Apple tree planted for Dr. Maathai

Planting an apple tree to honor Dr. Wangari Maathai.

Bola Afolayan, PsyD student; Abi Abrash Walton,
assistant to the president for social justice/
sustainability; and Gargi Rosyricar-Sodowsky,
professor of clinical psychology and director of
diversity issues, get their hands dirty planting
an apple tree to honor Dr. Wangari Maathai.

An apple tree has been planted on the south side of the AUNE building to honor Dr. Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, who passed away last month.

“We have a statement of purpose at Antioch—to promote a just and sustainable society,” said Abi Abrash Walton, assistant to the president for social justice/sustainability, at the tree planting. “Dr. Maathi was someone who embodied that completely.”

Dr. Maathai had been scheduled to be a keynote speaker at the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education conference in Pittsburgh in October. She founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, and her family requested that trees be planted in her memory.

“We’ve lost an inspiring person, someone who led a remarkable and extraordinary life and who left an enduring legacy,” said Bola Afolayan, a second-year PsyD student at AUNE. “Whatever is our passion will be our legacy.”

A second apple tree will be planted Thursday, November 3, from noon to 1 p.m. This event will include a discussion with filmmaker Lisa Merton, who chronicled Dr. Maathai’s life in Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai and who has just returned from Dr. Maathai’s funeral in Kenya. It will begin inside at a location to be announced, then move outside. The public is welcome to attend.

The tree plantings are cosponsored by AUNE’s Sustainability and Social Justice Committee, the Support Group for Ethnic Racial Diversity and the Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation.

Read more about Dr. Maathai’s life.