Dr. Jane Goodall's name was still fresh in my mind when I first got an email from my editor asking if I would be available for an interview. Just one week before, Dr. Goodall had been the subject of a class conversation.
My classmates and I were to complete an essay discussing the scientific achievements men and women have made in society. Dr. Goodall was one of the scientists we were required to research and discuss.
When I got the message of an opportunity to interview Dr. Goodall, I knew it would be a chance of a lifetime.
The weekend before my interview, my teacher let me borrow a copy of Dr. Goodall's book, Reason for Hope. I hoped to learn more about her life to better prepare myself to speak to her.
The day before the interview, I prepared the camera, microphone, press pad, questions, tape recorder, and laptop. My interview was in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, about three hours from my home near Detroit.
The next morning, I met with Dr. Goodall in her hotel lobby. Accompanied with her scheduler and her toy monkey, Mr. H, she greeted me as other hotel guests and employees looked on, surprised to see such a famous face. After taking a good look at the lobby, Dr. Goodall politely requested that we go up to her hotel room.
During the elevator ride, I asked Dr. Goodall how she felt to be in Michigan. She expressed concern of the farms she saw on her car ride to the hotel, claiming that most of the farms likely used pesticides. It proved her dedication to the environment.
I set up the camera and microphone and ran a quick audio check. Dr. Goodall waited patiently, placing Mr. H on her bed.
Mr. H is treated like royalty around Dr. Goodall. He was a gift from Gary Haun, a blind magician who lost his sight in the U.S. Marines. When Haun thought he was giving Goodall a chimp, she handed him the tail.
Since then, Mr. H has been to 53 countries and has been touched by more than 2.5 million people.
I could tell Goodall was passionate by the way she spoke. Her tranquil yet powerful voice proved that she was speaking from her heart.
At the end of the interview, Dr. Goodall offered some advice.
"You guys who do the news, who talk to people, you have a huge responsibility and a vast influence, so you use it wisely."
Watch the rest of my interview with Dr. Jane Goodall on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps website.
Photo: Kid Reporter Charlie Kadado with Dr. Jane Goodall and Mr. H after their interview in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. (Courtesy Charlie Kadado)