Wangari Maathai Award

Ryan Whalen of The Rockefeller Foundation and the Wangari Maathai Award jury, presents the award to honorees, Daisy Codallos-Silva and Nadia Filanovsky

Ryan Whalen (left) of The Rockefeller Foundation and the Wangari Maathai Award jury, presents the award to honorees, Daisy Codallos-Silva (center) and Nadia Filanovsky (right). Photo credit: Vladimir Weinstein.

The Maathai Award for Civic Participation in Sustainability – inaugurated by The Rockefeller Foundation, The Bette Midler Family Trust, and NYC Parks, and administered by The Municipal Art Society – is an annual $10,000 cash award granted to two New York City public high school seniors. The award was established in honor of Dr. Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (2004), a visionary environmentalist, and founder of the Green Belt Movement, a tree-planting campaign to promote sustainable development, woman’s empowerment, and democracy in Kenya.

If you have any questions, please email maathai@mas.org.

Honorees

2016 – 2017

  • Daisy Codallos-Silva for organized beach cleanups, graffiti removals, recycling fairs, and tree plantings to promote sustainability and beautify neighborhoods
  • Nadia Filanovsky for revitalization of a local community garden, including running the project’s fundraising and neighborhood engagement efforts

2015

  • Maya Bernstein-Schalet for “The New York 2 X Coalition,” which organized and mobilized young people to create sustainable solutions to environmental problems in New York, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Albuquerque
  • Sabastian Rahman for “Dune Restoration Project & Project Underway,” which tackled urban and environmental problems facing vulnerable waterfronts

2014

  • Nicolle Martinez for “Rescued from the Brink: Restoration of Eelgrass Zostera Marina, to the Upper New York Bay,” which involved the planting and monitoring of a declining sub-aquatic vegetation
  • Eric Wong for “Rooftop Garden Revitalization,” which featured the installation of a school rooftop garden used for composting, biology classes, and environmental science classes

2013

  • Alexandra Gumas for “Bottle Cap Competition,” which collects previously non-recyclable bottle caps to be re-used
  • Jaylen Gregory for “iSchool Biodiversity Action Plan Proposal,” which focused on increasing biodiversity surrounding his school

2012

  • Cecil Brooks, Jr. for “YLC Goes Green!” a three-part program that encompassed a recycling campaign, an education initiative and tree adoptions through MillionTreesNYC
  • Awa Sow for “MC Green Club,” a student group aiming to raise awareness among students to participate in environmental improvements

Dr. Maathai and the Green Belt Movement

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, woman’s empowerment, and democracy in Kenya. The Green Belt Movement is a non-profit 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.

In 2004, Dr. Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize for her commitment to sustainable development, democracy and peace. Dr. Maathai dedicated her life to promote environmental, social and economic development in Kenya and Africa and was a strong advocate for peace and improved living conditions in Africa.

Learn more about Dr. Maathai at greenbeltmovement.org.