Donate to Yellowstone Flood Relief
Wangari Maathai - TravelStorys

Women in Conservation

Location Trip Time Travel Type
New Jersey 45 minutes

Wangari Maathai

At the edge of this forest, take a moment to look around you. Does anything seem missing? You may notice that your surroundings are sparse, lacking the dense vegetation of a typical forest. This is, in fact, a restoration site. Previous owners of this property mowed away the forest undergrowth, leaving the space bare. A restoration team has worked hard to rid this area of invasive species and plant native bushes and trees to revitalize the land. Wangari Maathai had a similar vision for Africa. She pioneered the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization dedicated to poverty reduction and environmental conservation through tree planting. Wangari’s efforts to plant trees to stop desertification and soil erosion across Kenya evolved into a vehicle for empowering women and their families across that nation. The act of planting trees is now helping women throughout Africa become stewards of their natural environment. In doing so, they are also becoming powerful champions for sustainable management, access to safe drinking water, equitable economic development, good political governance, and ultimately peace. To date, more than 51 million trees have been planted across Kenya. What started as a simple tree planting act has evolved into an entire program that protects critical watersheds, restores thousands of acres of Indigenous forests, and empowers hundreds of thousands of women. The Green Belt Movement gave Wangari an international platform to advocate for human rights and the environment. She served on the United Nations Commission for the Future and was Kenya’s assistant minister of the environment and natural resources. In 2004, she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her environmental and human rights work. Her energy and powerful call to action continue to inspire women in conservation worldwide. Narrated by: Madeleine Freundlich

Want to hear more of Women in Conservation? Download the TravelStorys app using the buttons below!

Download this tour to your phone