Our Team

Russell Chisholm, Mountain Valley Watch Coordinator

Russell Chisholm serves as co-chair of the Protect Our Water, Heritage Rights coalition in the campaign to stop Mountain Valley Pipeline and dangerous fossil fuel expansion through Virginia and West Virginia. He is coordinator of the pipeline construction monitoring Mountain Valley Watch project, documenting and reporting potential violations of environmental law and holding regulators accountable to impact.

Denali Nalamalapu, POWHR Communications Director

Denali lives in Washington, D.C. She is originally from Southern Maine and her family is from Southern India. She is passionate about climate action and uplifting the voices of communities most impacted by environmental racism and the climate crisis through her communications work. Denali leads POWHR’s media and communications work as Communications Director. You can find her reading a book, painting, or walking in the woods.

Grace Tuttle, POWHR Development and Programs Coordinator

Grace lives in Bath County, VA in the Allegheny Mountains. She believes in a just and livable future for Appalachia where all life is respected and protected. Grace helps wrangle public participation in governance, development, welcoming events and support for member groups as POWHR’s Development and Programs Coordinator. Grace was a Co-Captain of the UVA Women’s Rowing team and is passionate about protecting water. Catch her leading one of our new book club events, foraging or out in her garden!

Lief Hurt, POWHR Community Organizer

Lief lives below Draper Mountain in Pulaski County, VA. Lief is helping POWHR to make local connections and plan events that support the communities and peoples of the Appalachians. Inspired by her grandmothers, Lief works towards equality and justice for those often overlooked or forgotten, even including the most misunderstood wildlife. You can find her with a book, enjoying the woods, or by a river somewhere.

Photo credit: Sarah Hazelgrove

Crystal Mello, POWHR Community Organizer

Crystal lives in Shawsville, Virginia. She has lived much of her life in Southwest Virginia and has long been active in mutual aid and prison abolition work. At POWHR, Crystal will help community members identify their climate justice needs and help mobilize and empower communities to collectively resolve those needs. She will conduct outreach, base building, training, education and leadership development targeted especially to low-income Appalachians. Crystal will reach out to community groups along the MVP route in Virginia to engage in conversations around the need to end fossil fuel use and to discuss and promote community mitigation and resilience efforts in the face of climate and ecological crisis.

Mariah Clay, Communications Intern

Mariah is from Southern West Virginia and graduated from Marshall University in 2021 with a Bachelors in Public Relations. They worked with several local organizations and sustainability efforts during their college career. Mariah is passionate about their choice to stay and fight extractive industries in their home state. Mariah collaborates with Communications Director on media projects as POWHR’s Communication Intern. You can find them swinging on the porch at their little house in the holler with their cats, listening to music and drinking tea.