Science & Tech, Home & Lifestyle, Community & Government
Dreams of Africa
Lesson time 16:53 min
Learn how Dr. Jane's childhood aspirations took her from England's seaside to the forests of Africa.
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Topics include: Jane’s Beginning • Falling in Love with Africa • Getting There • A Big Opportunity • Realizing the Opportunity
Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.Sign Up
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? ...
About the Instructor
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.
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Dr. Jane Goodall
Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.Explore the Class