Island Wildlife Chapter Leadership

We are seasoned classroom and community educators. The current board comprises accomplished practicing/retired professionals in science education, environmental education, early childhood education, arts education, and outdoor education and our expertise includes university-level, high school, elementary, and pre-kindergarten. We maintain strong positions as environmental advocates.

Island Wildlife bylaws state that "board members strive to maintain a safe and welcoming community. We actively oppose and will address any actions and/or speech that demeans or discriminates based on race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, or any other attributes of identity."

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VIRGINIA HOLMAN

Founder and President

Author, magazine writer, and teacher Virginia Holman has published essays and articles in DoubleTake Magazine, Redbook, Prevention, Glamour, Self, O Magazine, More, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sierra, and elsewhere. Her work has been reprinted in Pushcart Prize series, broadcast on This American Life, and she's received fellowships and awards from the North Carolina Arts Council and The Carter Center. She also wrote a monthly column for Salt Magazine in Wilmington for seven years that focused on the natural world. Since moving to Carolina Beach in 2004, she’s grown to love its many natural resources. She has received a BCU 3 Star Kayaking Award and an ACA Level 3 Sea Kayaking Instructor award. She’s also taught writing at UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Wilmington, as well as to long-term pediatric and adult patients and their families at Duke University Medical Center. She serves with the Women's Impact Network of New Hanover County, as a member of the Eagles Island Task Force, and on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Cape Fear Trees.  She and her husband have one grown son.

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SANDIE CECELSKI

Treasurer

A retired New Hanover County School marine science teacher, Sandie is an alumna of both the University of Tennessee and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Sandie has been a resident of Carolina Beach for over 34 years. For 30 plus years, she and her husband Richard ran Carolina Ocean Studies, a hands-on marine environmental education company dedicated to providing experiential educational coastal boating cruises to school children throughout North Carolina before their son Jake took over the business. (You'll still see Sandie helping on board some days!) Sandie also volunteers with the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project and the Adopt-A-Beach program. Sandie is a backyard beekeeper, a member of the New Hanover County Beekeepers Association and a North Carolina certified beekeeper. She actively supports many environmental causes and has been a member of the North Carolina Coastal Federation for over 20 years.

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BROOKE HAZELWOOD

Vice President

Brooke Hazelwood is currently the Academy Director and Instructional Coach at the Career Readiness Academy of Finance in Wilmington, NC. She has been an educator for over 16 years who got her start in the Peace Corps-Burkina Faso '99-'01. She has taught a variety of classes on topics from Barrier Island Ecology to Global Interactions, a hybrid course of World History/Literature and Earth and Environmental Education. Innovation, experiential and interdisciplinary education and project-based learning have been her focus for the last 12 years. She began teaching Service Learning in the Spring of 2019. Brooke holds a Master of Arts in Teaching History from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her undergraduate degree is from James Madison University in Virginia where she studied anthropology and archaeology. She is a world traveler who lives in Carolina Beach with her husband and young son.

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JESSICA ROACH

Board Member

An aspiring botanist and academic, Jessica has a fierce passion for the natural world. This enthusiasm has led her down an educational and personal path focused on conservation biology. Currently a graduate student at UNC Wilmington, she is conducting a population genetics study of a federally listed plant endemic to the southeastern coastal plain region. During her undergraduate career, she worked with Venus flytraps and has propagated and promoted their conservation ever since. Jess has lived in Wilmington since 2007, and has come to appreciate and admire the incredible biodiversity this region has to offer. She has experience with North Carolina native plant education, best management practices planning and installation, and plant rescues in the tri-county area. She lives with her beloved pets and enjoys gardening, hiking, and traveling.

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SEPTEMBER KRUEGER

Board Member

September Krueger is the Director of Lifelong Learning at Cameron Art Museum. Her work connects deeply with exhibitions, collections, and the community through the planning of Museum School classes and public programs for all ages. An artist herself, September holds an MFA in Textiles from East Carolina University and was trained as a fellow with the A+ Schools program in 2011, which shaped her ideas about arts integration, collaborative learning, and multiple intelligences.  In her artwork, September works with fibers and printmaking.  Her quilts explore storytelling and mythology through painted, printed, and stitched imagery.

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KEVINA CASALETTO

Secretary

Kevina Casaletto was born in Austin, Texas, and after living in three other states, settled in North Carolina in 1990.

In 2006, she graduated from UNCW with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. She has worked as a teacher’s assistant and as a teacher in Wilmington, she and her husband served in the Peace Corps in southern Belize. Kevina is the  Homeschool Enrichment Program coordinator for Nature Connect, a role that allows her to spend her days in local preserves and forests. She has always loved exploring new places and is on a constant quest to learn all she can about our local ecosystems!


Kevina enjoys hand embroidery with an ecological focus and uses her embroidery hoops and workshops to support organizations working in longleaf restoration and conservation.


She believes feeling the connections between the earth, ourselves, and our community helps ensure we all become stewards of a healthy environment where we all can thrive.


Her experiences have taught her that when you learn about something, you appreciate it more. She is dedicated to spreading knowledge and appreciation for our native plants and animals to ensure their protection. She spends her free time camping, hiking, and biking with her husband and two children. 

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Dr. Jennifer Wiggen

Board Member



Dr. Jennifer Wiggen is an experienced educator and researcher currently working as the Senior Educator at the Bald Head Island Conservancy - BHI Conservancy. She graduated from UNCW with a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and an M.S. in Marine Science. While at UNCW she interned at The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center where she fell in love with sea turtle conservation. She earned her Ph.D. in Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Science from NC State University and completed postdoctoral research and teaching in Geoscience Education. She then transitioned to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC, where her work focused on outdoor education, nature play, and community science projects focused on nature observations.


"I love the outdoors and was fortunate enough to be surrounded by the ocean, marshes, and mountains for the majority of my life. I pivoted from strictly field-based research to educational research and teaching because I realized my passion really lies in science communication and informal education. I believe that getting people outside and using hands-on, exploratory teaching practices creates a space where people can learn and feel genuinely curious. It's in these moments that we can help people develop empathy and compassion for the natural world, and can create better stewards within our communities."