Mel Wardlow grew up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on the small island of Kaua’i. While she began life as a tropical water child, she eventually found her way to Oregon, where she learned that mountains could be dry and water could be cold. She has since guided sea kayaking, backpacking, and climbing expeditions throughout the Pacific Northwest, and has enjoyed personal outdoor pursuits in many landscapes across various continents. Mel first moved to Montana to earn a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from UM, where she continued to work as an instructor and manager for international environmental studies fellowship programs. Her research has focused on environmental humanities — specifically, environmental rhetoric and the intersections between traditional ecological knowledge and Western modern science. When she’s not contemplating systems of oppression or humans’ complex relationships to place, she might be trying to memorize new ukulele chords, or wondering how much garlic and butter she can add to whatever she’s cooking.