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Melissa earned her Bachelors of Science in Biology and Secondary Education from Utah State University and her Masters of Science in Forestry from Northern Arizona University. She first visited the southwest at the age of ten while on a trip with her grandparents and immediately fell in love. She returned permanently many years later for an internship at Grand Canyon National Park and has worked as a plant biologist in Arizona and Utah for the last 11 years. For four years, she was the plant biologist for all vegetation programs in the backcountry areas of the Grand Canyon. She developed and implemented the first large-scale riparian restoration project along the Colorado River at Granite Camp and led the charge for tamarisk removal in the side canyons. She currently resides in Flagstaff and is excited to join the staff of the Tamarisk Coalition as the Restoration Coordinator for Arizona.