DingonWing banner
"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society Newsletter
January 12, 2017
In This Issue
Photo by Al Hoffacker
Go Wild for 'Ding' Live Auction

Limited edition print from 
five-time Federal Duck Stamp     winner, 
Joe Hautman 
(print #1 of 3)
One-of-a-kind alligator-heron aluminum sculpture by artist Michael Mistler. The sculpture is currently on display on the grounds of the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge next to the handicap lift.  Stop by and take a look!

Hand-carved feather carving by famed bird sculptor,
Jim Sprankle

Go Wild for "Ding" - Give a Hoot takes place on Tuesday,
February 8, 2017
at the Sanibel Community House. Live auction items will benefit the Refuge's Wulfert Road land acquisition.
Click here for more information and to register.
Optimists Donation

Thanks to the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club and George & Wendy's Seafood Grille, the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society recently accepted a check for $5,000 to benefit Refuge education and conservation. The donation reflects proceeds from the Optimist Club's inaugural Sanibel Jazz & Blues Festival in November.
Wednesday, January 18: The Million Dollar Duck

Animal Planet's The Million Dollar Duck continues the fifth annual Biweekly Wednesday Film Series on January 18, at 1 p.m. in the Visitor & Education Center auditorium. The film presents an entertaining view of the Federal Duck Stamp Program from the perspective of artists, collectors, and program administrators. Of course Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling figures importantly in the film as the founder of the duck stamp program - the only READ MORE

Thanks to our generous film series sponsor:

First Lecture of the season: Friday, January 20: Twisted

Fort Myers native Mark Renz recently released the first of three new books featuring off-beat, ecology-based photography
and prose. Based on the book,
Naturally Twisted: A Wild Look At The Wild is the subject of Renz's two free photographic presentations on Friday, January 20, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., the first of the 2017 "Ding" Darling Lecture Series. Mark is founding president of the Paleontological Society of Lee County. He operates Fossil Expeditions READ MORE

Thanks to our generous 2017 lecture series sponsor: 
Needed: Washing Machines

The Refuge Maintenance Department needs washing machines. If you have a machine to donate, (good quality used or new) please contact Jeff Combs by email or by phone at 239-472-1100 ext. 222.
New Refuge Staff

Congratulations to Monica Scroggin, who has been promoted from a part-time Visitor Service Intern to part-time Refuge Ranger this week. She will help run the Visitor & Education Center on weekends and assist with all other visitor services functions. Monica graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in December 2015 with a bachelor's degree in environmental studies and a minor in biology. A South Miami native, she worked previously as an intern then project manager for an oyster monitoring research project at FGCU's Coastal Watershed Institute. The Refuge will welcome three more staff members later this month to fill positions recently vacated.
Go Wild for 'Ding' Sponsorship
Interested in sponsoring our BIG Go Wild for "Ding" - Give a Hoot fundraiser on February 8?  Email or call us at 239.292.0566 

Thanks to our growing roll of generous sponsors: 

Champion Level Sponsors: 
                    Mark & Gretchen Banks
                   Wayne & Linda Boyd
                    Jim & Patty Sprankle 

                    Guardian Level Sponsors:   

  Protector Level Sponsors:
Sarah Ashton & Jim Metzler, Mike & Terry Baldwin, Amanda Cross

 Defender Level Sponsors
50% Off FramingBarrier Island Title ServiceDoug & Sherry Gentry, Greenwood Consulting GroupJohn Grey PaintingPhyllis Gresham, Gulf Coast Landscape Nursery & Supply, John Grey PaintingHank & Linda Spire,Tree West LLC

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor and joining those listed above, email or call us at 239-292-0566
The late Ted Cross

Submissions to the fourth annual "Ding" Darling-Theodore Cross High School Photography Contest end 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 
DDWS Staff News
Congratulations to Joann Hinman, whom this week accepted a promotion from part-time Nature Store Assistant to full-time Office Manager. Joann started working for "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society in July 2016. She brought with her more than 20 years of nonprofit experience that included serving as director of finance and administration for Zion Natural History Association (ZNHA) in Utah's Zion National Park. Her current duties include bookkeeping and overseeing DDWS office operation.
Christopher R. Galloway inherits his "Ding" Darling 
connection from his parents, Sanibel residents Nancy Riley and Michael Galloway, both of whom have been volunteering in the Visitor & Education Center for several years.
Taking over Joann's position as part-time assistant for the
"Ding" Darling Nature Store, Christopher is excited to learn new skills. A recent graduate from Florida Southwestern State College, he holds a degree in network service technology and post-secondary vocational certificates in network security and information technology support.
Since graduation, the Florida native - originally from Inverness in Citrus County - has been freelancing in home tech support and property management. He began working in the Nature Store December 31, 2016, assisting Store Manager Jeanne Walsh.
"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society operates the Refuge Nature Store, proceeds from which benefit wildlife, habitat conservation, education, and research projects.
Resident Volunteers: New & Returning

This season we are fortunate to welcome six resident volunteer couples to help with Refuge manpower shortages during peak season. 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 families are returning; the other three are first-timers here. In this issue, we introduce one new and one returning family and thank them for their devotion to wildlife, nature, and the "Ding" team.

Frank, Dawn, and Jonathan Weatherstein arrived this month as part of a recovery strategy following the sad, unexpected passing of Frank Jr. about a year ago. "From that point on our lives were turned upside down," Frank said. "We tried to make things as normal as possible for Jonathan, but everywhere we went was a constant reminder of the past."

Frank closed down his maintenance company in Maryland, and Dawn resigned from her car dealership position of 20 years. Jonathan, 19, graduated from high school last year and has been hoping to join the Department of Natural Resources. "So we figured this would be a good opportunity for him," said Frank, who works in the Refuge Maintenance Department. Jonathan helps with Visitor Services, and Dawn assists in the Administration Building.

Alan and Linda Parker returned last month for their seventh season at "Ding" Darling, where they help out with the schedule of free winter programs and also in the Visitor & Education Center assisting guests and other volunteers.

Both former educators, Alan finished his career as a technology specialist at an elementary school and Linda spent the last half of her 32-year career as a counselor and counseling administrator.

Mullet Film Follow-up: Shopper's Guide

The opening film of this year's film series, Mullet: The Tale of Two Fish, drew a full house. Many viewers were curious about where they could enjoy the sustainable local fish featured in the film. Pine Island has a long history of mullet fishing, and the dish is still popular in many local markets and restaurants. Blue Dog Bar & Grill in Matlacha touts its mullet dinners with your choice of preparation and sauce. Find fried mullet sandwiches and baskets at nearby Olde Fish House Marina. Many restaurants use mullet in their smoked dip, sometimes blended with other local fish.

As fish populations are dwindling at a startling rate, it is important to make wise seafood choices. A number of websites inform seafood shoppers about the sustainability of different species of fish. We like Seafood Watch and The Marine Conservation Society's Good Fish Guide 

JUST IN! A Ding Darling Sampler: The Editorial Cartoons of Jay N. Darling is back in print, with a new green cover. Two hundred cartoons out of an estimated 15,000 that Darling penmed span the range of his half-century of work for the Des Moines Register. The book --compiled and edited by the late Christopher "Kip" Koss --Darling's grandson, sells for $16. Stop in today to pick up your copy, or email or call Store Manager Jeanne Walsh at 239-472-1100 ext. 241 for more information about this and other featured products.

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

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.

Location: Nearly 46,000 acres with headquarters
Aplomado Falcon
Photos courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

7 miles south of Alamo, Texas

Totemic Fauna: Aplomado Falcon, Ocelot

Fun for the Family: Six unique nature trails for hiking and wildlife viewing open daily

Visitor's Tip: Visit in October for the Rio Reforestation event.

Free Winter Programs - Through April 23, 2017

Biweekly Wednesday Film Series - Through April 12, 2017

Weekly Friday Lecture Series - January 20-April 14, 2017

Go Wild for "Ding" - February 8, 2017

Volunteer Awards Luncheon - February 10, 2017

Don & Lillian Stokes 
Birding Tour - February 10, 2017 (FULL)

  - May 19, 2017

29th Annual "Ding" Darling Days - October 15-21, 2017

Photo courtesy of Jim Bennight

Photo courtesy of Anne Mauro


Spotted off Wildlife Drive: a beautiful adult Brown Pelican eating a needlefish and this comical Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron

  To see more wildlife photos, 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.

Like us on FacebookView on InstagramView our videos on YouTube