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Jane Goodall Institute launches first Roots and Shoots ‘Basecamp’ in the U.S.

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Jane Goodall Institute launches first Roots and Shoots ‘Basecamp’ in the U.S.

Dr. Jane Goodall spoke to an audience of hundreds during an International Day of Peace event at Legacy Park on Sept. 21, 2023. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — Dr. Jane Goodall’s appearance at the International Day of Peace Youth Celebration on Sept. 21 had another purpose: to launch the very first Roots and Shoots “Basecamp” center in the United States, right here in metro Atlanta.

The basecamp in Atlanta doesn’t have a physical location yet.

Roots and Shoots is the Jane Goodall Institute’s youth program and has been in operation for over 30 years since its beginning on Goodall’s porch in Tanzania. 

“Roots and Shoots is something I began in 1991, and it’s now in almost 70 countries. It’s young people from preschool through university, and even adults now,” Goodall said.

Dan Beaupre, a consultant working with JGI on the program, said that the Basecamps are a new initiative to expand Roots and Shoots, provide mini-grants, create educator opportunities, and sponsor other events like the International Day of Peace event in Legacy Park, which was hosted by Roots and Shoots in partnership with DeKalb-based Fruitful Community Foundation. 

“It will bring support to the youth of Atlanta to do projects to the benefit of people, animals, and the environment,” Beaupre said.

Beaupre said that Goodall has strong ties to Atlanta through Emory University, Fernbank, and local supporters of her institute. Atlanta’s Basecamp program is the first, followed by Tampa and Los Angeles.

“I think Chicago is next,” Beaupre said.

Angelle Cooper is the newly hired Basecamp Coordinator for Atlanta. Cooper says that Goodall has long been an influence on her work with children, parents, and teachers.

“Many years ago, I worked at Zoo Atlanta and heard Jane Goodall speak. For years, I’ve been using bits and pieces of what she said in that talk,” Cooper said.

Cooper said that she was particularly struck by Goodall’s stories of how her mother encouraged her interests while also instilling respect for the wild creatures she loved. That philosophy carries over into the program’s youth-centered approach.

“One of the things I’m excited about because of my background is that Roots and Shoots promotes youth voice,” Cooper said, adding that children will be empowered to implement their own ideas rather than simply receiving direction from adults.

Cooper says that she plans to continue partnering with the Fruitful Communities Foundation, which helped sponsor the Decatur International Day of Peace event and shares similar goals. 

Fruitful Communities also shares Goodall’s hopeful, empowering message.

“We are a youth advocacy and education foundation that focuses on teaching small climate wins,” Fruitful Communities founder Jamie Rosenthal said. 

Rosenthal said that climate change is a local problem as well as a global one and that encouraging civic engagement allows young people to create and see solutions.

Rosenthal described Fruitful Community’s association with the Jane Goodall Institute as a series of fortuitous events. 

“We’re really great partners, and we’re excited to help them launch their Basecamp,” Rosenthal said. 

Cooper hopes to expand the brand-new Basecamp’s reach and find other partners as well throughout metro Atlanta, including individuals, groups, and organizations. And while the program is aimed at youth, people of any age in any size group can join and initiate projects.

“Part of my job is to spread the word about Roots and Shoots and get people to join and form cohorts,” Cooper said. 

Atlanta Roots and Shoots Basecamp Coordinator Angelle Cooper can be reached at [email protected]   

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