July 8, 2021
In This Issue
Memorial & Honor Gifts
Donors made these gifts to DDWS in honor of and in memory of friends and families during June 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 #DarlingDoseofDing, 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 Quebec or Nevada, we want to see what you're seeing in your habitat.

Thank you to Justine from Fairfield, Connecticut

Thanks to Sue Sherman from Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Please  email your nature photos so we can share them with others. Include details about photographer and where the photo was taken.
 Read It While It's Hot

If you're not receiving our quarterly Society Pages newsletter in the mail, you can now read our summer edition. To find it in your mailbox four times of year, become a member of the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society. 
Oh, Baby!
You are invited to our summer 2021 Virtual Baby Bird Shower. Watch a sweet video about the birth of this year's Black-necked Stilts at the Refuge, learn fun facts about the species, play cute shower games, and pledge a symbolic baby gift. We're more than halfway to our $5,000 goal.

Tropical Storm Update

With Tropical Storm Elsa having visited the island on July 6 and 7, 2021, the Refuge and its team planned accordingly and put into action the necessary safety measures for the Refuge, its staff, and many visitors. Mother Nature can change in an instant, and it is important for everyone along the coastline as well as inland to be prepared for the dangers hurricanes and tropical storms can bring. The Refuge and Tarpon Bay Explorers closed a few days prior to the storm for preparations and will re-open today, July 8, sustaining only slight flooding. 
August 4: Great American Outdoors Day at the Refuge
Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland peers through the new scope that the Refuge will unveil that day.
     August 4 marks the first celebration of Great American Outdoors Day across federal lands. It is now one of six fee-free days the government has designated throughout the year. "Ding" Darling celebrates also with the unveiling of a spotting scope engineered specifically for colorblind viewers, along with other free onsite activities.
     Among the 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System, "Ding" Darling will be the first to expand its accessibility initiatives to include a colorblind-friendly spotting scope. Specially manufactured by SeeCoast Manufacturing using EnChroma's patented lens technology for color blindness, the scope will be mounted at the Wildlife Drive observation tower.
     Besides the scope unveiling and free admission to Wildlife Drive from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., the Wildlife on Wheels (WoW) mobile classroom will be READ MORE
Remember, profits from all Nature Store sales go directly to the Refuge for 
educational programs, wildlife research, and overall conservation efforts.
Conservation Grant Report

    The "Ding" Education Committee recently received a grant report and photos as a result of a DDWS Environmental Education Grant awarded to Necie Moore with the Lee Adolescent Mothers Program in Fort Myers for her project to create a food garden. She wrote:
    "The students planted fruit trees from ECHO and interns came over to assist with descriptions and planting techniques. Each student adopted a plant or tree and created an informational sign for her plant. Students planted, mulched, watered, and cared for their plants. Our plants produce edible fruits, etc., to be used in culinary classes. The fruits will be given to students to expose them to new experiences and nutritional value will be discussed."

Please consider support for educational grants and other conservation  education projects at "Ding" Darling.
Intern Thank-You
Taína working with students in the WoW mobile classroom
As the past season's 2021 Suzanne M. Dubuc Education Intern, Taína Milán relayed her gratitude for her experience in a thank-you letter to DDWS, which supports the Refuge internship program.
Thanks a thousand thanks for the opportunity and the privilege to work in such a beautiful place. "Ding" Darling is a place of wonder and surprises every day. From seeing alligators crossing READ MORE
Learn about Refuge internship programs. DDWS supports more than a dozen interns each year. Your donations help with this important program.

Tarpon Bay Ramp Open
After a short closure to motorized launching, the Tarpon Bay Explorers boat ramp at the Refuge Tarpon Bay Recreation Area is back open t
o both motorized and nonmotorized vessel launching. While parking lot construction continues at the Tarpon Bay Recreation Area, Tarpon Bay Explorers remains fully open for business.
Summer Fertilizing: Know the Laws
Homeowners on Sanibel Island and throughout Lee County can do their part to reduce algae bloom and other water woes by curbing their fertilizer use, especially during the summer rainy season. It's not only good stewardship, it's the law.
      Sanibel ordinance Article VI, Section 30-144 states: "No applicator shall apply fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus to turf and/or landscape plants during the 'rainy season' (defined as July 1 through September 30 of each calendar year)."
Lee County's ordinance states: "Fertilizers containing Nitrogen (N) and/or Phosphorus (P) may not be applied on turf and/or landscape plants from June 1 through September 30." Its Fertilize Smart page offers valuable tips and information for being earth-friendly while tending lawns and gardens.  Check with your local government to find out about fertilizing restrictions in your area.
'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: 39,928 acres; 65 miles south and east of Elko, Nevada
Totemic fauna: Relict Dace (native fish), Ruddy Duck, Mule Deer
Visitor tip: The refuge's fishery is popular with anglers. There is limited or no cellular service around the refuge.

Relict Dace
Ruddy Duck

Click HERE to see this week's wildlife sightings.

Photo by Bob Pelkey

Bald Eagles are always a majestic sight, especially when they soar around the Refuge. Did you know Bald Eagles sometimes play with plastic bottles and other objects  as toys?

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 - Through August 7, 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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