Staff and Vacancies

Click here for the Summer 2015 Internship description and application process.


SuzanneSuzanne Dorsey, PhD

Executive Director

Dr. Suzanne E. Dorsey, earned her doctorate in coastal oceanography and has been working in research and education for over 15 years.  Communicating the importance of our coastal ecosystems, particularly Barrier Islands, is a primary focus for Dr. Dorsey.  She feels that the first step to promoting conservation and preservation, of these critical coastal habitats, is forging a connection between the people who live and visit our beaches and the senstive habitats found here.  The Smith Island Complex encompasses so many examples of rare and sensitive habitats, and the mission of the Bald Head Island Conservancy provides a perfect opportunity to not only educate people but to promote effective stewardship of these environments.  She enjoys working with people and sharing her passion for nature.  Her spare time is devoted to her husband and two children.

Poul Lindegaard

 Director of Operations

 Poul was born and raised in Denmark and graduated from the Danish Technical University with a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering. He is married to Dee from England and have two kids, Sebastian 18 and Louise 16 who were both born in the US. Poul worked for a Danish biotech company for approx. 25 years, primarily heading up technical organizations with responsibility for North America. He has been coming to BHI for more than 10 years, been a property owner and a life member of the Conservancy for approx. 5 years and have been a board member and volunteering in various capacities for the Conservancy for the last year. When he is not at the Conservancy, you will likely find him at the golf course or on the beach swimming and fishing!

 Caroline Shepherd

 Chief Financial Officer

Caroline Shepherd joined the Conservancy in 2008 as Financial Manager.  She feels this is the perfect opportunity to share her love of nature while using her professional skills to further our important mission in the effective stewardship of barrier island environments.  After serving in the Charlotte area as a CPA in CFO positions for a variety of industries, she became an island girl to enjoy the benefits of sunny coastal living full time. She enjoys any free time spent on or near the water, walking, fishing, preparing the catch of the day for good friends, and reading.

Sandy Rowe

Director of Development

Sandy Rowe has deep roots here in coastal Carolina. She grew up in Wilmington, and spent her childhood on Wrightsville Beach. She attended UNC School of the Arts and received her bachelors degree from Florida State University. With 20 years experience in nonprofit Development she is thrilled to put her professional skills to work for the Conservancy. After traveling to beaches all over the world she can honestly say none compares to NC's barrier islands and she is passionate about protecting them. She has a daughter, Savannah, 21 and a son, Garrett, 18 and loves spending her free time with them sailing on... relaxing beside... and diving under the ocean!

Courtney Reese

 Courtney Spears

Conservation Biologist - Coastal Ecology Program Coordinator

As a trained scientist and outdoors enthusiast, Courtney brings with her great passion and respect for the environment. Courtney grew up in coastal North Carolina, attending UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Wilmington to earn her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Duke University for her Masters in Coastal Environmental Management. Her professional experiences include working as a field researcher for endangered species conservation, an environmental educator, and a coastal resources scientist focused on community resilience. Outside of work she enjoys hiking, kayaking, diving, and volunteering. She is eager to share her experiences with the community and use science and education to help inspire environmental stewardship.

  Jaymie Reneker

 Conservation Biologist- Sea Turtle Program Coordinator

 Jaymie grew up in a small town outside of Des Moines, Iowa. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Iowa State University with a minor in Animal Ecology. Even though she spent her whole life in a landlocked state, she has always been passionate about the oceans and the animals that inhabit them. Jaymie joined BHIC as a Sea Turtle Intern in 2012 and will continue to work with us as our Sea Turtle Program Coordinator. She is excited to continue her work with sea turtles and the community of Bald Head Island. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends, beachcombing and being outdoors.

Jordan Brewster

Communications Specialist

While growing up, Jordan spent summers at Bald Head Island and credits the island for sparking her love of sustainability and the environment.  She graduated from Wake Forest University with a BA in History and minors in Environmental Studies and Journalism.  After working on energy, transportation, and defense policy for a DC-based government relations firm, she decided to return to school. While completing her Master’s in Sustainability Management, Jordan worked with corporations to increase their sustainability efforts and in marketing at the World Wildlife Fund.  In June 2014, Jordan graduated from American University’s Kogod School of Business and started working at the BHI Conservancy.  When she’s not working, you can find Jordan cheering on the Washington Nationals and spending time outside.

 Elyse Brown

 Director of Retail Operations

Originally from Ohio, Elyse has lived in St. Louis, Baton Rouge, Boston, Chicago, Tokyo, Japan and Sparta, N.J. She has recently worked for Bald Head Island Limited as a Sales Executive in their real estate office, but has diverse background starting in Retail and then in Data Processing as a computer programmer/EDP Auditor/Consultant. For many years she participated in a variety of volunteer activities which include: raising funds for non-profit organizations, chairing a variety of town events and committees, and managing/buying for two non-profit gift shops. Elyse graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Biology and a minor in Computer Science and also took graduate courses in Marketing and Accounting at Washington University in St. Louis.

 Mike Thomasen

 Campus Maintenance Director and Jr. Naturalist

 Mike was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up on Long Island, NY.  He has a lovely wife, three beautiful children, and three precious grandchildren.  Mike first came to BHI in August 2003 joining the Transportation Dept. as a ferry mate.  Prior to 2003, he worked for 30 years in Marine Transportation for an oil company in the north east.  Mike looks forward to participating in the growth of the BHI Conservancy and getting involved with the preservation of the island. 

David R. Hall

Field Technician

 David was born in coastal Florida, and raised in the Appalachian mountains of Western North Carolina. He developed a passion for the outdoors and the environment at a young age, and first pursued a career in outdoor adventure leadership, which took him to several Central and South American countries. After witnessing first-hand the environmental devastation of many coastal ecosystems, he shifted his career towards Marine Biology and Conservation, which he pursued at UNC Wilmington. Dr. Suzanne Dorsey personally selected David for employment from her Barrier Island Ecology and Management Honors course taught at UNCW, and he has been with the Conservancy since April 2013. He plans to continue his pursuit of an advanced science degree in Island Biology, Ecology and Conservation. In his spare time, David enjoys surfing, diving, gardening, traditional archery, and traveling. 

 Dane Horowski

Deer Project Field Technician

Originally from Michigan, Dane studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. While most of his work experience has been with mammalian carnivores in the Western States, he is excited to be doing deer work here in North Carolina. Dane was drawn to our Deer Management project because of its promising experimental nature, unique island setting, and far reaching management implications. When he is not working, he can be found on/in the water, taking nature photos, or watching college football.

Erin Wood

Deer Project Field Technician

Erin will be one of the Conservation Deer Technicians running around the island this winter for the deer project. Originally from Massachusetts, she got her BSc in preveterinary medicine at the University of New Hampshire and has several years of biological field work under my belt. Erin spent four years doing shorebird work on barrier islands in Massachusetts and New York, two years in deer capture in Wisconsin, and two years of bear capture and management in Sequoia National Park in California and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. She is excited to get back to working with whitetails and look forward to getting to know Bald Head Island.

Current Vacancies

Summer Internship


The Bald Head Island Conservancy Intern Program is open to rising juniors, seniors or recent graduates from any accredited college or university, with majors in biology, marine biology, environmental science, education, or a related course of study. The internship program is designed to provide young professionals with hands-on work experience in the conservation field at a small, non-profit organization. There are three concentrations for Bald Head Island Conservancy Intern Program including: Barrier Island Naturalist, Sea Turtle Protection, and Conservation.

This internship is intended to give undergraduates a well-rounded experience in working at a small non-profit organization. While the majority of the summer will be spent focused on a particular area (i.e. Naturalist, Sea Turtles or Conservation), interns will also be responsible for working at Turtle Central, staffing BHIC’s information center, assisting with other program areas, and helping with various office-oriented projects. Interns will also conduct individual research projects that match their interests. The research projects will not only benefit the student, but also provide the island, residents, and researchers with invaluable knowledge of the island and its inhabitants. Students will be expected to complete the research project and present the results to the community at the end of the summer. Interns will also be expected to promote and practice stewardship of the Conservancy’s facilities, properties, and research equipment. Interns will also participate in Conservancy special events, and live in the Conservancy’s dormitory during their service period from mid-May through mid- August (males and females will have separate bedrooms). All interns will be required to possess a valid driver’s license. (NOTE: Students selected for this internship position may wish to explore the possibility of planning a Directed Individual Study with an academic advisor from their school, in order to receive credit for activities conducted under this program).

1.     Barrier Island Naturalist Description

The Environmental Educator and Executive Staff supervise barrier island naturalists. As the primary educator of the Bald Head Island Conservancy, the Environmental Educator is responsible for the development, implementation, and coordination of its education programs.

Barrier island naturalist interns will assume the following responsibilities: 

Assist the Conservancy with Budding Naturalists, a summer camp for 4-6 year olds, Junior Naturalists, a summer camp for 7-10 year olds, and Conservation Corps, a summer camp for 11-14 year olds, and lead an overnight camp for 7-10 year olds twice a week; Independently teach camps under the Environmental Educator’s supervision.

Assist the Conservancy with a variety of environmentally oriented programs for the public, including but not limited to, kayaking, hands-on dissections, nature hikes and short lectures on such topics as invertebrates, alligators, sea turtles and barrier islands; ability to work in physically challenging environment including intense heat and humidity and bugs (mosquitoes, no-see-ums and black flies) while keeping an upbeat personality with the visitors. For a description of each program that we offer and that you will assist with, please visit

Assist the Conservancy with the care and maintenance of tanks, displays and classroom space.

Assist with conservation monitoring activities and wildlife emergency response as needed.

 2.     Sea Turtle Intern Description

The Sea Turtle Program Coordinator and Coastal Ecology Program Coordinator supervise the sea turtle interns.

Sea turtle interns will assume the following responsibilities:

Conduct nightly (9 PM - 6 AM) beach patrols on foot or via all terrain vehicles (when available) in order to intercept nesting sea turtles, as a part of the Sea Turtle Protection Program.

Protect and relocate nests according to procedures defined by the state of NC or the Conservancy.

Collect necessary measurements and flipper and PIT tag all nesting females, record all pertinent data, and protect eggs using a wire cage dug into the sand.

Collect DNA samples for partner research projects.

Assist in the response of sea turtle strandings including participation in necropsies as needed.

Maintain ATV equipment as necessary.

Assist as needed with BHIC’s various educational programs and research projects, including giving sea turtle lectures to the general public, kayak trips and assisting with camps.

Be able to work in less than favorable conditions such as intense heat & humidity and bugs (mosquitoes, no-see-ums and black flies).

3.     Conservation Intern Description

The Coastal Ecology Program Coordinator supervises the conservation interns. As the primary conservation biologist on staff, the Coastal Ecology Program Coordinator oversees and implements conservation monitoring and research activities on Bald Head Island.

Conservation Interns will assume the following responsibilities:

 Conduct nighttime spotlight surveys of white-tailed deer, American alligators, and red fox to determine population size and sex ratios.

Assist conservation staff with island monitoring programs (maritime forest, aquifer, dunes and creek).

Assist the Education staff with a variety of environmentally oriented programs for the public; ability to handle less than favorable working conditions including intense heat & humidity and bugs (mosquitoes and no-see-ums)

Monitor golf course lagoons during the day for alligator activity and public interactions; respond to homeowner/public concerns about alligators.

Monitor the island for recurrence of Beach Vitex (Vitex rotundifolia), an invasive dune plant species, and spray new growth with an approved herbicide.

Assist with wildlife emergency response including marine mammals, sea turtles, deer, and birds.

Selection Process 

A selection advisory committee will interview candidates and rank applications in accordance with the Application Protocol for Research AssistantshipsAll candidates selected for the internship must undergo a background check.

Selection Criteria & Assessment 

Selection criteria is as follows: 

1.   Outstanding undergraduate (rising junior or senior) student or recent graduate at an institution of higher learning.

2.   Candidates for the internship will be evaluated on: 

Initiative and ability to work individually and within groups

Punctuality and professionalism

Public relations and communication skills: outgoing, helpful and positive personality; ability to work well with children and adults;

An expressed interest or background in the environmental field and a willingness to work in an environment that can be physically challenging.  


The term for the Bald Head Island Conservancy internship is for a period of three months: from mid-May to mid-August, subject to undergraduate academic schedules. Interns should be able to arrive on BHI on the weekend of May 9/10, though a day or two of flexibility may be allowed depending on academic exam schedules and be able to stay until August 15th. Applicants who have graduated may have the opportunity to extend their stay, as we typically extend employment of two interns through the fall. The interns serve at the will of the Conservancy, and the positions may be terminated by the Conservancy at any time.  


The stipend to be paid for the recipient of the Bald Head Island Conservancy Intern shall be $1,500 total per summer, paid monthly; this amount is pre-tax. In addition to the stipend, living quarters in the Conservancy dorm are provided, as well as weekly ferry tickets for trips between the island and the mainland, and parking for a vehicle at the mainland ferry terminal a total value of $560 monthly.  


The barrier island naturalist intern’s in-service performance shall be assessed by the Conservation and Education staff, and shall be forwarded to appropriate academic sponsor, if applicable. 

Application Instructions & Deadlines

The BHIC must receive your application for 2015 summer internships by February 1, 2015. Late and incomplete applications will not be considered. Interviews will be conducted during the month of February.

Please combine the following items into one email to with subject "summer intern":

 Complete Application Form

Resume including 2 references

 Please send questions to:


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BHI Conservancy is an independent, nonprofit, 501 (c)(3) organization. We are able to continue our work through the generosity and commitment of our many members, volunteers and supporters. Your support is necessary to fulfilling our mission of barrier island conservation, education and preservation.

2014 BHI Turtle Nest Count: 33 nests, 32 hatched

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