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January 5, 2023

A Novel Donation

Florida author Hope Holloway fell in love with Sanibel Island as a youngster, and began modeling her series of women-centric Shellseeker Beach novels after the island, starting with Sanibel Dreams earlier this year. Just as the author was proofreading the seventh book in the series, titled Sanibel Moonlight, Hurricane Ian hit the island.


“Like millions of others, I am in profound mourning for the loss…” she wrote in “A Personal Message from the Author” she added to the front of the book. In her message, she pledged a portion of sales from the book and its series toward Sanibel hurricane recovery efforts, hoping to raise $10,000 or more, which she has already surpassed.


“Ding” Darling has figured into the series a time or two, most noticeably in Sanibel Moonlight, where one of the characters proclaims: “No one should be on Sanibel Island and not see that glorious place.” Hope’s admiration for the Refuge has resulted in several donations since Ian. We urge our readers to become her readers. By buying a Shellseeker Beach novel, you are benefiting “Ding” Darling and all of Sanibel Island. Devoted readers can also go directly to the DDWS donations page and make a contribution in honor of Hope Holloway. 

Hurricane Update

We will consistently update our Resource Page and include a hurricane update each week in our "Ding" on the Wing. Please access those sites doing a better job with on-the-ground updates, such as the City of Sanibel. Please call us with any Refuge questions at 239-292-0566.  

For residents and businesses affected by Hurricane Ian, here is a printable pdf of resources. We are trying to keep it updated and hoping it helps. 

Here are a few new links: 

WoW Update: More Schools in 2023


Next week starts a new year for WoW (Wildlife on Wheels) in Lee County Title-1 schools. On Monday, January 9, the mobile outreach classroom travels to G. Weaver Hipps Elementary in Lehigh Acres, where it will teach classes through January 20. Other upcoming scheduled visits:


January 23-February 2: Orange River Elementary in Fort Myers


February 6-16: Harns Marsh Elementary in Lehigh Acres


February 21-March 16: Oak Hammock Middle School in Fort Myers (Tice)


March 20-24: Spring Break


WoW currently operates with a reduced team because of the hurricane’s impact on staffing. Now, more than ever, Refuge community outreach needs your help. Donate today to support the upkeep and programming for WoW efforts. Thank you for helping us spread the conservation message to those with limited opportunities to experience and appreciate the wonder of nature.

Remember, profits from all Nature Store sales go directly to the Refuge for educational programs, wildlife research, and overall conservation efforts.

Spotlight: Friends Rebuilding

As a regular feature, “Ding” on the Wing spotlights a business on the islands that has strongly supported the Refuge in the past and now needs us all to rally behind it as it navigates the road to recovery.


Capt. Peter Rogers and his wife, Barb, have avidly supported “Ding” Darling through generous event volunteering and sponsorship during the past decade. They sponsor the annual “Ding” Darling & Doc Fort’s Tarpon Tournament and Barb is a willing, talented, and energetic volunteer at the tourney as well as past events like Project Refuge: A Couture Fashion Show Using Trash.


Before Hurricane Ian, Capt. Peter operated his highly rated Hey Mon Sanibel charters for more than 10 years.


“Our specialty is consistently delivering a fun and memorable experience on the water for our guests,” said Peter. “While fishing is certainly one of our go-to activities, our nature cruises in areas like the ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Refuge are also very highly regarded. All of our trips are totally customized for each individual party so we can accommodate just about any request.”


Big, bad Ian, however, has temporarily stifled charter activity after almost sinking Hey Mon. “Our plan is to be back in operation by the end of January,” said Peter.


In the meantime, Peter and Barb are selling Hey Mon merch, which you can find on their website. Eventually, you will be able to order the logo trucker hats and hooded, long-sleeved shirts online, but for now they are available by emailing Barb or texting her at 612-867-5366. A portion of the proceeds from all sales goes to helping “Ding” Darling and CROW with their hurricane recovery efforts.

Refuge Programming & Events


The Visitor & Education Center and Wildlife Drive remain closed due to hurricane damage until further notice. Consequently, many programs and events have been canceled. Read DOTW for news of activities still being planned.


Show Us Your #DingStrong Merch

Thank you to everyone who has purchased their #DingStrong merch. Place your order by January 10 at 4 P.M. EST for your final chance to receive your #DingStrong merch. For a chance to be highlighted in "Ding" on the Wing, send in a photo of yourself wearing your #DingStrong merch to April Boehnen

The Kelleher Family

Somerville, New Jersey

Ryne Nordenberg

Rockford, Illinois

Feel-Good Finds

If you have a photo, poem, video, or other feel-good find and you'd like the chance to be highlighted in our "Ding" on the Wing, please email it to April Boehnen.

A Poem by Meghan Prindle

During the height of COVID, the Daily Dose of Ding gave Meghan a sense of calm and peace she needed. During the chaos of Hurricane Ian, she has been sending her original poems as her way to pay back what she received from "Ding" during a rough time. 


A little dirt.

A little rot.

A little dew.

A little perfume and stale grass.

Cool skin.

Red cheeks.

Pace by pace.

Single file.

Through the woods.

Up the hill. 

A memory of the past from Joe Altemus.

Wellness Tip

Food = Mood


As part of our Nature Wellness Program for 2023, watch here for tips and advice on how to center your mind and improve your wellbeing through both outdoors and indoors.


The new year is a perfect time to implement new habits, including dietary ones. Research reveals a strong correlation between our diet and mental health. When it comes to what we eat, food = mood.


Begin the year by maintaining your own Food Mood Journal. Record any meals you eat throughout the day, including snacks and beverages. At the end of the day, about an hour after your last meal, track the following at the bottom of the page:

How am I feeling (physically, mentally, emotionally)?

What are my energy levels?

How does this relate to what I ate today?


Keep up with your Food Mood Journal to observe trends in your mood as they relate to your diet. Bring on the greens and see how you feel!

Disclaimer: This exercise aims to demonstrate the correlation between the food we eat as it relates to our mood. DDWS does not endorse any form of food restriction involving calorie-counting.

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


Birgit Miller, Executive Director

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

Darling Dose of "Ding"

#DingStrong Shirts

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