Adrienne Salerno

Traveling to new faraway places always provides a new perspective on life.  IT takes you away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and makes you appreciate what we have and the amazing world we live in.  Spending two weeks in Tanzania was an emotional experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.  Looking into the eyes of a chimpanzee and getting to be part of their everyday life was more inspiring than I could ever have imagined.  Learning about plant life and animals from as small as an ant to as large as an elephant, drove home the importance of conserving biodiversity and these animals’ habitats as a whole.  As human beings we have the power to bring about change for these creatures while simultaneously helping our fellow man.  As a proud member of the CAC team, I will do what I can to promote conservation wherever life may take me and inspire others along the way. 





After hours of airplane travel, arriving in Africa, specifically Tanzania, was well worth the exhausting travel.  Finally, I got on a boat halfway across the world from home to set out on the beginning of an adventure of a lifetime.  The five hour boat ride to Mahale, our first destination, was an inspiring start to the trip, with the sun shining and glistening on the water.  I was able to look out on some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.  As we approached our camp, we could see areas where the lush forest with its many shades of dark green could not be seen.  It was slightly upsetting to see the altered landscape so beautiful and natural.  It made me realize the importance of conserving our forests that are not only beautiful but essential to life.  With my team by my side, I know that we will work to help save the forests and inspire all of you around the world to do all you can to join us in the effort to save your local forests. 


The focus of our trip to Mahale was to observe and learn about a group of chimpanzees.  Chimps are amazing social creatures that happen to be our closest relatives.  After three days of observing them in their natural habitat, I can say that I learned not only about them but also about myself.  There were times that I could look at them and feel such a solid connection.  I could “feel their emotions” of anger as well as their love.  Seeing them play and seeing interactions between mother and child had the greatest impact.  It made me appreciate my friends and family and the good times and compassion we share.  It is so sad to think that these inspirational creatures from which we evolved are so endangered.  I hope that you will take from this inspiration to learn about chimps and love them as much as the CAC team does.  We need your help to keep these chimps and their habitat alive. 


Although we come to Mahale for chimps, we have seen so many amazing life forms from magnificent mushrooms to incredible insects to beautiful birds and marvelous monkeys.  I laid in bed at night and listened to the diverse sounds made by all different animals that I could not see.  It is an exciting mystery as there is so much more for us to discover.  It is so cool that we get to share a planet.  It is our job to conserve important natural places like Mahale so others can enjoy them for years to come. 


I hope that you are excited as me to get out in the field and learn about the amazing animals of our world. 




Approaching Gombe revealed a magical landscape of rolling mountains covered with a vast number of different trees.  How could any scene on earth be more spectacular?  But the true magic is inside the park.  The red colobus monkeys move effortlessly through the tree tops, while the baboons roam the beaches and take a dip in Lake Tanganyika.  The sounds of chimpanzee vocalizations echo through the forest to reveal their location.  Sitting on the forest floor with no distractions allowed for viewing the chimps on a whole new level.  I was able to feel the excitement of the juveniles in play and connect with the loneliness of a nine year old separated from mom.  It was truly an honor to share the same space with these interesting animals and get a look into their lives. 


Traveling deeper into the forest brings you to a waterfall that is so beautiful and spiritual that no photograph will ever do it justice.  This is a place where chimps have been known to come, sit, and just watch the water fall.  I would love to know what they think about when they come to that spot. 


A trip to Gombe wouldn’t be complete without a hike to Jane’s Peak, a place where Jane Goodall came to look and listen for her chimpanzees.  For me, this is a place where dreams are made.  At that very spot, Jane Goodall sat and began a career that would change the world forever.  It was truly inspiring to sit in the same place and day dream of the wonderful things that I hope to accomplish in my life.  As the sky and clouds rested at the top of mountains and the mountains rolled into the lake, it was clear to see how evidently all parts of our world are connected and how affecting one, affects everything else. 


Gombe is currently home to 106 chimps in three different communities.  It was staggering to see how small the national park truly is and sad to think that these chimps are currently isolated from any others.  There is talk of creating corridors by planting trees to connect habitats.  This will allow for genetic mixing and expansive ranges.  This is so important, not only here in Gombe, but around the world where populations are isolated.  Planting trees and supporting these programs are crucial and a fun way to get involved in helping our environment. 


The guides, directors of research, and a veterinarian taught us so much at Gombe.  Knowledge is such a great gift to give and receive.  Being open to learn all you can and then applying it and spreading it to others is so rewarding and inspirational.  Now that I have told you of this magical place, teach your friends, get out and make a difference. 


Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.