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Group explores Commodore Creek with TBE

By Staff | Feb 12, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Tarpon Bay Explorers naturalist Donna Yetsko talks to the group of kayakers before their expedition into Tarpon Bay.

Tarpon Bay Explorers naturalist Donna Yetsko recently took members of the non-profit organization My Autism Connection through the mangrove trail at Tarpon Bay called Commodore Creek.

My Autism Connection 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.

“They (Tarpon Bay Explorers) always create an unforgettable experience,” Program Coordinator Erica Kanter said. “We greatly appreciate them taking the time to support our organization and make our days a little brighter.”

The trip started off Yetsko explaining where the group was and where it was going to go. She added that “Ding” Darling is a national wildlife refuge that emphasizes protecting wildlife and that Commodore Creek is a water trail that carves through a mangrove forest. Yetsko also reviewed the kayaking basics for the group, and then they hopped into their kayaks and paddled into the bay.

“It was an incredible day,” she said. “The entire group was really interested in sharing their knowledge of the wildlife and were fascinated in the methodology to identify each bird and their nuances.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Tarpon Bay Explorers naturalist Donna Yetsko explains to members of My Autism Connection the kayaking basics and what to expect during their trip.

The group saw the usual suspects, such as tri-colored herons and yellow-crowned night herons, but also saw some other less common species, like bald eagles, red-shouldered hawks and roseate spoonbills.

“We’ve worked with My Autism Connection before and we really enjoy having them out,” TBE General Manager Wendy Schnapp, who is also a co-owner, said. “Their enthusiasm is infectious, and you only see smiling faces.”