The Vision of Wangari Maathai, a film by Lisa Merton and Alan Dater

FREE streaming for EARTH DAY and beyond – GO HERE!


“Highly recommended”  3.5 stars

read more…

Video Librarian, August 2010


read more…

School Library Journal, September 2010

“We have just completed the month-long book tour [The Challenge for Africa] and . . . hardly was there a place we went that people did not mention Taking Root. It has been a wonderful project. . . I hope the film will continue to inspire people across the globe, especially as the message is so fitting for our time.”

Wangari Maathai
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Founder of the Green Belt Movement,
and subject of Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

“[Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai] portrays a woman’s fight against all odds not to be a victim in her own natural environment. Indeed, ‘the tree woman’ and her initiative of planting trees led to the emancipation of women in her community. Through this act, she became the epitome of success and a role model of an enriching woman.”

read more…

International Images Film Festival for Women, Zimbabwe
upon presenting the Best Documentary Award

Taking Root underscores the critical importance of education to a social movement. It portrays a vision of education that is not about changing people’s heads, but ultimately changing the conditions under which people live. We can talk in the classroom about education for social change, but this extraordinary film provides a model for change that engages and inspires. It is worth a hundred hours of classroom talk. . . both the film and the woman are truly extraordinary!”

Dr. Thomas Heaney
Adult & Continuing Education
National-Louis University

“The film exceeds even my high hopes. [Taking Root] is much more than a moving tribute to Wangari Maathai, although it certainly is that. It captures the transformative potential of “regular people” finding their voices. It proves that courage is contagious.”

read more…

Frances Moore Lappé

“The latest in a spate of films about strong African females and their impact on the political landscape, Lisa Merton and Alan Dater’s Kenyan “Taking Root,” like Ginny Reticker’s “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” attests to the seismic changes wrought by women of different religions and ethnicities working together. Docu bears witness as indomitable Nobel Peace Prize-winner Wangari Maathai reverses a century of ecological, cultural and social devastation by simply planting trees, giving grassroots activism new meaning. Lucid, lovingly crafted pic, which won the audience award at Hot Docs, has a shot at niche play before flourishing in ancillary.”

read more…

Ronnie Scheib
Variety –

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai is an astounding film, capturing for years and populations to come the life and work of one of history’s most extraordinary women, one in whose living presence we are blessed to share.”

Thomas Berry
Geologian and Cultural Historian
Author, The Dream of the Earth

“Lisa Merton and Alan Dater’s documentary shows how one person can change the face of the Earth, giving environmentalism and activism a face other than Al Gore or Michael Moore.”

read more…

Brian Miles
Nashville Scene

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai stood out for, among other things, its demonstration of the transformative impact that the weakest members of even poor societies can sometimes have, using the limited means at their disposal in creative and committed ways.”

read more…

Coral Vinsen
Convenor, Human Rights Award Jury
2008 Durban International Film Festival
Amnesty International Durban Executive member

“Wangari Maathai is much more than the first African woman to receive the Noble Peace Prize. She is the embodiment and promise of the global environmental justice movement. Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai evokes images of majestic mountains, divine trees, Mau Mau ‘freedom army’ and Social Justice for Kenyan women.”

read more…

Nehanda Imara
Communities for a Better Environment
Merritt College, African American & Environmental Studies

“At a time, when there is a dearth of optimism about the state of our planet, this upbeat documentary offers hope and light. The film, which won the audience award at Hot Docs 2008, tells of the courage of Nobel Peace prize-winner Wangari Maathai and her part in the evolution of Kenya’s environmental and sociopolitical landscape.”

read more…

Rebort on

“. . . [Wangari Maathai’s] personality fills the screen and easily holds the viewer’s interest. . . Her struggles and eventual triumph are the heart of this film. . . It would be hard to imagine a more inspirational story. . .”

William Morancy
The Montpelier Bridge

“[‘Taking Root‘ is] a wonderful film, which both informs and inspires in the best of ways. Given our programmers passionate response to the film, and to Wangari, we were quite confident that Taking Root would be beloved by the Hot Docs audience.”

Sean Farnell
Director of Programming
Hot Doc International Film Festival


“I saw it yesterday and I’ve already told eight people about it. Amazing what one person engaging others can do.”

“…An amazing job of integrating the information on Kenyan history, the devastating impact of colonialism and the power of grassroots dedication.”

“…A simply astonishing film…a beautiful, moving, empowering and provocative work.”

“[Taking Root] kept a focus that informs and inspires…a good glimpse of a courageous woman who understands the nature of grassroots organizing.”

Taking Root Film

a film by
Lisa Merton and Alan Dater

Marlboro Productions

Marlboro, Vermont