Jane Goodall helps the cougar

Suzie Harrison

It’s not very often that someone accomplishes things that have

never been done before, dedicates a lifetime to making the world a

better place and consistently makes a difference on a global scale.


Jane Goodall has done all these things and now she is making a

rare Southern California appearance, her first Laguna Beach visit, to

support a cause she feels passionate about.

On Sept. 18 Goodall is coming to Laguna Beach for a benefit to


help raise awareness and support for the Cougar Fund and the Jane

Goodall Institute.

Goodall recently joined the Board of Directors for The Cougar Fund

after learning about the plight of the cougar. Though the animal was

formerly the largest ranging land mammal in the Western Hemisphere,

it is now only found in 14 states in North America.

“I always assumed the cougar was protected across America. And was

shocked to discover this great predator is still hunted across the


majority of its range,” Goodall said.

Her first childhood book was about a cougar and she fell in love

with this animal then.

“We didn’t have TV, we read books, had imagination and went

through the majority of our journey through our imagination,” she


Although she has a tireless schedule traveling 320 days a year to

support ecological and environmental issues, animal rights,


education, conservation and the other important works, Goodall said

she is looking forward to her first visit to Laguna Beach and having

the benefit.

“My spirit is in Laguna beach. In Laguna Beach there’s a new

coalition of people trying to make an impact to the environment,” she


The Cougar Fund was started by Laguna writer and filmmaker Cara

Shea Blessley who is working to help the cougars. She has published a

book with the help of world-renowned wildlife photographer Thomas D.

Mangelsen, and has done a documentary about the grim reality of what

is happing to the mountain lion.

Laguna resident Webb Blessley, who is also part of the Cougar

Fund, instigated Goodall’s appearance and made it a reality.

“An Evening with Jane Goodall,” a presentation, silent auction and

artist exhibitions will be at The Festival of Arts grounds from 7:30

to 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 18. There will be a VIP reception from 9:30 to

11 p.m.

Local wildlife artists Julita Jones and Chris Hoy will be

exhibiting with other national wildlife artists during the evening.

Tickets range from $50 to $300 and are all tax deductible. For

tickets, call 1-800-225-2277 or online to

For information about the Cougar Fund go online to or for information about Jane Goodall go online to

* SUZIE HARRISON is a reporter for the Laguna Beach Coastline

Pilot. She may be reached at 494-4321.