The world-renowned primatologist and environmentalist Dr Jane Goodall arrived in Beijing this weekend to inspire children to participate in environmental and animal protection activities.
Members of Roots & Shoots groups from different parts of China demonstrated their achievements to Dr Goodall at Beijing City International School.
During her week-long visit, Dr Goodall will give lectures to Chinese students and raise money for her China-based non-profit programs and activities, in particular for the Roots & Shoots environmental protection program.
Members of Roots & Shoots groups chat with Dr Jane Goodall, world-renowned primatologist and environmentalist, in a Beijing school November 18, 2007.
She came to the school dressed warmly in a bright red coat, and a dark blue scarf around her neck. As soon as she walked into the hall, the students applauded and snapped pictures of her.
At Sunday afternoon's event, more than 10 Roots & Shoots teams showed Dr Goodall their achievements. Their environmental activities involve water-saving devices, visiting seniors' homes collecting waste paper and bottles as well as recycling leftover packaging of mooncake boxes.
Pupils of Ya Er Hutong Primary School in Beijing exhibited a V-shaped bike shed model they designed. The rain water on the roof of the bike shed could be collected and recycled.
Dr Goodall expressed great interest in this innovative design and she herself poured a glass of water onto the roof to test the design.
A girl from the Roots & Shoots team of the school also tied a red handkerchief around Dr Goodall's neck.
"I'm very excited. It is my first time to meet such a famous scientist. It is a great honor for me," exclaimed Hu Yiming, a boy from Ma Chang Dao Primary School in Tianjin told chinadaily.com.cn.
"I told Dr Goodall that we donated our toys and food to the black bears at Tianjin Zoo." As a member of the Roots & Shoots group in his school, Hu said they organized a black bear mimicking competition in order to let students know more about black bears' living habits.
After she looked over all the exhibits, Dr Goodall delivered a speech to all the students, as they won the 2007 Roots & Shoots Achievement Awards.
The activities of Roots & Shoots teams in China focus on not only environmental protection but also energy saving and accompanying elderly people, which moved her deeply.
"It's about learning to live so that you actually think about what you do and how that might affect the world around you," she said. She also encouraged young people to make small changes each day and hoped we will all live an environmentally-friendly life.
She told a story about a chimpanzee nicknamed "Old Man" because he looked elderly from the experiments scientists conducted on him for 15 years. He then went to live in a zoo on an island with three other female chimpanzees. A zoo keeper who looked after "Old Man" came to befriend the animal.
One day the keeper tripped and fell near the "Old Man's" baby and the female chimpanzees attacked him, thinking he wanted to harm the young animal. But "Old Man" protected him from the females.
Dr Goodall said "Old man" was smart enough to know that the animal keeper didn't want to hurt its child and saved the life of the zoo keeper. She said that we human beings are much smarter than chimpanzees, so it is our responsibility to help those animals.
The scientist is best known for her work of studying Chimpanzees for more than 40 years in Africa. She was named as a Messenger of Peace by the United Nations in 2002.
(China Daily November 19, 2007)