Buffer Preserve welcomes two new employees

Years of experience will be utilized at the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve as two new employees are added to the staff.

According to Dylan Shoemaker, the Buffer Preserve’s manager, the new hires will meaningfully contribute to the staff’s team dynamic.

“I am proud of this group of outstanding professionals”, he said. “Their commitment to making the Buffer Preserve the best it can be is extremely heartwarming.”

“We’ve had super teams in the past. However, this one may turn out to be the best ever.”

As the new resource restoration specialist, Kristi Kaple brings more than 27 years of experience with her.

Working for the Florida Forest Service as a forest ranger and wildland firefighter has adequately prepared her to contribute to the goals, and mission of the Buffer Preserve and the Department of Environmental Protection.

In her almost 30 years of service, she became an equipment operator while also becoming a certified prescribed burn manager.

Kaple’s wide range of experiences have helped her gain knowledge of Northwest Florida’s natural flora and fauna communities.  Along with that, she learned about land management practices with interest in ecology and an emphasis on timber resources.

Kaple currently holds a red card, which enables her to assist Shoemaker and his staff at any and all prescribed burns they participate in in the area.

“We are excited to have Kristi join our team,” said Shoemaker. “We know we will learn a lot from her varied experiences with so many years’ experience. We welcome her.”

Ben Stewart joins the staff of the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve as the new Resource Education Specialist.

His past work experiences will benefit and compliment the team comprised of he and his staff. 

“Ben’s love for nature and the environment is outstanding,” said Shoemaker. “His interest in our work and especially in reaching our management goals in the future make him a valuable member of our team.”

Returning to a field he remembered for years as a very special one has shown how dedicated he is to helping get the word out about the Preserve, said a press release from the Buffer Preserve.

Retiring after more than 40 years in law enforcement, most recently as a Sheriff of Madison County in Florida, has built a base for him to rely on.

Working his way from investigator to captain to sheriff demonstrates his dedication to his profession. Stewart worked in several departments over the years and made contributions to each one.

Stewart joined the Florida Park Service before starting his law enforcement career and has never forgotten about his years
of learning about cultural and natural resources. His love for the outdoors has brought him to DEP.

His life experiences have provided him with a wide range of skills from heavy interaction with the public to his interest in resource

“We are honored to have him on our team!” said Shoemaker.

The public is invited to stop in and meet both Kaple and Stewart. Be aware that they spend many hours “in the field” as their required work. Call Sandra Chafin Cole at 850-229-1787 to set up a scheduled meeting.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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