Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Washington, DC (February 10, 2009)- Produced and directed by Alan Dater and Lisa Merton, Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai weaves a compelling and dramatic narrative of one woman’s role in the turbulent political and environmental history of her country. During March 2009, Taking Root will be hosting free public screenings in nearly 60 U.S. cities as part of ITVS’ Community Cinema. Through a partnership with the Alliance for Community Trees, Taking Root is also happy to make copies of the 7:00 minute short or full film available to ACT member groups for private screenings.


Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai is an 80-minute documentary that tells the dramatic story of Wangari Maathai. Born in Kenya, Wangari’s simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights and defend democracy – and made her a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 2004. On April 14, PBS will bring Wangari’s story to homes across America by broadcasting Taking Root. Consider hosting a house party or public screening.
Founder of the Green Belt Movement that began in Kenya, Wangari Maathai is the first environmentalist and first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Maathai discovered her life’s work by reconnecting with the rural women with whom she had grown up. They told her they were walking long distances for firewood, clean water was scarce, the soil was disappearing from their fields, and their children were suffering from malnutrition.
“Well, why not plant trees?” Maathai suggested. These women found themselves working successively against deforestation, poverty, ignorance, embedded economic interests, and government corruption, until they became a national political force that helped bring down Kenya’s 24-year dictatorship.
Taking Root is an awe-inspiring profile of Maathai’s courageous journey to protect the integrally connected issues of the environment, human rights, and democracy.
PBS Broadcast
See the award-winning film on PBS’ Independent Lens on Tuesday April 14, 2009. Also, ten Alliance for Community Trees member groups that submit a one-paragraph description of how they might use the 7 minute DVD will receive one free of charge. Submit to outreach@katahdinproductions.com by May 1, 2009. Taking Root DVD for home use is available after the PBS broadcast for $29.95 plus $6.00 shipping/handling ($15.00 for international orders) at www.takingroofilm.com. The DVD, Wangari Maathai & The Green Belt Movement, is appropriate for classrooms, meetings, organizing, tree plantings and fundraising, this inspiring seven-minute film introduces Wangari’s story and the Greenbelt Movement.
Resources To Help You Tell the Story:
* A 32-page Taking Root Action Guide, full of tree information and activities for individuals, families, and classes.
* ITVS Community Classroom offers free materials, lesson plans, and assignments to high school and college instructors.
Related Resources:
Find a Taking Root screening location and date near you
Check local PBS listings for the Taking Root broadcast
Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai
Taking Root Discussion Guide
Taking Root Facilitator Guide for Private Screenings
Taking Root Discussion Action Guide
Taking Root Classroom Materials
Taking Root Postcard
Taking Root Mini-Grants