Published: Aug. 22, 2018

MSU students join Nature Conservancy's Board of Trustees

Contact(s): Beth Brauer University Communications

Two MSU doctoral candidates from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources have joined The Nature Conservancy's Michigan Board of Trustees. Dylan Brewer is a doctoral candidate in economics and environmental science and policy, and Tracy Melvin is working on her doctorate in fisheries and wildlife and ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior with a certificate in spatial ecology.

“Our world today is demanding a fresh, open approach to identifying and solving the biggest challenges we face for our environment in conservation” said Helen Taylor, state director in Michigan for The Nature Conservancy. “We’re very hopeful that leaders like Dylan and Tracy will help us think about new and innovative approaches to our work.”

Brewer’s dissertation examines energy use and the impacts of policies on renters. Brewer earned his master’s degree in economics from MSU and bachelor’s in economics and international relations from the University of Virginia.

He has held numerous fellowships, research assistantships and student leadership positions including president of the Economics Graduate Student Organization and representative to the Environmental Science and Public Policy Graduate Program Council at MSU.

“I’m excited to apply my academic knowledge to real-world situations and opportunities,” Brewer said. “I’ve known about TNC for a long time, and I’m thrilled to officially help lead in this capacity.”

Melvin has an extensive conservation background. She has served as a Science to Action Fellow for the United States Geological Survey's National Climate Adaptation Science Center and is currently chair of the Wildlife Society’s Climate Change and Wildlife Working Group.

Her dissertation, which is in development, focuses on stewarding climate-induced ecological transformation in the context of global biodiversity conservation. She works in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Melvin also teaches an award-winning study abroad program, titled “A Fragile Fiji: Integrating Ecosystems and Human Dimensions in the Face of Climate Change,” with MSU. She graduated from Western Michigan University with bachelor’s degrees in aviation flight science, environmental studies and biology.

“TNC aligns with my personal and professional values,” Melvin said. “It’s an amazing organization with global to local reach that is driven by scientific rigor. I am excited to do what I can to effect positive change in Michigan and beyond.”

TNC is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. Learn more online at