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TOP 10: 2013 Rose Parade Grand Marshal Dr. Jane Goodall

Rose Parade 2013/ABC

2013 Rose Parade Grand Marshal Dr. Jane Goodall: ktla.com–1/1/13–Photo: ABC

Mireya Mayor: From NFL Cheerleader to Primatologist

Pink Boots by Mireya Mayor

The title of this new memoir about pink boots and a machete by Mireya Mayor intrigued me. How would the pink attire match the long knives? Turns out it’s the inspiring story of Mireya’s journey from Miami Dolphin cheerleader to Fulbright Scholar to well-respected primatologist. That’s just a part of her resume, and you can also add mom with two daughters as well as pregnant with twins!

Mireya MayorPhoto by Mark Thiessen

The Wild Life Bio on her website explains how primatology became her passion. Fascinated by anthropology in college, she applied for a grant to spend a summer exploring in a Guyanan jungle. Fueled by this experience, the next year Mireya went to the remotest of parts of Madagascar to study endangered animals. That fascinating trip hooked her on studying primates in the wild for life.

Mireya MayorPhoto by Brent Stirton

The National Geographic discovered her on that island in the Indian Ocean and offered her a job as a staff wildlife correspondent. Dr. Mayor (she has a Ph.D. in anthropology) appeared on “Ultimate Explorer” as well as on her own show “Wild Nights with Mireya Mayor” on their channel WILD!

Some of her accomplishments:

–in 2000, co-discovered a new species of mouse lemur in Madagascar

–first female wildlife correspondent for the “Ultimate Explorer” series on National Geographic Television

–has gone underwater with six-foot Humboldt squid

–worked with leopards in Namibia

–studied the Western Lowlands gorilla (weighing up to 350 pounds) in the Congo

–one of four explorers in 2009 to retrace the nearly 1,000 mile trip in Africa of Staney & Livingstone for a television series

–Jane Goodall wrote the forward to her new book

In spite of all her travels, this dedicated anthropologist-primatologist’s love is the rain forests of Madagascar. She worries that this natural laboratory could vanish in our lifetime.

“Until I can walk away in good conscience, knowing it’s going to be okay, I just can’t leave,” Mireya told the National Geographic. Now, that is dedication!

To follow her on twitter: http://twitter.com/MIREYAMAYOR

Dr. Jane Goodall Talks About 50 Years In Africa At The Bioneers Conference

Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Goodall at Bioneers Conference

This year Dr. Jane Goodall, the conservationist and world-renowned pioneer in the study of chimpanzee behavior, celebrates the 50th anniversary of her arrival in Gombe, Tanzania, East Africa to begin her life’s work.

Her speech “Gombe and Beyond: The Next 50 Years” at today’s Bioneers Conference in San Raphael, Ca was received with great applause and a standing ovation. I was lucky enough to attend.

Dr. Goodhall gave her unique chimpanzee greeting to begin the lecture. If you haven’t heard it, you must. Here she is at a Great Ape Appreciation Day.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwkstaERPi0]

This morning she spoke about her destiny to work with animals in Africa. She said she owes it all to her mother who supported her from the beginning and even journeyed with her to Africa where she stayed for four months.

Dr. Goodall was captivated by animals at a very young age and told the story of collecting hen’s eggs. She was so curious about where they came from that she hid in a hen’s house to find out. It was there she said she learned patience.

She worked as a waitress to earn money until she met anthropologist and archeologist Louis Leakey who gave her a job as a secretary. That experience gave her the opportunity to learn about chimpanzees. When she needed money to study with the animals, he went to the National Geographic Society which assisted her.

Dr. Jane Goodall book

In fact, the October issue of their magazine has an extensive feature on Dr. Goodall’s life, tracing her five decades in Africa. She has authored a new book , “Jane Goodhall: 50 Years at Gombe.”

Research is so advanced now, she reports, that we can find out who the fathers are of certain chimps. How sad, she said, that they are becoming extinct. There were 1,000,000 in 1960. Today there are only 300,000. She finds “no sharp line between us and them, only a very blurry line.”

She spoke of the many programs that she has started to educate people about animals and conservation from the “Take Care” program to “Roots & Chutes” that began with twelve high school students and is now in 120 countries. She has seen wonderful projects develop around the world as a result of the “Roots” program from young people taking animals to see older people to teens cleaning up an entire river.

Dr. Jane Goodall

Photo by JGI/Rob Sassor

Despite the harm that’s been done to this planet and the loss of hope that she’s witnessed in people, she remains optimistic. She thinks that young people will make it a better and more wholesome place, but “we just have to have the right mindset and understand that the human brain must be linked to the heart.”

To close, she asked, “Can we save the world?” The answer in the room was a resounding yes.