March 11, 2021
In This Issue
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. The posts have become a much-anticipated feature, boosting Facebook numbers to nearly 16,000 followers. 
Whether you live on Sanibel Island or in a completely different environment in faraway places like Texas or Iowa, we want to see what you're seeing in your habitat while you are staying safe at home. 

Thank you to Jean Howard for sharing this image of a white skunk from Oscoda, Michigan.

Please email your nature photos so we can share them in "Ding" on the Wing and by social media. Include details about the photographer and where the photo was taken.
Mask Up for Safety!
Reminder: All staff, volunteers, and Tarpon Bay Explorers employees are required to wear facemasks anytime they are outside of their offices, in all indoor and outdoor public places. The Refuge requests that all visitors follow the same guidelines, wearing masks and keeping 6-feet distance on all Refuge lands and buildings including the Visitor & Education Center, restrooms, Tarpon Bay Explorers facilities, and outdoors wherever people are gathered, including the parking lot, trails, tours, and Wildlife Drive.
Stay up-to-date on Refuge news
and events at our COVID-19 page.
Photo by Karl Werner
Tomorrow, March 12: Photographic Gray Owl Lecture

 Paul Bannick will be signing copies of his books, available for purchase that day or in advance at Nature Store venues and online.
Award-winning author and wildlife photographer Paul Bannick will present a program featuring stunning imagery from his books about owls at a special lecture titled "Gray Owl: A Visual Natural History" on Friday, March 12, at 10 a.m. in The Community House at 2173 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. 

One of Bannick's newest books Great Gray Owl: A Visual Natural History, published in October 2020, is the latest example of the author's love and respect for owls. It showcases one of the largest owl species, also known as the Phantom of the North, Great Gray Ghost, and Bearded Owl. It lives READ MORE

Thanks to our generous sponsors for supporting this lecture.

Missed lecture? Head to our web page 
the Tuesday following each lecture for the link to a recorded video.
Go Wild for Jeopar-Ding Tickets Selling Fast 

This year, in the spirit of creativity and accessibility, DDWS is reinventing the ninth annual Go Wild for "Ding" fundraiser in an original virtual format. Tickets are still available for Go Wild for Jeopar-Ding on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at 6 p.m.
A playful rendition of everyone's favorite longtime TV game show, classic Jeopardy, Go Wild for Jeopar-Ding brings hostess and Artist-in-Residence Rachel Pierce to the screen with three local celebrities to compete in categories about READ MORE.
Host and contestants with DDWS Development Officers Sierra Hoisington and April Boehnen. Kudos to April for creating a fun, original event.
Lecture Series Protocols

The upcoming season's "Ding" Darling Lecture Series evolves with the times and persisting distance protocols by moving to a larger venue. Socially distanced seating for the free lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Staff will be distributing a limited number of entry wristbands to attendees beginning at 9 a.m. that day, after taking touch-free temperature readings. DDWS asks guests to avoid lining up before 8:45 a.m. Guests must be wearing wristbands and facemasks to enter the lecture room. Early arrivals may save their seat and one other with personal items. Saved seats must be filled by 9:45. 
'Ding' Receives Second Internship Fund

 Jim and Liz Birmingham are supporting Refuge conservation education programs with an internship fund.
Jim and Liz Birmingham of Sanibel Island and Colorado recently made a donation in support of an annual internship. The Birminghams have been coming to Sanibel for many years and believe in the importance of supporting the communities where they live. 
The 2021-2022 Birmingham Internship Fund will underwrite one of the three upcoming conservation education interns. As regular Refuge visitors, the Birminghams were influenced to make their contribution after reading about the Annual Suzanne M. Dubuc Education Internship, which supported the cost of a bilingual education intern this season to facilitate the rollout and continuing educational efforts of Wildlife on Wheels (WoW) mobile urban classroom. 
"After meeting some of the interns and WoW team, the Birminghams were so impressed by how an intern can make such a huge difference in the educational outreach to students and hard-to-reach communities," said Birgie Miller, DDWS Executive Director. "They contacted us about how they could make a similar impact on the Refuge's mission and underwrite the cost of a year's internship."
DDWS provides living stipends and other benefits for about a dozen interns each year. The Refuge supports interns with free housing. For more information about the Refuge's internship programs and supporting them, contact Lynnae Messina at 239-472-1100 ext. 233. DDWS is now accepting donations for future named internships at $12,500 a year, which is the cost for supporting one intern including living stipends, travel, tolls, Sanibel Rec Center membership, and other expenses.
Donors can also establish other named, permanently endowed funds for $10,000 or more and work with staff to restrict them to their areas of interest. Income from the endowments can fund individual projects or ongoing education, intern, programming, research, or other specific needs. 

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

The Need for Shared Adversity
by Jim Metzler, DDWS Advocacy Committee Co-Chair

As described in a previous article, the Army Corps of Engineers is part way through a process to create a new set of guidelines, referred to as the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). When completed, LOSOM will drive decision-making about when water is released out of Lake Okeechobee and how much water is released east to the St Lucie estuary; west to the Caloosahatchee estuary; or south to the Everglades. As such, LOSOM will have a dramatic impact on the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The purpose of the Lake O release guidelines is to enable the corps to manage the water releases in a way that READ MORE. 
In Case You Missed It
Starting in mid-February the Caloosahatchee estuary was receiving more water than is healthy for the estuary (2,000 cfs) while the St. Lucie estuary was not receiving any water. As of March 6, the St. Lucie estuary started receiving 500 cfs. See more.

Support Conservation Education by becoming a sponsor.  100% tax deductible.  Philanthropic support in the form of sponsorships makes a big difference in what we can raise to support conservation education efforts, particularly during this time of Covid-19 and virtual events.  
Thanks to those sponsors who are already supporting our fundraising event:

Call of the Wild Sponsors

 Champion Sponsors

Guardian Sponsors

Protector Sponsors

Defender Sponsors
Fort Myers artist Rachel Pierce will lead the Journal Art Walks down Indigo Trail.
Family/Spring Break Art Journal Walks

The Refuge has added two special Spring Break Artist-in-Residence Journal Walks on Tuesday, March 16, and Thursday, March 18, starting at 1:30 p.m. To ensure social distancing, each timeslot is limited to 10 participants, so make your free reservation today. The walks include a free journal and pencil to start your nature sketching off. Facemasks are required.
Donate to support free educational programs such as this at the Refuge.
Virgina Bayne has participated and placed in "Ding" photo contests.
'Ding' Photo Contest Winner Exhibit

Through March 25, an art exhibition at Fort Myers' Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center includes the work of Virginia Bayne, who has won honors in three of "Ding" Darling's photo contests. The Fort Myers High senior won first place in the 2020 "Ding" Darling-Theodore Cross High School Photography Contest . She also entered the contest this year (results to be announced next week). She won an honorable mention in a past "Ding" Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest; that contest's entry of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron is part of her current exhibit. Congratulations, Virginia, and best luck in your pursuit of art and photography next year at the University of Central Florida!
March 19: Feather Thief Author Lecture
Widely acclaimed as one of the top nonfiction thrillers of its time, Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century centers on the
Kirk W. Johnson will speak about his journey to publishing Feather Thief
Credit: Marie-Josee Cantin Johnson.
outrageous heist of rare bird skins from England's Tring Museum in 2009. Investigative journalist Kirk Wallace Johnson tells the tale with the intrigue of crime fiction. He will speak about his long-researched book at a special "Ding" Darling lecture on Friday, March 19, at 10 a.m. in the Community House at 2173 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. The lecture wraps up this season's "Ding" Darling Lecture SeriesJohnson is also the author of READ MORE.

Thanks to the sponsors of the upcoming lecture:

 Go Truly Green for St. Paddy's Day
Plastic beads, derbies, and "Kiss Me I'm Irish" buttons: They are ubiquitous tokens of celebrating the green on St. Patrick's Day. It's a good time to remember the "reduce, reuse, and recycle"mantra to keep our planet green. Pack away decorations and novelties for use next year - no one will remember them after a year's time. Skip the plastic cups for your green beer, Irish whiskey, and other beverages. Reusable cups and bottles will keep your drinks colder and your Earth greener. 
'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. 
Image courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Location8,442 acres; Wadesboro, North Carolina.  
Totemic Fauna:Southern James Bay Canada Goose, Wood Thrush, Robust Redhorse.
Visitor's Tip: Boat, drive, and hike the refuge. Bicycling is allowed only on designated public access routes, but not on trails or roads closed to public vehicles.
Southern James Bay Canada Geese.

Click HERE to see this week's wildlife sightings.

Photo by Doug Albert

Yellow-crowned Night Herons have been spotted along Wildlife Drive. 

Yellow-crowned Night Herons form socially monogamous pairs. They sometimes maintain their bonds from year to year.

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.
Monitor our COVID-19 page for news of event cancellations or reschedules.
Go Wild for Jeopar-Ding - March 31, 2021

Lecture SeriesThrough March 19, 2021

Free Refuge ToursThrough April 11, 2021 

Virtual Film Series - Through April 12, 2021   

Earth Day at the Refuge - April 22, 2021

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

Niki Butcher Photographic Exhibition - Mid-November - December 2021
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 interns Julie D'Agostino and Hollis Hatfield.

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