December 5, 2023 Sylvie Le

Awards Program Honors 30 International Changemakers Who Are Empowering Youth in Positive Efforts for People, Animals & the Environment

WASHINGTON, DC USA – December 5, 2023

Today, Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), UN Messenger of Peace and the 2021 Templeton Prize Laureate, celebrated the winners of the inaugural Templeton Roots & Shoots Prizes.  The awards program recognized young people from around the world whose exemplary achievements brought transformational change to their communities. Thirty awardees were selected by a committee that included Dr. Goodall, to receive a $5,000 USD cash prize, along with professional development opportunities, including media training and networking support.

The Templeton Roots & Shoots Prizes are an extension of the partnership between JGI and the John Templeton Foundation to elevate the extraordinary efforts of visionary youth leaders and their adult mentors worldwide.  Awardees were selected based on their exceptional work with Roots & Shoots at the intersection of science, compassion, and community – specifically those who exemplify curiosity and wonder and the pursuit of knowledge, as well as the expression of compassion towards people, other animals and the environment we share.

Reflecting on the exceptional contributions of the Templeton Roots & Shoots Prize awardees Dr. Goodall said, “These awardees are driven by curiosity and the fervor to cultivate change in their communities and worldwide. They stand as one of my greatest reasons for hope. I am thrilled to celebrate their remarkable accomplishments and hope their actions will inspire others to join Roots & Shoots our global humanitarian and environmental program for young people of all ages.

Heather Templeton Dill, President of the John Templeton Foundation, commented on the initiative’s alignment, stating, “We are excited to support the next generation of curious leaders to inspire hope and cultivate humility. With this initiative, the Foundation is lending its name and philanthropic support to Dr. Goodall’s vision for recognizing and empowering exceptional youth worldwide.”

Two awardees were recognized from the United States:

Zachary Rosoff – California, USA
Zachary took part in the Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council where he was inspired and humbled by the initiatives of other teen leaders from across the country. A young leader in his own right, Zachary recently led a tree planting event at Brown University for Tu BiShvat, the Jewish New Year of Trees. His group presented about environmental issues, organized a roundtable discussion, and hosted an environmental themed meditation to ground them in the natural world. This event raised fruitful conversation and helped the student body become more environmentally aware. In high school, he was selected to be on the Environmental Commission and Mayor’s Youth Council for his hometown, where he helped draft ordinances, many of which were geared toward the environment. He’s also proud of the work he did with his Roots & Shoots club at high school, where they built owl boxes to decrease the use of rodenticides on campus, installed drip irrigation, and planted native flora.

Carla M. Montalvo Martínez – Puerto Rico, U.S. Territory

Carla’s Roots & Shoots journey began in 2015, driven by her passion for addressing interconnected issues related to people, animals, and the environment. She is profoundly invested in environmental protection and the deep interdependence of all aspects of our world. Her most recent project, “Avifauna 100×35,” involves doing monthly bird counts in natural and protected areas, to assess ecosystem health and monitor migratory and endemic bird populations. By creating an enduring record of species distribution—especially considering hurricanes and tropical storms—Carla is also helping to foster ecotourism and participants’ deeper connection with nature.

In addition to the cash prizes, awardees also received professional mentoring and networking support, aimed to further advance their careers, including

  • Media training;
  • Opportunities to network with other young leaders; and
  • Recognition and promotion of their work through traditional and social media.


About Roots & Shoots USA

In 1991, local youth gathered on Jane Goodall’s front porch in Tanzania and expressed how they felt powerless against the problems in the world around them. As the students told stories and offered ideas, Jane realized the solution was right in front of them: their power to create change. The Roots & Shoots program was born. Roots & Shoots provides the resources to encourage and motivate young people to take action on issues that matter to them. Today, the tools and support offered through the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) program empower youth in all 50 states and over 65 countries to use their voices and ideas to address the issues that matter most to them in their communities. Through Jane’s hopeful message and the Roots & Shoots model, youth around the world are encouraged to put their ideas into action. Since 1991, millions of students have taken on the challenge of making the world a better place for people, other animals and the environment we share. Roots & Shoots youth are not only the future–they are the present– and they are changing the world.  Learn more at rootsandshoots.org and follow us @rootsandshoots

About the Jane Goodall Institute

The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community-centered conservation organization founded in 1977 that advances the vision and work of world-renowned ethologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE and UN Messenger of Peace. By understanding, protecting, and improving the welfare of chimpanzees and other great apes, while inspiring action to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, other animals, and the environment. Learn more at janegoodall.org. Follow Jane and JGI at Facebook.com/JaneGoodall and @janegoodallinst on Instagram and Twitter.

About the John Templeton Foundation

Founded in 1987, the John Templeton Foundation supports research and catalyzes conversations that inspire people with awe and wonder. We fund work on subjects ranging from black holes and evolution to creativity, forgiveness, and free will. We also encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, theologians, and the public at large. Our aspiration is to help people create lives of meaning and purpose and to become a global catalyst for discoveries that contribute to human flourishing. Learn more at www.templeton.org and follow us @templeton_fdn on Twitter and @templetonfoundation on Facebook and Instagram.


Erin Griffin, Director of Partnerships, Jane Goodall Institute-USA, egriffin@janegoodall.org