Melissa recently joined the Friends of the Forest team as the new forest educator. She grew up in Jupiter, FL and spent nearly everyday while growing up outside playing in the empty lot and forest preserve next to her family home. It was this time spent with nature that ignited her passion for the conservation of our natural world. Melissa graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in environmental science with minors in natural resource ethics and policy and soil and water science. After graduation she realized the important role education plays in conservation efforts which led her to complete her M.Ed. in environmental education at Florida Atlantic University. Locally, Melissa has completed the Salish Sea Stewards course and has worked as a leader for middle school youth in the San Juan Island Youth Conservation Corps. Her favorite pastime in the ACFL is trail running. When not out running in the ACFL she loves sailing, creating art, and hiking.