Planting Bushes with the Inexperienced Belt Motion



Jen Cullerton Johnson, creator of Seeds of Change and The Story of Environmentalist Wangari Maathai, is visiting Kenya to discover the legacy of Wangari Maathai. Together with a gaggle of educators, scientists, and group companions, they’re tracing the footsteps of Wangari’s life; planting bushes, visiting elementary college students, assembly with group members, attending university-led mini-lectures, and taking part in environmental and wildlife conservation discipline experiences. Jen shares extra about this expertise in at present’s submit.

In 2010 and 2020 respectfully, Lee & Low revealed my books Seeds of Change and The Story of Environmentalist Wangari Maathai.  Each books are biographies of Wangari Maathai, the primary African girl to win the Nobel Prize (2004) for her work on the surroundings and girls’s rights.

Because the founding father of the Green Belt movement, Wangari Maathai noticed the devastating results of deforestation in Kenya. Overseas corporations in Kenya reduce down forests to make manner for tea and low plantations. With out bushes, animals had fewer shelter and meals sources, and rivers dried up as a result of tree roots not held the soil within the riverbanks. Girls and women needed to stroll miles for firewood, and their water sources dwindled. Wangari Maathai noticed that every one issues are linked. In 1977, with different girls, she based the Inexperienced Belt Motion the place she taught girls and women methods to plant and look after a tree. If the tree survived, the ladies and women could be paid for caring for the tree.

Inexperienced Belt Members

As we speak, the Inexperienced Belt Motion has grown and turn into a world image for the surroundings and girls’s rights. But, regardless of how recognized the group turns into, it continues to show communities world wide about planting and caring for bushes.

Assembly with the Inexperienced Belt Motion girls in Ihithe, Nyeri, and Wangari Maathai’s hometown, taught me firsthand about planting bushes.

“First, you should develop the seedling with care, listening to water and daylight. On the seedling stage is when the tree is most weak and requires care,” Teresa Wawareu instructed. She has labored for the Inexperienced Belt Motion for 20 years and has planted hundreds of bushes. “A tree is viable if it survives for 3 years. Throughout these three years, we look after the bushes like they’re our youngsters. After that point, the tree grows by itself,” she defined.

Seedlings for planting

Earlier than Wangari Maathai handed away in 2011, she made important strides in bringing youth into the environmental motion. In Ihithe, a number of youths joined in planting bushes. When requested about their tree planting experiences, many supplied that planting bushes helped them join with their households and their communities.

“I really feel pleased with our bushes,” Joi Kangeri, a fifth-grader supplied. “I do know that our bushes are making a distinction on the earth.”

Making a distinction is what the Inexperienced Belt Motion is doing by planting bushes and sharing their message. We too as educators and fogeys can take part and be part of with them to assist save our planet and convey our communities collectively. To be taught extra in regards to the e-book Seeds of Change, the Inexperienced Belt Motion, and having your college students be a part of a friendship Zoom alternate program between Kenya college students, contact me at

Jen Cullerton Johnson is a author, an educator, and an environmentalist with grasp’s levels in nonfiction writing and curriculum improvement. She teaches at each the elementary and faculty ranges in Chicago, the place she additionally conducts writing workshops. Johnson will be discovered on-line at

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