British primatologist and endangered species activist Jane Goodall has been selected as the Grand Marshal of Pasadena’s 2013 Rose Parade.
Members of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses association and the press gathered this morning at the Tournament House’s south lawn to witness the unveiling of the Grand Marshal. Dozens of association members and volunteers huddled around cups of hot cocoa and coffee to listen to a live brass quintet and to share their guesses at who the Grand Marshal would be.
The secret speaker was kept tight under wraps until 9:30 a.m. when Sally M. Bixby, president of the Tournament of Roses, addressed the morning’s attendees.
“The president is given the sole responsibility to select the theme for the Rose Parade and to select the Grand Marshal,” Bixby said.
Bixby consulted her husband and three children when mulling over the possibilities for the theme and the Grand Marshal. The theme for the 124th Rose Parade, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”, was suggested by her son, Bixby said.
“The theme can be interpreted as a celebration of accomplishment, discovery and travel … but to us, it was a call to action,” Bixby said.
A world lecturer, distinguished author of more than 27 books and a recipient of multiple honorary degrees from institutions all over the world, Bixby said Goodall best personified the theme of the 2013 Rose Parade.
With a stuffed chimpanzee in her hand, Goodall addressed the Pasadenans at the Tournament House with a chimp call and said Pasadena was much different than the surroundings she was used to during her time in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park.
Goodall, founder of the eponymous global nonprofit that works to protect the famous chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, has worked to inspire action on behalf of endangered species and to encourage people to do their part to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment since 1960—when she first traveled to what is now Tanzania.
“All of us here know that the world is really in a bit of a mess,” Goodall said. “If we would spend just a little bit of time each day thinking about the consequences of the choices that we make, the small choices: what we eat, what we wear, how we get form A to B, we would start making small changes, which as an individual mean nothing, but as collectively around the planet more and more people think about the future … oh, the places we can go!”
Goodall said although she wasn’t familiar with the Tournament of Roses (because she didn’t grow up in America), she was excited to be Grand Marshal because of what the parade stood for—which, in her words were the best qualities in human nature.
“I was really happy to be asked to be Grand Marshal for an organization that is moving toward trying to become ever more environmentally friendly, trying to play its part in making this a better world for our children and grandchildren,” Goodall said.
Goodall will attend the Rose Bowl game and ride in the 2013 Rose Parade, which will begin Jan. 1, 2013, at 8 a.m. in Pasadena.
-Sean Fitz Gerald
Photography by Sean Fitz-Gerald