Jane Goodall will be Grand Marshal, Tournament of Roses

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jane goodall Jane Goodall will be Grand Marshal, Tournament of Roses

Primatologist Jane Goodall in a 2006 photo (AP Photo)

(CNS) – Famed chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall was named today the grand marshal of the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade and related festivities.

The 78-year-old Goodall, a lifelong advocate for the protection of endangered species, is best known for immersing herself into the habitat of chimps in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park, documenting the personalities of individual chimpanzees and their human-like characteristics.

She gained fame for the close relationship she formed with the chimps she was studying, even finding herself accepted as a member of a particular group of the animals for nearly two years.

In 1977, she founded the Jane Goodall Institute, a nonprofit organization that “empowers people to make a difference for all living things.” In 1991, she worked with a group of students in Tanzania to form Roots & Shoots, which is the Institute’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program.

“New Year’s Day symbolizes the opportunity to work toward new goals, experience new beginnings and make a difference,” Goodall said. “My dream for this New Year’s Day is for everyone to think of the places we can all go if we work together to make our world a better place. Every journey starts with a step and I am pleased to see the Tournament of Roses continue to take steps toward not only celebrating beauty and imagination, but also a cleaner environment,” she said.

As grand marshal, Goodall will preside over the 124th Tournament of Roses Parade, which will be themed “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” She will also toss the coin before the 99th Rose Bowl Game.

“We selected our theme, ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’ with Dr. Goodall in mind as grand marshal,” according to Tournament of Roses President Sally Bixby. “The theme can be interpreted as a celebration of accomplishment, discovery and travel of course, but equally valid is its implicit call to action. We think Dr. Goodall’s life story is a testament to the sense of adventure and openness to possibility that this phrase suggests. As a young woman, she defied convention to follow her dreams, and she has committed herself to a life of global citizenship, inspiring children and adults alike along the way.”

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