Students inspired to be agents of change

St Stephen's School, Algester

St Stephen's Year 5 were delighted and excited to hear their question being answered by legendary conservationist Dr Jane Goodall​

LEGENDARY chimpanzee expert Dr Jane Goodall has some sage advice for Year 5 students at St Stephen's School, Algester, when it came to stewardship of the earth.

The renowned long-time conservationist recommended they start young.

In an exclusive online “In Class With…" event, which offered students unique opportunities to interact with inspirational STEM speakers who shared their stories and achievements, Jane took time out from a busy schedule to answer burning questions about nature, animals and, of course, chimpanzees.

As the excited Year 5 students watched the online live streaming of the extraordinary interview (, they had no idea if any of their five questions they submitted had made the cut.

However, on the 17 minute the presenter called out St Stephen's School and asked their question “Is there anything you would still like to achieve in your lifetime?".

The excited students gathered closer to hear her answer.

“I want to achieve a critical mass of young people who will grow up with the values of roots and shoots understanding yes, we need money to live, but it goes wrong when we live for money.

“Young people who will grow up to be the next leaders, the next politicians, the next CEOs of big corporations, the next teachers, the next parents, who understand what Mahatma Gandhi said: 'this planet can provide for human need not human greed.'," she said.

Year 5 students Chido Gongera and Conrad Savelio said they were they were all very surprised to hear their question being put to Dr Goodall.

“To be honest we were all very happy and excited it did," Conrad said.

“We thought we would never make it as there must have been hundreds of questions sent in."

Chido said they were all nervous as they watched it.

Throughout the video Dr Goodall covered a range of questions students from around Australia were curious about, including what they can do to help the environment and other species that were suffering from human actions.

She encouraged students to join groups that focused on working with nature like Roots and Shoots, a global network of young people taking action to improve the world.

The youth-led action program, which was making a difference in almost 100 countries, built on Dr Jane's legacy and vision of placing the power and responsibility for creating solutions to big challenges in the hands of the young people.

St Stephen's science teacher Louise Hoey said it was all very exciting for the school, which had a particular focus on the environment, especially through its award-winning environmental learning hub, Sheep Station Gully.

Louise said it all began when she saw an email from the Royal Institution of Australia (RI AUS), which promoted science education, asking students to create questions to ask of Dr Jane Goodall on her visit to Australia (hosted by Think Inc).

“I approached a Year 5 class, spoke about Jane Goodall (perfect link with Science as a Human Endeavour strand in the Science curriculum) and challenged them to create some questions.

“They came up with five pretty good ones.

“I passed them onto RI AUS and low and behold, one of their questions got presented to Jane.

Louise said when the students heard the answer, they were inspired and motivated to think about, and be the agents of change for conversation of biodiversity and sustainability challenges.

Conrad said the class were all very interested to hear more about what Dr Goodall wanted to achieve in her lifetime.

“We watched a few of her videos working with chimpanzees and other primates and wanted to know more about her vision for the future," he said.

He said Dr Goodall's answer had inspired him to think about joining the Roots and Shoots organisation.

“I feel really inspired to help protect nature and the environment so that every living creature can survive," he said.

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