Liriodendron tulipifera flower

The University of North Carolina
A Department of the North Carolina Botanical Garden

Collectors of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium
Information for this page compiled by Carol Ann McCormick, Curator, NCU

Melissa Marshall
(b. 6 October, 1950)

The University of North Carolina Herbarium has catalogued to date about 100 specimens collected by Marshall; all are from Vermont.  As we continue to catalog our collection, without doubt more specimens collected by Marshall will be found.  Specimens collected by Marshall have also been deposited in the Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation Herbarium (UNCC), Harvard University (A), Pringle Herbarium of the University of Vermont (VT), and the Bennington College Herbarium (in Bennington, Vermont). 

Melissa Marshall and Peter White founded the Natural History Society of Bennington College.  “We had meetings where we gave presentations on subjects we’d researched, showed films and had a journal,” says Peter White.  “Since few wanted to join, we resorted to having regular members and ‘ornamental members’ (friends who we could occasionally persuade to attend).  I think, for a time, I had the position of ‘Inspector of Snow Storms’ for the Society.”1

After graduating from Bennington College, Melissa Marshall earned a M.A. in Botany at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977.  Her thesis was “A Vascular Flora of Bennington County, Vermont” was under the direction of Dr. Al Radford.  She then went on to earn her J.D. at the University of New Hampshire’s School of Law in 1980 (largely funded by doing Natural Resource Damage Assessments for an engineering firm).

Melissa Marshall in a bog, August 1975
Photograph by Peter S. White


Professionally, Melissa Marshall was a Trial Attorney for the United States Department of Justice, first enforcing the Civil Rights Act and then the federal environmental laws.  She was later a Division Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Civil Enforcement and Senior Counsel to the Director of that office.

Melissa Marshall’s botanical and legal lives have, at times, intersected:  “While at the Department of Justice, I once had a case under the solid waste act against a metal plating company.  Opposing counsel was a well-known environmental litigator from a major Washington, D.C. firm.  We were in New England, doing a walk-through of the facility and ended up out back, looking at the waste water lagoon that contained heavy metals [chromium, lead and cadmium] from the plating process. Standing on the berm, opposing counsel waved his arms expansively at the surrounding landscape, arguing that the extent of the vegetation cover demonstrated there were no metals leaking from the lagoon.  I looked off the berm and could have mapped the metal tolerant plants that first colonized areas contaminated by mining waste.  And there they were, almost exclusively the plant cover spreading out from one point at the base of the berm.  I was thrilled at the thought of being able to introduce this evidence in court.  But it never happened.  The company settled.” 


Melissa Marshall at Mt. Equinox, Vermont (September, 1975);
collecting Rhus aromatica in North Pownal, Vermont (1976)
Photos by Peter S. White




University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
phone: (919) 962-6931


Last Updated: 13 January 2017