provided to Santiva Chronicle
Tarpon Bay Explorers, the official concessionaire for the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, welcomes three new staff members to their working family. In an effort to provide excellent customer service, the Explorers filled three additional positions this year including two naturalists and a boat captain. The company provides guided eco-tours by kayak, standup paddleboard, pontoon boat and tram for the refuge. They also offer fishing charters on Tarpon Bay as well as kayak canoe, standup paddleboard, Hobie fishing kayak, family pontoon boat and bicycle rentals. A unique, nature-themed gift shop is onsite.
Gabby Pearl- Naturalist
Gabby is a born and raised Fort Myers native. Gabby graduated from University of South Florida a couple years ago with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy, and currently resides in Fort Myers. Gabby has grown to love all of what Florida has to offer and is very thankful she has only had to experience snow three times in life thus far. Gabby is excited to refer to her “office” as Tarpon Bay and is looking forward to pointing out the ample wildlife the bay has to offer for all visitors.
Cathy Loyola- Naturalist
Cathy is another born and raised Florida girl. Cathy grew up in Jacksonville then attended the University of West Florida in Pensacola where she majored in biology. Cathy moved to Ft. Myers in 1999 to work for Charlotte Habor Aquatic and State Buffer Preserve as a land manager. Cathy’s love and passion for the outdoors was fostered by regular walks with her granddaddy since the age of three. Her passion continues to be reflected by her outdoor hobbies such as kayaking, hiking and gardening, but also, through her enthusiasm for sharing her passion with visitors of “Ding” Darling.
George Balis- Boat Captain
Captain George hails from the Big Apple, New York City, but has resided in Punta Gorda going on 5 years. The lure of outdoor life and boating brought Captain George down to Florida. Even in his spare time Captain George enjoys exploring Southwest Florida via boat, but also enjoys landlubber activities such as tennis or going to the movies on a rainy day. Captain George is excited to promote Tarpon Bay’s commitment to the “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and the wildlife in which it protects.
Tarpon Bay Explorers invites you to meet their expanding family and experience the many adventures they have to offer. Open 7 days a week at 8:00, you can visit Tarpon Bay Explorers in the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. At 900 Tarpon Bay Rd., Sanibel. Call 239-472-8900 for information and reservation or visit their website at www.tapronbayexplorers.com