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"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society Newsletter
October 13, 2016
In This Issue

American Kestrel seen October 12 at "Ding" Darling's Bailey Tract Photo by Aaron Kirk
Teacher Grants 

October 31, 2016
All teachers in schools in the five-county area (Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades) are invited to submit Environmental Education or Science related unit proposals. 
Click HERE for information
Belted Kingfisher
Photo by Aaron Kirk
Florida and Lee County Voters:
Now that mail-in ballots are starting to arrive, it's time to think what's best for Mother Earth as you vote this year.  

Family Fun Day 
October 16, 2016

An American Kestrel stars in one of this year's live bird presentations.
Sunday Family Fun Day kicks off weeklong "Ding" Darling Days at the Refuge on Octobe16, 2016. The Refuge and "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society have planned a free day packed with activities for all ages from 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Following the 9:45 a.m. flag-raising ceremony presented by local boy scouts, the Refuge will debut its new Orientation Film in the Visitor & Education Center auditorium, followed by a free reusable goodie bag giveaway READ MORE

For more information on other events during the upcoming "Ding" Darling Days week, October 16-22, click here.

Almost one year since the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society began its SanCap Solar Connect initiative on Sanibel and Captiva islands, it is seeing a number of residential, business, and nonprofit organization solar conversion projects come to fruition. Just recently, Bailey's General Store and Sanibel Captiva Community Bank announced completion of solar panel system installations.
Aerial view of solar panels at Bailey's General Store

"It is deeply gratifying to see our vision being realized, a vision to offer local consumers savings on solar energy conversion through collective buying," said John McCabe, chair of READ MORE
Voter Registration Deadline is Quickly Approaching!
Vote NO in November: Don't Let Utilities Block the Sun

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 on Amendment 1 in November!
Lee County Voters:

Lee County voters, vote YES to continue the Conservation 20/20 program that preserves our water quality and supplies, preserve lands, and recreational opportunities. A vote for 20/20 does NOT mean an increase in taxes. The 20/20 issue has no amendment number; look for it at the bottom of your ballot. And remember to check YES for continued quality of life here in Lee County.
Click here to watch a short video on why we should keep conserving Lee County. Please share this message with other Lee County voters.
Click above to watch a short video on why we should keep conserving Lee County. Please share this message with other Lee County voters.

Contest now OPEN

The fourth annual "Ding" Darling-Theodore Cross High School Photography Contest kicked off October 1, 2016, with a deadline of January 15, 2017. 
It invites high school students in Lee, 
Last year's first place went to this photo by Adrian Dougherty from Fort Myers High School.
Collier, Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry counties to compete for prizes that include a Canon digital SLR camera package, chartered class trips to the refuge, and copies of Waterbirds READ MORE

2016 second place winner 
Dahlia Lillesslatten

'Ding' Days Week Highlights
October 16 - 22, 2016

We celebrate Jay Darling's 140th birthday this year.
Family, birds, art, trails, Jay Norwood Darling, and beach and water: This year's "Ding" Darling Days, October 16-22, 2016, devotesone 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, October 21. New this year, as a bow to migratory birds READ MORE

For a complete calendar of the week's events, click here.  
Family Fun Night at the Refuge

On Tuesday, October 12, the Refuge and DDWS hosted a Family Fun Night event for local families as an opportunity to acquaint them with Refuge programs and the upcoming "Ding" Darling Days and Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit. Among other activities, families got a preview of face painting and the Santiva Chronicle Bird Dress-Up Photo Station that will be offered on Family Fun DaySunday, October 16.
What Man Does To One Of the Most Beautiful Gifts Of Nature - The River. Click on the cartoon to see it enlarged
Water/Ways Panel Discussion

In conjunction with the visiting Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit at the Visitor & Education Center October 28 through December 7, 2016, "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society will be hosting a free "Soak-It-In Speaker Series" on select Fridays at 1 p.m. 
The finale to the series, "Water: Have We Missed the Boat?," presents an interactive panel discussion with local water-quality experts on December 2.

"This discussion will be open to audience questions with an in-depth look at Southwest Florida water woes," said Sarah Lathrop, associate director of READ MORE




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


Dissecting owl pellets is a favorite educational experience for visiting school classes. Your donation can help supply them.
wishlist Refuge Wish List
Membership donations and annual gifts are the lifeblood of the Society. Our Wish List offers unique giving opportunities to help us enhance the education and conservation efforts here at the Refuge.  All gifts are tax deductible.
For fun, meaningful ways to recognize family and friends with a gift in their honor for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings, please click here
The Refuge Nature Store will be decked out and ready for its festive annual Happy Hour Holiday Shopping event.

Save the Date: Happy Hour Holiday Shopping November 30

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 30, the date of the Refuge Nature Store's fourth annual Happy Hour Holiday Shopping event in the "Ding" Darling Visitor & Education Center. We will keep the store open two extra hours after the Center closes, from 5 to 7 p.m. The Refuge Nature Store has stocked special holiday gift items for the event, and it will have gift consultants ready with suggestions and free recycled paper gift-wrapping. A few local artisans will also be on hand READ MORE

Get Started on Your Own Decorating

Speaking of holiday decorating, get your tree started this year with hand-painted wildlife ornaments from the Refuge Nature Store. Priced at only $18 each, they 
also make perfect stocking stuffers and hostess gifts. To mail-order your ornaments, email or call 239-472-1100 ext. 241.
Click here to view a photo album of Nature Store items you can order by mail. 

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

'Ding' Days Specials
Select art gifts are 10% off on Conservation Art Day.
 The Refuge Nature Store is offering 10% off on select bird gifts featured in a special display Sunday through Friday, October 16-21, during "Ding" Darling Days. On Saturday, October 22, Conservation Art Day, the Store will feature 10% on select art gifts.

Store Manager Jeanne Walsh and Assistant Joann Hinman show off some of the bird gifts the store will discount during "Ding" Darling Days.


Location: 29,452 acres protecting the Savannah River in South Carolina and Georgia, located 7 miles 
north of Savannah, Georgia

Totemic Fauna
Purple Gallinule

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Fun for the Family: Stroll through the pollinator garden just outside of the Visitor Center.

Visitor's Tip: Bird-watching is best November to February.
Gopher Tortoises are among the species whose habitat the Wulfert Road property acquisition will benefit. Photo by Terry Baldwin
Help Save the Island
"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society has undertaken a campaign to acquire 8.15 acres on Sanibel Island's Wulfert Road as a crucial wildlife corridor for the "Ding" Darling Refuge. We must raise $2 million in private funds to purchase the parcel, which lies between SCCF land and the Refuge. 
Donors have already committed more than $600,000 of needed funds, so the goal is to raise the remaining funds by February 2017. If not preserved by the Refuge, the land could be developed with as many as five dwellings and READ MORE
For more information, contact DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller at 239-292-0566 or by email.
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
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

Photo courtesy of Tarpon Bay Explorers
Photo courtesy of Bob Pelkey

Two amazing bird photos. A painted bunting spotted on the Bailey Tract and a group of white pelicans!

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

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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 Carrie Alexander for a chance to be featured in upcoming newsletters.

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 Emily Koval.
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