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Tarpon Bay Explorers add new staff for busy season

April 21, 2014
Special to the Reporter ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

With the busy tourist season extending through Easter, Tarpon Bay Explorers' expanded employee base is meeting the challenge.

As the official concessionaire for the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the Explorers are experiencing increased numbers of visitors opting to explore the refuge by water recreation on Tarpon Bay and on tram tours through the refuge's Wildlife Drive.

Seven additional staff members listed below joined Tarpon Bay Explorers to meet the expanding needs of refuge visitors:

* Bart Colen: Boat Ramp Professional

Sanibel seems a world away from Colen's hometown of Chicago, Ill., where he attended the University of Illinois for a degree in German. Sanibel's warm climate lured him here two years ago for the chance to work outdoors all day. After work, he pursues his hobbies of music and self-improvement, and he is currently writing a book.

* Devon Collins: Boat Ramp Professional

Originally from Indiana, warm weather brought Collins south where he now resides in Fort Myers Beach. Working on Tarpon Bay's boat ramp gives him the unique opportunity to interact with interesting people from around the world. When not working, he also likes to spend time on the water fishing and kayaking. Prior to his move to Florida, he was a combat medic in the U.S. Army.

* Shane Current: Boat Ramp Professional

Current came to Florida from Austin, Texas, and currently resides in Cape Coral. He enjoys working on the boat ramp and meeting new people. On his days off he likes to canoe, fish, scuba dive, fossil hunt, and spend time with family.

* Dexter Norris: Naturalist

Norris originally hails from Ohio where he earned his biology degree from Ohio Northern University. He was drawn to Florida to escape the Ohio winters and for the chance to experience a completely new ecosystem and wildlife (manatees hold a particular allure). When not spotting wildlife for his tour participants, Norris enjoys running long distances, after which calls for reading a good book in his hammock.

* Will Silton: Boat Ramp Professional

He came with his family to Sanibel from Charlotte, N.C. Currently in high school, Silton works on the boat ramp on weekends and holidays. He thoroughly enjoys the beauty of Tarpon Bay and working with his fellow employees. After school and work, Silton enjoys basketball, fishing, reading, and of course homework.

* Ty Symroski: Naturalist

Symroski has long-standing connections to his hometown of Sanibel. His grandparents came to Sanibel in 1919 and built a house on the bay in 1924. Their house is now in Sanibel's Historic Village. After a career in city planning in the Florida Keys, Symroski is glad to be back home in Sanibel. At one point, he was the navigator on a schooner from Borneo to Hawaii before GPS was available, so all they used was a sextant and a watch. During his time off Symroski enjoys birding, walking and fixing up his house that he moved from Periwinkle Way to Bay Drive in 1978.

* Kirk Williams: Boat Ramp Professional

He is a Sanibel native. Currently in high school, he works on the boat ramp at Tarpon Bay on weekends and holidays. He's excited to be a part of the Tarpon Bay team and enjoys the view from his outdoor "office." On his days off, Williams stays very active by windsurfing and sailing, playing soccer, lacrosse, tennis and running cross country.

Tarpon Bay Explorers invites you to meet their expanding family and experience the many adventures they have to offer. Open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can visit Tarpon Bay Explorers in The J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge at 900 Tarpon Bay Road. Call 472-8900 for information and reservations or visit their website at



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