An award-winning scientist who has lived quietly in Wenham for 10 years will take the stage at on Thursday night to share his heartwarming tale of bringing food to a poor area of east Africa.
Dr. Gordon Sato came up with a way to use ocean water to grow mangrove trees in Eritrea, which sits on the Red Sea. His work became the subject of a children’s book released last year called “The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families.” It has been chosen for with the capstone event being the appearance of Sato in the A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel on Thursday night.
The story of Sato and how he helped the poor residents of Eritrea learn to grow mangrove trees is told with a combination of collage images and photos of Sato's work in Eritrea.
In an interview at his home this week, Sato explained how author Cindy Trumbore and illustrator Susan Roth happened upon his story.
Susan Roth’s husband, Jesse, worked with Sato at the National Institute of Health, where Sato served on the advisory board. When Susan Roth heard the story, she knew it would make a great children’s book.
“I think the book is very influential,” Sato said. “My objective is to make children want to change the world.”
Sato, Roth and Trumbore will be at an reception at the Ken Olsen Science Center at Gordon College from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday before Sato’s speech at 7:30 p.m.
Sato won the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 2002 – an award Sato called “fairly big” and the Blue Planet Prize, which came with a cash prize that recognized Sato’s efforts at “ensuring environmental sustainability.”
At 84, Sato still travels to Eritrea twice a year and was there three times in the past year.
“I’m still very fond of the people of Eritrea,” he said.