THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Student members of the SouthWest Edgecombe High School Leadership Corps visited
East Carolina University to hear a lecture from activist Dr. Jane Goodall. A chimpanzee specialist, Goodall proposes that protecting and improving the environment must begin with people first. This message struck a resounding chord with the Leadership Corps.
“Dr. Goodall returned to Africa to put the chimpanzees she had studied back in their natural habitat,” explained Haili Pavelka, a junior at SouthWest. “She was upset when she went back because of the number of trees that were torn down, so she acquired two islands and put the chimpanzees there. I could feel that she was hurt as to how fast and how much things changed since she left.”
Goodall shared her life experiences as to how she became involved as an environmentalist.
“[Dr. Goodall] included a lot of sarcasm and jokes. She indulged you with stories about herself, her mom supporting her, and how her journey began,” said Anjali Patel, an 11th-grade student.
Patel continued, “She spent a lot of time on a farm and her career started with her mom
traveling with her to Africa. Two things were breathtaking to me. First, her mom was willing to do what she needed to help her live happily, so she went with her to Africa for four months and camped out in a bush to study. Second, there weren’t really a lot of women studying science at that time.”
Junior McKinley Turner stated that she was fascinated that Goodall didn’t focus on that. “She actually really made a point that it doesn’t matter your social standing, you can still give back by doing little things,” Turner said. “Even if you can’t contribute monetarily, you can still help the environment by dedicating time and getting involved with organizations.”
“She has a plan to give back to the environment and to help animals and not neglect them by taking things away from them,” commented 10th-grade student Michaela Brown, who says she was inspired as an animal lover. “(Goodall) is now selling stuffed monkeys as a reminder to all she meets to help the environment. Everything matters.”
Terry Shackleford, testing facilitator, College Works advisor, and one of the initiators of the Corps, shared his sentiment regarding the students’ experience. “It was a marvelous opportunity for our students to be able to hear first-hand a passionate plea for care of our planet and respect for the dignity of all creatures from someone who is able to speak from a truly global perspective,” Shackleford said.