Jane Goodall- Grant Heidrich
To a Pioneer, an Inspiration, a Friend, and a Teacher
It was a lazy, warm day in 1972 during my sophomore year at Stanford University. As I walked into the lecture, the last thing on my mind was the class. When I walked out, the first, second, and third things on my mind were the lecture. It had been a transformational moment as I sat on the edge of my auditorium seat, spellbound by the stories told by Jane Goodall, who regaled us in her soft voice with tales of her adventures and scientific discoveries at the Gombe Stream Research Center in Tanzania.
As I completed her series of lectures that semester, I learned that, Yes, if I took the requisite classes and seminars, I could be one of a few chosen students to participate in Professor Goodall’s field research studies at Gombe. What an opportunity--six months in the wilds of Africa, working under the direction of Jane Goodall. This was the opportunity of a lifetime, and so off I went in 1974 to observe and record mother-infant behavior in Papio anubis (green olive baboons).
Jane, I would like to say, thank you for what you have done for me and others.
Thank you for teaching me to be a keen observer
For being patient and persistent, beyond what I could have ever imagined
For teaching me the obvious is not always so or even true
For helping me believe in myself
For nurturing my curiosity and giving me the determination to pursue it
For showing me, and the rest of the world the power of communication
For mentoring so many great students who have accomplished so much
For unleashing the admiration and awe of the natural world
For showing the interconnectedness of ourselves to the rest of the world
For inspiring me to become a human biologist
For allowing me to remain at Gombe an extra two months
For sharing the magical community of primates and people at Gombe
For encouraging me to do my additional study of play behavior in infants
For allowing me to do later work on elephants at Mikumi and Ruaha Parks
For sharing special moments together at places like Grace Cathedral, and
For teaching us all to see the presence of hope when there might appear to be none at all.
Grant Heidrich, formerly a Human Biology major at Stanford University, was the
Managing Director at Mayfield Fund and is currently Partner Emeritus.