Meet Melissa McCullough
Melissa McCullough grew up in Vero Beach “before Florida was ruined by air conditioning.” At the time a sleepy town of a few thousand, it was the perfect locale for a childhood filled with horseback riding along the shore, hiking, and otherwise exploring the outdoors. She credits this early experience with instilling in her a concern for ecology and notes that “you have to teach children to love the environment before you can teach them to care for it.”
Originally planning to become a veterinarian, Melissa did her undergraduate work at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, which is located atop the Cumberland plateau. She “fell in love with the mountain,” and further deepened her commitment to the environment by hiking and camping amid its wild beauty. A few years later Melissa moved to North Carolina for graduate school and never left. She secured a Master’s in Environmental Management, Toxicology, and Applied Ecology degree.
At the NC Department of Coastal Management, Melissa’s expertise in the area of water borne toxins and a growing understanding of the migration of toxins between water and air led to her eventual shift to her current position in the air policy office of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Melissa became aware of Clean Energy Durham through meeting the executive director, Judy Kincaid. Clean Energy Durham’s work is a perfect match for the types of programs Melissa is working on at the EPA, where she is developing scientific studies to provide actionable data at the local level, and working with Durham as a pilot project.
Her position at the EPA provides Melissa with a clear perspective from which to view the current state of the environment, and the need to deal with major problems, now at a crucial state. Like most who pay attention to these issues, Melissa walks the tightrope between hope and despair. Hope is what led her to become a 2030 Society Founder, supporting Clean Energy Durham’s work in helping the City and County of Durham reach their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2030.
Melissa uses her knowledge and talent in many ways to help make the changes needed to secure a healthy future. In this, she has the support and company of her mother, her children, and the dogs with whom she continues to explore her beloved outdoors.
2030 Society members have pledged multi-year support and recognize Clean Energy Durham as a community leader helping the city and county reach their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2030.
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