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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Justice, Climate Action, World Languages, Other

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Prof. Wangari Maathai at 80: Tree Planter, Nobel Prize Laureate, Revolutionary

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  • This video provides information on Professor Wangari Maathai's tireless effort to establish the Green Belt Movement, a reforestation project in Kenya that has had a tremendous environmental and social impact on the country. 
  • The video showcases a variety of people who worked with or were inspired by Wangari Maathai, speaking about how her legacy continues to inspire farmers and empower women in Kenya and around the world. 
Teaching Tips


  • This inspiring video will show students how a single person can have an extraordinary impact on the lives of many people.
  • Students will see the important role that trees play in regulating the water cycle, preventing erosion, and promoting clean rivers.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students would benefit from learning about the environmental problems that Kenya faced as a result of rapid deforestation in the 1960s prior to watching the video.
  • The video shows footage of soldiers attacking protestors (3:32-3:45). The footage is not graphic, but it may not be suitable for all students.


  • Biology classes or environmental clubs could research native tree species and raise money to plant native trees in their communities.
  • Civics, social studies, or government classes could discuss how Wangari Maathai spoke out against the government, was arrested for being vocal about her opposition, and eventually was elected to office.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement, 
    this video on the importance of forests, and this article on how forests can maintain water quality in cities.
Scientist Notes
The resource inspires climate action and biodiversity conservation. It presents a clear example by Professor Wangari Maathai, a Noble Peace Prize winner who was dedicated to fighting the government to protect the Karura Forest and several other natural resources and biodiversity in Kenya and other parts of Africa. This is recommended to motivate students to take climate action in their local environments.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
      • HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.10.6-8 Explain the relevance of personal interests and perspectives, civic virtues, and democratic principles when people address issues and problems in government and civil society.
      • D2.Civ.10.9-12 Analyze the impact and the appropriate roles of personal interests and perspectives on the application of civic virtues, democratic principles, constitutional rights, and human rights.
      • D2.Civ.12.9-12 Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
  • Related Resources


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