June 10, 2021
In This Issue

The Need to Push Back Against the Army Corps
by Jim Metzler, DDWS Advocacy Committee Co-Chair
As I wrote in my last article, when completed, the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) will have a major impact on the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, because it will govern how water is released out of Lake O for the foreseeable future. As described below, at this moment, there is a high probability that LOSOM will not be favorable to the Refuge, and it may, in fact, be very detrimental. READ MORE
In Case You Missed It: The South Florida Water Management District is using innovative technology to combat blue-green algae in the Caloosahatchee River. See more.

 Donors made these gifts to DDWS in honor of and in memory of friends and families during May 2021. Thank you to everyone who supported the Refuge in this thoughtful and meaningful way. Make a memorial or honor donation HERE.
The DDWS staff has been busy bringing the healing sunshine and beauty of the Refuge to the public through 30-second social media videos. Follow on Facebook to see our #DailyDoseofDing, brief virtual visits to the Refuge for those who can't make it. 
Whether you live on Sanibel Island or in a completely different environment in faraway places like California or Connecticut, we want to see what you're seeing in your habitat.

Thanks to Kathleen Colligan from Cape Coral, Florida.

Thanks to Jane Majeski from New Jersey

Please  email your nature photos so we can share them with others. Include details about the photographer and where the photo was taken.
Tarpon Bay Ramp Temporarily Closed to Motorized Launches
While parking lot construction continues at the Refuge's Tarpon Bay Recreation Area, the boat ramp is closed to motorized launching through June 15, 2021. Visitors can still launch non-motorized vessels (kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards) from the beach area. All other operations at Tarpon Bay Explorers remain open during the construction for normal hours. 
'Ding' Darling Grows by 36 Acres

"Ding" Darling Refuge manages nearly 6,500 acres of land on Sanibel Island.
An acquisition many years in the making, the Refuge recently added a 36-acre parcel on Sanibel Island bordered on three sides by existing Refuge property and on one side by the Gumbo Limbo neighborhood.
"Adding this parcel to the Refuge is important as it is sizeable acreage surrounded almost entirely by mangrove forest," said Refuge Manager Kevin Godsea. "The acquisition will ensure that the bird habitat will be protected, and that the mangroves will remain resilient in the face of storms and sea level rise."
The process of purchasing the parcel through the READ MORE
See and hear the ABC7 report on the acquisition.

Remember, profits from all Nature Store sales go directly to the Refuge for 
educational programs, wildlife research, and overall conservation efforts.
Create a Father's Day card and other projects with Rachel this summer.
FREE Create Father's Day Card with Rachel
On Friday, June 18, at 10 and 11 a.m.,
Artist-in-Residence Rachel Pierce will help sons and daughters (and grandsons and granddaughters and anyone with a father figure in their life) create an artistic Father's Day card for free, outdoors at the Wildlife Education Boardwalk. Participation is limited to 10 pre-registered guests for each session.
Watch the Artist-in-Residence web page for news of other upcoming activities with Rachel, including painting patriotic seashells and back-to-school tote bags.
Donate to support free educational programs such as this at the Refuge.
Water Quality Research at the Refuge
Some of you have noticed and asked about the PVC pipes sticking out of Refuge waters along Wildlife Drive. They are part of a research project on which the Refuge is partnering with the SCCF Marine Lab. The joint effort monitors and assesses sea grass habitat quality in the Refuge. Water quality research collaborations such as this are made possible with support from "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society.
New Nature Store Staffer
Welcome to Laura Denick, who recently joined the staff of the Refuge Nature Store as a part-time assistant. Originally from Grimsby, Ontario, in Canada, she has a bachelor of science degree in environmental science and geography and has worked in numerous positions over the years including wetland research, fish habitat protection, teaching, Junior Achievement, and retail. Laura also is serving as a turtle patrol volunteer for SCCF for her third year. At "Ding," she will be working Thursday and Saturday shifts, floating between the two stores at the Refuge and 2250 Periwinkle Way.
"My favorite thing about Sanibel is the wildlife," said Laura, who moved to the island more than two years ago after many years of visiting. "I am always amazed by what I see every day. This stems from the Refuge and the protection it provides. The fact that I can contribute by working and educating visitors at the store is awesome."
Farewell to a Friend
With deep sadness, we received the news of the recent passing of former DDWS Board Member Tom Edgar. Tom began volunteering at the Refuge at the Front Desk in 2003 and in 2020 earned his 2,500-hour award. He served on the Board of Directors from December 2005 through April 2007. 

Staff and volunteers will always remember him for his kind and quiet demeanor, dependable work ethic, and friendly smiles. Condolences to his family.
Free Summer Tours

Watch our events page to sign up for a Mindfulness Walk and other free weekly tours.
Free summer Refuge tours run from June 20 through August 7 this year. There's no set schedule, so monitor our Eventbrite page to see what staff and volunteers are offering each week and to sign up for tours such as Children's Program, Mindfulness Walk at Bailey Tract, and Beach Walk. Please bring sunscreen, water, and your own binoculars and scopes.
Check out our Summer Tours Flyer.
Look at Our New Look! 
Engaging graphics, informative videos, and a fresh look characterize our latest upgrades to our Nature Store website. Visit today and often to witness the ever-evolving appeal.

 Sanibel Leaf Blower Legislation
Kudos to the Sanibel City Council for passing a new ordinance that restricts current use of gas-powered leaf blowers and ultimately bans them by January 1, 2023. Read the Santiva Chronicle article about the proceedings.
Besides the noise pollution it causes, a gas-powered leaf blower pollutes the environment even more than a car. It also can cause hearing loss, according to the CDC.
'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. that is open to the public. 
Images courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Location: 9,225 acres; Brussels, Illinois
Totemic fauna: Wood Duck, Bald Eagle, White Pelican
Visitor tip: See thousands of geese, ducks, and pelicans feeding in the fields and shallow wetlands of the Calhoun Division and on Swan Lake. Bald eagles use this area regularly during winter.

White Pelicans

Bald Eagle family

Click HERE to see this week's wildlife sightings.

Photo by Janet Aaron Kirk

Black-necked Stilts have been mating and nesting at the Bailey Tract lately. These shorebirds usually have two to five eggs in their broods.

Next week, look for our "oh baby" email featuring the Black-necked Stilts

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

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If you have taken any beautiful, interesting, or just plain goofy photos at the Refuge, send them to Development Officer Sierra Hoisington for a chance to be featured in upcoming newsletters.

Free Summer Programs - June 20-August 7, 2021

Great American Outdoors Day - August 4, 2021

Artist-in-Residence Exhibition - October 1 - November 10, 2021

"Ding" Darling Day - October 10, 2021

Niki Butcher Photographic Exhibition - November 15 - December 31, 2021. Sponsored by Wayne & Linda Boyd.

Ding's Wild Daze Beer Rollout - December 4, 2021 (tentative)

These are just snapshots of some of the things taking place at your Wildlife Refuge. Please check our website to learn more!

Birgit Miller, Executive Director

"Ding" On The Wing composed by Chelle Koster Walton.  Designed by Sierra Hoisington & April Boehnen. 

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