Jane Goodall on climate strikes: “I just want them to march and to raise awareness and to act.”

The famed British conservationist raised funds and awareness over the weekend in Atlanta

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Jane Goodall Atlanta
Dr. Jane Goodall

Photograph by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for TIME

On the same day that millions of young activists led protests for climate change worldwide, Dr. Jane Goodall hosted a private “fireside chat” in Atlanta. In actuality, the conversation overlooked the backyard pool at the home of Delta Air Lines’ chief marketing and communications officer. Tim Mapes and his wife, Mary, who serves on the board of the Jane Goodall Institute, hosted the exclusive Friday night fundraiser that drew nearly 200 guests.

Goodall, who rose to fame in the 1960s for her up-close study of primates in Tanzania, sat down for a conversation hosted by CNN International anchor Natalie Allen, discussing everything from her early fascination with animals, going to Africa at just 26 with no college degree (“What a crazy idea,” she said), and her mission to engage today’s youth in practical, action-oriented ways.

When asked about the World Climate Strike, which happened to fall on the same day as Friday’s event, Goodall expressed cautious optimism. “The young people marching as they are [raises] awareness. There’s no question about that,” Goodall said. “I just want them to march and to raise awareness and to act. How many of those kids are actually doing anything themselves?” She went on to advocate for practical, action-oriented programs like Roots & Shoots, which she founded in 1991. The program, which hosted a series of youth workshops at the Delta Flight Museum on Saturday, helps kids and teens connect with meaningful projects like trash cleanups, creating solutions for food waste, conserving energy, and protecting animals.

Friday’s $500-per-person fundraiser drew noteworthy guests including Spanx founder Sara Blakely, Delta CEO Ed Bastian, businessman and philanthropist John Hope Bryant, and Chase Pickering, who was involved with Roots & Shoots as a child and now serves as its director. The event concluded with a live auction of several wildlife photographs by award-winning nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen, a trip to Gombe in Tanzania, and two sets of two round-trip Delta One tickets. The auction’s highlight came when Goodall offered her own 14-carat gold and tanzanite brooch, crafted from chimpanzee sketch she drew, pulling it right off of her sweater to share with the highest bidder. In all, the evening raised approximately $250,000 for the Jane Goodall Institute.

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