been in over 200 countries. She travels over 300 days out of every year. She never gets to stay in any one place for more than a couple of weeks. She was bestowed the title of "The United Nations World Ambassador of Peace." She was given the "Citizen of the World" award. One of her close friends was Nelson Mandela. Since meeting her and getting to know her I compare her to people like Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi.
It is unreal for me to even be a part of her life but to be her friend is surreal. In the years that we have known each other Jane has been a true motivational force for me. The powerful forces that are opposed to correcting many of today's environmental/ecological problems often cause me to become disillusioned and frustrated. I often turn to Jane for the reassurance and inspiration to carry on. Our mutual mantra is "Don't Quit."
Much of Dr. Goodall's work involves an organization that is part of the Jane Goodall Institute (janegoodall.org) called Roots & Shoots (rootsandshoots.org). This is a global youth-led community action program comprised of thousands of young people in over 130 countries with over 150,000 members. For those who feel that today's youth is lacking in many areas, get involved with Roots & Shoots. It will show you that they are a wondrous group and they deserve all our efforts to give them a world better than the one of today. Merlin - Jane's grandson - has spent several weeks here at the U.S. Wolf Refuge doing tedious and arduous volunteer work. He lives in Tanzania, Africa and is truly a remarkable young man. He graduated high school at the top of his class, is a world-class soccer player and is quite worldly. His sister Angel has volunteered at another CA wildlife facility.
I was blessed when I first met her and her close assistant Mary Lewis. I consider them both to be dear friends and I think they feel the same about me. These are two of the most wonderful people on this planet. We met in San Francisco and together we attended an event at the Oakland Zoo where Jane was the featured speaker. We felt a special connection immediately which has galvanized us together in our fight against many of today's many environmental, ecological and social problems. For me sharing the successes and failures of this fight has brought us even closer together.
Dr. Goodall will be at the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo in San Francisco this year. This will be held on October 14, 2017 at the Mission Bay Conference Center San Francisco, CA. The U.S. Wolf Refuge has attended this event for at least 7 years.