We are justifiably proud of our tour guides. Each has been chosen for his or her experience, whether as a tour guide, a public speaker or performer, an historian, or as a delightful combination of all the above.

Each has been professionally trained to provide our valued guests with a history tour that is factual (as opposed to fantastical) and an experience that is both fun and educational.

Ladies and gentlemen, in their own words, let us introduce:

Lauri

LAURI GRACE – HAUNTED HISTORY AND FLAVORS OF MATLACHA ISLAND

I was born and raised in New Jersey. I grew up watching horror movies, reading Stephen King, and believing monsters lived under my bed. Ha! While living in the US Virgin Islands, I discovered my love for being a tour guide as I led hundreds of tourists through the historic homes of St. Thomas. That’s why I’m thrilled to be able to pull history and the paranormal together here in Ft Myers.

I bring my own blend of charm, enthusiasm, and humor to every tour; it’s easy to see that I truly enjoy sharing the spine-tingling experience of haunted Fort Myers, as well as the fun of Matlacha with my guests.

Carol Newcomb 2016

CAROL NEWCOMB – FLAVORS OF MATLACHA ISLAND

Since graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies in 1977, my career choices have been in keeping with my personal wish to help others develop a deeper ecological consciousness, for I believe that “To teach appreciation is to guarantee protection.”

As an educator and community volunteer, I have served Florida’s citizens as a naturalist, tour director of eco-tour companies, wildlife rehabilitator, estuarine ecologist, and as co-owner of a company specializing in solar energy.

I have worked within the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Lee County Department of Environmental Education, for Johnson Engineers on a renewable energies report for Lee County’s government, and have helped design a model of sustainable development for the new Babcock Ranch community, the first solar-powered community in the United States.

Within the academic world, I have received a master’s degree in educational technology/curriculum and instruction from FGCU, with which I helped design and taught, from 1997 to 2015, a sustainable future course in ecological literacy at FGCU. I co-founded Florida’s first certification program for eco/heritage tourism providers at the University of North Florida, and I currently teach courses on the environmental humanities and environmental biology of southwest Florida.

I believe that I bring to True Tours’ Flavors of Matlacha Island tour a passionate ecological perspective that will enrich the experience for all of our guests, whether they are residents, natives or visitors.

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KAY BARBER – LEGENDS & LEGACIES: THE WOMEN IN FORT MYERS HISTORY

I am a Texan who loves history. I was a history major at the University of Texas, then a flight attendant for Braniff Airways. When my children left the nest, I moved to Carmel, California, where I was a tour guide for five years. In 2000, I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I was a guide for 16 years. I was a Road Scholar group leader for 4 years.

True Tours’ Legends & Legacies tour inspires and amazes me; it is unlike any history tour I have ever led, and will be, for you, unlike any you have ever taken. I am honored to have been chosen to share this history with you.

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JARED BECK – FORT MYERS, A MODERN RENAISSANCE

For this special tour, I blend my career in urban design & community planning with practical experience in redevelopment, and the programs that enable it, to offer an insight into the ups and downs of downtown Fort Myers revitalization. I have worked in both private and public sector career roles and offer a balanced and unique perspective on our urban centers that engages our guests. This tour also evokes for guests fond memories of their own hometowns.

SETH FORD – RIVER DISTRICT HISTORY

I grew up very close to downtown Fort Myers on Jackson Street. My family has been in the Fort Myers area since the 1910s and in Florida since the 1850s.

I grew up fishing in the river downtown. I also grew up playing music and singing and I still do that often with my wife and daughter. We play all over Lee County at ice cream shops, street corners, and for people waiting in lines. We’re called the Shytunas and daughter Amelia is our leader.

I think that my close personal knowledge of downtown and my love for my hometown shines through in my tours and makes the experience even better for our guests.