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Wednesday October 18, 2000

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Jane Goodall returns to Tucson for international conference

Headline Photo

photo courtesy of The Jane Goodall Institute

Jane Goodall, world-famous chimpanzee researcher, is coming to town for the International ChimpanZoo Conference. The headquarters for The Jane Goodall Institute used to be located in Tucson.

By Shana Heiser

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Public lectures, festival this weekend wrap up International ChimpanZoo Conference

Jane Goodall, world-famous chimpanzee researcher, is returning to Tucson, formerly the headquarters of her institute, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her wild chimpanzee study and attend the International ChimpanZoo Conference.

Goodall, an ethologist, began studying animals at the Gombe Stream, in the Tanzanian forest, in 1960. She won the 1995 Hubbard medal awarded by the National Geographic Society.

Virginia Landau, director of ChimpanZoo, a branch of the Jane Goodall Institute, has had about 500 phone calls in the past few days regarding Goodall's visit, she said.

"It's kind of mind boggling because so many people from so many walks of life are inspired by her," Landau said. "They think she was and is one of the leading women in science and conservation. It's kind of amazing, actually."

ChimpanZoo volunteer Kimmey Hardesty, an anthropology junior and lifelong admirer of Goodall, has played a large role in setting up Goodall's trip to Tucson.

"I'm ecstatic to see her," said Hardesty, an anthropology junior. "She's one of my childhood mentors."

Goodall has dedicated her life to the study, livelihood and well-being of chimpanzees, Hardesty said, and her appearance brings a lot of excitement to the primatology, anthropology and biology communities.

"There are quite a few very noteworthy speakers and researchers to share ideas or listen in on talks," Hardesty said. "More people are interested in going to a conference where there are some big names like Jane."

Lynn Nadel, head of the psychology department, has conducted research with animal models in the fields of Down's syndrome, Alzheimer's disease and autism and said he "respectfully disagrees" with Goodall's message that it's inappropriate to do research on primates.

Nadel said he thinks research is "crucial to developing approaches to human disease."

"I think that it's okay to use primates for this kind of invasive research when there's a possibility you might be able to cure some human disease that afflicts millions of people," Nadel said.

Goodall's reappearance in Tucson, seven years after her institute moved from here to the East Coast, will attract different groups for each event. Primatologists will present research today through Friday at the Westward Look Resort, and families and students can attend her "Roots and Shoots" festival Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Columbia University's Biosphere 2 Center in Oracle.

Goodall is also lecturing at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Tucson Convention Center.

The Jane Goodall Institute headquarters was located in Tucson from 1988 to 1993, so returning to Tucson will be a chance for Goodall to celebrate with the people who started it, Landau said. Goodall will also address the important issues surrounding chimpanzees.

"She's going to talk about getting children actively involved in saving the environment and changing their attitude toward animals in general," Landau said. "She'll be talking about programs we have in Africa that are sanctuaries for orphan chimps. She'll also be talking about the sanctuaries that are opening here in the U.S."

The conference title is "A Reason for Hope: The increasing awareness of our obligation to our closest relative." Goodall's message will encourage people to learn more about the minds and actions of chimpanzees, Landau said.

"(Chimpanzees) have the same emotions we do, and they're very sensitive," she said. "She's here to teach people."