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"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society Newsletter
November 10, 2016
In This Issue
Look to the right for upcoming programs and activities
Fee Free November 12-13

Drive, hike, or bike the Refuge's Wildlife Drive for FREE this weekend
in honor of Veteran's Day. The Drive is closed on Friday, as per usual, but admission is free on both Saturday
and Sunday from 7 am to 5:30 pm

Go Wild - Give a Hoot
Registration opens Nov. 15

Make plans now to attend the fifth annual fundraiser for the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society on Tuesday, February 8, 2017, at the Sanibel Community House. This year's Go Wild for "Ding" - Give a Hoot theme continues a series of bird-themed events to benefit the birds, other wildlife, and conservation and education efforts at J.N. "Ding" Darling Refuge. "For this year's theme we showcase the five species of native Florida owls," said READ MORE

Dahlia Lilleslatten came in second last year with her "A Clamour of Wings."
The fourth annual "Ding" Darling-Theodore Cross High School Photography Contest is off and running with a deadline of January 15, 2017. The contest invites high school students in Lee, 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
Engage the Kids at DingDarlingSociety.org

Learn how you can engage your
children in nature at the Refuge or even from home at our new kids' web page. It gives parents, grandparents, and guardians the scoop on such exciting programs as Nature Explorers Summer Camp, scholarships, and a photo contest. The site also links to five themed coloring/activity books you can download and print for budding nature-lovers.

Saturday, November 12

Saturday's H-2-GO weekly interactive family program on November 12 takes visitors around the Refuge's entrance area on the lookout for a "Pollution Solution." The same day, Tarpon Bay Explorers offers 10 percent discounts off its 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Nature & Sea Life Cruises. Call 239-472-8900 for reservations.

 November 16

During Water/Ways, Wednesdays are Film Fest Day - sponsored by LCEC.  On November 16, catch End of the Line:Where Have 
All the Fish 
Gone? at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. Based on the critically acclaimed book by Charles Clover, End of the Line delves into the global overfishing crisis, particularly the imminent extinction of the bluefin tuna. Scientists discuss how this depletion has slipped under the public radar and how it affects the future of READ MORE


Friday, November 18

The third in the Water/Ways Soak-It-In Speaker Series features nature photographer and water advocate John Moran, who will present a photographic lecture titled "Our Water, Our Future" on Friday, November 18 at 1 p.m.
John Moran photographed "Look Into the Eye" at Florida's Silver Glen Springs.
Co-founder of the Springs Eternal Project to educate Floridians and decision-makers, John concentrates on photography that captures the best of vanishing natural Florida. His program focuses on Florida's iconic springs as a case study for exploring the larger topic of water and Florida's READ MORE

Saturday, November 19 
Join Tarpon Bay Explorers staff for a free standup paddleboarding clinic.
In addition to its two 10-percent discounted Nature & Sea Life Cruises on November 19, Tarpon Bay Explorers has added a free Standup Paddleboard (SUP) Clinic from 9 a.m. to 12 noon that day in honor of our Water/Ways exhibit. The SUP clinic will consist of mini lessons to teach novices and experienced paddlers proper paddling technique. The lessons are conducted on a first-come basis. All experience levels are welcome, but participants must be at least 13 years old. Call 239-472-8900 for more information.

While you are visiting the Water/Ways exhibit, check out the Southwest Florida Fine Craft Guild's 52-artist show. Here, Tania Begg poses with her Roseate Spoonbill sculpture fashioned from cellophane tape and tissue paper. It won both the Refuge Manager's Choice and People's Choice awards.

For a full calendar of Water/Ways activities, please CLICK HERE.
Two great victories for conservation
Thank you for your votes and help in getting the word out on continuing Lee County 20/20 and defeating Amendment 1.
Click logo ABOVE to read article about the defeat of Amendment 1

Voters overwhelmingly voted Yes on 20/20 Click photo ABOVE to read more

Welcome New Education Intern

Jackii Laurenzano recently joined the "Ding" team, thanks to funding from DDWS. She graduated from the University of Delaware in May 2015 with a double major in wildlife ecology conservation, and agriculture and natural resources with a minor in animal science. The Queens, New York, native most recently finished an extended internship on Nantucket Island, off the coast of Massachusetts, in October.

"I was a Natural Science Intern at the Maria Mitchell Association, where I worked in the Natural Science Museum as well as doing field research on the endangered American Burying Beetle and local snake populations," said Jackii.

At "Ding" Darling, she will be assisting with education programs, visiting school groups, and special events into May 2017. "I like that all of the staff and volunteers at the Refuge are so friendly and welcoming, and also all of the awesome wildlife I have seen so far," Jackii reports.

DDWS provides living stipends and other benefits for about a dozen interns each year. The Refuge supports interns and resident volunteers with free housing. To learn about supporting the Refuge Intern Program, contact Sarah Lathrop, DDWS Associate Director, at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or by email.
November 30, 2016

Tarpon Tourney 2017: Save the Date
Last year's top team won more than $12,000.
The Sixth Annual "Ding" Darling & Doc Ford's Tarpon Tournament moves to a Friday - May 19 -- next year. The Captain's Meeting will take place the evening before on Thursday, May. 18. Last year's tourney was SOLD OUT, and we expect the same this year. ALSO NEW: Sponsors will receive first priority on registration, which begins on December 1, 2016. Click here for information on sponsoring the tournament.
Resident Volunteers: New & Returning

This season we are fortunate to welcome six resident volunteer couples to help with Refuge manpower shortages during peak times. Resident volunteers work at the Refuge in exchange for a spot to park and hook up their RV or trailer.
Three of our 2016-2017 couples are returning; the other three are first-timers here. In this and upcoming issues, we will introduce one new and one returning couple and thank them for their devotion to wildlife, nature, and the "Ding" team.

Joan and Bob Gonser arrived November 3 from a volunteer gig at Acadia National Park in Maine. Joan, an accountant in her previous life, assists the Refuge's administration staff. Bob, a retired U.S. Navy Master Chief Engineer and technical writer, works with the maintenance department. The Gonsers started RVing six years ago and have volunteered at Everglades National Park, Florida's Crystal River NWR, and a number of other public
lands. "'Ding' Darling has been on our wish list since we visited in 2013 when we were volunteering at Everglades," they say. 

Ken and Ginny Kopperl joined the Refuge this year for their fifth season and just in time for "Ding" Darling Days. Both retired middle school teachers, they help Ranger Becky Larkins with her environmental education programs. The Kopperls have been volunteering in Florida state parks and national parks and refuges for nine years, including Big Bend and Grand Canyon national parks. Last season, they won the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau's top distinction in the E Awards "Attractions" category for visitor service.
Spotting scopes - one item on our 2016 Wish List -- help students gain a deeper appreciation of animals by observing their behaviors close up.

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. Personalized letters can be provided detailing your gift.


Time To Trim the Tree 


We have enough nature-motif holiday ornaments to fill a tree, and then some. From wooden, hand-painted bird ornaments to porcelain and glass, you will find something to fit your decorating style and budget.

Gift Card: 
New Gift Card, similar to that of a credit card in size and material
Now, for the easiest possible "Ding" gift-giving, we present the Refuge Nature Store gift card. Purchase one in any amount from $25 up.

To order gift cards, ornaments, and other items, email or call 239-472-1100 ext. 241.

Remember, proceeds from all Nature Store sales go directly to the Refuge conservation efforts.

Northern Pintail by Ed Bastya


Refuge Spotlight - 'America's Best-Kept Secret'

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

Photo by Rohan Duncan
Location: Almost 2,000 acres on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon

Totemic Fauna: Northern Pintail Ducks and Black-tailed Deer

Fun for the Family: The 1-mile nature trail ends at the wetland observation deck, where families can view aquatic and terrestrial creatures.

Visitor's Tip: Because wildlife is sensitive to quick movement, the refuge trails are for walking only. Those who are unable hike should check out the Wildlife Center with its large windows and spotting scopes.
the Island
Eastern Screech Owls are among the species whose habitat the Wulfert Road property acquisition will benefit. Photo by William Fischer  
"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society has undertaken a campaign to acquire 8.51 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.  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

Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit - October 28-December 7, 2016
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
Special Osprey Lecture - December 15, 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 Aaron Kirk
Photo courtesy of Bob Pelkey

Some amazing sightings this week on the Refuge! An American Coot was seen at the Bailey Tract as was this Eastern Phoebe.

   To see more wildlife photos like these, 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 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, Emily Koval, and Sierra Hoisington.

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