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.

Very important Masterclass that doesn't just talk about the problems, but also gives some answers to help solving those.

Hearing Dr. Goodall introduce this class leaves me anticipation to start the next lesson immediately!

Perhaps more footage of the research ms Goodall was discussing

Jane Goodall sheds light on global undestanding of ethical and environemntal issues and tells beautiful stories about inteconnection between human, nature and spirit.


Ruby G.

Dr Goodall is such an incredible storyteller. To hear how curious and resilient she was in that story of the chicken house is truly remarkable. It makes me wonder whether our true passions manifest themselves in what we find interesting in childhood, and the key abilities we show. I cannot wait for the rest of the course.

Freya A.

I already knew some of the things she mentioned in this class but it was so amazing just hearing about it again and hearing all the other little bits that enabled her to go and study the chimpanzees.

Anita S.

It is a very inspirational story and a great testimony that once you find your true dream and you focus on it with you whole being, 'life' will arrange things in the most unexpected ways, against all the odds to make it all happen and turn your dream into reality. I am also very much enjoying Dr. Jane's calm, engaging and captivating narration style.

A fellow student

So beautiful and inspiring the way Dr. Jane is able to reflect on her journey and recognize those key moments that can so easily breeze by you if you're not paying attention. As a woman in my early 20's, it's very encouraging to hear how such an influential woman started her career by following her passions and keeping her focus on what mattered most to her, rather than what other people thought of her. I love the intimacy of how this recording was produced and how I felt like I was actually in the room with her. It made it easier to connect on some of our shared experiences like traveling to Cape Town and Nairobi and seeing the impact that holding true to your values can have on the trajectory of your life.

Dr. Lyne M.

I want to be that inspiring mother that Jane Goodall had the chance to have. Inspire youth and help them see their opportunities to follow their dreams. I remember the ones who game me my chance in ocean conservation. The ones that justify why I am here today; doing what I do. And this class just made me realize the gratitude I have for them. And I decided to let them know. Because in a way, they are changing the world with me.

Karen F.

Watching this felt like I was in the same room with her. The way Dr. Jane shares her stories is so warm and captivating. Good points about parenting also. Thank you.

A fellow student

I have such a passion for conservation. I'm so thankful for this masterclass.

Jerry R.

I can emphasize with her beginning; when I looked into getting my first job, I was told they only let boys work after school here. Well, I tracked down the head of the company and got the job.

Maggie B.

Her stories about herself as a young girl has me looking back on my own childhood, and thinking about impactful experiences I had that formed my interests and character.

A fellow student

Getting a deeper understanding of Jane Goodall's life and how she came to study chimpanzees is fascinating and so inspiring. Her mother's supportive influence was such a driving force in her ability to say "yes I can," and go forth with confidence in participating in what she found to be vitally important - the study of animals.