The WoW! News podcast – How a young Jane Goodall got to befriend animals and went on to show humans how to make peace with Nature. Plus a summer challenge for you!

Click on the image to be redirected to the podcast.

Transcript podcast – August 21, 2020

A – Hello and welcome to WoW!, the positive podcast! Showing kids that there’s a lot more to the world news than bad news.

I’m Alastair. As a journalist, I’ve often written about things going wrong. But people also need to know too about what’s going right, to know that we can change the world for the better.

This week, we’re continuing our summer of peace with the second of our profiles of great peacemakers. You remember that with Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots movement for young people, we’re preparing to mark the International Day of Peace on September. 21.

There’s good news in our world today that you don’t often hear. You may hear a lot about people arguing, fighting, having wars even. But in actual fact, there’s a lot less fighting and violence around the world now than there was in the past.

We’ve talked about how Nelson Mandela’s childhood taught him lots of things that helped him bring peace to South Africa. And last time we heard how Marshall Rosenberg turned a boyhood spend fighting in the playground into a new way of talking to each other that takes the heat out of arguments.

This week, let me tell you about someone who is helping people make peace with Nature. Yes, that’s right, let’s hear about the famous naturalist Jane Goodall. She heads the organisation that we’ve partnered with to bring you this summer peace. So, let’s go and meet Jane, shall we?


Jane Goodall was 5 when she decided that she just had to know where eggs came from.

She knew they came from hens. But how?

So she toddled off to the hen-house. She crawled inside. The hens clucked a bit. But they soon got used to the quiet little girl in the corner. Jane watched.

Hours passed. Jane watched. Finally, a hen laid an egg.

So that’s where they come from!

She ran back to her house to tell her mum. Her mum was quite cross – she’d been looking for Jane for hours, terribly worried something had happened to her. But she saw how excited Jane was – and so she sat down to listen to her.

People have been listening to Jane’s tales of the natural world ever since – for more than 80 years!

Jane grew up loving animals. When she was a baby, her father gave her a toy chimpanzee. She took him everywhere with her. Little did her dad know how important chimps would be in Jane’s life.

When she was a child, growing up in England, Jane also loved dogs and horses.

She dreamed of going to Africa to study animals. But when she left school, Jane had to get a job.

Then one day a friend invited her to visit her parents’ house in Africa. Jane said yes, even though in those days it was a really long journey – 2 or 3 weeks on a ship!

In Africa, she met a famous scientist who asked her to help him study chimpanzees – some of mankind’s closest relatives. It was dream come true!

How do you think Jane found out how the chimpanzees lived? Well, she went to live with them, of course!

Like those hens when she was little, the chimps were a bit bothered at first, and tried to keep away. But Jane watched and waited.

She later said this: I wanted to learn things that no one else knew, uncover secrets through patient observation. I wanted to come as close to talking to animals as I could.

Jane learned things no one else knew. One day she saw a chimpanzee called David Greybeard do something special – something that scientists thought only humans did. Thanks to Jane, David helped change the way we think of our place on planet Earth.

David Greybeard yanked a thin branch from a tree. He stripped the leaves off. Then he stuck the stick into a termite mound (that’s a nest of termites, an insect a bit like an ant).

David pulled his stick back out. Termites were clinging to it. He licked them off. Yum! Termites are a tasty treat for chimpanzees.

Jane realised that David had made a tool. Until then, scientists thought that we humans were totally unique – one of a kind – because only we make tools to help us do things.

Jane told them they were wrong. Quite a lot of stuffy old scientists didn’t much like being told they were wrong by this young woman who hadn’t been to university. But she was right.

The lesson? Humans are special, but not so special. We share our planet with billions of living creatures and plants who have just as much right to it as we do.

Jane went on to discover how much danger the chimpanzees and other wildlife were in from humans chopping down forests, building more and more machines, making the land and sea dirtier and dirtier.

She warns people to treat our shared planet with more respect. And she helps people see that our selfishness is hurting us too – for example, from things like coronavirus. We spoke about that a few months ago, remember?

The United Nations, the club for the world’s governments, made Jane one of its Messengers of Peace. For our own good, she says, we must make peace with Nature.

Jane also shows young people that there are solutions – we can all make a difference.

Her organisation for children, called Roots & Shoots, is getting ready to celebrate the International Day of Peace on September 21. We at WoW! will be joining them.

Until then, we hope you’ve enjoyed our short summer series on Peace & Peacemakers. And let me leave you with our summer challenge. Listen to this…


Now what do you think that is? Have a listen to another version of the same thing…


So… any guesses what those sounds are? Let’s hear them again…


Well, bravo, if you spotted that those are the calls that chimpanzees make when they’re telling other chimpanzees where they are. It’s like me shouting in the forest, ‘hello!’ It’s Alastair here!’. Chimps in a family can recognise each other’s voices.

But hang on. Why did I play two chimps? Well, that’s the catch. I didn’t! The first sounds were actually Jane Goodall. She learned chimp language and now she wants to teach you. Yes, that’s right! Here’s a quick listen again…


Now, it’s your turn! Come on, after me, hoo hoo hoo…

Ouf, that feels good to get something off my chest! How was your chimp language?

Well, if you’ve enjoyed learning about Jane Goodall, do tell a friend!

 We’ll be back at the start of September for a new school year packed with solutions. Meanwhile, you can catch up on all our stories and podcasts at our website Have a peaceful end of summer!

Alastair editor of WoW!




Leave a Reply