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In Memoriam—Eleanor Newton

In 2000 Sebastian was the recipient of a grant from the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation. This grant gave Sebastian a major infusion of funding to begin his educational projects with children. The money was donated to the Lindbergh Foundation by Eleanor Newton, who chose to fund our project in memory of her late husband, James.

Ellie Newton died last year at the age of 104. She and James had spent a long lifetime of being involved in work dedicated to human advancement. They were personal friends of Anne and Charles Lindbergh and James’ book Uncommon Friends, describes this experience. For over 40 years Ellie was a staff member of Initiatives of Change: www.iofc.org/, a program to foster national revitalization through personal renewal. She dedicated her energy to education, conservation and drug abuse programs. She was a poet and an adventurer and well known for her exuberance and love of life.

The ABCP extends its condolences to the family and friends of Ellie and is thankful for the part she has played in our efforts.

 

I listen and hear the Silence
I listen and see the Silence
I listen and taste the Silence
I listen and smell the Silence
I listen and embrace the Silence.
Native American Prayer from Funeral Oration
    for Ellie Newton by Clare Hallward, 2004

— + —
In the silence of the woods,
a man can hear himself think.
The trees give solace and renewal
when, as the poet said,
the world is too much with us,
late and soon.
–Anon

To date they have distributed over 100,000 seedlings of various species, which are helping to reforest the mountain and supplying communities with much-needed trees for economic and conservation purposes. Their intent is to continue to establish new nurseries on and around the mountain.

This group has been instrumental in educating the public about the ecological and economic importance of African blackwood and are providing mpingo seedlings to many people in the area who are concerned about the future of the tree. Around Moshi there has been a high demand for mpingo seedlings because of the work of the ABCP and the combined efforts of all the groups that Sebastian has established.

The GGWG is also combating deforestation by the manufacture of energy efficient stoves and cooking pots, made from locally available clay. They estimate a saving of 50-75% of normal firewood or charcoal use with these stoves and pots. Women who use them reduce the time they spend collecting firewood, thus liberating more time to pursue other activities for their families.

The Green Garden Women regularly hold classes to teach about environmental topics, such as horticultural techniques and the construction and use of the energy saving stoves.

Social issues are also of great concern to the group members, and they have organized fundraising events and seminars in their area to raise community awareness about HIV/AIDS, poverty issues, gender discrimination, female genital mutilation and child labor.

Kenyan Environmental Activist Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Wangari Maathai is the first woman from Africa to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She is known as “The Tree Woman” in Kenya because she inspired the Green Belt Movement to plant millions of trees across Africa to slow deforestation. She is a scientist, a political activist, and an environmental crusader who has continued to work for her causes despite government oppression. In 1991 she was awarded the Goldman Prize and is the recipient of numerous other environmental awards.

Mrs. Maathai said that she was delighted that the environment is receiving increasing recognition, “The environment is very important in the aspects of peace because when we destroy our resources and our resources become scarce, we fight over that.” She celebrated the award by planting a Nandi flame tree in her home town of Nyeri, in the shadow of Mount Kenya.

History of the ABCP

The ABCP is a US non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 1996 by James Harris and Sebastian Chuwa for the purpose of instituting replanting and educational programs related to the conservation of Dalbergia melanoxylon, also known as African blackwood or mpingo. Mpingo is a primary wood used in the manufacture of woodwind instruments. It is also used by African carvers and wood artisans and is generally considered threatened. Although it is being rapidly depleted in its primary habitat of eastern Africa, there have been few attempts to replant the trees or to institute sustainable conservation practices for its use.

Sebastian Chuwa is spearheading replanting and educational programs for mpingo in northern Tanzania, near Mt. Kilimanjaro where he lives, working with community and school groups in the effort to save the species for future generations. James Harris and Bette Stockbauer sponsor fundraising efforts in the US, personally covering all administrative costs, including printing, postage, website expenses, and some equipment purchases. All donations collected go directly to support the work in Africa.

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ABCP Website maintained by James E. Harris, 2000.
Last revised 21 Apr 2008.