NEW YORK—Today the Dr. Wangari Maathai Award for Civic Participation in Sustainability officially began accepting nominations for 2014. The award for New York City high school students was inaugurated last year by the New York Restoration Project, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Bette Midler Family Trust, NYC Parks, and the Municipal Art Society.
This $10,000 scholarship is awarded annually to two environmentally-minded public high school seniors, one female and one male. The winners will have demonstrated evidence of their academic and extracurricular commitment to environmental stewardship in an urban setting through their development and execution of sustainability-themed projects—recycling, energy monitoring, parks stewardship, greening, etc. These projects will also promote the spirit of civic engagement in fellow students and the community at large. The award is intended for use by the student for their first year of college.
“The New York City Parks Department is honored to celebrate and commemorate the life of Dr. Wangari Maathai with an award honoring the next generation of environmental stewards,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “Dr. Maathai’s unique concept of enhancing the environment to reduce poverty and empower women through the Green Belt Movement is an inspiration to all. I thank The Rockefeller Foundation, the Midler Family Trust, and the Municipal Art Society for their partnership in granting this award.”
“Throughout her life, Wangari Maathai was committed to improving the well-being of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities through environmental conservation, and The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to honor her legacy with this award,” said Edwin Torres, associate director at The Rockefeller Foundation. “We look forward to supporting the next generation of environmental stewards who are inspired by Dr. Maathai as they seek to promote the spirit of civic engagement around sustainability within their communities.”
“We are honored to continue supporting this award that fosters environmental stewardship and celebrates the life and work of Dr. Wangari Maathai,” said Bette Midler. “I hope this year’s recipients will uphold the values she stood for, by advancing themselves and inspiring those around them to lead sustainable livelihoods.”
Applicants for this award must:
- Be a NYC student expecting to graduate at the end of the 2013-2014 school year
- Demonstrate commitment to and activity in civic engagement
- Demonstrate commitment to and activity in sustainability projects
- Provide evidence of having completed a sustainability project in high school that shows evidence of leadership, commitment to sustainability, mobilization of others
Dr. Wangari Maathai is the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (2004). Dr. Maathai was a visionary environmentalist and founder of the Green Belt Movement, a tree-planting campaign to promote sustainable development, women’s empowerment, and democracy in Kenya. The Green Belt Movement is a nonprofit grassroots non-governmental organization based in Kenya. The mission of the Green Belt Movement is to mobilize community consciousness using tree planting as an entry point for self-determination, equity, improved livelihoods and security, and environmental conservation.
Since Dr. Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, more than 45 million trees have been planted in Kenya to reduce erosion and improve the environment and impoverished communities. Through tree-plantings, Dr. Maathai envisioned enhancing the environmental, social, and economic climate in Kenya. By planting and caring for trees, Kenyan women have played a direct role in improving their local communities, have understood the various benefits of trees, have taken ownership for conserving their natural resources, and have served as stewards of their environment. In 2004, Dr. Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize for her commitment to sustainable development, democracy and peace.
Applications may be submitted through January 5, at 5pm ET by visiting http://www.milliontreesnyc.org/html/educate/maathai_scholarship.shtml. Eligible applications will be reviewed by a panel representing The Rockefeller Foundation, the Midler Family Trust, the New York Restoration Project, and NYC Parks.
The award will be administered by the Municipal Art Society and given at their annual meeting in the winter of 2014.
Erissa Scalera, The Rockefeller Foundation,