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"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society Newsletter
September 15, 2016
In This Issue
Belted Kingfisher
by Aaron Kirk
Memorial Gifts Board
Glass artisan Luc Century will soon be doing his annual update of our Memorial Gifts Board, located in the Visitor & Education Center's vestibule. Gifts of $5,000 or more may have a name entered permanently. Anyone who is interested in memorializing/honoring a loved one or friend to be included on the board, please contact Birgie Miller by email or by calling 
Bald Eagle by Al Hoffacker
Kids can hear a story and do a related take-home craft.
Saturday, September 24, marks National Public Lands Day. The Refuge will celebrate with free admission to Wildlife Drive all day 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and special activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

10 a.m. Caravan Tour The first 14 people gathered at the flagpole can ride in the minibus, all others will follow in cars along Wildlife Drive. The one-hour naturalist-led tour will focus on the importance of the mangrove estuary ecosystem.
11:30 a.m Indigo Trail Walk  Join a ranger on a one-hour hike along Indigo Trail to the Wildlife Education Boardwalk, approximately 3/4 miles. Meet at the flagpole.
1 p.m. Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Talk Meet Ranger Kari from Kodiak, Alaska, for a 30-minute presentation about the refuge's public uses and wildlife. Meet in the Visitor & Education Center.
2 p.m. Family Story & Craft Meet in the Visitor & Education Center classroom for a fun, educational story and take-home conservation craft (30 minutes).
Breaking GOOD News on the Water Front
This week, the U.S. Senate voted to move forward on a $10 billion water projects bill including $1.9 billion earmarked for Everglades restoration and algae bloom issues. The DDWS works hard with groups, such as SCCF, the Everglades Coalition and others to have our concerns heard.  Thank you to those who contacted their elected officials to let them know how serious this water issue is to our Refuge, our islands and the local/state economy. Click here to read more.
Carrie Promoted!

We are pleased to announce the recent promotion of intern Carrie Alexander to full-time Development Coordinator, a newly created position with the Society. Carrie began her stint as a shared-use intern for the "Ding" Darling Refuge and DDWS in September 2015 as a recent graduate from Hanover College in Hanover, Ind., with a degree in geology and READ MORE
Mangrove Cuckoo by Bill Fischer
Mangrove Cuckoo Studies Resume

The smallest-ever satellite transmitter is the new key to tracking the seasonal movements of the elusive Mangrove Cuckoo at "Ding" Darling. DDWS contributed $8,000 in funding to underwrite the research, thanks to donors Judy Samelson and Bill Schwabel. A portion also came from the annual Go Wild for "Ding" fundraiser.  The Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI) of Gainesville, Florida., will be tracking three individual

Welcome New Intern
Sierra Hoisington from Tega Cay, South Carolina, has joined the staff of the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society as a shared-use intern. A graduate of Clemson University with a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries biology, she recently finished a position with Clemson University as a wildlife technician working on a bat research project in the Nantahala National Forest. Last summer, she served as a National Wildlife Refuge Association intern at Okefenokee National Wildlife  Refuge.       
"My favorite thing about Sanibel and the Refuge so far is that you can bike just about anywhere," said Sierra. "It makes me feel good that I won't be using as much gas here and contributing CO2 pollution into our atmosphere. I'm also a BIG fan of wading birds, and so the fact that I get to see them all the time is just icing on the cake."

Sierra will be helping with "Ding" Darling Days (Oct. 16-22), the Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit (Oct. 29-Dec. 8) and associated programs, community outreach, special events, social media posts and graphics. "I'm very excited to be here and able to work on a variety of different projects," she said.

DDWS provides living stipends and other benefits for about a dozen interns each year. The Refuge supports interns and resident volunteers with free housing.
Water/Ways Book Donations

As part of the Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit programming at "Ding" Darling October 28-December 8, "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society donated books to fifth-graders at The Sanibel School and Lehigh Elementary. The students will read the book Shark Whisperer, part of author Ellen Prager's water-oriented detective trilogy, for a discussion with the author at the Refuge on the exhibit's opening date, October 28. DDWS will also provide transportation for Lehigh students to the special event.

Click here to learn more about events and activities surrounding Water/Ways' coming to "Ding" Darling. 
Solar Amendment - Vote NO in NOvember
Another Solar amendment will be on the Florida ballots in November.  Amendment 1 in the November election is almost fully funded by the utilities, who have raised an incredible $16 million to place it on the ballot and reach voters. 

Amendment 1 is a deceptively worded amendment that creates barriers for future solar power competition and slows solar use for the future. A diverse army of citizen groups strongly opposes the amendment. 

Read more about the deceptive ballot here.
Vote NO in NOvember!
HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management again sponsors the "Ding" Darling lecture series.
Lecture Series 2017 Preview

Welcome to Subirdia, Heart of a Lion, and A Naturalist Goes Fishing: The book titles featured in the 2017 "Ding" Darling Friday Lecture Series are as intriguing as varied. The free series takes place in the Visitor & Education Center Auditorium starting Friday, January 20, and winding up April 14. The 12-lecture series kicks off with two consecutive photographic READ MORE
Senator Benacquisto Visits

DDWS hosted Florida Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto for a tour of the Refuge on August 23 to talk about water quality and how it is affecting the wildlife at "Ding" Darling.

(Left) DDWS President Doris Hardy, Refuge Manager Paul Tritaik, Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto, DDWS Vice President Mike Baldwin, and DDWS Associate Director Sarah Lathrop
Every Kid in a Park 2016-17

The Refuge issued fourth-grader passes last year on National Public Lands Day, and will again at this year's event on September 24.
As part of President Barack Obama's Every Kid in a Park initiative, the Refuge, for the second consecutive school year, is issuing free annual passes to any fourth-grade student or homeschool equivalent. The program began last school year, and "Ding" Darling staff was determined to get a pass into the hands of every fourth grade student in Lee County. They succeeded, issuing about 6,000 passes and winding up as the number one READ MORE
"Ding" Days Highlights

Learn to paddleboard during free clinics on Tuesday and Thursday.
Family, birds, art, trails, Jay Norwood Darling, and beach and water: This year's "Ding" Darling Days October 16-22, 2016, devotes one day each to topics relevant to the Refuge. The event honors National Wildlife Refuge Week and the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial, plus celebrates the 140th birthday of the Refuge's namesake, father of the Duck Stamp, on Friday READ MORE 



John & Beth Newland 
Jim & Patty Sprankle  
Wayne & Linda Boyd


"Ding" Days Sponsor Showcase

Santiva Chronicle: A fresh, vibrant, professional digital news source operating on Sanibel and Captiva islands since 2013.
Congrats to the Kopperls!

Ken and Ginny
A big shout-out to Ginny and Ken Kopperl, Refuge resident volunteers for many years, for winning top distinction in the E Awards "Attractions" category earlier this month. One Ohio nominator wrote, "Ginny & Ken Kopperl ...with delightful humor and deep knowledge, they bring the environment to life."
Produced by the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB), the E Awards is a collaboration with various local businesses to encourage and award service excellence in the tourism industry.

Other nominated employees and volunteers of the Refuge and its concessionaires, Tarpon Bay Explorers, include: Dan Bridgers, Susan Cassell, Patsy Dicken, Marion Evans, Matt Hawksley, Lewis Irvine, Kelsey Jones, Johanna Marsters, Alan Parker, Linda Parker, Chirs Pickelsimer, Kristy Raines, Adam Sauerland, Wendy Schnapp, Liz Smith, Gerri Sylliaasen, Ty Symrowski, Ann  Wollschlager, and Steve Yetsko. 

We applaud you all for your service above and beyond.
Fun New Holiday Cards Are Here!

Bring a smile to your holiday greeting card listees this season with our whimsical wildlife themes. Each set of 15 cards, priced at $14.99, includes three each of five different designs.
 Click here to view all five designs. To mail-order your cards, email or call 239-472-1100 ext. 241.

All proceeds from Nature Store sales go directly to the Refuge for educational programs and wildlife research.

In each issue of "Ding" on the Wing, we showcase one of more than 560 refuges in the U.S.A. 

Location: 20 miles south of Detroit, Michigan, along the lower Detroit River and western shoreline of Lake Erie.

Totemic Fauna: Eastern Fox Snake and Diving Duck

Fun for the Family: Byways and Flyways, the driving bird tour, travels through refuge lands in search of migratory birds.

Visitor's Tip: The Gibraltar Bay Unit is the only one open to the public daily from dawn to dusk. Other units open for special events, so call ahead.

Images courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Save the Date: EVCO at Sanibel Harbour

The DDWS Board of Directors continues its vigilance on local water quality issues. Vice President Mike Baldwin, state co-chair of the Everglades Coalition (EVCO), urges everyone to mark their calendars for January 5-8, 2017, the date of the 32nd annual Everglades Coalition Conference. It will be held in our own backyard at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott with the theme "Three Estuaries, One Solution: Caloosahatchee, St. Lucia, and Florida Bay." 

Watch for more news in upcoming months. Meanwhile, join the conversation with #EVCO2017 and #SendWaterSouth.
Attention all Lee County voters! Vote YES for 20/20 on November 8, 2016. It is an opportunity for citizens to help safeguard Lee County's long-term economic and environmental sustainability and quality of life by continuing to protect the county's exceptional natural resources. 

Click here to see a printable flyer. 
Sanibel Blues & Jazz Festival
A portion of the proceeds from this inaugural event at Bailey's on Sunday, November 6, will benefit the Refuge through a "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society donation from the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club, which hosts the event. Tickets to the Sanibel Blues & Jazz Festival, which runs from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., are available at Bailey's General Store, George & Wendy's Seafood Grille, Sanibel Caf´┐Ż, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, and from Optimist Club members. Seven hundred tickets are available on a first-come basis: $40 for general admission and $125 for VIP tickets. 

Volunteers are needed; please call 239-472-0836.

(Left) Exciting new additions to the wildlife on the Refuge! Alligator hatchlings are only 6 inches at birth, and 80% of young alligators fall victim to predators such as birds, raccoons, bobcats, otters, and snakes. Females aggressively defend their young until they are old enough to fend for themselves! Photo by Sarah Lathrop.

(Right) Numerous manatees have been seen in the ponds along Wildlife Drive. They are in mating season right now, which means they have been much more active in the water than during other times of the year. Thanks to Liz Noffsinger for the photo.

To see more wildlife photos like this one, click on our social media links:

Like us on Facebook View on Instagram
or go to the Society website to view the live webcam!

If you have taken any beautiful, interesting, or just plain goofy photos taken at the Refuge, send them to Society intern Carrie Alexander for a chance to be featured in upcoming newsletters.

Wildlife Drive Fee-Free Day - September 24, 2016
Wildlife Drive Fee-Free Day - October 9, 2016
27th Annual "Ding" Darling Days - October 16-22, 2016
Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit - Oct.28-December 8, 20
Wildlife Drive Fee-Free Days - November 12-13, 2016
Kids Fishing Derby - November 28, 2016
Happy Hour Holiday Shopping - November 30, 2016
DDWS Annual Meeting - December 7, 2016
Volunteer Holiday Luncheon - December 9, 2016
Biweekly Wednesday Film Series (Sponsored by Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts) - January 4-April 12, 2017
Go Wild for "Ding" - February 8, 2017
Volunteer Awards Luncheon - February 10, 2017
These are just snapshots of some of the things taking place at your Wildlife Refuge.  Please check our website at www.dingdarlingsociety.org to learn more!

Birgit Miller, Executive Director

"Ding" On The Wing composed by Chelle Koster Walton.  Designed by Sarah Lathrop and intern Carrie Alexander
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