Business, Politics & Society

Dreams of Africa

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 16:54 min

Learn how Dr. Jane's childhood aspirations took her from England's seaside to the forests of Africa.

Dr. Jane Goodall
Teaches Conservation
In 29 lessons, Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.
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A lot of people ask me, how did it all begin for you? How did you become a scientist? Did you want to become a scientist? And the thing is that my first scientific experiment, my first interaction with animals-- apparently, I don't remember it, but it began when I was 18 months old. My mother came into my room, and she found that I had taken a whole handful of wriggling earthworms to bed with me, and, of course, with the earth as well. And I was so lucky in my mother, because she supported my love, my fascination for animals. So instead of getting mad at me-- ugh, throw those dirty things out-- she very quietly said, "Jane, they need the earth, or they'll die," and we took them back into the garden. But what she said to me, she said, you know, you were looking so intently at those earthworms, and still, you were wondering, how do they move without legs? And the second experience I had with observing animals that I remember really, really clearly was when I was four and 1/2 years old, a little animal-loving girl growing up in London. There aren't so many animals there. There's sparrows and pigeons and dogs and cats. But when I was four and 1/2, my mother took me for a holiday in the country on a farm, a proper farm, a farm where animals roam around in the fields, and hens peck around in the farm yard, not these terrible intensive farms that we get for animals today. And I was given a job to help collect the hens' eggs. So the hens were supposed to lay their eggs in little wooden henhouses, and around the edge were boxes, where they were supposed to lay their eggs. So they would go into the henhouse, go into this little nesting box, and I would go around on the outside and lift up the lid, and if there was an egg, pop it in my basket. Well, I don't remember this, but apparently, I was asking everybody, but here's the egg. I couldn't see a hole on the hen, where that egg would come out, and I was asking everybody, where does the egg come out of the hen? And nobody told me to my satisfaction. So what I remember vividly is seeing this hen. She was brown, and she was going into one of these henhouses. And I must've thought, well, she's going to lay an egg, so I crawled in after her. Hm, big mistake. She flew out, squawking, I suppose with fear. And again, in my little four and 1/2 year old mind, I must have thought, no hen will lay an egg here. It's a frightening place. And by now, of course, I'm on the path to discovery, and I'm not going to give up. So I went into an empty henhouse and hid in the corner and waited and waited and waited, which was fine for me. But my poor family didn't know where I was. They were searching. It was getting late. I was apparently gone four hours. And finally, my poor mother sees this little girl rushing towards the house, and instead of getting mad at me-- how dare you go off without telling us? ...

Take action

There is still a window of time. Nature can win if we give her a chance. In her first ever online class, Dr. Jane Goodall teaches how you can conserve the environment. She also shares her research on the behavioral patterns of chimpanzees and what they taught her about conservation. You'll learn how to act locally and protect the planet.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This class was extremely inspiring and gave me hope that I am able to change things. Very influential to my life.

It is breathtaking, inspiring and makes you fill up your whole body and soul with a indomitable spirit for change, for good.

I really enjoyed the one on one approach taken when talking about her experience and skills learned.

Holy moley. Dr. Goodall is amazing, and truly an inspiration. I want my daughter to see this. I want everyone's young daughters to see this.


A fellow student

I'm a mom taking this course with my soon-to-be 10 year old son - I've always had an interest in ecology and animals, but my son is especially passionate about organizing his friends and making a difference for the earth. It is obvious to me already that this will be his life's work. I loved hearing the stories about Jane as a child, and love that my son can benefit from hearing her stories first-hand. A beautiful and heartfelt lesson from someone we admire very much. Thank you!


I love this course and I think you can learn a lot about Jane's thoughts and actions

A fellow student

Listening to you, Jane, talk about the empowering manner in which your mom (mum) supported you, is so validating to the way in which I have raised my own four children. Thank you. I am now in a place to empower myself in this way - to learn deeply and to give space for my curiosity to turn from seed to something nourishing for the world. Seize the opportunity...Yes, and let it be so. It must have been such a powerful and awe-striking moment when David Greybeard gently squeezed your hand. The emotion I felt, simply listening to you tell this story, was so moving. I can only imagine the exhilaration and humbleness you must have experienced. What a gift!

A fellow student

In these 17 minutes, Jane gave us a great insight on how to cease an opportunity when it comes to you. Always work to achieve your goals and along the way you will find people to support and accompany you.

A fellow student

Super Mom. Power of Love & Open Mind. Never give up & look for Opportunity.

Emily B.

As a young woman myself Jane's drive and conviction is beyond inspiring. She really shows what determination and perseverance can do. So excited to be learning from such a legendary human and inspirational woman.

A fellow student

I just love hearing how your mother encouraged you and your vision. It must have been rare when you were younger--amazing how important that support can be.


thank you Master Class...this is going to be a grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat course...

Gerry S.

I cried and cried . . . in joy . . . in sadness . . . in hope . . . in hopeless . . . with the all-pervading pleasure of being a conscious loving human being . . . Shamzie Scott

Robin K.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Dr. Goodall's early childhood experiences and commend her mother for stimulating her daughter's curiosity. She has a wonderful and relaxed way about her, I thoroughly enjoyed this first class.