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Tarpon Bay Explorers, DDWS award scholarships for environmental studies

By Staff | May 25, 2010

DDWS President Jim Scott, far left, and TBE co-owner Wendy Schnapp, far right, present $1,000 scholarship checks to Kelly Snauwaert, Carl Von Harten and Kelly Mercer. Not pictured is scholarship winner Jessica Denney.


Tarpon Bay Explorers (TBE), the official recreation concession for Sanibel’s J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, donated $2,000 this year to “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) for two $1,000 environmental studies scholarships. DDWS matched the donation with two more $1,000 scholarships for a total of $4,000 in awards.


“We were pleased to receive so many outstanding applications this year,” said DDWS Education Committee chair Doris Hardy. “That’s why the board decided it was a good idea to add two additional $1,000 scholarships.”


Scholarship recipients include Cape Coral resident Jessica Denney, a graduating senior from North Fort Myers High who plans to major in environmental studies at Edison State College; Kelly Mercer from Fort Myers, a sophomore at Wellesley College in Massachusetts majoring in environmental studies and Spanish; Fort Myers’ Kelly Snauwaert, a junior in the Honors Program at Florida Gulf Coast University studying marine science with a minor in education; and Carl Von Harten, a Fort Myers High student who formerly attended The Sanibel School and will be starting at the University of Florida in the fall to study biological sciences with a minor in environmental sciences.


“We are very glad to be able to contribute to the education of such promising local students,” said Wendy Schnapp, TBE co-owner. “We realize the importance of educating these young minds so that they can go on to conserve, protect, and help us all gain a better understanding of our precious ecosystems.”


TBE and DDWS will again be awarding more $1,000 scholarships at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. High school seniors and college students living in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties and pursuing careers in biology and environmental studies are eligible.


For an application, please visit www.dingdarlingsociety.org and click on Student Scholarships under the home page’s Inside the Society box. Or contact Doris Hardy at hardydd@comcast.net or 472-1100 ext. 233. The application deadline is March 31, 2011.


This is the fifth year TBE has sponsored environmental studies scholarships. The recreation concession offers refuge visitors kayak rentals and tours, nature boating cruises, tram tours of Wildlife Drive, educational Deck Talks, and other opportunities to learn more about local wildlife and its habitat.

To learn about the tours they offer, visit  www.tarponbayexplorers.com.


DDWS is a non-profit, friends-of-the-refuge organization that supports the Education Center, “Ding” Darling Days, and other educational programs at the refuge.


To join DDWS and become a friend of the refuge, stop in at the Refuge Education Center or visit www.dingdarlingsociety.org.