A close friend of Nobel peace laureate Wangari Maathai says her body will be cremated and her ashes interred as she had requested at a Kenyan educational institution dedicated to peace and the environment.

Vertistine Mbaya said Monday on behalf of Maathai's family that 5,000 tree seedlings will be planted Saturday to commemorate Maathai's life.

Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, was cited for her work in conservation and women's rights which led her to take on the repressive regime of former President Daniel arap Moi. She founded the Green Belt Movement, which led to the planting of 30 million trees throughout Kenya. Maathai died late last month after a long battle with cancer. She was 71.