Jane Goodall to open 2012 Festival

One of the world’s leading figures in conservation is to open this year’s Orkney International Science Festival.

Jane Goodall is internationally known for her ongoing study of chimpanzees in Tanzania that has spanned more than 50 years. In the 1960s she discovered that chimpanzees make and use tools, thereby forcing the scientific world to rethink the definition of humans as unique in making tools.

At the start she worked on her own, developing a unique approach to the research. She found over time that chimpanzees showed many patterns in common with humans, in terms of emotion, intelligence, and family and social relationships.

Today she travels the world to raise awareness on conservation issues, and is a UN Messenger of Peace, as well as the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute.

Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is a global environmental and humanitarian programme now active in more than 130 countries. It empowers young people of all ages to make their world a better place – for people, for animals and for the environment we all share.

In the UK alone there are almost 1500 Roots & Shoots groups, with about 140 in Scotland – one of which is at Papa Westray Primary School, run by the head teacher, Mrs Kate Evans.

Dr Goodall has received countless awards and many honorary degrees. She is author of many books for both adults and children and is the subject of numerous films and documentaries.

In Orkney she will give two public talks, as well as a special presentation available online for all Orkney schools. The public talks will be in the early evening of Thursday 6 and Friday 7 September.

She said this week: “I am very excited about opening the Orkney Science Festival and look forward to visiting this special place. I know that Orcadians work hard to preserve and protect their environment and its many species of wildlife. Our Roots & Shoots group on Papa Westray is extremely active and we are very keen to extend this reach to more schools across the Orkney islands and Scotland as a whole.”

Science Festival director Howie Firth said: “Jane Goodall is an inspiration to people around the world for her remarkable work with primates and her global vision. We are absolutely delighted that she is coming to the Festival and much appreciate the help of the Jane Goodall Institute in making this possible.”