Melissa is one of NHA’s esteemed Staff Naturalists, a title she earned through her extraordinary knowledge of the natural world and her magnetic personality. Melissa was raised in southern Indiana and grew to love nature at an early age. The mountains beckoned, and she traveled to Montana where she received her BS degree from Montana State University in environmental education with special emphasis on the sciences. She was a naturalist and assistant director at Woodleaf Outdoor School in central California and has worked as a rafting, fly-fishing and hiking guide. Melissa began guiding for Nat Hab in 1987 in Glacier National Park and continues to lead our trips in that region, as well as in Churchill, the canyons of the American Southwest, Baja, and the San Juan Islands. Melissa loves the great outdoors for its wildlife, flora and magnificent natural landscapes, and maintains a deep passion for environmental education and conservation.
She is also an accomplished photographer and enjoys helping guests capture exceptional images of nature and wildlife. Her immersion in photography began in 1987 when she bought a used Canon AE-1 camera, inspired by the natural beauty of Glacier National Park. Having come from America's heartland, she was overwhelmed with the beauty and grandeur of Glacier's landscapes. "Attempting to capture but a small piece of what enveloped me was the consummate challenge," she says. Initially "failing miserably," she has since invested "much time and many hours behind the lens to capture the essence of this magical place" and others. In the process, she has become an outstanding nature photographer, aspiring to share all she has learned with travelers, so that they may be similarly motivated to preserve not just images but the places themselves on this planet we all call home.