I recently saw a photo of climate activist Greta Thunberg with primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall and it made me realize, although I have written 347 Feel Good Friday blogs to date, not one has been about the Jane Goodall Institute! At least not until today.
Founded in 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) website gives a great summary of their work: "We are a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected - everyone can make a difference."
Not surprisingly, the main focus of JGI is protecting chimpanzees and their habitats. Field research continues in Gombe, where Dr. Goodall first started her work in 1960. JGI also uses science and technology to help local communities identify their needs and develop conservation action plans which they can implement.
Specific projects include efforts you might not expect such as: rehabilitating and releasing 18 mandrills since 2008, scholarships for over 300 girls in Tanzania to complete their educations, and helping people construct beehives and learn how to produce and harvest honey to sell. There are many more projects which you can learn about at this link.
Another major program of JGI is Roots and Shoots, founded in 1991 by Dr. Goodall and a group of Tanzanian students. It's a youth service program with a mission "to foster respect and compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs and to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for people, other animals and the environment." Hundreds of thousands of young people in 120 countries are working to solve the problems they've identified in their communities.
What impact is all this work having? There are over 3 million acres of habitat covered under conservation action plans, 290 chimpanzees and gorillas are receiving care in the sanctuary, and over 5,000 Roots and Shoots programs are in place creating positive change right now.
YOU can also create positive change! Donate some money, encourage a young person (under 16) to start a project with Roots and Shoots, become a chimp guardian or shop for merch.
Stay in the loop by liking the Facebook pages of JGI and Roots and Shoots and following both organizations on Twitter @JaneGoodallInst and @RootsandShoots. "Everyone can make a difference."