March 4 ~  You Will Find a Way Jane Goodall: Woman Who Redefined Man

"And to all young people, in mother's words; 'If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way.' Follow your Dreams." ~ Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall

Crediting her success and inspiration to her novelist mother, zoologist and conservationist Jane Goodall (1934-) followed her dreams and with hard work and relentless commitment has made a difference.

"Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved," said Goodall who described herself as an "old-fashioned naturalist."

Born in London, England with a childhood love of animals, Goodall said she could not "remember a time when I did not want to go to Africa to study animals." At age 23, she became the protégée of famed paleontologist Louis Leakey in Kenya.

"I had no scientific training," Goodall explained in her book The Ten Trusts. "He wanted the observations of a naive mind, uncluttered by the reductionist thinking of the ethologists ot the time."

She moved to Gombe, Tanzania and as a field scientist began what would become her life-long passion: studying chimpanzees in their natural surroundings.

Her discoveries were revolutionary. She found that these intelligent primates, who she called "man's nearest relatives," were meat eaters that made and used tools. She described them as social animals with minds and emotions. Chimps use complex methods of communication and interaction.

"We as individuals truly make a difference," she said. "(We) are thinking more carefully about the effect of our actions."

With courage, Goodall has actively fought for animal conservation in Africa. She has taught the world about the plight of chimpanzees in captivity and the threat of their extinction. Today less than 200,000 chimps remain, down from one million in 1990.

"I never intended to be a distant observer," she said. "I have a desire for knowledge, but it's also a caring."

In 1971 she founded the Jane Goodall Institute, an organization that celebrates the power of the individual to make a positive impact for all living things.

"If you care passionately about the world, you can't stand aside."

Don't give up. You will find a way.