Wangari Maathai was the first black woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She won the award in 2004 for her work as an environmental, political, and cultural activist. Her work has helped the grow hundred and thousands of trees, and worked against deforestation.

Maathi was born in Nyeri, Kenya. She was the first woman to receive a doctorates degree in East and Central Africa. She has a degree in biological sciences, a masters in science and has also obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Nairobi. Along with being an accomplished scholar, Maathi also has an accomplished career.

As a teacher and a scientist, Maathi has taught veterinary anatomy at the University of Nairobi, became the chair of the department of veterinary anatomy and an associate professor in the 1970s. In both of these jobs, Maathi was one of the first women to acquire these positions in the region.

She was a part of the National Council of Women of Kenya and introduced an idea for a community based tree planting organization. She created a grassroots organization, the Green Belt Movement, that focused of poverty reduction and environmental conservation by tree planting. Her work has helped human rights and environmental, she has influenced many countries into taking initiative and has campaigned a cancellation of the un-payable backlog debts of the poor countries.

Maathi is a very accomplished woman, she voiced her opinion and made change, real change. She was named the United Nations messenger of peace, she was appointed many leadership positions in advocacy, and even founded the Wangari Maathi Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies, for academic research for the GBM. Maathi passed away in 2011 due to ovarian cancer, but her good deeds and hard work show today.

By Tisha Shrestha

Tisha Shrestha is a senior at Timber Creek High School. She is Editor-In-Chief of Talon and Editor-In-Chief of FLIGHT Lit Mag. She is also senior class historian and a member of The Creek Yearbook staff.

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