The people at her "Roots and Shoots" foundation are asking for us to help Jane Goodall get the honored title of the top 100 influential people in the world. She is so deserving of this and personally she means so much to me. Here is my letter to TIME magazine & I in courage you to write your own....
"To TIME Magazine...
Jane Goodall has inspired me personally through her enthusiasm, kindness, patience and love for nature. Her efforts worldwide and determination to change humanity has provided me with the tools needed for a foundation for creating a business and livelihood centered around sensitizing children and adults to animals and nature.
Twenty years ago I was reading her books and watching her documentaries of living and discovering with chimpanzees in Gombe. I had been an animal lover all of my life, but she drew me to Apes with her tales of their unique characteristics and likeness to us. Soon after I began doing voluntary research at The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. For years I studied social dynamics of the Chimps & Gorillas. As Jane toured the country with her Roots & Shoots program, I was able to meet with her in person & listen to her speak at the zoo. Her famous quote: "Only if we understand ~ can we care, Only if we care ~ will we help, Only if we help ~ shall they be saved" has become my mantra, my business plan. It was the first thing on my website almost 20 years ago when I began my business and its above my computer on my wall as I type this. I even quoted this line again when I was interviewed on the "Mike Nowak" Green radio show this past summer as this quote is still part of my every day.
After working at the LPZoo, I explored teaching in Chicago Public Schools & later became a Veterinary Technician. However, one was never enough, as I felt most at home working with kids AND animals. I began taking injured animals from the hospital into the inner city classrooms. Initially I was blown away bringing something as seemingly basic as a bunny rabbit to children that had never seen one in real life let alone touched one. The energy, excitement & enthusiasm that I witnessed watching them discover for the first time was contagious. I knew that I had to do more. Sensitizing children to nature and animals was such an easy and natural way to demonstrate compassion. To initiate change in action and thinking. I was hooked.
After years of volunteering my program in classrooms with recycled animals given by donation, relinquishment or rescue I began to explore my business options. For 15 years I nurtured this growing business, this love inspired by Jane's enthusiasm, gentleness and desire for change. I worked at my programs any chance I could and any dime that I made went right back into it. Visiting hundreds of schools working with their science teachers and visiting with thousands of students, I started making a solid impact. Stacks of thank you cards with animal drawings of their favorite animal or moments from the show line my office shelves. I knew finally that I was making a difference, it was concrete. But it wasn't enough.
Three years ago I started renting a 10 acre farm & moved my business to the country. This business with rescue animals educating children was now able to give back even more by subsidizing a rescue and mini farm "sanctuary". We teach "All About Animals" classes, have summer camp for kids, have earth day enrichment celebrations and more. We teach animal enrichment and get city kids BACK in touch with nature by giving a cow a bath, taking a nature hike to pick wild raspberries, growing vegetables, hatching an egg or making art from nature. Kids follow our farm page on Facebook & keep in touch with the lives of their favorite animals checking back weekly from their home desktops. From the beginning I've opened my farm FREE to the public so that everyone can come & have the same experience. All kids need exposure to nature. The reward that I get is watching these children discovering nature. Learning to understand. Learning to care. You can see the excitement inside them. Its magnetic.
This all started with Jane. As I lived vicariously though her stories and documentaries, meeting with her in person and listening to her message over & over in my mind, she changed my path forever. She reached into my core & drew out this purity, this awesome essence of peace, patience, beauty and understanding with an intimate delicate view of the world. But having an understanding like that is selfish to keep. You have to share it, you have to pass it on, and I'll continue sharing for the rest of my life for she has changed the course of my life.
"...and only if we understand will we care, and only if we care will we help, and only if we help shall they be saved...."
Thank you Jane Goodall for everything you have given to me, and given to this world as a steward of peace.