I just wanted to write something short to say that everything is still going just fine. I did attend a pretty exciting event last night, though, when Jane Goodall came to UND to give a public lecture.
I hope everybody reading this knows who Jane Goodall is, but, if you don’t, there’s always a lot of information that you can find on Wikipedia. Click here to read the Jane Goodall encyclopedia entry.
Anyway, she came to the Chester Fritz Auditorium, the chief stage/theater/auditorium on campus. The auditorium is able to seat about 2500 people, and, in what was very pleasing to see, virtually every one of the seats on the main floor and two balconies had somebody sitting in it. I suppose it helped that the event was free to everybody – you didn’t even need a ticket to gain admittance – and that the Grand Forks Herald did a good job the day before promoting the event. The audience was a good mix of college students (not all necessarily from UND) and people from the community. As if happened, I ended up sitting way up top on the first balcony next to a couple of really nice biology teachers at one of Grand Forks’ high schools.
Dr. Goodall came on stage at about 7:10 PM and launched right in to her lecture, which lasted about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Her lecture was very, very interesting, and started off with her discussing her life and how everything came together for her to begin her first landmark study of chimpanzees in Africa. She then proceeded to talk about what her studies have found regarding chimpanzee behavior and even included a couple of neat stories of what she encountered deep in jungles of central Africa.
From there, the lecture became more serious, as Dr. Goodall began discussing not only how dire the situation for both chimps and people in Africa is, but also in the entire world in general. She emphatically urged the audience to try to overturn the immense degradation the environment has suffered in the last half-century. She concluded that “There is hope,” and that “it lies in heads and hands of each one of us.”
To end, Goodall told a couple more stories of the adventures she’s experienced in her lifetime. All in all, Dr. Goodall proved to be an extremely eloquent speaker, and her force on stage was reinforced by her soothing English accent. Goodall was also pretty funny, as she managed to include some wit into her lecture and ad-lib some jokes before and after her lecture as well.
After a short Q&A session following the lecture, whereby anybody in the audience could come up to a microphone to ask Dr. Goodall a question, she proceeded to go out to the main lobby of the auditorium to speak with people and sign books. Some people associated with the Jane Goodall Foundation were also on hand to sell some wares. The number of people standing in line to get a chance to see Goodall was, however, far too long for me, so I opted to leave. Interestingly enough, though, just as I was coming off the stairs from the balcony level to the lobby level, Goodall and her entourage walked right past me. So yes, I can say I came within about 3 feet of Jane Goodall.
So basically going to see this lecture was a really nice way to spend my Wednesday evening. As an endnote – because I didn’t know where else it would fit into this entry – Goodall, before Wednesday, had visited 49 of the United States. What was the one state she had never been to? North Dakota.
Click here to read a Grand Forks Herald article about Goodall’s appearance.