BHI Conservancy Team
Pam Cunningham Operations Specialist
Raised in Boston, Pam moved to North Carolina from Houston, Texas where she raised her two daughters, Shannon and Caitlin, and owned and operated two Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Stores, enabling her to fulfill her mission “to bring people and nature together” in an urban environment. She is very happy to live in beautiful and serene Brunswick County and to help to continue her mission on Bald Head Island with the Conservancy
Sharon Eisele Sales Associate • Turtle Central
Sharon grew up on the north New Jersey shore where she spent many happy hours in and near the ocean, volunteering to plant grasses to slow dune erosion, watching osprey nest every season, documenting oral histories of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse and just enjoying all the different beaches. When her husband Don’s job took them to Greensboro, NC in 2002 she was dismayed to discover the beach was 250 miles away! They quickly made their way to the Brunswick County beaches, bought a weekend place and finally retired full-time to Southport in 2012. She began working part-time at Turtle Central Gift Shop in July 2015 as a Sales Associate. She enjoys working for a non-profit organization with such a worthy mission and is looking forward to participating in the many Conservancy programs and contributing to the success of the gift shop. She is a graduate of Monmouth University and Fairleigh Dickinson University with a B.S. in Education and an M.A. in Psychology/Organization Behavior and had a long career in Human Resources and Training & Development. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, cycling, yoga, golf and reading.
Amy Eldredge Director of Education
A native of Pennsylvania, Amy graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a double major in Animal Behavior and Studio Art. Her experience as a non-formal educator, with skills in wildlife management and research has led her to the role of Coastal Educator here at the BHIC. She hopes to utilize her skills and knowledge to promote environmental stewardship and to engage community involvement in conservation issues. In her free time she enjoys reading, photography and exploring outdoors. She is looking forward to sharing her passion for coastal ecology with the local community and visitors to the island.
Emily Goetz AmeriCorps Community Outreach & Stewardship Coordinator
Emily grew up outside of Harrisburg, PA, and studied conservation biology at Middlebury College in Vermont. While she loves working outside in any capacity, she especially enjoys wildlife field research and coastal ecology. Emily interned at the Conservancy in the spring of 2017 and is excited to extend her time with BHIC through next summer as an AmeriCorps member with the Conservation Trust of North Carolina. She looks forward to applying her past work with shorebirds, oysters, and bats to expansion of the Conservancy's volunteer and community outreach opportunities in both education and conservation. Through this position, Emily hopes to facilitate even greater inclusion of Brunswick County residents and the BHI community in Conservancy projects.
Charlotte Hundley Sales Associate • Turtle Central
Charlotte grew up in Richmond, VA where she and her husband, Dale, raised two children. She has always loved nature, animals and especially the ocean and discovered Bald Head Island in 1991. Every summer since, her family has visited the island for vacations. Her now grown children still love it there and will jump every chance they get to visit again. Seeing a turtle nest hatch 10 years ago was an amazing sight and started her love for turtles and all the other creatures that inhabit Bald Head. Charlotte and her husband recently moved to Southport and when asked “why Southport” her response was to be closer to Bald Head Island. She is very excited to work on the island and especially being a part of the BHI Conservancy that inspires the public to learn how to conserve and protect this special place. She looks forward to participating in the many programs offered by the Conservancy, and sharing these experiences with the visitors that come to Turtle Central. She is a graduate of Elon University with a B.A. in English and recently retired from a career in operations for an Investment Firm. In her spare time she enjoys gardening and traveling, and any type of exercise that gets her outdoors including hiking, bicycling and walking her two Goldendoodles.
Poul Lindegaard Assistant Director
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, 21, and Louise, 20, 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!
Brooke Milligan Director of Conservation
Brooke was born and raised in Virginia Beach, VA. She graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minors in Integrated Science and Technology and Studio Art. After completing her undergraduate degree she participated in internships with Mote Marine Lab, University of Southern Mississippi’s Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Lab and NC State University. Brooke then attended Columbia University where she completed a Master of Arts in Conservation Biology. In 2013, she relocated to coastal North Carolina where she currently lives with her husband and two kids. Her free time is spent with her family exploring the outdoors, riding bikes, playing at the beach, gardening and grilling out in the backyard. Brooke is excited to put her skills to use at BHI Conservancy and work toward fostering community-based barrier island conservation, education and preservation.
Natalie Monnier Coastal Educator
Natalie was born in Ohio and was raised in southern Virginia. She grew up enjoying summers at Apple Valley Lake with her family. Natalie recently graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, concentrated in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation. Her sophomore year she worked as a Special Activities Intern for the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher helping out as a summer camp counselor. This was where she fell in love with marine life and education. Natalie has spent the last two seasons with the Bald Head Island Conservancy working as a Spring Intern and a Sea Turtle Intern. She is excited to be back for the fall working with students from Brunswick County.
Carol O'Donnell Sales Associate • Turtle Central
Carol O’Donnell has been with Turtle Central Gift Shop for nearly 3 years now. She is our retail specialist as she grew up working in her mom’s children’s boutique, and enjoyed a career with a home interiors company. She is a vibrant, customer service oriented salesperson and enjoys interacting with our members and customers. She has two sons and two gorgeous grandchildren who she loves to dote on. She is married to Tod and enjoys walking her dog, reading and volunteering at the Southport Visitors center.
G. Christopher Shank Executive Director
Chris was born in Maryland but has had a love for the North Carolina coast since he was a young kid. His family has been vacationing along Brunswick County beaches for more than 40 years and he also lived in Wilmington for a decade. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Sciences from UNC Chapel Hill. He conducted his Ph.D. research on the Cape Fear River system with scientists in the UNCW Chemistry Department, and also worked for several years for the Lower Cape Fear River Program at the UNCW Center for Marine Science. Before joining the Conservancy, he was a faculty member in the Department of Marine Science at the University of Texas at Austin for 10 years where he ran a coastal research lab and taught numerous courses on marine conservation and coastal ecology. Chris also has considerable public education and outreach experience and is always excited to share his love for and knowledge of the awe-inspiring habitats and species of Bald Head Island.
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.
Pam W. Smith Retail Manager • Turtle Central
Born in Elizabeth City, NC on the Pasquotank River, Pam was raised to love and respect the water and its inhabitants. Living near the Outer Banks of NC she spent many summers on the Northeastern North Carolina barrier islands including Hatteras and Ocracoke. She graduated with a degree in Textile and Apparel Management with a business concentration from NCSU in Raleigh, NC. She initially worked as a materials utilization engineer within the textile manufacturing industry in Durham, NC before following her dream of owning her own business. She ran and operated a Bridal and Formal wear shop for 10 years before moving to the Wilmington, NC area. Pam first travelled to Bald Head Island in ’99 while on a “Lighthouses of NC” tour. She fell in love with the island and was thrilled with the opportunity to work at Turtle Central marrying her love of Coastal NC with retail. Pam enjoys reading just about anything she can get her hands on, dancing and traveling with friends and family.
Mike Thomasen Campus Manager
Mike was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up on Long Island, NY. He has a lovely wife, three beautiful children, and five precious grandchildren. Mike first came to BHI in August 2003 joining the Transportation Department as a ferry mate. Prior to 2003, he worked for 30 years in Marine Transportation for an oil company in the north east.
Heather Thornton Marketing & Online Support Associate • Turtle Central
Heather grew up on the coast of North Carolina where she spent her childhood combing the beaches for seashells and weather worn treasures to turn into jewelry. Her passion for design and all things coastal ultimately turned into a business called Patina Queen where she spends countless hours in her studio manipulating raw metals with custom patinas to use in her work. Her jewelry designs have been featured in numerous books, magazines, on TV and in movies. She currently designs jewelry for the TV show Good Behavior filmed in Wilmington, NC. Heather is a graduate of East Carolina University and enjoys contributing to BHI Conservancy's mission as a marketing associate, running e-commerce and social media.
Amber Walters Communications Specialist
Born in West Virginia and raised in Pennsylvania, Amber spent her summers vacationing with her family in nearby Oak Island, NC. She received her B.A. in Communications Studies with a concentration in Public Relations from California University of PA. Her love of nature and the North Carolina coast, in combination with her creative skills, led her to working at the Conservancy in 2015. She enjoys spending her free time with her family, friends, dogs and cat, as well as anything that involves being outdoors/on the beach.
2018 Spring Interns and Deer Team
Allie Hayser Conservation/Education Intern
Raised on Tybee Island, a small barrier island of the coast of Georgia, Allie spent more of her time growing up on the beach and in the ocean than on the mainlands. She went to a small school on the island, then onward to Savannah Arts Academy for vocal music in high school, and most recently to Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA. She graduated with a B.A in Geology with a Minor in Geography and a B.S. in Biology. While she was attending Georgia Southern, Allie worked for Saint Catherine's Island Sea Turtle Program during the summers, where her love of conservation and field work began. After graduating college, Allie went out west to teach at an outdoor education school in Cambria, California and afterwards spent almost a year living in Nicaragua, teaching, exploring nature, and surfing. She is especially excited about working with the Conservancy this spring because of the research opportunities, field work techniques, and sharing knowledge with visitors and learning from her team. When it comes to science and conservation, she's into everything. In the coming years, Allie is looking to gain more knowledge about nonprofits, conservancies, oceanography, marine sciences, and coastal biology. In her free time, you'll find her surfing, skateboarding, hiking, drinking coffee, journaling, and enjoying music.
Clea Harrelson Conservation/Education Intern
Clea is originally from Middle Tennessee but spent many of her summers exploring nearby Southport and the Outer Banks with family. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Colby College in 2016 and spent the last year working in Oregon as an AmeriCorps environmental educator. She is excited to continue connecting people with their environment at the Conservancy this spring. In her spare time, you can find Clea hiking, kayaking, or trying to body surf ocean waves.
Edward McDonald Deer Intern
Ed graduated from Frostburg State University in western Maryland with a degree in Wildlife & Fisheries. He grew up in Philadelphia and spent summer weekends at the Jersey shore. Previously, he worked with U.S Fish & Wildlife in Jersey conducting point count surveys, assisting with wood turtle research and most recently was in Illinois tracking Blanding's turtles. Ed thinks that the best part about a wildlife degree is being able to travel the country and discovering the local treasures. He loves doing field work and is very excited to be part of the deer team for the coming months. In his free time, Ed enjoys sitting, whether is be on the beach, at a game or on a bike, but he also stays active by roller skating, swimming and on occasion, birding.
Seth Rankins Deer Conservation Technician
Seth is originally from Cusseta, Alabama, where he spent countless hours in the woods surrounding his family's dairy farm. He graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management from Auburn University in December of 2017. While he was at Auburn he had the opportunity to work on several different research projects with Auburn University's Deer Lab. Seth also had a summer position radio-collaring deer, and worked another summer as a short grass prairie/sagebrush bird technician for the University of Wyoming. He is excited about joining the team at Bald Head Island Conservancy.
Micah Walker White-Tailed Deer Associate Researcher
Micah was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and knew from an early age that he wanted to work with wildlife. As a child Micah and his family vacationed by backpacking and canoe camping throughout many great North American wilderness areas and national parks; these experiences cemented his love of the woods and all the creatures that inhabit it. Micah earned a BS degree in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Delaware. Since graduation, Micah has worked several seasonal wildlife jobs in places such as: Olympic National Park, Superior National Forest, and Ouachita National Forest, and has managed and studied a variety of animals such as American black bears, gray wolves, white-tailed deer, coyotes, Rocky Mountain elk, and mountain goats. In his free time, Micah enjoys nature photography, swimming, birding, and fishing. Micah has returned to the deer project this year as a graduate student at North Carolina State University. He is pursuing a master’s degree studying the immunocontraceptive project here on the Bald Head Island.
Hayden Wolfe Deer Intern
Hayden was born and raised in northern Illinois and graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor degree in Animal Ecology. His research interests include mammalian migration, dispersal, and habitat selection. He has experience working with a variety of different species and techniques, and he always enjoys learning about the biological and physical sciences. Just as well, he enjoys the outdoors and spending time in nature. This spring he is most excited to gain experience tranquilizing deer.