Born and raised in America's high-five, Melissa spent most of her life in the outskirts of her hometown Fenton, Michigan. A country girl, she roamed the woods barefoot catching frogs, snakes and turtles in the creeks along her neighborhood. She learned how to fish when she was 4 years old, entering local fishing competitions and spending countless hours on the edge of her family's dock. With her passion for wildlife, Melissa entered college as a biology major and ended with an education degree. During college, she also studied multiple natural sciences, tree and plant identification, and Native American studies, developing an admiration for the ways of survival in the indigenous tribes. She became passionate about foraging wildflowers, plants, and fungi for edible and medicinal uses. During this time, she began to develop a love for living off the land and using only natural resources in survival. Entirely self-taught, she worked on primitive fishing techniques, trapping, primitive fire making, and shelter building. Upon graduation, she became a Park Naturalist at a Michigan nature preservation where she now leads hikes, constructs outreach programs, and teaches all ages about wilderness survival, botany and organic gardening, insects, animals, fungi, and other natural sciences. Aside from nature and survival, Melissa competes in trail races, sprint triathlons, and obstacle racing. A thrill seeker, she is involved in mountain biking, cycling, skiing, hiking, kayaking, and climbing as a part of her workout regime, always looking for new ways to challenge her body and mind. She believes her athletic endurance will help her thrive in a survival situation. Melissa hopes that her appreciation for all living things, her mental and physical strength, and her positive outlook will help her thrive in this challenge. She also hopes she can make people laugh as she believes that even in the harshest of situations, you have to be able to crack a joke or two.