The International Day of Peace is held every year on September 21st, with the purpose of providing” an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace.” As a project for her Roots & Shoots program–which engages and inspires thousands of young people from countries around the world–Dr. Jane Goodall, the renowned primatologist and humanitarian, conceived the idea of flying Giant Peace Dove Puppets on/near International Peace Day as a demonstration of and commitment to peace.
Back in 2004, wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen asked if we would carry a Giant Peace Dove Puppet on one of our rafts as a way of celebrating this special day. We were thrilled to honor Tom’s request! What better place to contemplate this dream of peace on earth, than in the heart of the wild scenery of Grand Teton National Park? During the course of the float trip, Tom used his cell phone to call Dr. Jane Goodall, and actually reached her! He described the Peace Dove which was flying above our raft down the Snake River, and she was elated. And the following year, she decided to join us on the raft, helping to carry the Dove herself!
As it turned out, the International Day of Peace in 2005 was cold and grey with intermittent rain showers. The majestic peaks of the Tetons were barely visible. But Dr. Jane, displaying her indomitable spirit, buoyed everyone else’s determination to continue with our purpose. So our small floatilla of rafts ventured out. No grand audiences lined up for our peace dove display; our biggest crowds were the occasional eagles, elk, and moose with whom we share this beautiful landscape. What a truly special day it was, with our white Peace Dove soaring amidst the grey clouds, along with our spirits, thanks to Dr. Jane.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of this global observance. And now, more than ever, we all should gather and show our commitment to peace for ALL – people, animals, and the environment. Let us keep the dream alive – wherever we may be, September 21st.
Wildly Scenic is a blog by Barker-Ewing employees and fellow river enthusiasts.
Established in 1963, Barker-Ewing Float Trips has been sharing the beauty and wonder of Grand Teton National Park with visitors from around the world for over 40 years, floating beneath the Grand Tetons on the headwaters of the Snake River.