Wellington Zoo and the Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand (JGI NZ) hosted Dr Jane Goodall DBE to the Zoo yesterday. Dr Goodall was at the Zoo to talk about the Roots & Shoots programme which is creating change all over the world, and she also attended the signing of an MOU between JGI NZ and Wellington Zoo.
Wellington Zoo and JGI NZ invited a number of educators and students from across the Wellington region to hear from Dr Goodall about the student-driven conservation programme and learn how to get involved.
“We were delighted that Dr Jane Goodall DBE, internationally acclaimed scientist and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, could come to the Zoo and speak to so many children about this amazing project,” said Karen Fifield MNZM, Chief Executive Wellington Zoo. “During her talk, Dr Goodall spoke about hope in action and how we can all make a difference – no matter how big or small the change, it all helps towards creating a better future.”
Chief Executive & Co-Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand, Dr Melanie Vivian said the event was a huge success. “It was incredible to see so many school children and teachers interested in getting involved in the Roots & Shoots programme and feeling empowered to make a change in their community after attending this event,” said Melanie. “The programme aims to inspire our young people to take action on the issues that matter most to them, while providing students with the tools, motivation and support to make the change happen.”
Dr Goodall founded the Roots & Shoots programme with a group of Tanzanian students in 1991 as she believed young people were the key to driving community action for conservation. Today the project is active in 99 countries, including New Zealand with many empowered students of all ages working towards building a better future for animals, people and the environment.
Before Dr Goodall’s talk on Tuesday, Wellington Zoo Trust and the Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand formalised their relationship with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
“The Jane Goodall Institute is one of the Zoo’s key conservation partners and we are thrilled to be cementing and celebrating our partnership through the signing of this MOU,” said Karen. “The Zoo supports the Institute’s Africa Programmes which works in the field to save Chimpanzees and their wild homes. Zoo staff have visited and supported JGI’s work in the Kédougou region of West Africa, protecting Senegal’s last Chimpanzees and improving the lives of its people. We are delighted that with this agreement we can continue to support these projects and help save Chimpanzees and their habitats in the wild.”
Dr Melanie Vivian signed the MOU on behalf of the Jane Goodall Institute New Zealand and said she was excited with the new opportunities that the relationship opened up. “It’s wonderful to be working alongside an influential organisation like Wellington Zoo and have their support through the Wellington Zoo Conservation Fund,” said Melanie. “I’m delighted to announce that we will also have a JGI office based within the Zoo, which will enable our organisations to continue working closely together and lay the foundation for future collaborative projects.”
The Rangatahi Roots & Shoots programme – a new initiative for 12 – 18-year-olds to help champion the Roots & Shoots programme in New Zealand, was launched at the event
“Engaging our young people in these important conversations about the environment and caring for animals is vital for inspiring change. We are passionate about connecting people with animals and helping to protect animals and their habitats in the wild. We want to continue to build on the ever-growing network of young New Zealanders who are inspired to be change-makers.” Karen said of the launch.
The programme will be self-directed by the Rangatahi with support from Wellington Zoo staff using Dr Goodall’s four-step Roots & Shoots formula; Get Engaged, Map It, Take Action and Celebrate.
“We’re excited to see how the new Rangatahi Roots & Shoots programme develops over time,” said Karen. “Our Rangatahi have the opportunity to shape and direct this programme, while ultimately encouraging members of our community to take a positive action for global change.”