Illustration by Michelle Graabek

Illustration by Michelle Graabek

Ever since I was 5 year old, my hero was Jane Goodall. Jane Goodall is an ethologist, meaning she studies animal behaviour. In particular, she studied chimpanzees in the wilds in Africa. As a little girl I watched National Geographic films about her, gobbled up every National Geographic magazine article I could find, pouring over the pictures of this fascinating blonde British woman–blonde like me!–who studied chimpanzee families in Africa.

She herself has some lovely stories about her own girlhood and how her interest in biology and animals manifested in her as a child. In her book, My Life with the Chimpanzees, she wrote about how as a little girl her favourite book was The Story of Doctor Doolittle, by Hugh Lofting, and it was when she was seven years old she decided that when she grew up she would go to Africa. Or how when she was little she made an ‘Alligator Club Magazine’ about nature and animals, much like I myself did as a little girl.

My favourite story is of how when Jane was a five year old girl, she sat very very quietly in a chicken shed for hours, so long that her mother almost called the police when she couldn’t find her, because Jane wanted to find out how a chicken laid its eggs.

As a child Jane Goodall inspired me because she was a female scientist studying chimpanzees in Africa. As an adult I did not become a specialist in animal behaviour as I dreamed of as a child. But Jane Goodall has inspired me throughout my life in many ways. These days she is heavily involved in many charity projects and works as a spokesperson for animals and the environment.

She inspired me to follow my passions. She inspired me to prioritise my education and go to university. She continues to inspire me to stand up for what I believe in, to act accordingly and to work hard. I hope all girls find heroes that will inspire them their whole lives.

‚Äè-Michelle Graabek
‚ÄèJunior Girl
‚ÄèGirl Museum Inc.

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