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December 19th, 2022
Each month, we introduce you to a member of the Upstate Forever staff through a few rapid-fire questions. This month, get to know State Policy Director Megan Chase-Muller!
What do you do at Upstate Forever?
As State Policy Director, I manage UF’s legislative affairs. I work with state agencies and advocates around South Carolina to ensure we have protective regulations and policies in place. I also work closely with UF's Energy Advocate Michael Coleman on our Energy Program goals.
Why is this work important to you?
An ecologist at heart, I find solace in the natural world and take comfort in the connectivity of all things. My role is to help people understand those connections, and I can’t imagine a more important time to do so.
What has been the most unexpected part of your role?
I continue to be amazed by the boldness and compassion around me from my colleagues at UF, Upstate residents, fellow advocates, and my community of friends and family. I learn from them every day.
Where’s your favorite spot in the Upstate?
The Chattooga River is where I go to “reset.” It’s where I met my husband, Sam, where I learned to paddle whitewater, and where countless memories have been made.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
Probably too many! I love balancing the physical and mental challenges of mountain biking with more calm activities like drawing and quilting. I go to yoga a few times a week and try to look for rare plants and fungi whenever I’m out in the woods.
Is there a motto, mantra, or slogan that drives you?
While not a singular phrase, the lines of Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” have always resonated with me.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Wild Geese | Mary Oliver
More About Megan
Megan joined Upstate Forever as the Clean Water Advocate in January 2019, where she built support for local and statewide water protections while acting as a watchdog for activities that would harm water quality and quantity. Now as State Policy Director, she works with a broad array of partners, elected officials, and state agencies to advance policies that protect the Upstate’s natural resources and communities.
She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Ecology from the University of Georgia and a Master’s in Science in Environmental Toxicology from Clemson University. Before joining Upstate Forever, her past work included field botany, studying fate and transport pathways of aquatic contaminants, working with South Carolina farms to address water quality and availability concerns, and developing filtration mechanisms for greenhouse and nursery runoff. She now enjoys using her technical background to inform the development and analysis of policies that affect our air, water, and the ecosystems that power our state.
Megan lives in Greenville and enjoys exploring the wild and scenic areas of the Southeast on foot and on her mountain bike.