“Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved.” – Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane often reminds us that “the greatest danger to our future is apathy,” and that ensuring a future for all animals and our environment begins with understanding. Much of our education about the natural world begins with our own sense of wonder…like when young Jane sought out to discover how chickens laid their eggs. But many of us owe our true understanding and appreciation for the Earth to our educators; that is, the patient and generous individuals who shared their knowledge with us and helped us to imagine our role as global citizens.

As she travels more than 300 days a year sharing her wisdom with people all over the world, Dr. Jane continues to inspire in her role as an educator. She asks people to consider the small choices that they make each day — like what they buy, eat, and wear. She shares why she is a vegetarian and how this choice can make an impact. She reminds us to find hope in the next generation and help equip them with the knowledge and resources to take on big problems. Most importantly, Dr. Jane highlights the importance of working together in order to achieve the greatest impact – that when our head and heart work together, we will reach our full human potential.

Dr. Jane has also served as a formal educator for many. Below, a few of her former students reflect on their experiences.

“I was lucky enough to go straight to Gombe after finishing my undergraduate degree in zoology.  This opportunity changed my life and set me on the path to my career as a scientist. I learned from Jane how to follow the chimpanzees and record their behaviour. Jane was truly remarkable in her passion, patience, persistence and open mindedness in learning about chimpanzees.  She is an incredibly astute observer, noticing every detail of behaviour, carefully recording details of individual differences, and always wondering about the causes and significance of what she is seeing.  She taught me to be sensitive to the chimpanzees’ behaviour, never to disturb them or get in their way and always to be on the alert for new and interesting behaviour.  This training was invaluable when I went on to study lions in the Serengeti, and I have tried to pass on these lessons to my students who have continued to study the Gombe chimpanzees in recent years.”

Anne Pusey
Oxford University (B.A./M.A.), Stanford University (Ph.D.)
Arrived at Gombe National Park in 1970 as a Research Assistant to Dr. Jane.
James B. Duke Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University
Oversees the Jane Goodall Research Institute Center at Duke University

“Jane has had a prodigious influence on my work as a teacher. She has taught me how to be patient and observant. She has taught me that all animals have a social emotional life. She has taught me about the interdependency of animals and the environment. Above all, she has taught me about humanity, hope, and mindful living. Jane is a quintessential educator who has taught me how to empower children to affect change through Roots & Shoots.”

Smita Dharsi
Has known Jane since she was a child.
Educator at Columbia High School in Maplewood, NJ

“For me, when I look at Dr. Jane as a teacher, I am always feeling more energy! You know when you are working very hard and you are inspiring many kids, and you need to get more energy? She does this, she inspires the way you feel. She makes you feel that if you do not do something, maybe nobody else will, and so you must do it. But rather than just giving you the instructions, or the knowledge, or information that anybody else could give you; it is more of the passion, it is more of the power, it is more of the empowerment that she gives when she speaks with you. She gives you the courage and the confidence, rather than giving you the instructions. She is the teacher, that whenever you do some mistake, she does not say Why? No! This is wrong. She always says, Yes, but maybe you could do this, or this. She gives you the hope and good courage that helps you become more responsible, and helps you see that what you do will be able to impact many many young people, and also their parents the communities-at-large. ”

Japhet Jonas Mwanang’ombe
Joined Roots & Shoots in 1992, one year after the program was founded in Dar es Salaam.
Roots & Shoots Coordinator, JGI Tanzania