Staff Members

Melinda Hughes (She/Her), Executive Director

Melinda, TCAT's first Executive Director, has almost 30 years of working on various environmental issues for organizations including the National Wildlife Federation, the Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement (EASI) and Nature Abounds. She has worked on a multitude of issues regarding watersheds and ecosystem management, brownfields, disaster recovery, community planning, green buildings, air and water quality monitoring, not to mention the involvement of citizens in such issues whether through education or advocacy. She has presented at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and at the World Water Forum in Kyoto and has accepted multiple awards for her and teams' work on environmental issues over the years. She is an AmeriCorps VISTA alumnus and has been heavily involved with climate change awareness, adaptation, and mitigation since 2005, also a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.
Melinda holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master's degree in Environmental Law and Policy from the Vermont Law School with focuses on energy law and climate change law.  In her free time Melinda enjoys traveling, nature photography, adventures with her dog Beau, and spending time with friends and family.

Marisa Caughlan (She/Her), Program, Equity, and Outreach Manager

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), Programs and Communications Manager

Alice is a graduate of Hampshire College where they double majored in Dance and Environmental Studies, and minored in 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, they bring this rich organizing and facilitation background to their work at TCAT. At TCAT Alice manages our website, the E-newsletter, our social media channels, the online calendar, planning and publicity for events, operates our Monthly Action Hours and so much more. 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), Lead Artist and Community Engagement Extraordinaire

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.

Angelica Daoang (She/Her), Tree Policy Intern

Angelica is an undergraduate at The Evergreen State College studying Environmental Studies. Originally from Maui, Hawai'i, Angelica has been involved in conservation efforts and environmental advocacy through non-profits Kupu Hawai'i and Maui Tomorrow. At TCAT, Angelica will be researching local and regional tree policy. She is excited to learn more about the legislative aspects of environmental stewardship. In her free time, Angelica enjoys cooking, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

Corey Franklin (He/Him), Tree Education and Outreach Intern

Corey is a graduate student at The Evergreen State College where he is studying sustainable forestry and carbon storage. Corey has work experience in ecological forestry, silviculture, environmental education, and tree care. He is fascinated with the trees of the Pacific Northwest and is excited to share his love and knowledge of them with others. At TCAT Corey is creating educational and outreach material to inform community members about the trees in Thurston County, how they benefit us, and what we can do to ensure these benefits for the future. When he is not learning about or working among the trees, Corey enjoys making his way between them by bike, ski, and foot.