On April 3, Dr. Jane Goodall, one of our wildlife heroes, turned eighty years old. WCN was honored to host her eightieth birthday party in San Francisco and to help Dr. Jane raise more than $1.25 million for the chimpanzees of Tchimpounga.
Jane has been a friend to WCN since its beginnings and has spoken at six Wildlife Conservation Expos, inspiring crowds of wildlife lovers and helping WCN to grow and reach new audiences. So when she called WCN’s Executive Director Charles Knowles and asked him to host a party on her big birthday, he didn’t hesitate before saying yes.
Jane’s initial vision for her party was a casual event thrown in Charlie’s backyard with vegetarian food served by volunteers. However, she also had a birthday wish of moving 100 chimpanzees from the overcrowded Tchimpounga Rehabilitation Center in the Congo to three pristine, forested islands where the chimps would be able to live virtually wild while still receiving any necessary care. In order to make Jane’s wish come true, WCN hosted a party for her that raised enough money to move the chimps and allow them to live in freedom.
As guests arrived at the event, each one had his or her picture taken with Jane to serve as a memento of the occasion. Jane’s close friend Dave Matthews was on hand to serenade Jane with several songs on her birthday and also drew his version of Jane’s chimps on a guitar in black marker to be auctioned off. Jane traveled through the crowd during dinner, attempting to make a stop at every table throughout the evening.
Jane was the final speaker of the night and used her birthday to share her enduring message of hope with her guests. Happy birthday, Dr. Jane Goodall, and we were so thrilled to help make your birthday wish come true!