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500 Women Scientists Present: Taking Root – The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Lisa Merton

Taking Root tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights, and defend democracy—a movement for which this charismatic woman became an iconic inspiration.

Taking Root is the most comprehensive, in-depth film about Wangari Maathai available. It was made in close collaboration with her during the last decade of her life.

“[Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai] portrays a woman’s fight against all odds not to be a victim in her own natural environment. Indeed, ‘the tree woman’ and her initiative of planting trees led to the emancipation of women in her community. Through this act, she became the epitome of success and a role model of an enriching woman.” – Jury, International Images Film Festival for Women, Zimbabwe

“Taking Root underscores the critical importance of education to a social movement. It portrays a vision of education that is not about changing people’s heads, but ultimately changing the conditions under which people live. We can talk in the classroom about education for social change, but this extraordinary film provides a model for change that engages and inspires. It is worth a hundred hours of classroom talk. . . both the film and the woman are truly extraordinary!” Dr. Thomas Heaney, Adult & Continuing Education – National-Louis University


500 Women Scientists is a grassroots organization started by four women who met in graduate school at CU Boulder and who maintained friendships and collaborations after jobs and life took them away from Boulder. Immediately following the November 2016 election, we published an open letter re-affirming our commitment to speak up for science and for women, minorities, immigrants, people with disabilities, and LGBTQIA.

500 Women Scientists works to build communities and foster real change that comes from small groups, not large crowds. Our Local Pods help create those deep roots through strong, personal relationships. Local Pods are where members meet regularly, develop a support network, make strategic plans, and take action. Pods focus on issues that resonate in their communities, rooted in our mission and values.


  • 4/24 | 7:00PM
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