Jane Goodall’s extraordinary work as a conservationist keeps her in the public eye. While she is an inspiration to a lot of young people, there are three young people who also follow in the globally renowned primatologist’s footsteps. Jane Goodall and Baron Hugo van Lawick’s son, Hugo Eric Louis van Lawick, raised three children with his wife, Maria. Goodall’s grandchildren, Merlin, Angel, and Nick, adore animals and love nature as much as their famous grandma. Find out about how Jane Goodall’s grandchildren are continuing their grandmother’s legacy here.
Merlin van Lawick Works for the Jane Goodall Institute
Hugo van Lawick Jr., aka Grub, and his wife, Maria live on the compound of Dr. Jane Goodall’s home in Tanzania. Like Dr. Goodall and her late husband, Grub and his children are also advocates of conservationism and animal rights.
Grub’s eldest son, Merlin van Lawick, was born in November 1993 and grew up in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. He’s fluent in both English and Kiswahili.
The eldest Goodall grandchild is an MBA graduate from Arden University in England. He served as the director of the Dar es Salaam-based tech company Afriplains Digital and an ambassador for the Jane Goodall Institute since 2018.
He loves animals, especially dogs, and volunteered at the U.S. Wolf Refuge. Currently, he is the Communications Associate, Africa Programs and Science for the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) USA Communications & Partnerships team. He also serves on the board of the Earth Species Project (ESP), a nonprofit that is using AI to better communicate with nature. He spearheaded JGI’s community-led Tacare model of conservation and the Pugu Nature Center.
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Merlin has time and again expressed immense admiration for his grandmother. She is a role model to her grandchildren, as he revealed in his recent interview.
“I naturally developed a love for nature as a young boy,” Merlin told Green Matters. “I feel privileged to have had such role models as my grandmother growing up.”
Merlin recalled his childhood family vacations in England when Goodall would read books to him and his siblings every night. She fostered a deeper connection between them and nature which inspired them to continue her legacy.
Angel van Lawick Studied in South Africa
Grub and Maria’s second child, Angel van Lawick, studied at St. Constantine’s International School in Tanzania. She later went to Cape Town in South Africa to study at the University of Cape Town.
Between high school and college, Angel went on a humanitarian trip around the world through Goodall’s Roots and Shoots. Her travels brought her to California in the U.S., where she volunteered at the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. There, she cared for baby owls and skunks, among other ailing animals.
While Grub’s kids want to continue the family’s work with animals, Angel said that their grandmother doesn’t pressure them to follow her work.
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“My grandmother never really pushes us to do anything,” Angel said. “She just tells us, ‘Never lose hope. If you really want to do something, go ahead and do it.'”
Officially, Angel is a program assistant at JGI. She is a Roots and Shoots reporter, travelling to the youth clubs worldwide and documenting her travels on social media.
Nick van Lawick Is a Blogger and Environmentalist
Goodall’s youngest grandchild, Nick van Lawick, was born on June 28, 2000.
He’s an avid soccer player, passionate environmentalist, and recent blogger. The Tanzanian native has lived in Uganda and the Netherlands and studied at John Leggott College in the U.K.
Please join me in wishing my grandson Nick a very happy 16th birthday today! Nick is a very talented fútbol player and here we are in Tanzania during one of my recent trips. Love you and miss you!
Nick has followed in his family’s footsteps in different ways. He was a construction worker for JGI’s projects in 2019. He returned to his alma mater, Dar es Salaam independent school, as a sports teacher in 2020.
He co-founded Goalden and as of 2023, is hosting the Unyama Podcast. In 2022, he released his short film, No Longer Human, which he wrote and directed.