A Week With Jane Goodall and 25 Youth at Windsor Castle
Written By: Anna Muir, JGI Canada Volunteer
Category: Youth Power
Seven days, Dr. Jane Goodall and 25 young leaders from Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program—the annual gathering at Windsor Castle for the Jane Goodall Institute is an event that empowers Roots & Shoots youth from around the world to build a more sustainable and compassionate world.
University of Toronto student Sabrina Lau couldn’t believe her luck when she was selected to spend a week with Jane Goodall at the majestic Windsor Castle in England alongside other Roots & Shoots leaders—it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
“It felt like a dream,” shares the budding activist. “It was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had.”
Not surprising for a stay at the Queen of England’s castle, the leaders were given three decadent meals a day and all the tea they could drink! But for Sabrina, getting to spend time with Jane was the ultimate royal treatment.
“I sat beside Jane the first night at dinner,” says Sabrina. “To have her sitting there and listening to everything I was saying was amazing.”
There were other surprises at dinner, like the sight of Jane holding a pitcher of water above the heads of the rambunctious high school and university students, threatening to drench them if they didn’t settle down!
“We called it baptism by Jane,” laughs Sabrina. “The next day, we decided to come down with shower caps on!”
The group brought that energy and excitement to the workshops held each day on topics such as climate change, peace and conservation.
At the end of the six-day gathering, each participant presented an action project to address environmental challenges in their communities. Sabrina talked about sustainability and her project called No Waste November—a project that she hopes will become a global movement to inspire youth to pledge to reduce or eliminate waste in their lives.
During her presentation, Sabrina found herself looking at Jane and was moved by her interest and attentiveness.
“I can’t believe Jane was listening to me talk about what I want to do,” reflects Sabrina. “She was 100 per cent there. She cares so much about youth voice.”
Sabrina left the gathering feeling motivated, by Jane and her new friends from 22 different countries! She felt especially inspired by the environmental concerns faced by leaders around the world as well as the initiatives that are actively moving communities to be more sustainable—like the Roots & Shoots leader from Tanzania who saved money with his friends to buy a piece of a forest that is home to the only albino chimpanzee in the world so that she can be protected.
Hearing the ideas of other mindful leaders reminded Sabrina that it is empowering to be a part of Roots & Shoots.
“You can home in on your own interests to do something impactful. It doesn’t matter how big or small, every action is important. Every individual action has impact.”