Planting the Trees of Kenya


Planting the Trees of Kenya:  The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola

This is the incredible story of Dr. Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.  She became Africa’s first female Ph.D. and first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

When she went away to college in Kansas, Kenya was clothed in green, the trees covered the land, and “fish filled the pure waters of the streams.”  The fig tree was sacred.


After five years, she returned home to find the trees cut down, streams dried up, and the land became a desert.  The people no longer grew what they ate but bought food from the store.  There was no clean drinking water, and they became weak and sickly.


But Wangari had a simple idea: “Why not plant trees?”  She showed the women how to collect seeds from the trees that remained, how to prep the soil and care for the seedling.  “When we see that we are part of the problem, we can become part of the solution.”


“They did not have to wait for the government to help them.  They could begin to change their own lives.”  After a lot of hard work, the woods grew again, and they were healthier.  When they cut down a tree, they planted two.  In 30 years, 30 million trees have been planted in Kenya.