Staff Members

Melinda Hughes, Executive Director

Melinda is TCAT's first Executive Director and as such is responsible for the daily operations of the organization as well as fundraising. With over 25 years of working on various environmental issues for organizations including the National Wildlife Federation, the Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement (EASI) and as a cofounder of Nature Abounds, Melinda has been heavily involved with climate change awareness, adaptation, and mitigation and is also a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps. Melinda holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania as well as a Master's of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School and is also an AmeriCorps VISTA alumnus.

Lynn Fitz-Hugh, Community Engagement Director

Lynn works on projects to engage the public in creating personal and systemic change to reduce sources of climate change generated in Thurston County, These include managing the Climate Action Coordinating Council and Climate Action Groups, and other projects that support the Thurston Climate mitigation plan and align with significant sources of local GHG as identified in TCAT’s greenhouse gas inventory and described in the book, Drawdown. Lynn founded as well as Faith Action Climate Team (FACT).

Samara Almonte, Digital Communications Coordinator

Samara is a graduate from Western Washington University, and an alumni of MEChA, the national student organization serving high school and college students of color through self-empowerment and social justice. Through a collective of students and staff members at Huxley College of the Environment, Samara helped establish the first Environmental Justice Minor within the college. Additionally, Samara is the creator and host of Raíces Verdes (Green Roots), a podcast dedicated to validating, archiving and sharing the experiences of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in connection to the environment. Samara manages the E-newsletter, online calendar of climate-related events, and maintains the TCAT and South Sound Climate Action Convention websites.

Carrie Ziegler, Community Engagement Organizer

Carrie brings with her a wealth of organizing and facilitation skills and creativity with a background in community art, and working with all age groups from middle school through seniors. She previously worked with TCAT to create a mobile art installation called Climate Conversations and is currently working on The Chrysalis Project: Transforming Together She is working to expand public involvement in TCAT’s Climate Action Groups and its Carbon Free Thurston Campaign, to ensure adoption of a strong Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan by local cities and the county.