Interview with Mark DesMeules, October 10, 2022
Project: Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project
Interview SummaryMark DesMeules, Guatemala, 1976-1979, Environment Mark DesMeules joined Peace Corps after graduating from college with a degree in Plant Ecology. Mark enjoyed the four months of intensive language and technical training in Guatemala where he and other volunteers studied Spanish and forestry practices across the country. Mark arrived at his site in San Juan Comalapa only a few months after the 1976 Guatemalan Earthquake. After helping the medical team's rescue efforts and rebuilding the town's infrastructure, he worked with the town mayor to build a nursery to raise trees which they would then give to the local communities and train them on how to plant and reforest the region. Amongst many other related projects, he also sourced materials to help grow the local beekeeping businesses and stayed for his third year to complete these projects. He continued his conservation focused work pursuing a career in land conservancy with the Nature Conservancy and the Governor's office in Maine. Even in retirement, Mark continues to pursue his life's work through initiatives including saving the Timber Rattlesnake.
Interview KeywordPeace Corps Instituto Nacional Forestal (INAFOR) conservation Guatemala bees beekeeping agriculture nursery reforestation ecological reserves ecological inventory Alna, Maine village volunteer species Vermont Mt. Kineo Alna, ME San Juan Comalapa Chimaltenango Department Altiplano subsistence farming Mayan descendants Mayan culture Smithsonian Peace Corps Program Smithsonian Institute Winchester, MA hiking Aberjona Geographic Society President Kennedy White Mountains, NH Malcolm Moore Peace Corps recruiter President Jimmy Carter Miami, FL Huehuetenango, Guatemala language training Spanish Kaqchikel host family Proyecto Linguistico Francisco Marroquin Foreign Service Exam Quetzaltenango, Guatemala Xela, Guatemala Guatemalan forest ecosystems rain forest cloud forest savannah Guatemalan biomes comal/comals deforestation an ongoing problem apiaries honeycomb Heifer International CARE pollinators telegraph 1976 Guatemala Earthquake Timber Rattlesnakes Guatemala City Senator Angus King Dartmouth forest ecology Viles Arboretum Nature Conservancy family planning
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DesMeules, Mark Interview by Urvi Mehta. 10 Oct. 2022. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
DesMeules, M. (2022, October 10). Interview by U. Mehta. Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
DesMeules, Mark, interview by Urvi Mehta. October 10, 2022, Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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