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My Autism Connection explores Tarpon Bay

By Staff | Jul 3, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED The whole MAC crew along with Captain Steve Yetsko and naturalist Donna Yetsko.

Though rumbles of thunder were heard in the distance and ominous clouds on the horizon, Mother Nature did not deter an enthusiastic group from My Autism Connection from joining the Tarpon Bay Explorers for a nature and sealife cruise at Tarpon Bay on June 29.

My Autism Connection is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for individuals with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism within the Autism Spectrum Disorder to develop skills toward independence in the community while building healthy relationships.

“We’ve worked with My Autism Connection before and we really enjoy having them out,” Adam Sauerland, program and education manager for Tarpon Bay Explorers, said. “Everyone is enthusiastic and you only see smiling faces.”

The group’s day started with a picnic lunch with a side of drizzling rain on Tarpon Bay’s deck area. Moments of doubt may have been felt here and there, but as the radar started to clear, the group was excited to get underway. Captained by Steve Yetsko and narrated by naturalist Donna Yetsko, the group was able to experience wildlife ranging from baby pelicans, to glimpses of manatee noses.

After the boat ride was over, the crew went in to the Touch Tank Aquariums to learn about what they could not see underneath the water. The aquariums are always a highlight as participants get a feel for what life is like for smaller critters, like sea stars or horseshoe crabs.

PHOTO PROVIDED Captain Steve educates the group about wildlife in the Touch Tank Aquariums

“We greatly appreciate Tarpon Bay Explorers for taking the time to support our organization, as well as for spending their Saturday with us,” Sandra Worth, executive director of My Autism Connection, said. “Supporters like Tarpon Bay Explorers make it so that we may continue to help these individuals succeed in all aspects of life.”

Tarpon Bay Explorers is the concession to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It provides educational and recreational opportunities within the refuge and 15 percent of its proceeds goes back to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the care and protection of refuges nationwide.

For more information, call 239-472-8900 or visit www.tarponbayexplorers.com.

Tarpon Bay Explorers is at 900 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel.