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All Nature Connect staff are trained in First Aid & CPR.


Brinkley Hutchings

Founder, Executive Director, Owner

Brinkley spent most of her childhood exploring and playing in the outdoors. She started Nature Connect because she is inspired by children's sense of wonder, curiosity, and play and loves to share her enthusiasm for the natural world. Brinkley graduated from UNC Wilmington with a degree in Environmental Science. She has worked and studied extensively at multiple outdoor schools across the country and is now a certified coach and consultant for other nature schools. In 2017, Brinkley moved home to coastal Alabama to be with her family and start Nature Connect Alabama. Brinkley is the Executive Director and owner of both our Alabama and North Carolina chapters and teaches our classes in Alabama.


Kevina Casaletto

Co-Director, Nature Explorers Program Facilitator

Kevina was born in Austin, Texas and moved to three other states before settling in North Carolina in 1990. She has always loved exploring new places and is on a constant quest to learn all she can about our local ecosystems! A collector of hobbies, Kevina enjoys hand embroidery with an ecological focus. She uses her embroidery hoops to support organizations working in longleaf restoration and conservation. She loves spending time outdoors and spends her free time camping, hiking, and biking with her husband and two children. 


Kevina graduated with a degree in elementary education from UNCW in 2006. After working as a teacher’s assistant and teacher in Wilmington, she served in the Peace Corps with her husband in southern Belize from 2009-2011. She continues to volunteer and be active in her community. She believes feeling the connections between the earth, ourselves, and our community helps ensure we all become stewards for 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.


Christy Porter 

Co-Director, Nature Explorers Program Facilitator

Christy is a fourth generation Wilmington native who grew up fishing, digging up clam patches with barefeet in the salt marshes, exploring the barrier islands, and playing in the woods. Being a mother herself, she believes in the importance of exposing kids to the wonders of nature and all the emotional and mental growth that it fosters and is passionate about raising children's environmental awareness.

She has almost two years experience working with kids in nature and has completed the training In Bloom in Asheville: Promising Practice in Nature Based Early Childhood Education. She graduated in 2002 as a practicing LMBT and earned certifications in Aromatherapy, Ethics, and Nuat Boran/Thai Bodywork.



Britt Carpenter

Nature Explorers Program Facilitator

Britt grew up in the Scotts Hill area just north of Wilmington and spent her childhood exploring the woods, marshes and beaches near her home. She has been facilitating outdoor programming in and around Wilmington since 2016, is a certified educator through the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools, and has attended immersive nature connection training with The Art of Mentoring at Vermont Wilderness School. Britt is currently pursuing a masters degree and clinical social work license at UNC-Wilmington and is a student advocate with local non-profit, Education Without Walls.


Ava-Grace Mahoney

Nature Explorers Program Assistant

Ava-Grace is a North Carolina native and a current homeschool student. She has three siblings, two guinea pigs and a dog. She found a love for nature while attending Nature Connect as a student and apprentice. Ava-Grace loves working with Nature Connect to learn and grow her skills and knowledge in and about nature. In her free time she loves to take hikes, go camping and go to the beach. She is excited to be embarking on her second year on the Nature Connect staff team!


Dylan Konmanik

Nature Explorers Program Junior Facilitator

Dylan was born in Charleston, West Virginia and has three siblings.  He also has four dogs, two birds, a turtle, a lizard and a bunch of fish! He really started to enjoy the outdoors when he started Nature Connect and began going to the beach regularly when he moved here in 2020. He loves hanging out with his siblings, drawing and spending time at the beach. One day he wants to be a chef at his own restaurant and also work as an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse).

Staff Mentors & Inspirational Teachers


We are incredibly grateful to our teachers and mentors in this work. There are many people that we would like to acknowledge, and this list in no way encompasses them all. Nevertheless, we want to thank these mentors whose teachings we carry with us in our work with Nature Connect.

Tom Hutchings, father of Brinkley Hutchings (Nature Connect's founder) 

Wendolyn Bird, Tender Tracks Nature Preschool

Lauren Hage, Dave Hage, and Will Scott at Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education

Catherine and Jesse Wiens, Play in the Wild!

Maria Nemeth, Academy for Coaching Excellence

Jon Young, Tom Brown and 8 Shields community, including the authors of Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods

Lorene Wapotich, founder of Feet on the Earth

Mia Andler, Vilda Foundation

Meet Our Staff

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