Earlier this month, Tarpon Bay Explorers along with the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau hosted Airport Volunteers and VCB staff members for a day exploring the backwaters of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel.

Volunteers from the Southwest Florida International Airport are annually treated to a guided tour of the refuge, compliments of the refuge’s concessionaire, Tarpon Bay Explorers.  “Eco-tourism is a huge economic driver in Southwest Florida. “Ding” Darling is one of the most unique and pristine areas where tourists can learn and experience Southern Florida’s environment and gain an appreciation for it, elaborated co-owner & manager, Wendy Schnapp. “Hosting the airport volunteers is a great way to connect tourists with the natural areas Sanibel and Southwest Florida have to offer, “explained Schnapp.

Schnapp was also the volunteers’ naturalist for the trip. The tour started in the aquarium touch tank, which the volunteers loved! “It is another world beneath the water that some people haven’t been exposed to,” said Schnapp. “The aquariums are a great representation of what lives below Tarpon Bay waters. After the aquariums, the group hopped on Explorer IV for a cruise around the bay. Though the winds were a little chilly, the birds were still plentiful. Cozy blankets were provided to keep the volunteers nice and warm. Osprey, Great Blue Herons, Pelicans, Cormorants, Anhingas and more were seen throughout the trip. “It was a great day on the water,” said Brittany Bremeer, the VBC’s Visitor Service’s Coordinator.

Tarpon Bay Explorers invites you to experience the many adventures they have to offer. Open seven days a week from 8:00am to 5:00pm (6:00pm starting Feb. 15th), 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 reservations or visit their website at www.tarponbayexplorers.com.