Melinda Gray Ardia

Melinda Gray Ardia was an educator, biologist, naturalist, and artist who touched lives and hearts wherever she went. She is missed by all who knew her. This Foundation is one of many ways we try to keep her spirit alive. Whether you contribute or receive support for your efforts from us, we hope a small piece of her goes with you.

A native of Clarence, NY, Melinda was a 1984 graduate of Clarence High School. She was active in the yearbook, photography, swimming, music and practical jokes. She graduated from the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!) in 1988 with a B.S. in Biology and Education. She became interested in field ecology after spending a summer at the Douglas Lake Field Station in Michigan.

Melinda joined the Peace Corps and taught science at Kiegoi Secondary School in Maua-Meru, Kenya, and Wairiki Secondary School in Taveuni, Fiji Islands. She established laboratory science programs in both schools and learned the native languages. She taught field biology and field ecology at Leelanau School in Traverse City, MI after her return from Peace Corps. She was a teacher and mentor at Newark Middle School in Newark, NY where she taught environmental science and earth science. She also coached the girls swim team and was the yearbook advisor. She started a recycling program and Environmental Club and was the club advisor.

Melinda received a M.S. in Science Education from Syracuse University and wrote a thesis entitled "Presenting Controversial Issues in Environmental Education". While in Syracuse, she became involved in the Student Environmental Action Coalition. She helped edit the state newsletter and was active in land conservation issues.

Melinda was also an accomplished field birder, wildlife illustrator, activist and loved to travel. She is survived by her husband, Daniel Ardia of Lancaster, PA, her parents, Don and Alice Gray of Clarence, NY, her sister, Suzanne Gray Murphy of Clarence, NY, her brother Eric Gray of Elma, NY, and her uncle David Gray of Rochester, NY.