PA Senior Consultant Bart Crawford recently had the unmitigated good fortune of meeting and working with Jane Goodall at the University of Montana in Bozeman. Dr. Jane Goodall, renowned primotologist and the world's foremost authority on chimpanzees, is founder of the Jane Goodall Institute. The mission of the Institute is to advance the power of individuals to take informed and compassionate action to improve the environment for all living things. Roots and Shoots is a program of the Institute that engages and inspires youth through community service and service learning.
Bart was in Montana following a training for the staff of the National Indian Youth Leadership Project at the invitation of NIYLP’s Executive Director, Mac Hall. Mac is also a member of Project Adventure's Board of Directors. Bart was introduced to Jane by Mac and a member of the training who had worked for the Roots and Shoots program. He thought it would be important for Bart to meet Jane and discuss the possibility of doing training and consulting work with her organization.
Bart not only met her, but had the opportunity to co-facilitate and speak with and join her and her staff for a candlelit debriefing at the end of a long day.
When asked how meeting Jane will most inform his work, Bart effused…
"She is the most gracious person I have ever met in my life. Her presence and her sense of calm would dissipate any negative feelings in her present surrounding.
One of the biggest goals in my work and in my life is to be Present. I'm a very visual person so, seeing Jane was to see Patience and Grace and Humility embodied in someone. She gave me the model to aspire to.
I have never seen anyone so constantly present. She is Right Here, Right Now….no matter how many hours she has been working.
Being with her, I can never say, 'I'm tired' again. A day of her tour consisted of staff / donor meetings in the morning, TV interview at noon, an interactive presentation with middle school students in the afternoon, followed by a presentation to an audience of 6,000 college and community members. For two hours after that, she greeted people, signed autographs, had photos taken and then, as she was leaving, she personally thanked all the security guards."
There was nothing about her that said 'celebrity,' it was all about being a good person doing good work."
One example of her work brought tears to Bart's eyes. She worked with a reservation in South Dakota that had the second highest suicide rate in the world. Representatives from the reservation spoke of her work. One man said that he had cut his son down out of a tree after he had hung himself. Another said that, after two years of working with Jane's organization, the reservation now has a zero suicide rate. Bart said softly, "They found out that someone cares….and it made all the difference. Remembering that…that is what I will bring to my work.