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Exploring the Legacy of Wangari Maathai in Kenya

August 1 - August 14

Exploring the Legacy of Wangari Maathai is a 13‐day adventure designed for educators that follows the footsteps of the 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate. This field‐based learning experience incorporates themes of cultural exchange, service-learning, and sustainability. Participants will receive transdisciplinary learning experiences that will deepen their understanding of the complexities that surround global environmental issues and inspire action.

This professional learning experience provides the following opportunities:

  • Learn about Wangari Maathai by visiting her birthplace and the foundations, institutes, and programs that continue to advance her work;
  • Live and work with members of the Green Belt Movement;
  • Design curriculum for your classroom that integrates Wangari Maathai programs and ideas; and
  • Explore one of the world’s most important and unique natural resources – the African Plains.

The cross‐cultural nature of the learning experiences on this transformational trip and research in one of the world’s most unique natural resources, the African Plains, will broaden your perspective of the interdependence of all life and your role as an educator. Focus topics include:

21st Century Pedagogy: Transdisciplinary curriculum design that incorporates Next Generation Science Standards; College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards; and Common Core State Standards and supports inquiry‐based learning, project-based learning, and service-learning.

Global and Cultural Connections: Learning for Sustainability; Global Education; and Women’s Studies.

Maasai Mara National Reserve and Nakuru National Park: Biodiversity; Flora and Fauna; Indigenous Cultures; Conservation; and Global Sustainability.

Service-Learning: Work side‐by‐side with Green Belt Staff on citizen projects and field studies. Spend two nights in a homestay experience in a small African community.

Classroom Connections: The following resources will be integrated into the experience through pre and post trip webinars.

Born in Kenya in 1940, Wangari Maathai represents a series of firsts: she was the first East African and Central African woman to earn a doctorate degree, the first female university professor in Kenya, and the first African woman and first environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She advocated for democracy in Kenya, fought on behalf of women’s rights, and pushed environmental issues to the forefront of Kenyan society. Integrating these pursuits, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, which synthesized the issues affecting poor and rural Kenya and created a blueprint for environmental initiatives today. Although Professor Maathai passed away in 2011, her influence lives on in the current work of the Wangari Maathai Foundation and the Wangari Maathai Institute and in the countless environmental initiatives she inspired. Follow in the footsteps of this trailblazing leader for a closer look at her inspiring legacy.

  • Explore Wangari Maathai’s enduring  legacy, courage, vision, and persistence.
  • Gain an in-depth understanding of the Green Belt Movement and how they are carrying on Maathai’s vision to empower communities and conserve the environment.
  • Visit the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies.
  • Visit Ihithe, where Maathai was born, and view the landscape that impacted her throughout her life.
  • Join Nyeri Green Belt Movement community members in their homes and learn firsthand about a day in their lives as they work to improve their livelihoods while protecting the environment.
  • Enjoy an amazing wildlife safari experience in Nakuru National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve. See lions, leopards, rhinoceros, and elephants in their habitat, the East African plains.


August 1 – IN TRANSIT

Depart the US and fly to Nairobi.

August 2– NAIROBI

Evening arrival into Nairobi, Kenya. Upon arrival, transfer to the Green Belt Movement Langata Center to rest after the long flight. The Langata Center is located in Karen just on the edge of the city on nine acres of gardens, including 18 different species of indigenous trees. Accommodations consist of a main house and traditional Kikuyu huts complete with hand-carved beds and en-suite bathrooms. Overnight at Langata Center.

August 3 – NAIROBI

Start today with an overview of the Green Belt Movement (GBM), including a welcome by Board Chair, Mrs. Marion Wakanyi Kamau, retired school administrator and head-teacher for the Government of Kenya. Afternoon discussion led by Mrs. Kamau on the educational system in Kenya; U.S. participants will also share their experiences/insights regarding the U.S. educational system. The afternoon ends with a viewing of the 2008 documentary “Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai,” followed by a question-and-answer session. Overnight at Langata Center. (BLD)

August 4 – NAIROBI

Visit Uhuru Park, a spacious city park in the heart of Nairobi, to better understand the struggle that persisted to protect green spaces in Kenya. In particular, examine how Maathai became not just an environmentalist but a politician with a campaign at this site in 1992 to free political prisoners. This and the campaign to save Karura Forest, also in Nairobi, became symbols of Wangari Maathai’s struggles. After lunch at River Cafe, visit Karura Forest, the world’s second largest urban forest. While there, learn about the role the forest plays as one of Nairobi’s top recreational places to visit and the history of how Wangari Maathai led the campaign to save it. Overnight at Langata Center. (BLD)

August 5 – NYERI

This morning, visit the Wangari Maathai Institute. Here, Professor Vertistine Beaman Mbaya—professor of biochemistry at the University of Nairobi, long-term colleague of Wangari Maathai, and founding member of the GBM—will provide an introduction to the Wangari Foundation. After our visit, we will travel to Nyeri for our homestays and an immersion into the work of the GBM. Overnight at GBM homestays. (BLD)

August 6 – NYERI

Spend today in the village of Ihithe, where Maathai was born, and the nearby forest to understand the GBM’s approach to landscape restoration and to observe a typical day in the life of a GBM community member. Overnight at GBM homestays. (BLD)

August 7 – NYERI

Spend today working on a community service project in Ihithe. Mrs. Kamau will join us during our stay in the village, as she has a close relationship with the people of Ihithe. This evening, she will host a fireside chat to share stories about Kenyan culture and community empowerment issues. Overnight at GBM homestays. (BLD)

August 8 – NAKURU

After breakfast depart for Lake Nakuru National Park, with a stop at the equator along the way. The soda lake is famous for its abundance of flamingos; the area is also home to waterbucks, pelicans, Rothschild’s giraffes, black rhinos, and white rhinos. Arrive in time for lunch at Lake Nakuru Lodge, located inside the park and boasting unobstructed views of the lake. Enjoy a little time to relax before a tree planting activity. Later, set out on an evening game drive around the park. Expect to see well-known wildlife such as leopards, lions, Rothschild’s giraffes, zebras, waterbucks, rhinos, hippos, and buffaloes, among others. Dinner and overnight at the lodge. Overnight at Lake Nakuru Lodge. (BLD)

August 9 – NAKURU

Take an early morning game drive before breakfast at the lodge. Visit The Village Experience Medical Clinic in Mbaruk with Nurse Eileen. Eileen will give an overview of the healthcare system in Kenya and in this area in particular, and will talk about the history and impact of the clinic. Meet with the Ministry of Health-employed doctor at the clinic and speak with locals in the area about their healthcare needs. In the afternoon, visit Jacaranda Children’s Home, where they provide an empowering environment for girls with no living parents. Learn about their garden project, which provides produce to the girls and generates an income to help maintain the home. Lake Nakuru Lodge purchases produce from the center to serve to its guests. Overnight at Lake Nakuru Lodge. (BLD)

August 10 – MASAI MARA

After breakfast, depart for the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve, arriving in time for lunch at Mara Leisure Camp, located along the Talek River. The camp offers a true African tented camp experience with canvas tents erected on raised decks. Inside the tent, you will find wooden floors, comfortable beds, and an en-suite bathroom. You’ll have a little time to rest after lunch before embarking on an extensive afternoon game drive until sundown. The reserve is home to Africa’s “Big Five”—lions, leopards, elephants, Cape buffaloes, and rhinoceroses—as well as cheetahs, hippopotamuses, wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, and more than 470 bird species. Return to the lodge for dinner. Overnight at Mara Leisure Camp. (BLD)

August 11-12 – MASAI MARA

Over the next two days, set out on morning and afternoon game drives in the reserve, which borders the Serengeti. In July, the annual wildebeest migration begins and over one million wildebeests and other herbivores pass through the Masai Mara/Serengeti ecosystem. Mid-day will be at leisure to relax or take a dip in the pool. Overnight at Mara Leisure Camp. (BLD)


After breakfast, return to Nairobi. Time permitting, visit the GBM Center for a debrief and time to relax. Have dinner, and then go to the airport for the evening departure flight home. (BLD)

August 14 – ARRIVE HOME

Arrive home following your overnight flight.

Meet Your Leader

Allen Stenstrup retired in 2014 from his position as Director of Education Programs for the American Forest Foundation and Project Learning Tree. Al has worked in education for over 45 years — including teaching at both the middle school and university level, directing an environmental center, and conducting professional development workshops in different countries. He has always had an interest in and admiration for the work and legacy of Wangari Maathai. He has written several educational pieces about her work and the programs she established.

In his “retirement,” Al continues to serve on the Board of Directors for Green Schools National Network and Children Are the Hope. He also conducts education workshops in different regions of the world on a part-time basis. In 2017, he started a new adventure forming a small nonprofit organization, Our First Garden, Inc. The mission of the group is to support the building and operation of gardens and natural outdoor play areas on school grounds in developing countries.

“This journey will be a great opportunity to follow in the footsteps of a great leader. We will explore and learn about many aspects of her life. We will also see parts of Africa and its diverse flora and fauna. I am counting down the days.”

Land Pricing

$5,575 (based on a minimum of seven participants). Cost includes meals, accommodations, and activities as indicated in the itinerary, in-country transportation, full-time guide for the duration of the program, bottled water on the bus, and carbon offset. Does not include international airfare, estimated at $1,625 from Orlando, gratuities, or items of a personal nature. Other departure cities are available.

Travel Protection

Holbrook Travel purchases Travel Protection on behalf of all participants traveling in 2018 or beyond. These plans help provide coverage once the trip has departed and offer benefits for Baggage/Personal Effects, Accident & Sickness Medical Expenses, Emergency Evacuation, and more.

Optional additional coverage is available in the form of the Group Deluxe Plan, which offers benefits for Trip Cancellation/Interruption, in addition to many other insurance benefits and non-insurance assistance services. If interested in this optional plan, we can provide you with rates and plan details.

The Fine Print

Cost is based on double occupancy; single rooms may be available for an additional cost. A $200 per person deposit and enrollment form are required to reserve your space on the trip. This deposit is refundable minus a $100 cancellation fee until April 28 2021, at which time final non-refundable payment is due.


August 1
August 14
Event Category:


Green Schools National Network
The Green Belt Movement
Wangari Maathai Foundation
University of Nairobi


Kenya, Africa