2005 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll
Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, 1987
David Greer puts his life on the line every day. But it’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make for the preservation of wildlife.
Greer is the park adviser of the Dzanga-Sangha Project for the World Wildlife Fund in the Central African Republic. He works to combat illegal hunting and poaching of lowland gorillas, forest elephants and other wildlife whose existence is endangered. He also is the founder of the Gorilla Conservation Fund, a nonprofit organization established to support conservation activities aimed at preserving the declining population of western lowland gorillas in Central Africa.
His work is his passion and his efforts have received international attention. But it’s a long way from his original career interest of psychology and philosophy ??? his college majors. While working at Providence-St. Margaret Hospital after college, Greer, always fascinated with the social and intellectual complexity of animals, began volunteering at the KC Zoo on weekends. He attended a conference in Florida held by renowned primatologist Jane Goodall. While talking with her, Greer was asked if he would be interested in coming to work for her as a volunteer in Tanzania. He saved up his money, resigned from the hospital and has been in Africa now for 10 years.
Growing up in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, Greer said he was fortunate to have so many caring teachers and a close-knit family that gave him reasons to believe in himself. A self described “average student,” Greer is thankful for the opportunities he had to get involved in sports during high school. He believes the competitive nature of the activities helped shape his character and provided an intensive social structure.
His advice for today’s students is, “Enjoy life to the fullest extent, but in doing so, respect everyone around you.” He also believes it’s important, as well as fulfilling, to help those who are less fortunate.