‘Ding’ Darling Hires Two For Refuge Rebuilding, Maintenance Projects

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Two new, four-year-term staffers at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island have come aboard to help with routine maintenance and post-hurricane recovery. Simon Martinez has accepted the position of maintenance mechanic, and Scott Norwood serves as facilities operations specialist.

Simon Martinez

Martinez, originally from Dade City, Fla., worked previously for the refuge concession Tarpon Bay Explorers for three years as a marine mechanic. At the refuge, he assists with repairs, preventive and corrective maintenance, and operating heavy machinery. He is in charge of keeping maintenance records and logs for all equipment.

“It feels good to be part of something great on the beautiful island of Sanibel,” Martinez said. “I’m looking forward to working with a team that is excited to engage in the rebuilding process on the refuge.”

Norwood, also a native Floridian from Hollywood, acts as the field contracting officers’ representative for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of “Ding” Darling. He is responsible for all the building and utilities with a focus on hurricane restoration.

“Some days I will be working with local, state, and federal contractors on our big projects, and other days I will be on heavy machinery managing our fire breaks, or on Wildlife Drive with our great maintenance crew,” said Norwood.

Scott Norwood

Norwood owns a small land management business and prior to that served as an emergency manager for Collier County in Florida. He is a veteran of the Naval Special Operations Community and spent time running a Search and Recovery Unit for the National Park Service.

“We have some really amazing work planned at the refuge, where we will be able to focus on hurricane recovery as well as some of the early project locations we manage with our local partners,” said Norwood. “It is truly exciting to think that what I do here will last a lifetime or maybe even longer. The wildlife here – it’s amazing to be able to walk outside and be immersed in it.”

“We welcome Simon and Scott — with all their knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm — to the refuge team,” said Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland. “We still have a lot of hurricane recovery work ahead of us, and their contributions are crucial to move forward and keep the refuge in the best condition possible to support our wildlife.”

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 dingdarlingsociety.org or contact Birgie Miller Gresham at 239-292-0566 or director@dingdarlingsociety.org.

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