The Maathai Award for Civic Participation in Sustainability, inaugurated by The Rockefeller Foundation, The Bette Midler Family Trust, and MillionTreesNYC, is an annual $10,000 cash award granted to two New York City public high school seniors. The award was established in honor of Dr. Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (2004), a visionary environmentalist, and founder of the Green Belt Movement, a tree-planting campaign to promote sustainable development, woman's empowerment, and democracy in Kenya.
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Past Award Winners
- Cecil Brooks, Jr. for YLC Goes Green!, a three-part program that encompassed a recycling campaign, an education initiative and tree adoptions through MillionTreesNYC. (2012)
- Awa Sow for MC Green Club, a student group aiming to raise awareness among students to participate in environmental improvements. (2012)
- Alexandra Gumas for Bottle Cap Competition, which collects previously non-recyclable bottle caps to be re-used. (2013)
- Jaylen Gregory for iSchool Biodiversity Action Plan Proposal, which focused on increasing biodiversity surrounding his school. (2013)
- Nicolle Martinez (2014)
- Eric Wong (2014)
For over 30 years, Dr. Wangari Maathai has inspired the work of The Green Belt Movement, which has had a profound impact on the populations and ecology of Kenya. Get a taste for Dr. Maathai's work by viewing the exerpt below from the documentary "Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai" by Lisa Merton and Alan Dater.