• Double Master of Science, Nova Southeastern University, 2008, Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management
After completing her undergraduate studies in her home state of Kentucky, Melody relocated to Florida in 2003 to pursue a career in biology, specifically marine mammals, beginning with earning her Masters degrees. Her interest in manatees began with her thesis work, Boater Compliance with Manatee Speed Zones on the Intracoastal Waterway near Port Everglades, which found the majority of boaters to be non-compliant with speed zones. Her research was presented at the 2008 Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Marine Mammal Symposium Conference (SEAMAMMS) in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
After finishing this research and being introduced to the manatee world, that interest shaped the positions she accepted. Working aboard a dredge on the Miami River, she was employed by Environmental Protection Observation to spot manatees and advise the dredging crew on protective measures. Next she was involved in manatee and sea turtle rehabilitation at Miami Seaquarium. She joined Wildlife Trust as a part-time manatee tracker in June 2007, working in the Miami area, and relocated to Sanford, FL, to continue that work in February 2008.
Melody is proud to have been a part of Sea to Shore Alliance since coming aboard as one of its first employees in November 2008. In addition to tracking animals and doing behavioral observation, she is involved with releases, rescues, and health assessments, as well as educational and press events. She is particularly excited to be serving as manager of field activities for the Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership.
At home, Melody and her husband Jason are enthusiastic supporters of animal rescue of all types. They live with a variety of rescued animals, currently cats and a potbellied pig, and are working toward a goal of founding their own animal rescue facility at their farm in Brooksville, Florida.