9,497 Days of Change (Happy Birthday, Roots & Shoots!)


26 years ago (or 9,497 days), Dr. Jane and a group of teenagers in Tanzania turned a back porch gathering into strategy session that would start them on a journey toward building a better future. Those 12 students would represent the very first Roots & Shoots group…the first of now thousands of groups in more than 100 countries motivated by seeking knowledge, living compassionately, and taking action to create a better world for all living things.

Since that day in 1991, the Roots & Shoots global network has truly blossomed and there are now Roots & Shoots offices, educators, and members all over the world. Together, the actions taken by each individual weave together to create a tapestry of hope…a powerful ripple of change.

This Is What Change Looks Like


How has Dr. Jane inspired you to take action? Click above to share your story of #HopeinAction.

Composting and recycling? Check. Caring for companion animals? Check. Combatting bullying? Check.

From cheering the elderly to removing invasive plants to advocating for endangered species, Roots & Shoots projects are taking on all kinds of challenges facing their communities. And, with support from their peers, their educators, and inspiration from Dr. Jane, compassionate young Roots & Shoots leaders never back down from a challenge.

Hundreds of thousands of youth have entered over 6000 projects in the Roots & Shoots Project Database — projects that have positively impacted millions of people and animals (and the environment we share.)

Ready to be inspired? Meet the Roots & Shoots Projects of the Month.

Growing Up “Jane”

For 26 years, Roots & Shoots has been in the “business” of growing compassionate leaders who are more than just change-makers in their communities today. These bright, empathetic, critical thinkers will grow up to be the decision-makers for their families, communities, companies, and maybe even their countries and the world. They will become the type of leaders who will make the right choices to build a better world for people, animals and the environment. Compassionate leaders like these:

Isabella“When I found out about the good things Dr. Jane had done for chimpanzees, I knew that I wanted to do something similar but for the animals of my island, Puerto Rico.”

– Isabella, Roots & Shoots Project Leader

“Dr. Jane has been a huge role model of mine. I love that she’s a woman who redefined man. I firmly respect her idea that just because there may be a problem that doesn’t affect you directly doesn’t mean that it isn’t your problem.”

– René, Roots & Shoots U.S. National Youth Leadership Council Member

With Roots & Shoots I have been able to accomplish things I never imagined I would be able to. Roots & Shoots also allowed me to set future goals for myself and be even more aware of the impact I can make on the world.”

– Jesus, Roots & Shoots Alumnus

RenéeThroughout my thirty plus years of teaching, I have never witnessed a program that has had a bigger impact on youth than Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots. Facilitating Roots & Shoots has reminded me of the incredible power we have in the classroom.”

– Renée, Roots & Shoots Educator

Want to read some more Roots & Shoots stories? Click here.

Get Involved

Start writing your own Roots & Shoots story by joining Roots & Shoots for free, starting a service campaign, or supporting our work to grow compassionate leaders.

About Author

Adrienne earned a master of science degree in anthrozoology (the study of human-animal interactions) from Canisius College in 2014 where she also completed her undergraduate studies in political science. She has worked with the Jane Goodall Institute's youth program, Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots since 2011. Adrienne has served for the past two years as their Program Coordinator. In addition, she has been involved with TEDxBuffalo, WNY's independently organized TEDx event, since 2012 and served as the director of the event in 2014 and 2015.