The Hueneme High School halls buzzed with excitement April 15 as students chattered about the “lady with the chimps” — Jane Goodall, renowned primatologist and anthropologist — who was coming to speak to them.

Goodall, who left her chimps in Tanzania where they belong, was drawn to Ventura County by Hueneme High School senior Erica Fernandez, one of only 100 students selected to participate in a Jane Goodall Institute Summit April 19 through 25 in Orlando, Fla.

Fernandez was selected for the program because of her environmental activism; in 2007, for example, she helped to stop a Liquefied Natural Gas terminal from being built off the Oxnard coast. She plans to attend Stanford University next year and major in Environmental Studies.

Goodall talked about growing up poor in England and about how she saved money from a waitressing job for a trip to Africa, where she started as a secretary and eventually worked her way up to being a chimpanzee researcher, her childhood dream.

She encouraged the students to pursue their goals and to work to protect the environment.

“Somehow we have to create a change, and you young people are going to be the ones who are going to do it,” she said. “My final reason for hope, my greatest reason for hope, is really all of you.”