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Tree Grows in Arlington for Wangari

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The roots of a Silverbell tree are slowly expanding into the soil of an Arlington, Va. garden, where it was planted in memory of Kenya’s Dr. Wangari Maathai — like so many other trees growing in Kenya, in Africa, and around the world because of her inspiration.

Dignitaries, colleagues, and friends of Prof. Maathai gathered in the garden behind the worldwide headquarters of The Nature Conservancy on the morning of Oct. 19 to honor the memory of the founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, a heroine of the women’s and environmental movements and the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, in 2004.

“I was deeply saddened to hear of Wangari Maathai’s death last September,” said Kristen Patterson, manager of U.S. Relations for the Conservancy’s Africa Region and organizer of the event. “Prof. was a warm, joyful woman and a true inspiration for the conservation and women’s movements in Kenya and the world. My first thought … was that I wanted to plant a tree in her honor on behalf of The Nature Conservancy.”

Patterson said she had been deeply moved by a 2008 ceremony when she helped plant a fig tree with a Green Belt Movement community group in Tumutumu, near Mount Kenya. The Conservancy first worked with the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in 2008 to plant more than 720,000 trees in Kenya’s Mau Forest over three years.

During the Arlington ceremony, participants picked up a shovel and helped to cover the tree’s roots with soil.


Image Credit: Jordana Fyne (During her first visit to The Nature Conservancy’s headquarters, Ms. Nairimas Ole-Sein, Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Kenya helps plant a tree in memory of Wangari Maathai.)

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3:45PM PST on Feb 24, 2013


4:35AM PST on Feb 4, 2013


10:16AM PST on Nov 23, 2012

Very touching story, and what a wonderful way to honor someone's memory.

6:18PM PST on Nov 21, 2012


8:04AM PST on Nov 17, 2012


8:55PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

When I go visit the botanical gardens, I see a lot of benches dedicated in memory of someone. There needs to be more memorial planted trees as well.

12:00PM PST on Nov 11, 2012

Plant trees to stop global warming, soil erosion & climate change. Trees are the lungs of our Mother Earth.

5:14AM PST on Nov 7, 2012

Noted, thanks for sharing.

2:10PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

Thanks , wonderful !!!

12:42PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

What a wonderful way to remember a great person.

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Thanks for sharing this article. I like to support my local growers.


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