Melissa Petersen

Photo of Melissa Petersen

Convservation Biologist and Published Author, Melissa Petersen


Shelton, Washington

Her Passion:

Melissa is passionate about the restoration and conservation of natural areas and showing people the complex beauty of those places through writing. With a two-year-old son she also enjoys motherhood, cooking, hiking, and creative writing.


With an MS in Environmental Writing from EVST on the horizon this year and a BA/BS degree in conservation biology and writing from The Evergreen State College, Melissa’s interdisciplinary approach to both her academic and professional work have set her up to make a big impact. Aside from working for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Department of Natural Resources for nine years, where she mainly focused on endangered species recovery and habitat restoration, she is also an award-winning and published writer. Melissa published a novel, Jimmy James Blood, in 2012 that won an Excellence Award from the National Indie Excellence Award (NIEA) and was named as one of the Best Independent Novels of 2012 in an outstanding Kirkus Review. Her work has also been published in Flyway, Oregon Quarterly, Seal Press and other publications. Much of her writing centers on her work in Montana (where she worked as a raptor biologist at a wind farm) and her love of Washington’s coastal rivers and rain forests.

What Others are Saying:

“Melissa is a joy for me to work with as a mentor; she’s a writer who knows her craft and herself. She cares deeply and equally about the natural world and about people caught in the tangled nets of our economy, and both concerns motivate and animate her writing.” says Phil Condon, Professor in Environmental Studies and Program Chair.

What Melissa Says about EVST:

“EVST was a perfect fit for my interests,” says Melissa. “Once I was in the program, it gave me a renewed sense of direction and helped me believe that what I wanted to do was possible. If prospective students need help with their sense of personal direction, then EVST is a good place for them.”