Bald Head Island Conservancy

First Johnston Graduate Student Fellowship in Coastal Sustainability Awarded by Bald Head Island Conservancy

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The Bald Head Island Conservancy (Bald Head Island, NC) is pleased to announce the awarding of their first Johnston Graduate Student Fellowship in Coastal Sustainability. This one-year fellowship was awarded to Kimmy Hansen of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hansen is a student in the Masters of City and Regional Planning program, concentrating in Land Use and Environmental Planning. Her advisor is Dr. Todd BenDor.

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Hansen’s proposed project, “Build-out Analysis of Bald Head Island: Scenario Analysis of the Impacts of New Development and Zoning on BHI’s Maritime Forest” will examine what would happen to Bald Head Island if development were to continue according to current zoning ordinances, and how this would impact tree cover within developable private lots. Kimmy intends to use GIS to construct multiple maps showing development patterns and tree cover loss over the years. This project will also include interviews with multiple stakeholders to assist in developing a written proposal for tree offset ordinances that could be implemented by the Village of BHI.  Hansen will begin her project this summer, including setting up meetings with island officials and residents. 

“The Fellowship provides support for graduate students to pursue research that match priority initiatives for the Conservancy and in collaboration with Conservancy scientific staff,” notes Dr. Chris Shank, Executive Director of Bald Head Island Conservancy. Fellows receive funding of $20,000 for one year to assist with tuition, living expenses, and project costs. In addition to collaboration with Conservancy staff, it is expected that the Fellow will give a public presentation on the results of the project at the Johnston Coastal Sustainability Symposium on BHI next spring.

“After graduating I plan to look for job opportunities that would allow me to work with local communities to help them become more environmentally sustainable and make changes to help mitigate future climate change disaster risks,” says Hansen. The BHI Conservancy is looking forward to working with Hansen on this project, and is grateful for the support of donors Pat and Dick Johnston for funding this fellowship as part of the Center for Coastal Sustainability.

Applications for the 2024 BHIC Graduate Student Fellowships in Coastal Sustainability and Barrier Island Science will open this fall. 

Contact: Chris Shank,

More information:

Johnston Center for Coastal Sustainability

Bald Head Island Conservancy Environmental Monitoring

Bald Head Island Conservancy Research Projects


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