Thursday, October 11, 2007

Day 39 -- The conference continues and Jane arrives

A full day of conference proceedings today. Some really interesting presentations, including two discussions about interspecies communication and the evolution of language and two sessions about behavioral enrichment.

Today was the day of the silent auction to raise money for ChimpanZoo. The booty included paintings by various residents of the Sedgwick County Zoo. I particularly liked the small canvas done by the hissing cockroaches, but the one by Panji the orangutan gave me an idea. I talked to the ape keeper about getting a Panji painting donated to the Oregon Zoo for the fund-raising auction that's planned for the new orangutan exhibit. A phone call later and we had a deal to exchange Kutai's hand print for an original painting by his half brother. And by the time the silent auction ended, I was the proud owner of another chimp doll to accompany me on my trip.

Jane Goodall made her first appearance this evening just after the silent auction ended. Even if you don't see her arrival (I didn't) you can figure out that she is in the vicinity. Background sounds change as people stop conversations in mid-sentence or start whispering ("She's here!"), and eyes turn toward the door. Jane is a rock star, but no one screams and (this time) no one rushed her. She began making the rounds of the room, stopping to say hello to each group of people. Tomorrow she will be at the zoo much of the day for Roots & Shoots activities and, in the evening, for a gathering near the gorilla exhibit.

Tonight I've been studying my maps and guidebooks. Need to decide whether I will leave midday Saturday or Sunday morning. The conference ends at noon Saturday, and I was planning to hit the road after lunch. I could stay and volunteer to usher at Jane Goodall's public lecture Saturday afternoon. I guess I'll decide tomorrow.

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