What do the following vocations have in common: sailing instructor in Rhode Island (“fun!”), office manager for a large financial firm (“terrible”), theater director, art teacher, owner of a gift and gourmet food company (“lots of fun”), and artist? They all appear on our guide Sally Willits’ colorful resume. Her residences have been just as varied as her jobs: Sally was born in NYC and spent her early years on the north shore of Long Island – “Pretty much where The Great Gatsby took place; but post-war, NOT 1920’s jazz age,” she jokes. She has also spent time in Greenwich (RI), Philadelphia (PA), Wyomissing (PA), Annapolis (MD), Peachblossom Creek on the Eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay between Oxford and Easton (MD), and Wilmington (DE). Continue reading
If I had to describe Jhon Garcia in one word, that word would be “worldly.” Jhon is Colombian and grew up in the Andes Mountains, thousands of feet above sea level and far from any ocean. But instead of on ancient sediments, his current home now sits on the sandy soil of South Florida. After living in Bogotá, Columbia where he worked in the ecotourism industry, Jhon originally moved to Florida to study anthropology, a science that allows him to combine his many passions, at FIU. He also studied art and music in a local conservatory, the New World School of the Arts. Jhon plays two Andean instruments, a type of flute called a quena and a small guitar made from an armadillo shell called a charango. In 2011 he produced his own album with a few local musicians. After living in the US for many years, Jhon feels that most artistic forms of the western hemisphere resonate within him.
Yeraldine (pronounced like “Geraldine”) Ordonez first started working with Dragonfly Expeditions when a mutual friend of Megan Fries suggested that she check out the company. Constantly a victim of wanderlust, Yeraldine had just returned from a backpacking trip in South America when she was informed that Dragonfly Expeditions was looking for guides. Her diverse travel background made her a fitting leader for the company and she thought it a “wonderful surprise to find a welcomed match between my passions and their job description.”
She is always looking for her next adventure. Her never-ending energy and enthusiasm make Yeraldine a great guide who always tries to impart a true sense of place to the individuals journeying with her. Add the desires to travel, discover new places, and create cultural connections – and she is a perfect fit for Dragonfly Expeditions and our own vision and mission.
Emerson Fales first met the Dragonfly Expeditions team at one of our regular exotic removal and habitat restoration events at Vizcaya in 2008 and started guiding kayaking, biking, walking tours for our company in 2009. He has called Miami home for practically his entire life, so he felt that Dragonfly Expeditions’ vision and mission were well aligned with his personal love of South Florida. His interest and enjoyment of natural South Florida began at an early age and has grown over the years. Emerson’s favorite saying is: “No other city in the country has a front yard like Biscayne Bay and a backyard like the Everglades.” Thanks to his mother, and despite the chorus of negative comments from the backseat, his family spent many hours canoeing and exploring the Everglades. He also spent lots of unforgettable days on Biscayne Bay snorkeling, fishing, water skiing, and canoeing. As a result of all these childhood travels, he accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge on South Florida ecology and animal life which came in handy when educating visiting friends.
Jim Martin is a man of many talents which leads Dragonfly Expeditions to call on him as a guide ever more frequently as the company grows. Imbued with an extraordinary natural enthusiasm and an ability to make just about anyone he encounters take an immediate liking to him, Jim backs up his persona with dedicated research and a love of Florida and its storied history. Born in Boardman, Ohio sometime deep into the last century, (besides this fact being “technically” correct, Jim also hopefully has a sense of humor) young Jim was surrounded by people who in some way or another were involved in nearby Youngstown’s mighty steel industry. Despite encroaching development, Jim has childhood memories of Continue reading
Born to leaders in conservation and education, Ann Wiley grew up in Seattle in the great Evergreen State of Washington. The abundance of outside activities offered by this area directed her interest to nature and the appreciation of it. With time this grew and blossomed into what we at Dragonfly Expeditions appreciate as a truly dedicated and compassionate conservationist, guide, and friend.
Before attending college, Ann spent a year in Vail, Colorado where she worked and skied every day. She graduated with a degree in Business Economics from the University of Arizona in Tucson where she also fell in love with the desert and biking.
Next, Ann moved on to Back Bay, Boston Massachusetts where she worked for two years as the House Manager for Hippocrates Health Institute under the directorship of Dr. Ann Wigmore. This extraordinary opportunity allowed Ann to participate not only in cutting edge nutritional practices based on a vegan, raw food diet, but also to witness how the body will heal itself when given proper nutrition and allowed to cleanse and detoxify. While living in Boston Ann made good use of her weekends Continue reading