6897745.jpgStudents at C.C. Pinckney Elementary School tune into a virtual visit with Dr. Jane Goodall Oct. 15, 2021. More than 200 Department of Defense Education Activity schools attended the virtual event to learn about Goodall’s passion for primates and environmental conservation. (Photo Credit: Alexandra Shea)

By Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

C.C. Pinckney Elementary School students joined hundreds of other Department of Defense Education Activity students for a virtual visit with Dr. Jane Goodall.

Most commonly known for her extensive studies of chimpanzee social and family behaviors, she is also a conservationist and recently took part in a program hosted by the USO to bring her and DODEA students from around the world together on Oct. 15 for a virtual question and answer session.

“My class is studying bibliographies,” said Erika Jackson, 4th grade C.C. Pinckney teacher. “Since we knew this event was coming up we chose Dr. Goodall.”

Students tuning in from across the U.S. and Europe were able to ask Goodall a variety of questions.

“You stated humans stole the world from animals,” said a Fort Bragg, North Carolina, student. “Can you elaborate on that?”

“We’ve stolen the future from our children,” Goodall said. “We’ve stolen even more from animals. We have destroyed their habitats, we are hunting them and trafficking them around the world selling them on the black market. We have become greedy and taken natural resources faster, in some cases, than nature can replenish them. That’s what I mean by saying we are stealing, and that’s your, future.”

Another student tuning in from Weisbaden, Germany, asked Goodall what can students today do to help reverse the impact humans have had on the planet and help solve environmental problems.

“Sitting down and discussing it and finding out what can we do here and now. You make the decisions,” Goodall said. “It is my greatest hope for the planet is that young people, once they understand the problems, take action and are changing the world as we speak.”

Jackson said each student was able to get a direct response to their questions from Goodall. She also explained that in the digital era, students were better able to relate to Goodall and other students due to the virtual platform they used for the presentation.

“A lot of times it is hard to keep kids attention for informational text and videos because it’s not so animated and attention grabbing,” Jackson said. “But they are very in tune with her and watching her every move.”

As the 45 minute question and answer session came to an end, Goodall empowered and charged the students tuning in to care for their planet and each other.

Students left their classrooms and library to talk about Goodall’s virtual visit before returning to their classrooms to finish dioramas they started earlier in the day in anticipation of Dr. Goodall’s virtual visit.

“We’ve never done anything like this,” Jackson said. “She has been able to reach so many more people through this platform to spread her message about conservation and taking care of animal habitats. It’s important and I love that she speaks about her excitement and interest as a child because that’s meeting them right where they are right now and giving them the feeling that their concerns, even right now at their age, matter.”