This Women’s History Month, we celebrate history-making women who paved the way for future environmentalists.
Kate Sessions, the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a science degree, is remembered as ‘The Tree Lady.’ As part of her horticultural career, she planted hundreds of trees each year and inspired a movement that transformed San Diego from a desert-like city to a park-filled oasis.
Check out “The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed A City Forever” from your local library!
In 1977, Wangari Maathai, a political and environmental activist, founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya to prevent soil erosion, repopulate forests, and empower women. The movement has helped plant over 51 million trees in Africa, and in 2004 Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work.
Check out Maathai’s book “The Green Belt Movement” from your local library!
For many people in the environmental movement, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is a pivotal book. Carson (1907-1964) worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a scientist before becoming a writer. Her work inspired a new way of understanding nature, conservation, and environmental ethics.
Check out Carson’s book “Silent Spring” from your local library!
Dr. Suzanne Simard
Dr. Suzanne Simard is a professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia. She studies below-ground fungal networks that connect trees and facilitate underground inter-tree communication and interaction. Her groundbreaking research revealed that the fungi networks move water, carbon, and nutrients such as nitrogen between and among trees as well as across species. Simard helped identify “mother trees,” which act as central hubs for below-ground mycorrhizal networks. Her research on symbiotic plant communication and intelligence has revolutionized our understanding of plant communities. Her life and work inspired Richard Powers’ Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, “The Overstory.”
Check out Simmard’s TED talk, How trees talk to each other (2016) and her upcoming book Finding the Mother Tree (2021).
Written By Tracy Heim, Danielle Snyder, Kyle Hoskins