By Della Watson
Grilled: Carol Mark | Refugees Find Peace Outdoors
Invading the Privacy of the People Who Make the Club Tick
Lang Thomas Photography
Name: Carol Mark
Location: Daviess County, Kentucky
Contribution: Beekeeper and Sierra Club Water Sentinel
How'd you become the Sierra Club's bee lady?
Through my beekeeping, I ran into Aloma Dew, a regional representative for the Sierra Club. She would come and buy honey from me. One day she said, "You ought to come to a meeting and talk to them about bees." So I did.
Did you do that in your bee suit?
Which bee suit are you talking about?
You have several?
I have about 12 bee suits. I have all kinds of suits, all kinds of colors. I've got all different sizes because I've got people that want to come out here and see what the beehives look like on the inside, how the whole thing works, but I don't want them to worry about getting stung. I also have a bee costume that I dress up in sometimes. I even have a bee puppet—it's actually a monkey with a bee suit on.
Are you a ventriloquist?
No, my lips move, but that's just too bad. I might be 67, but I'm still 18 on the inside, so I've got to let my mind play.
I've heard that you have a couple of patents.
Years ago I worked in a research center, and we were making experimental plastics.
Is your degree in Environmental Science?
No, my degree is in chemistry.
So how did you get involved in the beehive and honey business?
When I retired, I bought a farm because I wanted to get as far away from machinery as possible. The man who took care of the bees on my boyfriend's farm said he couldn't do it anymore, so I said, "Oh, let me try it. Just get me a suit so I don't get stung." I've never really had a road map. I just dove into the beekeeping thing with both feet. I lost all the bees that were on this farm.
They flew away?
No, they died. Bees have a tremendous amount of diseases and problems.
Did you get more?
I started over again, and I bought about a thousand dollars' worth of textbooks. I went to all different kinds of beekeeping classes. I said, "If we're going to do this, we at least ought to know what we are doing." —interview by Cyndy Patrick
Do you know a Sierra Club volunteer who deserves recognition? Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Refugees Find Peace Outdoors
Teens who were forced to flee their homelands explore the mountains outside Tucson, Arizona. | Photo courtesy of Andrew Jenkins
At twilight the teenagers settled around a crackling fire on a sandy inlet in Arizona's Coronado National Forest. A recent snowfall in the Rincon Mountains had amplified the flow of Tanque Verde Creek, and the water splashed over a staircase of boulders into a small pool near the campsite.
As crickets and tree frogs began their songs and bats fluttered overhead, trip leaders asked the group to quiet down and enjoy the sounds of nature. The teens, who had recently settled with their families in Tucson after years of limbo in war-torn and politically oppressed countries, reveled in the rhythm of the natural landscape.
The International Rescue Committee, which provides relief to refugees across the world, organized this backpacking trip in partnership with the Sierra Club's Inner City Outings Tucson Chapter. Trip leader Andrew Jenkins sees the excursions as an important type of therapy. "To get the opportunity to be in a place of such serenity, solitude, and joy gives them a chance to heal, reconnect, and rebuild," he says. "In America they've only lived in urban areas. To be given the chance to go out into the forest and tell them, 'This is your forest; this land belongs to you as an American,' that's really neat." —Ryan Jacobs