“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with communities in my home area to see how they can use clean energy to improve their lives,” says Melissa Birch, the new Central CERT Coordinator.
After growing up in north-central Minnesota, Melissa earned a B.A. in French from Gustavus Adolphus College, then spent several years working as a 5th grade teacher in Mexico, a crewmember in the Minnesota Conservation Corps, and an environmental educator. Then it was off to graduate school for a Master’s degree in International Relations and Environment Policy at Boston University and a PhD from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where she focused on environmental sustainability, economic development, and public engagement in policymaking.
During that period, she also worked on numerous clean energy-related projects at sustainable development organizations. “Clean energy is essential. You can’t do sustainable development without it,” says Melissa. “And one of the most important things is to make sure that the technologies meet people’s needs. If you can do that, then it’s win-win-win for the economy, the environment, and people’s quality of life.”
Since completing her PhD, Melissa has worked as a creative writer and has brought her passion for sustainability and civic engagement to her volunteer work in community organizations. She spends her spare time hanging out with her family (two- and four-footed), exploring Minnesota’s wild plants and geology, and carrying on her family’s long tradition of compulsive gardening.
Please don’t be afraid to reach out to Melissa to introduce yourself!
Central CERT Coordinator
P.S. If you’re ever looking for Sarah Hayden, Melissa’s predecessor, she’s still working on energy efficiency through her company Creative Energy Services, so stay in touch.