Community Engagement Fellow Joins ‘Ding’ Darling Staff

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Leandro Cabrera helps build community bonds as a bilingual interpreter.

Leandro “Leo” Cabrera of Cape Coral, Fla., recently joined the staff at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island for six months. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in partnership with the Hispanic Access Foundation provides support for urban community engagement fellows, and Cabrera will be helping the refuge education staff as a bilingual interpreter.

A native of Cienfuegos, Cuba, Cabrera speaks Spanish as a first language and attends Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, pursuing a degree in environmental studies with a minor in water resources. He assists the WoW (Wildlife on Wheels) mobile classroom faculty, which teaches at Title-1 schools in the Tice and Lehigh Acres communities.

“I love the refuge, and every day is like an adventure,” said Cabrera. “There’s always something new to do, so things always feel varied. Working on the WoW has been quite an experience –teaching kids about conservation and wildlife. It’s always amazing when kids shoot up their hands and ask questions about wildlife and how we can do more to protect them.”

“Leo has been such an asset to our WoW team,” said Refuge Urban Ranger Yvette Carrasco. “You can see the light in the eyes of the kids when they hear our lessons in Spanish and come to better understand about nature and wildlife because of it. He assists us in continuing to strengthen our relationships with the communities we serve.”

“The thing I love most is every day I know I’m going to impact someone to learn more about wildlife and conservation,” said Cabrara, who enjoys kayaking, biking, and, since he began working at the refuge, birdwatching.

As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop profits. To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit or Ann-Marie Wildman at 239-789-8991 or

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