Meet Mel Sutton, Canopy’s Community Forestry Field Technician

By Canopy Team on February 4, 2021

Mel joined Canopy in September 2020 as Community Forestry Field Technician. They studied Urban Forestry at Iowa State before moving to California to join the Americorps. We asked Mel a few questions to get to know them better:

Mel Sutton

What were you up to before joining Canopy?

Mel: I originally hail from the great midwest state of Iowa, where I learned a little about trees and a lot about corn. I went to school at Iowa State and studied urban forestry. Besides Iowa I spent a little bit of time in the longleaf pine ecosystems of Alabama and Florida and the gorgeous native prairies of Texas. I moved out to California and just finished a year-long Americorps term with Our City Forest in San Jose.

Why do you think trees are so important?

Mel: They provide us with oxygen, and are beautiful and pure and so beneficial to human life. Trees provide fruit and habitat for our furry and winged friends. Trees are just such an integral part of this planet, and it is important to teach people about them so the people can love and care for the tree.

What excites you most about your new role at Canopy?

Mel: I am excited to get to know the trees that canopy has planted, and the stewards taking care of them. Really getting to work with these people to grow healthy and happy trees in the mid peninsula.

What is your favorite tree?

Mel: I believe the right tree for the right location should always be everyone’s favorite tree given where it  shall be planted. Speaking in terms of species, I am partial to Prunus serotina (Black Cherry) and Quercus alba (White Oak) being from the midwest.

What is your favorite quote?

Mel: “It had nothing to do with gear or footwear or the backpacking fads or philosophies of any particular era or even with getting from point A to point B. It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles with no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way.” – Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

What is your favorite fun hobbies?

Mel: Hiking, backpacking and camping keep me sane. I am an avid reader, and listen to most of my music on vinyl records. Playing any kind of pick up sport in a park is something I do frequently with friends. I have been involved in numerous music scenes across the country, and had a podcast once upon a timer about DIY music and bands. I try to bike around as much as I can, and am a vegetarian. One other hobby of mine is collecting unique local and thrifted art and putting it up on the walls of my home.

Thanks, Mel! We’re so glad to have you on the Canopy team!

Black Cherry Tree (photo courtesy of Purdue University, Fort Wayne, IN)

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