STEM for Science Saturday: Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees

Wangari MaathaiWangari Maathai said, “Trees are living symbols of peace and hope.” The trees that she and her Green Belt Movement planted are more than symbols, they are the result of the hard work of the women Wangari enlisted to replant Kenya’s forests, replenish the wildlife, and instill democracy among the people.

This simply told story begins with Wangari’s childhood a the foot of the volcano Mount Kenya where, as the oldest child in her family, her responsibility was to stay home and help her mother. But when the chance to go to school presented itself, she ran there. In the 1960’s, she was awarded the opportunity to travel to the US to study, and there she saw that even in the land of the free, there were places that black people were not welcome.

Returning home, Wangari was determined to help her people and her country. She recognized that the deforestation by plantation owners and politicians building cities was at the root of her country’s devastation. Her courage and confidence carried her through obstacles thrown up by her adversaries.

Wangari Maathai changed the way the world thinks about nature and ecology, and about freedom and democracy.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Grade Level: 1 – 4

About the Author: Franck Prevot
I was born into a family of teachers and educators and I soon experienced the pleasure of discovering and reading books. At the age of seven, I began to write stories … and I never stopped! At school, we published a newspaper and I liked it so much that I quickly became a major contributor.
Thereafter, I began scientific studies to finally turn towards business studies. I worked abroad, but mostly traveled and finally I lived for two years in a tiny Indonesian village. There, I learned a lot: things about life and about myself.
On my return, I became a teacher and it is at this time (2003) I started publishing books accessible to both adults and children. Since I published about 25 books in France, of which some are translated abroad.