As mainstream and social media have been inundated lately with images of African wildlife taken down by trophy hunters, an outspoken voice for the protection of animals has chimed in on the subject. “I was shocked and outraged to hear the story of Cecil, Zimbabwe’s much loved lion,” said renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall in a statement released on July 29. “… to lure Cecil from the safety of a national park and then to shoot him with a crossbow …? I have no words to express my repugnance.”
Goodall continued, “Only one good thing comes out of this – thousands of people have read the story and have also been shocked. Their eyes opened to the dark side of human nature. Surely they will now be more prepared to fight for the protection of wild animals and the wild places where they live. Therein lies the hope.”
Goodall will address that hope next month at Western Connecticut State University during a public lecture, book signing and dedication of the university’s Permaculture Garden on Saturday, Sept. 19. The lecture, “Sowing the Seeds of Hope: An Afternoon with Dr. Jane Goodall,” will be at 2:30 p.m. in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Tickets for the lecture are available at www.wcsu.edu/tickets or by calling (203) 837-TIXX.
Following the hour-long lecture, Goodall will sign copies of her New York Times bestselling book, “Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants,” along with other select titles, at the same location for approximately 90 minutes.
Later the same day, at 5:30 p.m., Goodall will officially dedicate Western’s Permaculture Garden, located adjacent to the Science Building, also on the Midtown campus. Tickets for the dedication and a VIP reception that will follow also are available at www.wcsu.edu/tickets or by calling (203) 837-TIXX.
The 900-square-foot garden includes herbs, flowers, kale, arugula, garlic, chives, onions and several types of berries. Also planted ar
e several Asian pear trees and a section that features the Native American companion plants, corn, squash and beans. A large contingent of volunteers — students, faculty, Roots & Shoots Club members and community members have worked tirelessly since last fall to spread compost, get the plants and trees in the earth and lay pavers along the outer edges of the garden. Students from Danbury’s International Academy also participated by germinating herbs in their Westside campus classrooms, which they planted in the garden when the seedlings were ready.
WCSU Professor of Anthropology Dr. Laurie Weinstein, who chairs the Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies at Western, has been instrumental in orchestrating both the creation of the Permaculture Garden and Goodall’s Sept. 19 campus appearance.
“Jane has visited our campus at least a dozen times since she established the Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies at WCSU 15 years ago,” Weinstein said. “She is our inspiration to keep doing what we are doing: the permaculture garden, community outreach with local schools, businesses and organizations, and keeping her mission alive through our Roots & Shoots student club. All of these projects, and many more, were directly inspired by Jane. She is the most influential, inspirational, and motivational person I have ever met in my life.”
Among Goodall’s many accomplishments are her landmark study of chimpanzee behavior 55 years ago in what is now Tanzania. Her research at Gombe Stream became the foundation of future primatological research and redefined the relationship between humans and animals. In 1977, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute, widely recognized for innovative, community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa. In 1991, she founded Roots & Shoots, the global environmental and humanitarian youth program that connects hundreds of thousands of youth in more than 130 countries to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment.
As a result of her five-plus decades of work, Goodall has received the French Legion of Honor, the Medal of Tanzania and Japan’s Kyoto Prize. She was appointed a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2002 and was named a Dame of the British Empire the following year.
For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.