When I was growing up, my parents took the National Geographic magazine. They kept all their back copies, and I frequently read them. I was fascinated by the story of Jane Goodall as she studied the Chimpanzees. There were not too many role models for a girl in the late sixties and early seventies who was interested in science, but Dr. Goodall was a powerful one.
I read everything I could find on her and the chimpanzees. When her first book came out, it was very expensive for a teenager to get for a gift. I begged, though, and received it. I spent hours reading it and looking at the photographs. I still have it.
Life in the bush is hard. Dr. Goodall had to flee war, poachers, and illness numerous times. Her persistance at returning and continuing to study came at a high personal cost. Her research, though, has reminded us that we are not the only sentinent creatures on the planet.
Dr. Goodall also inspired me to continue my education and get a Ph.D. I am sure I was not the only girl inspired by her actions to pursue science.
As Dr. Goodall's health has gotten too bad to spend extended times in the bush, she works with children to teach them to honor the earth in all its' diversity. Her "Roots and Shoots" program is spreading throughout the world. When her body of work is considered, she has contributed an enormous amount to the world around her. She certainly made a difference in mine.