BOARD MEMBER

Mary Elizabeth May

TAOS, NEW MEXICO
FOUNDING BOARD MEMBER, SUSTAINABILITY

Mary graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and began her career in research, studying the immune system at the Center de Luminy in France, and human genetics at Yale University. After a successful career in scientific research, Mary decided to return to Colorado to obtain a master’s degree in science education. Mary has since become a master educator, having taught upper-level biological, environmental, and chemical science, as well as darkroom and digital photography for the past 26 years. She began her teaching career in a small Colorado community at Greeley Central High School (Go Wildcats!) and then moved on to teach in Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, as well as New York City.

Beyond teaching, Mary has also taken on the role of Global Citizenship Coordinator, with the goal of connecting PreK-12th-grade students to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and learning service. She has also served as Sustainability Coordinator at two schools, creating full compost systems for over 700 people, school gardens, apiaries, and land-use vision tied closely to permaculture.

While in education, she began to see the disconnect between how she was living and the real concern of climate change and decided to return to school to study sustainability. She graduated in August 2022 with a degree in sustainability with a focus on sustainable food systems through Harvard University. Her thesis work is based upon regenerative agriculture with a focus on the New Mexico landscape.

Mary’s passion to serve as a Board member of Peace Alights Initiatives stems from the love of the mountains she shared with her mother Maryann. In 2001 Mary and her parents purchased a home together near Keystone, Colorado, which Maryann named The Casa — a respite for Mary and her children during the summers and a nearby retreat for Maryann and Edwarde (Mary’s parents) who lived in Denver. In October 2006 Maryann was diagnosed with cancer and she passed away 40 days later. Mary gave up her job teaching overseas to return to care for her mother and help her father with his grief. They spent some of their last days together at The Casa near Keystone. In 2017 Mary attended a John Denver tribute concert to raise funds for Domus Pacis in Breckenridge and immediately signed up to donate time at The Casa for families in need. Recently Mary sold The Casa and purchased a home in Taos, New Mexico, and realized that the concept of Domus Pacis could possibly be recreated in the small community with numerous second homeowners. She reached out and the rest is history.

When not studying or preparing for classes, Mary and her husband Robert are both avid hikers, bikers, and swimmers and appreciate the beauty of the mountains. A love for reading has inspired Mary to read as many Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction books (23 down, many to go). Her husband, Robert, is a librarian so supplies many books to keep her happy! She loves to travel and visit her children — Siena (24) who lives in Dallas with her husband and German Shorthair, and her son Gabriel (30) who lives in New York City with his wife and three super sweet grandchildren (Orion, Odessa, and Oisin).