Staff Members

Melinda Hughes (She/Her), 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.

Marisa Caughlan (She/Her), Community Engagement and Equity Coordinator

Marisa Caughlan serves in the new TCAT role of Community Engagement and Equity Coordinator. She works with our volunteers, supporters, and community partners to expand opportunities to work on the climate crisis at the intersection of climate change and social justice. 

Prior to joining TCAT, Marisa was the Racial Justice Program and Events Manager at the YWCA of Olympia. She's also served with the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, Mason County's Habitat for Humanity, and Thurston County's Election office. On the national level, she was a member of the AmeriCorps NCCC division that works on the frontlines of hurricane clean-up and wildfire support. Marisa holds a BA in history from St. Martins University and lives in Thurston County with her husband and daughter. 

Alice Grendon (Name/They), Communications Coordinator, Agriculture and Youth Programs Facilitator

Alice is a graduate of Hampshire College where they studied a range of topics from dance to environmental justice to sustainable agriculture. Alice has a background in agriculture, working for many years on organic farms and permaculture homesteads. Alice is a co-founder of the Sugar Shack Alliance and has spent the last 10 years involved in the climate justice movement as a facilitator, direct action trainer, and organizer. At TCAT Alice manages the E-newsletter, our social media channels, the online calendar of climate-related events, publicity for events, and maintains the TCAT and South Sound Climate Action Convention website. Alice facilitates the Food and Agriculture Action Group as well as our work with Youth. Alice is also a modern/contemporary dancer making experiential performance pieces and dance films about living in the Anthropocene under the name Growing Wildhearted.

Robert Marino (he/him), Director, Green Infrastructure Program

Robert is proud to lead TCAT’s efforts to make low-carbon infrastructure such as, built environments and transportation, the norm in Thurston County. He brings a commitment to climate justice, racial equity, and centering voices hit first and worst by the climate crisis. Robert has several years of experience in community development, engagement, and organizing work. He earned an MBA in Sustainable Business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and has educated over 400 people on the climate crisis through the Climate Reality Project. He sees this position as a mixture of policy work and coalition building to ensure that communities get the leadership we deserve from our elected officials. During off hours Robert can be found in the family garden or setting off on another backcountry adventure.

Carrie Ziegler (She/Her), Community Engagement Organizer and Lead Artist

Carrie brings with her a wealth of creativity, organizing and facilitation skills, with a background in collaborative art. She loves working with all ages, from elementary school through seniors. Since joining TCAT as staff, Carrie facilitated The Chrysalis Project: Transforming Together and the Climate Justice Mural Project, both influential Art in Action Projects. She facilitates TCAT’s Transportation Action Group and is kicking off a new Art in Action group, focused on creating change through collaborative art. Check out Carrie’s artist website, to learn more about the variety of projects Carrie works on.