The Kate Jeans-Gail Tree Nursery Memorial honors the spirited life of a spirited young woman whose commitment to changing the world will not be forgotten. Kate Jeans-Gail served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern Morocco from 2001-2003, and loved the country and its people. This memorial project is a living reminder of Kate and the many ways in which she touched our lives.
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, she earned a B.A. from Smith College in 2001. Throughout her life, Kate engaged in volunteer work; this included the opportunity to work with orphans at Mother Theresa's Missionary Sisters of Charity in Calcutta, India. Immediately upon graduation from college, she joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to a remote village in southern Morocco as a maternal-child health technician.
Widely recognized by her peers and supervisors as a star volunteer, she successfully pursued a grant from the United States Agency for International Development to build a health clinic and birthing center, among other projects. Upon her return to the U.S., Kate joined Teach For America. In December of 2003, she and her mother, Victoria Jeans-Gail, passed away in a car accident.
About the Project
From 2007 friends and family began to make enormous contributions to the creation of a community fruit tree nursery to memorialize the lives of Kate and her mother. This is situated in the Toubkal municipality on the south side of the High Atlas Mountains. Having surpassed its initial goal of 60,000 trees, the nursery today boasts nearly 200,000 walnut trees. It is the pilot site for the organic certification of walnuts in Morocco and has initiated a cooperative that unites organic walnut farmers specializing in this product. Victoria and Kate’s nursery has become a model that has been replicated in other Moroccan provinces, and additionally it has been visited by a Palestinian organization seeking to implement a similar project adapting its implementation in the West Bank.
In Kate’s memory, HAF and its community partners have created an agricultural model for the entire country. On a local level, mature saplings from the Kate Jeans-Gail nursery have been distributed to over 28 villages in the Tifnoute valley, impacting the lives of over 250 families. Importantly, the local communities now have the skills and the resources to replenish their orchards without any dependence on outside assistance.