Chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall embraces a bouquet of roses after being named as the  grand marshal of Pasadena’s 2013 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
Chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall embraces a bouquet of roses after being named as the grand marshal of Pasadena's 2013 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. on Wed. April 25,2012. The Tournament of Roses announced the honor Wednesday in a ceremony where Goodall greeted well-wishers with the kind of chimpanzee call that can be heard in Tanzania's Gombe National Park. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) (The Associated Press)

Jane Goodall takes center stage Tuesday as grand marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade. After that, she'll flip the coin to start the Rose Bowl game.

But in a few days, she'll share a more intimate stage - at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro - for a fundraiser that also will feature celebrities Betty White and Tippi Hedren, both well-known animal activists, and the Balle Fette West African Drum & Dance.

"As a kid, I think all of us in this generation know her from National Geographic," said San Pedro science teacher John Zavalney, who met Goodall in 1996 and arranged for her 7:30 p.m. Friday appearance at the Warner Grand (tickets are still available).

The evening is billed as "an inspirational evening of music and stories from a lifetime of adventure."

Few would have gone where Goodall did as a young woman determined to chart her own course. With money she'd saved waitressing, she set out at the age of 26 for Tanzania, where she was put to work by the famous archaeologist and naturalist Louis Leakey.

Her 45-year-long study of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, challenged some of the scientific beliefs at the time - namely, that only humans could construct and use tools and that chimpanzees were vegetarians.

She said among observations that surprised her about chimpanzees was "finding this dark and brooding side," not unlike that found in the human personality.

In a telephone interview, Goodall, 78, said she'd been intrigued by animals ever since she was a young child growing up in Great Britain.

"I was born wanting to learn about animals, I have no idea why," she said.

"Everybody laughed when I was 10 and said I wanted to go live with the animals. They said why didn't I dream about what I could do? Girls simply didn't do that sort of thing."

She received a doctorate in ethology from Cambridge University in 1962 after she'd already begun her field research.

Jane Goodall, British world famous expert of chimpanzees, is seen at the Budapest Zoo in Budapest, Hungary, Monday, Feb. 11, 2008. The scientist arrived to
Jane Goodall, British world famous expert of chimpanzees, is seen at the Budapest Zoo in Budapest, Hungary, Monday, Feb. 11, 2008. The scientist arrived to Budapest to observe the reconstruction of the city's zoo and to meet members of the worldwide natur (The Associated Press)

More recently, Goodall has devoted her energies to lecturing, writing books and visiting schools throughout the world to speak on the importance of conservation.

In addition to the Jane Goodall Institute - which continues the Gombe research - she launched Roots & Shoots in 1991 as a global youth program to get students involved in the environment.

"The kids get it," she said of issues that confront the planet.

Environmental successes in recent decades have been notable, she said, pointing to the resurgence of the California condor and other endangered species as one example.

While adults have become more aware of environmental causes, however, too few people realize they can make a difference by incorporating changes in their lifestyles, she said.

"Everybody is quite sensitive (about the environment) but nobody is doing anything about it," she said.

Studies indicate that people may feel what they can do is insignificant to the big picture, but that's not the case, Goodall said.

From personal energy conservation to being careful to consume products that don't bring harm to animals or use child labor, everyone can do their part, she said.

Goodall expressed disappointment in the situation facing the San Pedro Science Center that Zavalney heads up and was threatened with closure last fall due to Los Angeles Unified School District budget cuts.

"I'm utterly shocked," she said of the possible school district cut that could still shutter the facility.

Her latest book, "Seeds of Hope," examines the planet's plant world and will be released in April.

While limited tickets to a VIP reception in San Pedro have sold out, there is still space in the Warner Grand Theatre to attend Friday night's presentation, Zavalney said.

The program, which will include a slide show, dance and music along with story telling, will appeal to anyone interested in animals and the environment.

"She's just unassuming and so gentle, so calming," he said of Goodall's unique presence. "It's just amazing to be around her."

donna.littlejohn@dailybreeze.com

Follow Donna Littlejohn on Twitter at http://twitter.com/donnalittlejohn

Want to go?

What: An Evening with Dr. Jane Goodall

Where: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. Sixth St., San Pedro

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Tickets: Tickets ($35 general): http://bit.ly/Vsxfud; group tickets: 310-519-1150; the public also can enter an online contest to win free tickets through KABC Radio at http://bit.ly/TtpgMB/

On the Web: www.janegoodall.org; http://www.rootsandshoots.org/